Author Topic: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up  (Read 2574 times)

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Offline Wood

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Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« on: October 18, 2017, 11:36:07 AM »
Need help on my 2010 Road Glide Twin Cam with 80K miles.

Problem:
Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up when in cool/cold air temperatures.

Symptom:
When the bike sits for a few hours or overnight in cool/cold ambient air temperatures that are approximately 70F or lower, the bike makes a loud clanking noise, which appears to be coming from one lifter or the rocker box at start-up; yes it sounds like just one thing is making the clanking. The lifters are also making noise, but there is clearly a loud clank.

Once the Engine Temp reaches about 175F the clanking and lifters finally quiet down; but when you raise the RPM and then back off the throttle quickly, the lifters will clatter for a short while and then go quiet. The back off throttle clatter appears to be linked with the recent change to Dino oil.

Once the Engine Temp reaches about 240F the lifter chatter, when you raise the RPM and then back off the throttle, goes away. I only hear some mild ticking noise that comes and goes when cruising around 2500-3000 RPM.

Fortunately, since I live in the desert, when the bike sits for a few hours or overnight in ambient air temperatures that are approximately 90F or higher, the bike starts up in a typical fashion with no clanking and minimum clatter from the lifters; the lifter clatter lasts about 15/90 seconds. Still have some lifter clatter when you raise the RPM and then back off the throttle quickly. Once the Engine Temp reaches about 240F this noise goes away. I still hear some mild ticking noise that comes and goes when cruising around 2500-3000 RPM.

Background:
Been chasing this problem since it first appeared @ 40K miles. Dealer tried to fix this problem by replacing the original cams with new stock cams, replacing the stock lifters with new stock lifters and by cleaning the heads. This fix worked for a while but the problem came back.

Changed to S&S lifters and adjustable pushrods @ 60K, changed to Fueling lifters @ 70K, they fixed the problem but for only a couple of hundred miles. Pushrods have been adjusted from 0.125 to 0.140 without any improvement.

The engine is a stock 96 with 80K miles. I have replaced the compensator, primary chain tensioner, inner primary bearing, stator, and voltage regulator.

Oil pressure is about 32PSI at start-up, about 28PSI on the highway, 8-16PSI at idle. Ran SYN3 for first 30K miles, then full synthetic for about 45K, last 5K miles or so using Dino oil. The bike burns about one quart of oil every 3K miles ever since it hit 40K miles.

I do more touring than anything else, running 2700 -3000 RPM.

A Power Vision tuner is used to provide the Engine Temp readings noted.

I have received various local inputs as to what the problem is and they are; 1) excessive lifter to lifter-bore clearances, 2) lifters are still bleeding down, 3) varnish in valve guides, 4) excessive rocker bushing to rocker shaft clearances, 5) bad valve spring washers, 6) inner cam bearings going out, 7) crank bearings going out, 8) main transmission bearing going out.

Thanks for any feedback or other suggestions that can help me fix my cool/cold start-up problem.

Offline Armin

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2017, 12:48:57 PM »
With 80 Kmiles and presumably the first set of lifters I suspect that one of the lifters lost its flow qualities. With engine oil at operating temperatures the defunct lifter bleeds down faster and when you start the cold engine the thicker oil fails to pump up the lifter fast enough hence the clanking noise. You might use a stethoscope to pinpoint the origin of the noise or use long wooden stick if you don't have acces to a stethoscope. Probably the lifters should be replaced and make sure your engine oil level is adequate.

Armin.
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Offline Rockout Rocker Products

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2017, 02:16:08 PM »
That ticking noise around 2500-3000 rpms is a tell tale sign of rocker shafts rotating & clacking against the hold down bolts. Rocker shaft inserts are the cure.  :up:
www.rockout.biz Stop the top end TAPPING!!

Online Hossamania

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2017, 02:32:34 PM »
With 80 Kmiles and presumably the first set of lifters I suspect that one of the lifters lost its flow qualities. With engine oil at operating temperatures the defunct lifter bleeds down faster and when you start the cold engine the thicker oil fails to pump up the lifter fast enough hence the clanking noise. You might use a stethoscope to pinpoint the origin of the noise or use long wooden stick if you don't have acces to a stethoscope. Probably the lifters should be replaced and make sure your engine oil level is adequate.

Armin.

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Offline Armin

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2017, 02:53:14 PM »
Ooops Hoss, I failed to recognize that but I still think the culprit could be traced down to some lifter defect.

Armin.
Nothing can ruin a Man's day faster than an Almost-Takeoff!

Offline tdrglide

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2017, 03:33:20 PM »
Carbor knock
Excess carbon build up on pistons. Engine expands enough for clearance when warm. Noise goes away

Offline topcat3815

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2017, 02:32:54 AM »
Had the same noise on a high mileage 2009 Flh , thought sure it was a lifter related problem , turned out to be piston slap

Offline les

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2017, 08:49:02 AM »
Carbor knock
Excess carbon build up on pistons. Engine expands enough for clearance when warm. Noise goes away

Agreed.  Carbon knock.  I had and still have this issue on my 2011 Road King.  (Not sure the cause; maybe oil leaking around the outside of the valve guides.)

Before I pulled the heads and scraped the carbon off the top of the pistons and the squish area of the head, I would be that clanking sound on cold start up, or if the bike sat for a couple/few hours.  When I rode off, the clanking sound would happen as a let off the throttle.  Once the engine got hot, the sound would go away.

Now, here's the bad news...  Carbon knock, after thousands of miles, will beat the rod bearings into failure.  My flywheel assembly blew out at 50K miles while out west (thousands of miles from home) leaving me to fly back and ship the bike.

Carbon knock MUST be addressed right away.  Don't wait like I did searching for what the problem is and replacing three sets of lifters because I didn't know what else to do.

If you pull the heads, you can clearly see if it's carbon knock.  There will be a flat ring area on the carbon on top of the pistons.

Try this to verify if it is carbon knock or not:
- Run the bike until it gets totally very hot and the clank goes away
- Pull the bike into the driveway or car wash and take about 15 minutes to gradually mist spray the engine with cold water (not so fast as to harm the engine but not to slow either) until the cylinders are cool.
- Start the engine.

If it's carbon knock, the clanking will be the worst you've ever heard because the cylinders will have shrink much faster than the piston rod.

Offline Matt C

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2017, 10:16:26 AM »
Have you tried to narrow it down by listening with a screwdriver? Get a long enough, thick screwdriver. Put the tip on the
engine (where you suspect the noise is coming from) and put the handle up to your ear.

Probe around the cylinders, heads, rocker boxes, etc.. You'll narrow it down real fast. If you suspect carbon, pull the TB off
and look at the back sides of the intake valves. If they're caked up with carbon, the chambers are too.

If that's the case, pull the heads and get them freshened up; Bronze guides, valve job, de-carbon the top end. You're using
allot of oil, I'd bet the inside of the chambers are caked all to h3ll with carbon.

« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 10:25:44 AM by MCE Performance »

Offline Wood

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2017, 02:41:13 PM »
Carbor knock
Excess carbon build up on pistons. Engine expands enough for clearance when warm. Noise goes away

Thanks, others also agree.

Offline Wood

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2017, 02:45:45 PM »
Carbor knock
Excess carbon build up on pistons. Engine expands enough for clearance when warm. Noise goes away

Agreed.  Carbon knock.  I had and still have this issue on my 2011 Road King.  (Not sure the cause; maybe oil leaking around the outside of the valve guides.)

Before I pulled the heads and scraped the carbon off the top of the pistons and the squish area of the head, I would be that clanking sound on cold start up, or if the bike sat for a couple/few hours.  When I rode off, the clanking sound would happen as a let off the throttle.  Once the engine got hot, the sound would go away.

Now, here's the bad news...  Carbon knock, after thousands of miles, will beat the rod bearings into failure.  My flywheel assembly blew out at 50K miles while out west (thousands of miles from home) leaving me to fly back and ship the bike.

Carbon knock MUST be addressed right away.  Don't wait like I did searching for what the problem is and replacing three sets of lifters because I didn't know what else to do.

If you pull the heads, you can clearly see if it's carbon knock.  There will be a flat ring area on the carbon on top of the pistons.

Try this to verify if it is carbon knock or not:
- Run the bike until it gets totally very hot and the clank goes away
- Pull the bike into the driveway or car wash and take about 15 minutes to gradually mist spray the engine with cold water (not so fast as to harm the engine but not to slow either) until the cylinders are cool.
- Start the engine.

If it's carbon knock, the clanking will be the worst you've ever heard because the cylinders will have shrink much faster than the piston rod.

Thanks! Not excited about having flywheel problems. Are you saying, that after you cleaned the heads and pistons, your flywheels still blew apart?

Offline Wood

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2017, 02:48:24 PM »
Have you tried to narrow it down by listening with a screwdriver? Get a long enough, thick screwdriver. Put the tip on the
engine (where you suspect the noise is coming from) and put the handle up to your ear.

Probe around the cylinders, heads, rocker boxes, etc.. You'll narrow it down real fast. If you suspect carbon, pull the TB off
and look at the back sides of the intake valves. If they're caked up with carbon, the chambers are too.

If that's the case, pull the heads and get them freshened up; Bronze guides, valve job, de-carbon the top end. You're using
allot of oil, I'd bet the inside of the chambers are caked all to h3ll with carbon.

Thanks for the suggestions on how to further diagnosis the problem.

Online hogpipes1

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2017, 05:19:23 PM »
I used a bore scope to check for piston carbon , one of the best tools to have around.   I  used  CRC  carbon  head cleaner,  also seafoam, squirt some in each Cly . let it set overnight, fire up  & go for a ride.  This was on a 85 FXRT  that never been tore down  . Took  more than a few overnight soaks, but with the scope  i could see some  clean up .

 Took care of the  pinging  on a full roll on .  Also saved a lot of ride time and $$ with the magic in the can  for $7.

Offline Matt C

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2017, 07:25:35 PM »
I like my scopes too. Look right at the valve w/o taking anything off but the A/C.
De-carbon would help, but he said that bike is using oil. That needs to be fixed if
you want to get to the root cause.

Online hogpipes1

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2017, 02:12:18 PM »
I like my scopes too. Look right at the valve w/o taking anything off but the A/C.
De-carbon would help, but he said that bike is using oil. That needs to be fixed if
you want to get to the root cause.

Valve seals on mine , but i need more of a reason to tear down  as it's not  smoking  and valve faces look good.I will get to it when the leaking  base gaskets  start pissing.

Offline les

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2017, 02:26:35 PM »
Carbor knock
Excess carbon build up on pistons. Engine expands enough for clearance when warm. Noise goes away

Agreed.  Carbon knock.  I had and still have this issue on my 2011 Road King.  (Not sure the cause; maybe oil leaking around the outside of the valve guides.)

Before I pulled the heads and scraped the carbon off the top of the pistons and the squish area of the head, I would be that clanking sound on cold start up, or if the bike sat for a couple/few hours.  When I rode off, the clanking sound would happen as a let off the throttle.  Once the engine got hot, the sound would go away.

Now, here's the bad news...  Carbon knock, after thousands of miles, will beat the rod bearings into failure.  My flywheel assembly blew out at 50K miles while out west (thousands of miles from home) leaving me to fly back and ship the bike.

Carbon knock MUST be addressed right away.  Don't wait like I did searching for what the problem is and replacing three sets of lifters because I didn't know what else to do.

If you pull the heads, you can clearly see if it's carbon knock.  There will be a flat ring area on the carbon on top of the pistons.

Try this to verify if it is carbon knock or not:
- Run the bike until it gets totally very hot and the clank goes away
- Pull the bike into the driveway or car wash and take about 15 minutes to gradually mist spray the engine with cold water (not so fast as to harm the engine but not to slow either) until the cylinders are cool.
- Start the engine.

If it's carbon knock, the clanking will be the worst you've ever heard because the cylinders will have shrink much faster than the piston rod.

Thanks! Not excited about having flywheel problems. Are you saying, that after you cleaned the heads and pistons, your flywheels still blew apart?

Worse.  Right before my 8000 mile planned trip out west, I was sitting in my garage starring at the Road King.  Next thing I knew, the top end was completely torn down and I replaced everything (including new forged pistons, rings, etc.).  And yes, the bottom end still blew out because of the beating the rod bearings took over all those months of never knowing it was carbon knock and replacing lifters and still having the clanking problem.  This, of course, was before I got educated about carbon knock.

Offline garlock

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2017, 04:32:04 PM »
Go out & buy yourself a set of Johnson lifters & your problem will be gone, you can find them online, HD used Johnsons the first few years in the tc, then they switched to some gypo lifters prom. to save money!

Offline Wood

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2017, 10:26:31 AM »
I like my scopes too. Look right at the valve w/o taking anything off but the A/C.
De-carbon would help, but he said that bike is using oil. That needs to be fixed if
you want to get to the root cause.

I just received by borescope ($22 Depstech, USB, Semi-rigid Endoscope Inspection Camera). Here are some pictures of the Front Cylinder. Please let me know what you think.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 10:34:48 AM by Wood »

Offline Wood

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2017, 10:28:04 AM »
I used a bore scope to check for piston carbon , one of the best tools to have around.   

Here are some pictures of the Rear Cylinder. Please let me know what you think.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 10:34:13 AM by Wood »

Offline Wood

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2017, 10:30:26 AM »
I like my scopes too. Look right at the valve w/o taking anything off but the A/C.

Here are some pictures of the Front and Rear intake valves. Please let me know what you think.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 10:36:06 AM by Wood »

Offline lilchief

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2017, 05:51:12 PM »
I'm far from an expert, but it looks like the valve relief in the one pic of the piston is full of carbon or smashed metel from a valve hitting it.

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Offline Matt C

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2017, 08:52:45 PM »
My guess is the pistons/rings are worn. Intake valves look fine. I'd plan on a rebuild with that many miles.

Offline harley_cruiser

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2017, 03:33:44 AM »
That does not look like oil carbon build up to me, that looks like a rich burn, I would check your tune, run some carbon cleaner through it.
What kind of  compression reading are you getting?
What do the cyclinder walls look like, scored from Piston slap?
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 04:10:29 AM by Harley_Cruiser Rocker Lockers »

Offline Matt C

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2017, 05:48:50 AM »
That does not look like oil carbon build up to me, that looks like a rich burn, I would check your tune, run some carbon cleaner through it.
What kind of  compression reading are you getting?
What do the cyclinder walls look like, scored from Piston slap?

Good points. Either way though, at 80,000 miles it's probably time to think about freshen up top end (and a good tune).
That's allot of crust in there.

Offline harley_cruiser

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Re: Loud clanking and noisy lifters at start-up
« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2017, 06:08:27 AM »
That does not look like oil carbon build up to me, that looks like a rich burn, I would check your tune, run some carbon cleaner through it.
What kind of  compression reading are you getting?
What do the cyclinder walls look like, scored from Piston slap?

Good points. Either way though, at 80,000 miles it's probably time to think about freshen up top end (and a good tune).
That's allot of crust in there.
I agree, a compression test before and after the carbon was removed would tell us a lot. I would be curious as to his gas mileage, 30-35 vs 40-45+, that would tell a lot about his tune.