Rebuilding lifters

Written by Sean

Tuesday, 30 March 2004

1) So your engine has that familiar lifter tick that sounds like someone is inside it with a hammer. Inside the lifter is a small check valve that is leaking, the oil inside the lifter leaks out. When you start the engine up the oil pressure pumps the lifter back up and the ticking stops. This is providing that you donít have low oil pressure and need a complete rebuild or new oil pump. Most of the oil inside the lower portion of the lifter has been in there since day one.
To get started you need to remove the valve covers.

2) Next step is to remove the rocker arm assembly from the head. Donít get them mixed up, they need to go back on in the same position they came off.
3) Put the rocker arms some place where they wonít get mixed
4) Now itís time to get down to business. You will need the following tools:
Remove the lifter housing and move it to a clean place on your workbench. Donít let the lifters drop out, they need to go back into the same location.


5) Only work on one lifter at a time. To disassemble the lifter you pop the C-clip out. Donít loose it, Nissan doesnít sell them, they want to sell you a new lifter. The local hardware store should have C-clips that will be similar. You might need to compress the lifter to get the C-clip out, just keep your finger on top of the lifter so the C-clip doesnít go flying.
6) After you take the C-Clip out, take the lifter apart and clean all of the parts. To get part #3 out you will need to use a toothpick to push the ball bearing (check valve) down and then lift it out with the toothpick held at an angle.
7) From the photo above you see the C-clip, then the top part #4 that will come out easily after the C-clip is removed. The next part #3 has the ball bearing in the base of it inside the little nipple that is at the bottom. After you have it apart clean everything with alcohol. Squirt alcohol into the check valve from both sides to clean out any junk that may have been causing it not to close and your lifter to bleed down and make lots of noise when you start your engine.

8) After everything is clean you need to check if the part (#3) with the check valve is OK. Fill this with alcohol and make sure that it doesnít leak out the bottom. If it does, you need a new lifter. After all parts are clean and dry itís time to reassemble the lifter. Do it in this order.

8a) Put the spring (#2) into the lifter (#1).
8b) Fill #1 with 30-weight oil to ľĒ of the top. You need to keep your finger on the hole on the side of the lifter housing.
8c) Put #3 into the top of the lifter (#1) and then get your toothpick and press the ball bearing down so the oil in the lifter can come up through it. Push SLOWLY down on #3 as this part goes down into the lifter base.
8d) Now itís time to put #4 into #1. With #1 vertical and your finger still on the side hole, place #4 into the top of the lifter until oil starts to come out of the hole in #4.
8e) Now tip the lifter (#1) on itís side with the hole in itís body up. Have the hole in #4 also up. Push #4 into the lifter and any air and some oil will escape from the hole in the lifter body.
8f) Now you will need to compress the lifter with the C-clamp to get the C-clip in. Use a rag or wood so you donít scratch the lifter. Keep compressing the lifter until you can feel the C-clip groove with your dentists pick. Put the  C-clip in. Use a small flat blade screwdriver to pop it into place.
9) Your done. It only took about me about 1 hour to do 6 lifters after I had the lifters out of the head. These pictures are from an 88 NA. Donít forget to oil everything before you put it back together.
10) Now do the other head, when youíre done sit back with a cold beer and think about the $300 plus you didnít have to spend! Turbo lifters should be similar, but I have never seen them.

11) When you start your engine up for the first time, donít be surprised if you hear some lifter noise for a few seconds while the oil pressure builds up. This is normal, when you were assembling the lifter it is nearly impossible to get all of the air out. As the oil pressure build up, the air will be forced out.

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