Tapping or ticking noise in engine (1989 Suburban)


Old 11-27-01, 07:06 PM
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I f the vehicle is fuel injected you could be confusing the noise they make with a problem. sometimes a ping can indicate a fuel system problem. perhaps you use lower grade gasoline. you can try a good fuel systems cleaner such as chevron. unless i can hear the noise there is not much else i can say. its even possible that it is a valve. maybe its loose and needs adjustment. try a capful of marvel mysery oil.
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Old 11-27-01, 07:16 PM
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Since you said Suburban, I'm assuming we are talking about a V8 Suburban.

Most ticking or tapping noises in these GM/Chevy V8 small blocks are due to bad or clogged lifters (Or ones that have bled out of oil from sitting).

Try some Marvel mystery oil and frequent oil changes to see if that helps. If not, generally lifter replacement is required.

Also, exhaust leaks sometimes are mistaken for tapping, so check there as well.
Old 11-29-01, 07:25 PM
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Tapping or ticking noise in engine (1989 Suburban)

Many thanks, DeWalter and Joe_F, for your feedback. I repost a portion of the original message (missing from this thread ?) to give a fuller description of the problem. The vehicle is in fact infrequently used, about one short trip (3 - 4 km) per week. Hope that may help narrow down the problem a bit. (I already found out about "blueish smoke" from a recent post due to valve stem seal leak). I like to try Marvel mysery Oil, how much should I add to engine oil (one cup ?) and should I keep Marvel oil in engine until the next oil change ? Regards, Tran.

"" I have a 1989 2WD Suburban, 165,000 km, 350 V8 with TBI. It starts and runs fine although there is always an initial "blue" exhaust smoke with some oil burning smell when start up after a long rest (e.g. overnight). It has been like this since I bought the vehicle 4 years ago (only found out after the sale). But this does not seem to be a real problem to me as the car starts and runs very well (quiet, start Fast and OK in cold weather).

The problem.
Recently, I notice it has a tapping or ticking noise from the engine compartment (The noise started about 3 - 4 months ago, very faint at first but now has become very noticeable).

The noise is loudest when start from cold, but becomes a lot quieter after warmed up. The frequency is about 2 times per second. When I touch the automatic belt tensioner pulley arm, I feel some sort of a slight mechanical shock, which seems to coincide with the tapping noise.

I had tried to add some ATF fluid (1/2 cup) to engine oil and ran it for one month to see if this may clear any sticky lifters(I replaced the oil after this trial). However, this attempt does not seem to help the noise problem so far.

I am not sure if the noise is related to the "blue" exhaust smoke or not.
Regards, Tran.""
Old 11-29-01, 07:45 PM
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The puffing on startup is bad valve stem seals. Not really an issue. Not worth fixing, because it's a bit extensive to fix. Won't really affect much. Common problem on Chevy V8s.

As for the Marvel Mystery Oil, read the can and it will tell you how much to add. Yes, leave it in there between oil changes. It is good stuff. Yes, it is likely to help quiet sticky lifters. It worked on my grandfather's 1979 Chevy Caprice 305 (and I was very regular with the oil changes...Chevy V8s are just known for valve train noise )
Old 12-19-01, 07:38 AM
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How to replace a camshaft and lifters

I eventually brought the 89 suburban (175 k kms, 350 V8, TBI, A/C, 2WD)to a shop to check for valve noise. They recommend to replace the camshaft and all the lifters (the auto mechanic had checked with a sthetoscope, found noise coming from #1 and #3 lifters, had tried to tighten the rocker arms but this did not reduce noise). The shop would charge me about 10 hours for labor cost.

Is this something that I can do it myself ? I like the "educational" experience as well as saving some money.

To help me gauge this task, I would like to know what is all involved in this work:
1) does the replacement camshaft come in standard size, or with oversize or undersize ? That is, do I have to measure or machine something on my engine, or repair more stuff so that the new camshaft and the engine will fit together ?
2) The same question applies for the selection of lifters ?
3) when replacing the camshaft and lifters set, are there any other pieces of the engine which should be checked or replaced at the same time (e.g. seals, sprockets, chains ...) ?
4) what is the general procedure to do this job, or where can I find this information ? According to my Haynes manual, it seems to be a very very "big" job (?) and that procedure is not even well explained either. Do the parts come with instruction for installation ? (I am thinking of getting the parts from NAPA or from GM dealer, but any store will do, having the how-to-do instructions is a lot more important).

Many thanks, Tran.
Old 12-19-01, 07:59 AM
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First order of business: Get the factory manual. Ditch the Haynes manual. This is a job ONLY for the GM service manual. www.helminc.com for one.

The parts you mention are standard issue for the given application. Any parts store should stock it all or get it quickly for you. There shouldn't be many, if any variations. You're thinking engine bearings with all of the combinations and sizing. Your isue is up top, and that is common with a Chevy V8 like this . Keep it stock. Don't start adding a wild cam and high performance stuff...it will gain you nothing on a horse like this.

It's a fairly extensive job. Count on the truck being out of service for a weekend or longer for the novice DIY person.

Get a new Felpro intake gasket set, new cam, new timing chain and gears,new lifters, rockers, pushrods, and new timing cover gaskets. You are basically redoing the valve train up top excepting the heads and valves. Hopefully everything is ok there, that's another job/story/procedure The new valve cover gaskets should come with one of the Felpro sets. Talk to the parts store and see which gasket set includes most of what you want. Purchase that one and then the rest separately.

You can do it, but the first tool is the service manual! .

Good luck.
Old 09-02-02, 09:13 PM
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Fan belt causing tapping noise

I was convinced that the tapping noise was from a bad camshaft and resigned to keep running the suburban till the end of its life... until the serpentine fan belt broke off a few weeks ago.

After installing a new belt, the noise just disappeared. The old belt had a piece of rubber peeled off (3/4 inch long, on the belly side of the belt) which probably had caused the ticking or tapping noise whenever that missing spot went over the pulley. That might be the reason I felt some mechanical shock at the same time as the noise when putting my hand on the belt tensioner (?).

Anyhow, I wish to share this experience with other readers.

Old 09-03-02, 09:01 PM
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Good Grief!!! And to think the shop wanted to replace your cam and lifters! So many incompetent and/or crooked people. We all make mistakes, but mistaking a belt noise for lifters after using a stethescope???!! Glad you got it fixed without forking out a few hundred bucks!

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