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  #1  
Old 04-04-2008, 08:48 PM
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M103 lifter noise vs. timing chain rattle...

Hey all,

I've been doing a bit of searching here and a couple of things crossed my mind, I wonder what you think.

It seems that some kind of start up noise comes with owning a M103 with significant mileage on it (by Detroit standards anyway). Most folks seem to determine that it is a lifter/cam follower, and proceed with some kind of oil related treatment , before getting in any deeper.

Something I noticed while "searching", was that several people reported that their, timing chains failed... some time after quieting the lifters with any one of the oil treatments. Given the fact that a lot of these M103 powered vehicles have been acquired with out much of a service record, would it be reasonable to assume that if the lifters/followers are noisy, it may be a good PM step to look into the timing chain assembly?

I suppose what I am asking is...Do the lifters/followers have a comparable service life to the timing chain assembly? I'm asking this because will be replacing my valve seals and lifters/followers this weekend, and plan on doing the timing chain assembly(tensioner, guides and sprockets as needed) next month. From what I understand, these PM steps should ensure a pretty solid motor for quite awhile (147K currently).

I am aware of head gasket issues looming, but I will tend to that when/if, it arises. Sorry for the long post, I would like to keep this motor in good shape as long as it is practical.

Thanks,

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  #2  
Old 04-04-2008, 09:13 PM
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While you have the head off doing the seals, the lifters and lifter caps as well as the timing chain assembly and guides can be done. Cheaper in the long run.
The lifters themselves are cheap. Once all these things are done you should have a reliable engine for many miles.The bottom end of the engine is considered virtually bullet proof.

Don't worry too much about the rattle at startup. Only worry if the rattle doesn't go away after a couple of seconds.

God quality oil quietens the overhead gear down,
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  #3  
Old 04-04-2008, 09:44 PM
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I was under the impression that I could take care of the stem seals with the head still on (utilizing the compressed air/rope method), anyone care to enlighten me on this ??
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:57 PM
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Stem seals don't require head removal. Can you point to these threads that tie timing chain failure to lifter noise/oil treatments? Never heard of such a thing. Your timing chain is one of the best ever - very few problems. I'd focus on figuring out where the noise is coming from - with a stethoscope and an assistant to start it up.
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  #5  
Old 04-05-2008, 01:57 AM
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Uh, no 103 I've seen has any lifters .... just rocker arms to the valves. Now the 603 Diesel does have lifters

Chain failures on inline motors are near nonexistent. I have around 2deg on my 256k mile M103.

Timing chain guides are a PITA on the M103. Lower timing cover has to come off. If they're not broken, don't spend the time to pull the bottom end apart unless you have oil leaks all over. Or need them... 300K+

Rocker sound is probably from lack of oil pressure at startup.
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  #6  
Old 04-06-2008, 09:09 AM
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The M103 has small hydraulic "lifters", attached to the rocker arms. Over time they wear slightly and will cause a ticking noise on startup. The noise should disappear after 5 seconds or so. It the noise you are hearing does not go away, even with the engine running, it might be a worn timing chain.

The lifters are easily replaceable but a bit pricey. I have had an occasional ticking on startup for 5 years and it has not gotten any better or worse so I have not done anything about it. I suspect maybe one or two lifters may be weak and when the engine stops with the cam against the weak ones, they leak down and it takes several seconds for the oil to fill them up again.
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:08 PM
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I agree with all the above; I can't remember reading on the forum about a failed 103 chain. I did replace my lifters (cam followers) to alieve an occasional cold ticking, and it did the job. Pretty easy job, can't remember the price of the 'lifters".
You might be able to isolate the clicking with a cheap mechanic's stethascope. (how do you spell that?)
Oh, be sure it's not the little shock absorber on the belt tensioner that is clicking, they can fool you. Just put a finger on it with the engine runnig, you'l feel it click if the bushings are worn.

DG
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:17 PM
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Please excuse my typos..

In my first post on this thread I referred to "timing chain failures", I intended to inquire about the timing chain tensioner. I probably should not have typed my initial post while on the phone with the vice president of my company.

A few things came up and I did not have a chance to get an work done this past weekend. The noises that I am experiencing only occur with a cold start and they go stop when my oil pressure gauge starts moving up (2-4 seconds). Warm starts later in the day are just fine, so I'm still thinking one (or more) of the cam followers might be leaking down.

I will try and get the job done this weekend. On another note ... I should have checked the Fastlane price before buying the cam followers locally, I would have saved almost $10.00 each. I hope I can return the ones I have.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:33 PM
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If I remember correctly, my Haynes manual has a way to test the leakdown of the cam followers. The problem is you must remove them and test them all individually. It seems easier to just replace them.
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  #10  
Old 04-07-2008, 09:38 PM
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I have the Haynes manual, and I agree ..it is probably more cost effective to just replace all of them and be done with it. I'll see about returning the followers I had purchased, and ordering a set from Fastlane. The savings will pay for more than enough beer to get this job done.

I will hold off on the timing chain related adventures until I can tell if the followers solved the issue.
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  #11  
Old 04-08-2008, 03:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riorust View Post
I was under the impression that I could take care of the stem seals with the head still on (utilizing the compressed air/rope method), anyone care to enlighten me on this ??
Take a look at our M103 valve stem seal thread.
Spark Plug Horror! Look!
Just keep scrolling down til the pictures start then read on.

You can see the tool we used. It was pretty straight forward but you need to be pretty strong and you need an extra hand to have someone remove the valve shims and seals while the other pulls.
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  #12  
Old 04-08-2008, 11:08 AM
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Yeah, I bet the cam followers are the guilty party, if the tick quickly goes away when the pressure comes up. While you have the cam out, check the lobes very carefully. When cams fail, it's usually one or two lobes that just wear down, and you can spot it if you examine it very closely. But, again, not a lot of bad cams on the 103 mentioned in the forum.
Oh, also check the 3 little screws that hold the cam-oiler pipe above the cam.
I actually had one come out! If that pipe loosened it would starve the cam lobes for oil, and might dump a lot more oil in the area around some of the valve stems.

DG
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  #13  
Old 12-24-2009, 02:36 PM
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Rattle doesn't go away after a few minutes

I have a 1989 300E and have a suspicious rattle I've been suspecting was either the timing chain/tensioner or something under the valve cover.

After reading the posts I'm a little scared considering my rattle improves after warming up, but does not go away... Any thoughts?
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  #14  
Old 12-26-2009, 09:43 AM
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Tensioner Shock?

I would check the tensioner shock absorber first. It has rubber bushings at the ends that wear out and cause a rattle that can be heard at idle. The shock is not too difficult to replace.
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  #15  
Old 08-03-2015, 07:26 AM
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I am going to be the one that complains about a timing chain failure on an M103:

I removed the sump to install a turbo oil return, and found little broken round, what looked like mini head "dowels" in the bottom.

Turns out, they were the outer rollers from the camshaft chain.

Upon close inspection, many more were still on the chain horribly damaged... This is a "Rolon" chain, and I am about to replace both the oil pump and cam drive chains with IWIS brand chains. Mine has the little joining links, so I can just join each of them and rotate them through. Engine is out of the car, mind you!!

I have no idea how many kays the engine has, I purchased it last week second hand.

Luckily I decided to check over stuff, I am also installing an .080in copper head gasket and 12.9 grade head bolts for added security under the duress of boost pressure.

I will surely let you know how that goes!!

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