Noisy Lifters Should I Use Different Oil Weight? | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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Noisy Lifters Should I Use Different Oil Weight?

Discussion in 'ZX2 1998-2004 2.0L DOHC' started by ddemier7, Mar 16, 2019.

  1. ddemier7

    ddemier7 FEOA Member

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    Got a little lifter chatter going on now in the cold weather. Is this normal for Ztec 2.0? Should I change the weight of the oil to help with a little chatter. Its got 140,300 miles on my 2000 Zx2. Any ideas?

    Forgot to mention my zx2 doesn't get driven every day. Its been known to sit a few days before driving it.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
  2. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Lifter clatter with a car that doesnt get driven each day doesnt seem too bad. I dont think a different type or viscosity of oil will help much. An oil/filter change might - for a while. You could try changing lifters, rotating a new one into each position, till you eliminated the one that has a sticking relief valve or whatever. Mine are all 1.9L, where its much easier to swap a lifter.
  3. ddemier7

    ddemier7 FEOA Member

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    Is it hard to rotate lifters. Any videos on how to do that on the zx2
  4. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I dont have a ZX2, cant even guess.
  5. ddemier7

    ddemier7 FEOA Member

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  6. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    What are you running now?
    Cold weight? (0W, 5W, 10W?)
    Hot weight? (20, 30?)
    Brand? (Pennzoil, Valvoline?)
    Type? (mineral, part-synthetic, synthetic)
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  7. ddemier7

    ddemier7 FEOA Member

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    Moble 5w-30 weight.
  8. ddemier7

    ddemier7 FEOA Member

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    I found a service bulleton Article TSB 02-1-9 saying it is safe to use 5W20 and that Ford recommends 5W20 viscosity grade oil for service. But then I hear from some ZX2 owers that 5W20 is to thick and you get the clatter in your valves. Its spring here in the Midwest so Temperatures are changing so I guess my viscosity will change to.
  9. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Thinner is better for something that does a lot of sitting because it flows quicker. Synthetic tends to be even thinner.

    However you're in Missouri and we approaching the warmer season. While thinner is better for cold start, it may not be optimal for hot engines.

    Basically you'll have to tweak and test.

    Noise when cold, go lower on the first number. Noise when hot, go higher on the second number. Though the numbers are the same on the bottles, different brands seem to have different "feels". You don't have to go full 5W-30 or full 10W-30... you can mix. During the Winters for example on my 2nd Gen 'scort, I'd be full 5W-30 Castrol mineral. During the Summers I'd mix up to 50%, 10W-30. The ears "see" what the eyes cannot. I tried part-synthetic, same brand and viscosities but the engine was louder, (because it was thinner,) so went back.

    Try priming the lubrication system prior to start and see whether that has any impact. This merely involves holding the accelerator pedal to the floor, before beginning and during the crank. Max of eight seconds cranking shouldn't stress the starter too much. Two cranks of that length should be more than enough to prime. Doing that would eliminate the brief moment of lifter clatter I'd get after an oil change or long sit. This feature was originally meant for clearing a flooded engine by turning off the injectors during the crank.
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  10. Racecar

    Racecar FEOA Member

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    My 00 zx2 has been ticking and clatter since I got it at 225 k and used 5w 30. And it’s still going at 335k. It goes away when it’s hot. The noise might be from the flat tappet lifters by the cams. But it’s most likely not going to be an easy fix. Some have done the VCT assembly on the exhaust cam and seen it work.
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  11. ddemier7

    ddemier7 FEOA Member

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    So just play with oil weights? What weight should I try first?
  12. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Like Denisond3, I would've also suggested inspecting the lifters as it's absolutely cake on the SOHC 1.9L engines. Looks like that involves pulling the cams on the Zetec engine though. I'm going to guess that it probably uses "buckets" instead of the hydraulic roller lifters that the SOHC 1.9L uses. If that's the case, adjusting valve lash is a time consuming procedure.

    Without getting ridiculous in terms of getting far away from manufacturer specification, tweaking the oil weight is what you're left with. If that doesn't totally resolve it, then you'll have to pull the cams.
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  13. schwinnman67

    schwinnman67 FEOA Member

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    The ZX2 uses buckets, not hydraulic lifters.
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  14. ddemier7

    ddemier7 FEOA Member

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    What oil weight do you guys recommend here in the mid west as we approching warmer weather. Im running 5-30 mobil 5000
  15. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Start with manufacturer oil weight and mix in heavier stuff as the ears so deem. It's been like two decades, but personally did not like Valvoline and Pennzoil... stuff was like water; thins out way too quick.
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  16. Defunct SR Owner

    Defunct SR Owner FEOA Member

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    Remove the valve cover and check the gap between the bucket and the cam lobe (high point of lobe away from the bucket), .004 to .007 for the intake and .010 to .013 for the exhaust cam. Of course you will need feeler gauges and an 18mm wrench to turn the crank nut...

    I would sketch the buckets and write down on each your measurement for each.
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  17. Joshua Schwenker

    Joshua Schwenker FEOA Member

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    Very informative, thank you
  18. coonmanx

    coonmanx FEOA Member

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    I actually went from using 5W30 to using 10W30. But I throw in one quart of Castrol 5W30 along with the Supertech Full Synthetic High Mileage that I get from Wally World. I used the Supertech stuff on my last car with good results. It was running great and not really using any oil when it stuck in gear and I took it to the junkyard with 328,000 miles on the ticker... I always do get that ticking noise when I first start it in cold weather but it always goes away qucikly when it warms up...
  19. marclar

    marclar Administrator Staff Member

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    if you are having lifter noise, you want to run a thinner oil, not thicker..

    "thicker oil" does not pump as easily, that is why they use 0w oils in colder weather. same reason why they start fires under dozers in Alaska when its super cold to pre heat the oil. the old school thought of 'thicker is better' is not true at all. the oil does not 'lube' any better, actually can hinder lubrication because it does not flow and can not come up to pressure fast enough.
    remember that W means winter, and that weight means when its at 0-32*F.. the second number is the kinematic viscosity at 300*... that is a prety large scale. so when its 'hot' it flows like water, but doesnt 'lube' any less than it did at 32*
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
  20. coonmanx

    coonmanx FEOA Member

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    While this may be true, I go with what works. Not too worried about it. These engines always seem to tick as well. My old one did it for over 200,000 miles. Ticks a bit at first warmup and then it goes away. In fact I would say that slight tick goes away within the first minute or less... So I don't think it's a big deal... Just saying. If running 5W20 or 5W30 makes you happy or you live somewhere it is regularly bitter cold then by all means do that. I'm sticking with what I am doing right now... This car only has about 156K on it anyways so I still need to go another 170,000 miles to catch the miles I got on the last car (328K)...

    Full synthetic is also the only way to go whatever weight you run...

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