How To Clean Lifters Without Removing?

As you drive your car ages with mileage, the lifters can become noisy or get clogged or sticky. The best and most appropriate way to clean them is to remove the lifters before cleaning them. This can be time-consuming and requires technical know-how, as some lifters will require you to remove the engine timing and camshafts.

However, you can still clean hydraulic and solid lifters without removing them. The best way on how to clean lifters without removing them is by flushing the engine with hydraulic lifter cleaner or any other solid engine parts cleaner. This method will go a long way in cleaning noisy or sticky lifters.

How To Clean Lifters Without Removing

How to clean lifters without removing.

Whether you are searching for how to clean lifters without removing on Ford or how to clean lifters without removing on Chevy, sit right back. This guide will explain how to clean stuck lifters on all vehicles. But before we jump right into the steps, you will need some tools and items to carry out the job.

Tools and Items Needed

  • Recommended engine oil for your car
  • Oil filter
  • Oil drain pan
  • Jack and stands
  • Sizable Wrench
  • Your best oil for noisy lifters (engine flush cleaner).

Step 1: Drain a small amount of engine oil

The first step is to drain a small amount of the motor oil so the engine will not be overfilled after adding the engine flush. Slide underneath the vehicle and locate the drain plug. Place a catch can directly underneath the drain plug.

Then, get a sizeable wrench and loosen the drain plug. Be careful so you won’t mess up the garage with oil. Lock the drain plug once you have removed up to 1 quart or the size of the engine flush you want to pour into the engine.

Step 2: Add the engine flush solvent

The next step is to pour the engine flush solvent. Remove your engine cover and open the oil filler port. Pour in the recommended amount of engine flush based on the size of your engine.

Ensure you follow the directives on the engine flush container. Based on your engine size and the size of the flush, you may have to pour one or two flush into the engine. Cover the oil filler port after adding the required amount.

Step 3: Start the engine and idle or run it

With the flush cleaner in the engine, start the car and let it idle for 15 to 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can drive the vehicle around the neighborhood at an average driving speed for 15 to 20 minutes. This allows the engine flush to circulate throughout any nook and cranny part of the engine and do its magic.

This approach does not only clean the lifters — it cleans sludge at every part of the engine. As the engine runs, you will notice that the lifter noise has reduced. Shut off the engine as it runs up to the 15 to 20 minutes mark and proceed to the next step.

Step 4: Drain the oil and remove the filter

Some engine flush cleaners do not require changing the engine oil after pouring it into the engine. Hence, you have to stick to the recommendations for the cleaner you bought.

But here’s what you need to know. Running the engine will help the flush cleaner remove the sludges and other contaminants that clog the lifters — the contaminants are now in the oil. Hence, it is best to drain the oil to get rid of those contaminants. Keep in mind some of the sludges will enter into the oil filter, and therefore, you should remove the filter as well.

Use your car jacks and stands to lift and support the front end of the vehicle so you can easily slide underneath the car. But if you can slide underneath the vehicle without lifting it, then there’s no need to lift it.

Now, drain all the oil in the engine following the guide in step 1. The only difference now is that you are draining the entire motor oil. After that, locate and remove the old oil filter.

Step 5: Replace the oil filter and pour in the new oil

After locking the drain plug, snap in the new oil filter and torque it properly. Pour the recommended oil into the engine and ensure it is at the full mark. Do not overfill or underfill the engine oil — underfilling and overfilling the oil has its consequences.

Step 6: Start the vehicle and idle it

Lastly, start the vehicle and let it idle so the oil circulates throughout the engine. After a minute or two, gently rev the engine so the oil reaches the lifters. If you have successfully cleaned the lifters without removing them, the noise will disappear.

can noisy lifters cause damage

What will happen if you don t clean lifters?

Cleaning your engine lifters is not something you do often. But if it becomes sticky and you fail to clean it, you will hear a ticking annoying noise from the engine, and the engine will run poorly. If you ignore it for an extended period, you risk the cam splitting out some of the followers — causing more engine failure.

What is the best oil additive for noisy lifters?

There are zillion engine cleaning solvents out there, which makes it difficult for people to choose the right product. To help you overcome this, I have come up with engine flush and additives that are budget-friendly and customer-centric.

Liqui Moly 20004 Hydraulic Lifter Additive

Liqui Moly is a family name for most car owners and mechanic garages. Liqui Moly has a Solid Gold Reputation when it comes to oil, lubrication, and additives. Customers still have that trust intact when it comes to Liquid Moly hydraulic lifter additive.

This additive increases the lubricating properties of your motor oil, and you only need a little bit of the additive to get the work done.

From the first use, it’ll stop the entire ticking noise from the lifters. This product works well on vintage, old, and modern cars. It also works on both diesel and gasoline engines. The product can stay in your engine for up to 3,000 miles, and you only need one pack for a 6-liter engine.

Liqui Moly 2030 Pro-line engine flush

Liqui Moly 2030 is another excellent engine flush from one of the big dogs in the industry. It is specifically designed for cleaning engine sludges in every nook and cranny part of the engine.

It helps to clean every oil passage and keep them in good shape. Hence, it is good for the engine lifters. If you are wondering how to quiet noisy lifters with Moly 2030 — pour the additive into the engine and let it stay in the engine for 15 to 20 minutes of running. After that, drain the oil and replace the oil and filter.

Marvel MM13R Mystery oil

Marvel MM13R Mystery oil is a good alternative to the Liqui Moly 20004 engine additive. It is a bit thicker than the Liqui Moly 20004 and does a great cleanup on both diesel and gasoline engines.

It works well on carburated and fuel-injected engines. If you are looking for the best additive for noisy lifters, Marvel MM13R Mystery Oil is the right product. While it is great for removing gum and varnishes, it does a better job at silencing lifter noises.

How do you prevent lifter failure?

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Hence, it is better to prevent your valve lifters from getting sticky, clogged, and noisy. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank to do this.

To prevent your engine valve lifters from failing, you have to service your car with high-quality oil and do the oil change at regular intervals. While you must not buy the most expensive oil, use the recommended engine oil and filter for your car. Lastly, follow the recommended oil change intervals.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What kind of oil is good for lifter noise?

If possible, switch to a fully synthetic oil. If you can’t afford it, use a synthetic blend. After changing the oil, let the engine idle for 30 minutes to circulate to every part of the engine. If the noise is due to an oil issue, it’ll disappear.

But remember, it is not ideal to switch back and forth between synthetic and regular oil. If you are using regular oil and know you can’t afford synthetic at every oil change, do not switch to it. Instead, continue with your regular oil and flush your engine by following the guide in this article.

What can I use to quiet noisy lifters?

After changing your engine oil, there are reliable additives that you can use to increase your engine performance and quite noisy lifters. High-quality products like Liqui Moly 20004 hydraulic lifter additive is an excellent fit for this task and will silence noisy lifters.

Is lifter noise normal?

Lifter noise is not normal. Once you hear it, know that something is wrong and you should check it out. The noise is typically an indication that the lifters are sticky, or clogged, or that you have a worn camshaft. If you notice it at an early stage, all you have to do is to clean or replace the lifters. But if you ignore it for long, it can damage the camshaft or the entire engine.

Does oil affect lifters’ noise?

The answer is yes and no. I said yes and no because it depends on the root cause of the noise. If the lifter noise results from oil issues, switching to a thicker oil can fix the problem. And no because if the lifter noise is due to worn lifters or camshaft, switching to a thicker oil can reduce the noise for a while, but it won’t do anything in the long run.

Can too much oil cause lifter noise?

Overfilled engine oil will create air pockets, causing the oil to bubble or foam, reducing the lubricating properties of the motor oil. If the oil loses its lubricating effectiveness on the engine parts, it’ll cause several engine noises like knocking, tapping, rattling, or ticking noise.

Can dirty oil cause lifter tick?

While the primary causes of lifter ticking noise are faulty or worn hydraulic lifters and worn camshafts, ticking noise can also occur if the lifters are not adequately lubricated. Lack of lubrication is typically caused by low motor oil, dirty engine oil, or using the wrong oil for the engine.

Final Words

Engine flushing and using a lifter noise additive is a sure way of bypassing the need for removing the lifters before cleaning them. However, of a truth, the best way of cleaning sticky, clogged, or noisy valve lifters is to remove them before cleaning. Though, flushing the engine and using a lifter noise additive after oil changes will clean most of the contaminants causing the noise, without much effort.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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