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Old 11-04-2007, 05:06 PM   #1
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Driving into Death Valley over Towne Pass (a long, steep, hot climb), I started getting some serious pinging and the engine heated up for the first time. This morphed into poor running and a clattering sound. The consensus (informal) is that I have a stuck lifter. Does this sound reasonable? I checked the plug wires and they look OK and I could not see any arcing. The noise does not sound like an exhaust leak.

If this diagnosis is correct, what do I do about it? Can I safely drive it? Do I need to be towed out of here?

I have been advised to add transmission fluid to the engine oil to dislodge the stuck lifter. Does this make sense? Another suggestion was to add an additive to the gas that has Techron, any help here?

During my last oil change (2000 miles ago), I switched to Synthetic oil. Could there be a connection?

Since I am still in DV, I won't have good internet access and will respond intermittently. For any who care, there is now WiFi at the visitors center.

Seeking advice, Thanks to all
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Old 11-04-2007, 05:06 PM   #2
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Driving into Death Valley over Towne Pass (a long, steep, hot climb), I started getting some serious pinging and the engine heated up for the first time. This morphed into poor running and a clattering sound. The consensus (informal) is that I have a stuck lifter. Does this sound reasonable? I checked the plug wires and they look OK and I could not see any arcing. The noise does not sound like an exhaust leak.

If this diagnosis is correct, what do I do about it? Can I safely drive it? Do I need to be towed out of here?

I have been advised to add transmission fluid to the engine oil to dislodge the stuck lifter. Does this make sense? Another suggestion was to add an additive to the gas that has Techron, any help here?

During my last oil change (2000 miles ago), I switched to Synthetic oil. Could there be a connection?

Since I am still in DV, I won't have good internet access and will respond intermittently. For any who care, there is now WiFi at the visitors center.

Seeking advice, Thanks to all
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Old 11-04-2007, 05:34 PM   #3
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Bruce,

Try checking with the campground hosts at the Sunset campground. Their names are Mike & Wendy Coke. Tell them you heard about them from me if you want. They may not be able to help you directly but can probably steer you to someone how can.

Jerry Ray
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Old 11-04-2007, 07:20 PM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by bruceh:
I have been advised to add transmission fluid to the engine oil to dislodge the stuck lifter. Does this make sense? Another suggestion was to add an additive to the gas that has Techron, any help here? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>No need to add transmission fluid to the engine please. I haven't heard of that remedy and I wouldn't subscribe to it.

Please check all fluids after you have warmed up the motorhome and take it from there if everything appears normal. If the engine is making an abnormal mechanical noise you may have to deal with that if it comes to it. I hope that you haven't burned out a plug wire which would present a problem and perhaps a power loss such as you describe.

The synthetic oil in your engine is not the culprit that created this problem. I haven't heard of a stuck lifter in an 8.1L engine.

You can try any of these authorized WCC service centers.

Vista Chevrolet
5501 Drexel, Las Vegas, NV 89130
(702)967-5588
Fax: (702)967-5584

Fairway Chevrolet
3100 East Sahara Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89104
(702)641-1400
Fax: (702)432-3633
paulbrowncsv@fairwaychevy.com

Findlay RV
4530 Boulder Hwy., Las Vegas, NV 89121
(702)435-2500
Fax: (702)435-8014
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Old 11-05-2007, 03:17 AM   #5
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Driver replied.....<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">No need to add transmission fluid to the engine please. I haven't heard of that remedy and I wouldn't subscribe to it. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wow, that is about as "Old School" advice as you are going to get(adding ATF).. Lifters can be "stuck in the bore" (of the engine block), and thus not follow the cam lobe properly, or, have their components "stuck internally" usually causing a loud clicking noise..Both will cause that cylinder to "miss".. either are pretty rare nowadays.. In any case, and considering your other indicators, severe pinging, overheating, etc., and if it has not returned to normal on "cool down/re start", I would say, "get the hook".. The 8.1 has roller lifters, and is somewhat more complicated than with regular, old style lifters, where a little squirt of something might put them right..
I will be eager to hear what the engine was sounding like when it is re fired after cooling off. If you do drive it, make sure the engine oil pressure is normal, and the coolant is full. BTW, is there any chance that this engine ran low/out of oil??.Do you have oil or spots of oil/dust, on the rear cap of the coach/front of the Dingy?.rgr...
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Old 11-05-2007, 12:43 PM   #6
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Hope this didn't happen to you, but I had a 454 that reacted similar to what you're describing and it was a collapsed piston. A fairly common problem back then.(1989)

You may need to get a compression test or for sure good mechanic to check it out. The good news about mine was that it was covered under extended warranty.

Good Luck!
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Old 11-05-2007, 03:31 PM   #7
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I will vote for a fried plug wire. My last fried plug wire made the engine sound like there were marbles banging around in it. Seemed to idle OK though. My second fried plug wire caused low power and a running hotter than normal condition going up hill. There was an obvious miss at idle on that one. I hope it's that simple.
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Old 11-05-2007, 04:18 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies.

I have checked the oil and it is full. The plug wires look OK and I can't see or hear any arcing. Even after cooldown, I still have the noise.

The fellow advising the ATF asserts that he is a mechanic in Utah and has seen this cure stuck lifters. I especially don't want to do further damage.

The noise is quite mechanical and sounds like a lifter or it could be soemthing worse.

I am still wondering if it is safe to drive or if I need to be towed out of here.
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Old 11-05-2007, 05:12 PM   #9
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bruceh, It's very possible it could be a plug wire and if it is, you'll feel very relieved.
At least pull # 7 wire off and see if the engine sounds the same. If it does, you found the problem. If not go to # 5 then 8 & 6. That't what I would do unless I got better optimistic advice.
When my plug wire burnt, I had no idea what was wrong and drove it from Ca to Co.
I described the symptom on this forum and Dieselclacker and many other said it sounded like a plug wire ;;;; and it was , #5
Won't hurt to try
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Old 11-05-2007, 05:37 PM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by bruceh:
Driving into Death Valley over Towne Pass (a long, steep, hot climb), I started getting some serious pinging and the engine heated up for the first time. This morphed into poor running and a clattering sound. The consensus (informal) is that I have a stuck lifter. Does this sound reasonable? I checked the plug wires and they look OK and I could not see any arcing. The noise does not sound like an exhaust leak.

If this diagnosis is correct, what do I do about it? Can I safely drive it? Do I need to be towed out of here?

I have been advised to add transmission fluid to the engine oil to dislodge the stuck lifter. Does this make sense? Another suggestion was to add an additive to the gas that has Techron, any help here?

During my last oil change (2000 miles ago), I switched to Synthetic oil. Could there be a connection?

Since I am still in DV, I won't have good internet access and will respond intermittently. For any who care, there is now WiFi at the visitors center.

Seeking advice, Thanks to all </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The usual responce to pinging is to lay off the throttle until the pinging stops. You may have to come to a complete stop if it is really bad. If you don't you could burn or crack a valve or damage a piston, even burn a hole through the top of it.

You describe severe pinging and then mention overheating which would indicate that you did not stop and may have done physical damage to your engine.

It is possible that you may have only damaged a plug wire but you still need to diagnose that and get it corrected before moving on.

The old trick of adding transmission fluid or kerosene or Marvel Mystery Oil to the engine oil could dislodge a stuck valve if too much damage was not done by the event that you experienced. Some of these treatments would require an oil change afterwards especially in the extreme conditions of Death Valley.
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Old 11-08-2007, 02:05 PM   #11
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So..What did you find out?
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Old 11-08-2007, 06:33 PM   #12
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So far, nothing. I am still in DV. Will attempt to drive it out Sunday using a less steep route.
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Old 11-08-2007, 06:45 PM   #13
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Are you heading to Pahrump? That would be my choice if you are looking for service. You are out of warranty so if you are concerned about the engine, Pahrump is half the distance of Lost Wages. Good luck.
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:49 AM   #14
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Bruech--

If your engine has a definite miss at idle,I would start the engine, let it warm up a little bit. Get your WD-40 out and spray it on each exhaust port where the exhaust manifold is attached. You will immediately identify the culprit cylinder-- it will not smoke. Take a spark plug wire off a good operating cylinder and exchange the two (this is only if you do not have access to obtaining some new wires). Run it again-- See if the problem moves to the other cylinder. You can identify a failed wire or spark plug this way.
I had similiar problems with my old M.H. 454cu.in. engine. I had put Hedmund headers on it --what a mistake. Later installed a Banks system to solve that problem. I was putting new wires on every night when I stopped.

Good luck,
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