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matthew
matthew, Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 135
Experience:  Licensed, with Specialist experience in Australian and Japanese vehicles, and driveline diagnosis
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Montero sport: tapping..clicking..cam..these cars @ 100K miles

Customer Question

I am getting tapping/clicking/valve ticking noise from top of motor area with 01 Montero sport 3.5L Limited. I was thinking a cam for while then some area salesperson (car) said it was definately a 'timing belt' in these cars @ 100K miles and over go bad, not broken but loose. He said he has had to change many of them and same noise. I don't know if i believe him, so what do you all think is the problem?? 01 Montero Sport Mitsubishi with dual cams 24 valve thx for any help you can provide. Oh, how much effort to change one of these internal timing belts??
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  matthew replied 5 years ago.
Hi there, the first thing to check is your engine oil level, also when the engine oil gets older in mileage it breaks down, due to contamination with fuel blowing past the piston rings and filings from the engine block,(which is normal for even new cars-thats why we change the engine oil) combine that with the very small tolerances that are inside your motor and you have a very stressed engine oil, you could remove thetiming belt covers and check the timing belt tension, but as these run a hydraulic tensioner, which is constantly applying tension to the belt , the possibility of that being the problem is small-but still a possibility, as a rule , these tensioners are supposed to be replaced with the belt at the specified interval. As these also run a serpentine belt (external fan belt) type set up you may find that also the tensioner for the serpentine belt could be faulty, however this will exhibit a groaning sound.
To anwer your last question , to replace a timing belt on your engine is perhaps something that is best left for the professionals, as it is quite an involved job requiring special tooling to set the timing belt hydraulic tensioners in place. However if you are concerned about this your best bet is to contact your local Mitsubishi service dept to have this noise assessed. But you may also find that the noise is possibly a lifter tick , which can be rectified by simply changing the engine oil and oil filter, this noise is also exhibited when engine oil levels are low- which inturn will reduce oil pressure through the lifters, causing them to bleed out (become drained) of engine oil, and thus become noisey! In addition its not out of the ordinary for these lifters to just bleed out, due to sludging up/and or just old age, as they are so small, alot of v6 Galants have the same problems, thus replacing the lifters is the only way to fix this, they can be tested using a hydrulic lifter tester, your local mitsubishi dealer may have one of these, generally regular oil and filter changes helps to keep this problem at bay, along with a good quality engine oil- the factory mitsubishi oil also works very good in these engines, and is not that expensive- avilable over the counter at the parts dept.
If you have any further worries, dont hesitate to ask,-also i am a factory trained mitsubishi specialist - so thats perhaps why my response was a little longer, as i feel its important for you to know as much as possible!!
Best Wishes; Matthew (aka;matt0302)
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Matthew?? on the 01 Mitsubishi....I states it is a 24 Valve "OVERHEAD CAM" as it doesn't have 'lifters my friend. And I also stated I cleaned and R&R the sludge ONE YEAR AGO and ALSO changed oil!

Now I can also state I have changed oil constantly (over one year) since seeing the sludge in the first place, using top grade GTX 5/20 grade non=sludge oil! I don't let it get beyond a honey color before I change it again, about every 3 to 4,000 miles! The question was [since you SAY you're a Japanese car and Mitsubishi factory expert] would this internal belt that runs everything allow such a noise that would be COMPARED to a car with no oil....not a car which has plenty of oil like mine. I am trying to find out if this could be a worn CAM or what else could cause this noise??

The DEALERS here in Vegas will 'stick it to me' on something like this, because it needs to be found and trouble shooted, which can take two minutes or two days!1 How would I know as a consumer?? This is where mechanic take advantage of customers!

Besides, I am a 'gearhead' but with American cars best. These foreign cars none of my friends want to work on them because nuts strip real easy and they can be problematic. If you manufactorer expert on these motors, you should know more than to say 'lifters' on a overhead cam!! There aren't any!! The cam rolls around and the nodes puch down the valves which are wrapped by springs!! The springs apply pressure to close! Where did you get your Mitsubishi moter expertise from??

Expert:  matthew replied 5 years ago.
Hi there, yes, you may find that the lifters a incased in the rocker arms which will slip out when the rocker arm assy is removed, however as you are very frequent with oil changes then this possibly may not be the issue, a couple of other options is to perhaps check for a burnt valve not seating correctly, which may have been caused by the leaking exhaust manifold,- carry out a wet and dry compression test to verify this, also check your viscous fan coupling as these can become noisey as well when faulty, and will give off a loud knocking sound, check this by flexing the fan as a unit back and forth to check for any movment/play, when the internal coupling seizes up it can become noisey and exhibit a knocking sound similar to that of an engine knocking,as does also the A/C compressor when internally seized in order to test these and other auxillary components, try removing the serpentine belt and other belts one by one, then run the motor each time, and gently revving it to check for the noise, if the noise is no longer there then the tensioner for the serpentine belt,engine fan or one of the pulleys or A/C compressor will be your problem, but you will notice this as you remove each belt and test accordingly, however if the problem is still there, then you can proceed to remove the top timing covers only then run the motor again to test the water pump bearing-test this using a stethescope or long handled screw driver, touch it on the pulley and listen on the other end with your ear up to it, do this while the engine is running, below this you will find a big steel bracket/cover below on the front of the motor, which can also be removed- (however will require moving/unbolting the powersteer pump, the alternator, the engine fan, and also the A/C compressor and bracketry out of the way ,) from here using a stethescope, at this time you will be exposing the timing belt tensioners , running the motor again, using a stethescope or a long screwdriver touch on each tensioner pulley and also the water pump pulley (in the case you cant access it from the top through the removed top engine covers) to check for a knocking sound/failed bearing sound, if you still can not hear any noise from these components then you will have to start looking internally.
But after explainig all this you will most probably find that your problem may stop at the internal or external belt tenioners, being noisey, your flex fan and or your water pump, it is a litle hard for me to pin point the actual problem on your exact car as i have had all the components listed above fail on me at various points in time, and to acurately diagnose such a noise is really a case of strip down and test as you go , which is where you will unfortunately be stung from a dealer to do this- due to the diagnosis time required. However as you are handy with the spanners, this is potentially something that you can take on, you may not have to remove the timing covers, as the noise may be and external belt tensioner or viscous fan, or you may just have to dig deeper to investigate further, where upon you find your self in timing belt territory.
What i have described above is the exact steps that will be taken with a dealer technician , that you can carry out for your self, it may be time consuming however this is how its all done through the process of elimination.
Best Wishes with this, if you have any other worries dont hesitate to ask!!
Regards Matthew (aka;matt0302)
matthew, Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 135
Experience: Licensed, with Specialist experience in Australian and Japanese vehicles, and driveline diagnosis
matthew and 16 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Matt- Hey! Now you're talkin! Now, that makes sense to me and these are things I didn't know about the areas of the motor that fail historically. I have now place to begin and end without it costing me a ton for someone else to do. I can cut down on shop time if I don't find the problem first and at least eliminate these other areas of historical fails.

The weird part about this is, I think you are onto something here, because as I have tried to pin point the area where the sound comes from, its seems omni directional! Just when I may think its on the left top half of the motor, it then sounds like it could come from the right or center area. PLUS, I can agree with you it may be more than one thing too! I mean, I can hear like a rattle noise when first starting as a cold motor. As it warms, the rattle portion goes away and I am left with the tappet noise or ticking noise as it is. Its definately not the throaty noise like a thump or bearing noise on the bottom end of motor like a rod or bearings on connecting rods. So, I tend to think more like its a valve since this tapping noise all began with the cracked exhaust manifold. I have always thought it had to do with the cracked manifold, las vegas heat [in summer with underhood tempertures ranging over 1000 to 1200 degrees, maybe a few degrees less, but not much when outdoor temps are 114 degrees!! That combo, plus the sludge I found on that side of the motor [lots of sludge towards the front of the motor

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

whereMatt- Hey! Now you're talkin! Now, that makes sense to me and these are things I didn't know about the areas of the motor that fail historically. I have now place to begin and end without it costing me a ton for someone else to do. I can cut down on shop time if I don't find the problem first and at least eliminate these other areas of historical fails.

The weird part about this is, I think you are onto something here, because as I have tried to pin point the area where the sound comes from, its seems omni directional! Just when I may think its on the left top half of the motor, it then sounds like it could come from the right or center area. PLUS, I can agree with you it may be more than one thing too! I mean, I can hear like a rattle noise when first starting as a cold motor. As it warms, the rattle portion goes away and I am left with the tappet noise or ticking noise as it is. Its definately not the throaty noise like a thump or bearing noise on the bottom end of motor like a rod or bearings on connecting rods. So, I tend to think more like its a valve since this tapping noise all began with the cracked exhaust manifold. I have always thought it had to do with the cracked manifold, las vegas heat [in summer with underhood tempertures ranging over 1000 to 1200 degrees, maybe a few degrees less, but not much when outdoor temps are 114 degrees!! That combo, plus the sludge I found on that side of the motor [lots of sludge towards the front of the motor where the Cam was not well lubricated and where the sludge was thickest] I found too that some of the tiny little oil holes in the rocker arms were clogged as well. My questions is, lets say two of those little lifters are worn or bad (I know what you are talking about, as I have seen them illustrated and wondered if I had to replaced all of them and rocker arms too, if I took the cam out. By the way, do I have to pull the heads to replace the cam?? Or pull the cams?? I couldn't tell if cam comes out front or rear of the heads?? The NOISE is very noticible while idling, but when oil thins when hot, the noise cannot be heard much at high rpms or from inside the car at all. It turns into a fast, high tinny sound. It runs with RPMs but 4 beats slower then revs of the motor! So, I agree with you that it HAS to be either the CAM or One or TWO of the little, barely see lifters as you call them underneathe the rocker arms, thus why compression good and balanced readings with dry test anyhow. I haven't done a wet test with oil- or do you use something other than oil?? but I tend to think a lifter that got a bit dry due to lack of oil at that time or CAM has a little 'nick in it is my actual prognosis. So I was thinking about just replacing Cam and of course timing belt has to come off anyway, so replace that then too.

 

NOW, if you insist the timing belt is that tough to do, then I'll have to 'bend over' and hope for the best at the dealer shop. BUT if this is something ONE man can do, I can do it just fine and buy the special tool or tools to use.

 

Just wish someone could say, Hey!I know this problem, I have heard this before kind of thing. But oh well.....thanks for your last email. it was the most informative! One man's lemon is another man's lemonade!! Thx doug

 

I will press Accept and hope this gets to you.

Expert:  matthew replied 5 years ago.

Hey there , what you may find, as i was saying before with the lifters, they do become clogged,(as they are so small and have such small oil feed orifices) and sometimes hot oil and filter changes can fix this, when the lifters are noisey,after a while they can become internally siezed due to the engine sludge residue going hard inside the lifter mechanisms, as a result the hydraulic lifters turn solid, by this i mean they block up and stay literally dont expand and contract as per a normal hydraulic lifter operation, as a result when they sieze, they hammer the top of the valve stem, (in some extreme situations-or if left long enough) and as such mushroom or round the top of the valve stem,(which is the tapping noise you are hearing) now to fix this problem usually a replacement lifter will do this, but while you have the lifter/rocker assy removed, inspect the tops of the valves, particularly the noisey ones, and check for rounding or mushrooming, this will be visible by a highly glassed or glazed surface that is literally hammered or pitted and potentially blue in colour from heat. Also the base of the lifter is also the same, you can sometimes get away with just putting in a new lifter or lifters, but , if the noise still remains the only way to rectify the problem is to have the tops of the valves machined flat, so as to provide a flat surface for the lifter to ride on, in addition to this, with this mushroomed condition , valve rotation can also be hampered-(essential for valve cooling).

( But as this is also a case of strip down and visually inspect i can only advise as to the processes and their possible plans of attack, to rectify the problem and feel that its important to cover extreme cases, so as you are fully armed with information. )

If this is the case the only way to machine valve tops is removing the cylinder heads, and having a machine shop do this for you, but thats a way off right now, your best plan of action for the moment is to seek out the noisey lifter/s and have them replaced, you would possibly be better off to replace all of the lifters in one go, so as not to have to do this job again, -by doing this see how the noise goes, IF you find that the noise is still there, OR if you find that the valves are heavily hammered/mushroomed, when you have the rocker gear removed then the next step would be to either remove the heads, and have the valve tips machined, (also dependent on monetry budget) or try a new set of lifters and hope that it goes away- when installing new lifters, lube the tips of the valves with fresh oil so the lifters have something to ride/slip on and cushion the noise.

Also its best to install them dry-although you can soak them over night, but by installing dry-then idling the motor they wiil beed up -but will be a bit tappety untill they bleed up, then silence will occur once oil has reached them . (There wont be anything wrong with the cams, its the valve tops that will be the issue.)

As for the Timing Belt, i would recommend leaving this for a pro- however, only if you have experience in this area, and with compressing hydraulic tensioners-correctly- as there is a technique to it them, in addition with your engine if you are only 1/2 of a tooth out on the camshaft timing you can bend all 24 valves. From there you life becomes that much more difficult-thats why i suggest leaving it to the pro's-if they stuff it up they pay for it, and not you, plus theyre work is warranted, so you can go back to them with any worries, as a result of the work done and they have to fix it- and also finally, its just a huge job .

As for the wet/dry compression test- carry out a standard compression test on all cylinders,and record all readings, then do it all again however this time using an oil can deposit 2-3 drops of oil into each cylinder, as you go then record the results agiain.

If the compression goes up, which it should you have a perfect seal on compression, if it stays the same on that cylinder then you have a leaking engine valve- you see by adding the oil to the cylinder you are sealing the rings, so the only thing left unsealed is the valves, and if they are not sealing correctly then there wont be an increase in compression, but try the lifters first to see how you go then go from there!!

If you have any other worries , dont hesitate to ask!!

Best Wishes; Matthew (aka; matt0302)

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