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Valve Train Ticking Sound On
1992-98 Isuzu 3.2L Engines

The AERA Technical Committee offers the following information regarding a valve train ticking sound on 1992-98 Isuzu 3.2L engines.

One or more hydraulic lash adjusters do not fully extend due to varnish build up inside the adjusters. This condition results from exceeding the oil and filter change intervals on the vehicle.

There are a couple of ways to possibly cure this problem that Isuzu offers. One of the simplest ways is changing the engine oil and filter using a 0W-30 synthetic engine oil prior to replacing any engine components. If the noise persists after those changes, refer to the following information.

Once we have determined which bank the noise is coming from, the cylinder head valve cover needs be removed so that we can inspect each rocker arm for clearance at the valve tip. The noisy rocker arms are the ones with clearance when the rocker is on base circle of the cam and the valve is closed as shown in Figure 1.

Note: Each cylinder head has an oil pressure relief valve that controls oil pressure to the rocker arms. If all rocker arms have clearance and/or the rocker arm pivot shaft is worn, then the cylinder head oil pressure relief valve may be stuck in the open position.

Remove the rocker arm(s) that have clearance on them and inspect the wear pattern of the hydraulic lash adjuster surface contact with the valve stem as shown in Figure 2. Then remove the hydraulic lash adjuster from the rocker arms using your fingers. Do not damage the O-ring on the outside of the lash adjuster or replacement of the entire rocker arm is required.

Insert a paper clip into the hole at the top of the lash adjuster and depress the spring loaded check ball while completely pushing in the piston at the opposite end. Some traces of oil may come out of the check ball hole.

Carefully remove the O-ring and spray the lash adjuster piston with cleaner to remove any varnish while holding the piston open. Submerge in cleaning solvent with the check ball depressed and pump the piston repeatedly to allow the solvent to penetrate through the lash adjuster.

Submerge the adjuster in clean 0W-30 synthetic engine oil with the check ball depressed and pump the piston repeatedly to allow the engine oil to penetrate through the lash adjuster. Then allow the piston to extend fully to fill the adjuster.

Reinstall the O-ring and lube the rocker arm bore that houses the adjuster with 0W-30 synthetic engine oil, then push the adjuster back into place. Inspect for leaks at the check ball and piston by attempting to compress the adjuster without depressing the check ball.

The AERA Technical Committee
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