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Discussion Starter #1
Here is my story and I hope you all will join my frustration and help me out. I am so mad I can barely take it.

1. Ticking sound in my Spider.
2. Checked valve clearances with feeler guage. Exhaust valve No. 4 cylinder is .020. No. 3 is .0185, No. 2 is .019 and No. 1 is .019 Intake remaining are .018. (.0157 through .0177 is intake spec right? according to book. Exhaust is .0177 to .0197 according to book.
3. Alfa Parts shop here in California says my clearances are just fine and NOT the cause of my ticking. I do NOT buy any tappets.
4. So we time it perfectly to the shop manual I am using every step of the way.
5. I find the exhaust gaskets are leaking and therefore replace EVERY one perfectly. Previously the gaskets were installed upside down.
6. Put everything back perfectly.
7. Start the car.
8. Ticks!
Did I get poor advice on my clearances/tolerances???

what the heck is wrong?? Why didn't I buy tappets?
 

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What the weight of your oil. If not 20/50 change it.
 

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The clearances are fine.

How ticky is it?

There's a certain amount of mechanical noise inherant with the design meaning it's never going to idle as quietly as a cam hydraulic cam system.

What you more or less should be hearing at hot idle is a whirring very rythmic ticking simular to what a clicky-pen makes when you work it. Louder of course, but none the less, a simular type sound. Kinda like a sewing machine with a tick actually. (there's a few youtube videos that give good representation of the correct sound if you wanted to poke around there for a reference)

Certainly other things can cause noise too, like an exhaust leak which you've already been familiarized with, or the upper timing chain not being tensioned quite right, (got marks on the inside of the cam cover?), so the above shouldn't be taken as gospel. Just trying to get across that the engine will indeed make mechanical noise even when there's nothing wrong.

If your tappets were nice and smooth with a hint of a circular pattern on top of them, but no pocketing, wear, grooves, eveil marks, then they are likely just fine and didn't need replacement anyway.

Here's a fairly decent representation of what the normal tick is like. Some might be louder, some softer, but they all do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks so much for that lovely youtube. This sound is more putt-putt-ier than my tick. The tick is very regular, timely. Not at all irregular. When I put oil in it, that bit that I had to replace which just sits stagnant in the valve area, I used what I had. Mistake? I think it was just 15-40. Also, the oil that I bulb-basted out of there was dirty while the oil sample from the dipstick was quite clean. Since I also have an 86 Quad Spider with low low miles (23k) and it makes not one engine sound, do you think I may be unreasonable to expect this car to be just as good. It has 56k miles.

I am still rattled. Is it possible the clearances on this car are crucial at the 1000ths or 10,000ths level? Really, I have no clue. I am afraid to test drive it and I do not know the effect that the exhaust gasket change has had on the performance of this car. Do you think it would affect power?

Many, many thanks for your generous reply.
 

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Thanks so much for that lovely youtube. This sound is more putt-putt-ier than my tick. The tick is very regular, timely. Not at all irregular. When I put oil in it, that bit that I had to replace which just sits stagnant in the valve area, I used what I had. Mistake? I think it was just 15-40. Also, the oil that I bulb-basted out of there was dirty while the oil sample from the dipstick was quite clean. Since I also have an 86 Quad Spider with low low miles (23k) and it makes not one engine sound, do you think I may be unreasonable to expect this car to be just as good. It has 56k miles.

I am still rattled. Is it possible the clearances on this car are crucial at the 1000ths or 10,000ths level? Really, I have no clue. I am afraid to test drive it and I do not know the effect that the exhaust gasket change has had on the performance of this car. Do you think it would affect power?

Many, many thanks for your generous reply.
I think you are fine with 15w40 oil even 10w40 oil. As for ticking noise it may not be anything to worry about. It maybe just those valve clearances are close to the max and causing a slight noise different from your other Spider.

Did you happen to notice if you had any play in your upper timing chain when you had valve cover off? Not between cam pulleys but on left Driver's side below cam pulley. Chain tensioner is on passenger side of engine and may need to be retensioned.
 

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Richard Jemison
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Noise

Your noise is probably because of wear of both cam and cam followers.

First identify which side of the engine the ticking is comming from. Could be both.

With a stethescope, or a long screwdriver rested on your ear, then identify the lobe or lobes doing the tapping. What is happening is the cam follower is bouncing and hitting the cam rather than sitting due to excessive clearance as the wear over the last 20 years has worn away the seating ramp. You can then close the tolerances on those specific valves a couple of thousands, also noting the condition of the cam lobe and cam follower. If you can feel any surface irregularities or pitting on the cam follower, then it is done for and a quick measure of the lobe will likely show a wear problem. After all they are only good for 75-100K miles at best before lift is .5mm or more less than original specifications.

The simple solution to "noise" is to close the tolerances to around .016 on the intake side and .017 on the exhaust side. There will be no ill effects from this valve wise, but it does not resolve the real wear problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I listened to each valve. They all sound the same to me, after several several listens. It is a chainy-ticky sound. Not a clack, but maybe slightly click. I like the idea of measuring the cam- I checked for wear and noticed none. The caps were nice and smooth and shiney and the tappets only had at most a little tiny circular on one or two-barely noticable. . I wonder why I cannot at least narrow it down to one or two valves? Would this point to a greater likelihood of a cam wear problem?

The book refers to knocking as a sound and gives various solutions. But in my case I cannot say this is knock. Maybe a translation problem from italia to english-ia?? Is there anything that can be done BEFORE I remove the heads again, just to be sure? If this car could just have mercy on me, I would be so so grateful. I hardly ever get to drive it.
 

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A loose timing chain makes a rattling noise. Have you tried adjusting it?
 

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Check again for exhaust leaks. They can sound ticky. Even with new gaskets properly installed if the mating surfaces are not in good condition, there can be a leak. If you don't have a mechanic's stethescope a 2' long piece of ~ 1/2" ID hose (like a section of heater hose) is good for narrowing down the location of noises.
 

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In addition to the causes suggested above, the fuel injectors themselves can also make a clicking sound. Make sure the noise is not coming from the injectors before you look at other causes.

This loud clicking or ticking noise is in fact a common complaint with S3 and S4 Spiders.

We had one customer who went round and round with the problem, checking valve clearances, tappets and cam lobes for wear, etc. until he finally thought to check the valve clearances when the engine was HOT. They had opened up significantly from their cold settings! He then reset them to .017 intake and .019 exhaust with the engine at temperature and it cured the ticking. You could probably achieve the same by setting the clearances a few thousandths tighter than factory spec cold.
 

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Afanoni, is this Spider new to you and came with the ticking sound? Or have you done some recent work to it and it then started? If the latter, revisit those areas. Should you have just replaced your plastic fan and/or the belt to your air pump (if it's even on the car) the fan hits the air pump's belt and makes a ticking sound. When restoring a client's '77 Spider I had to trace a ticking sound and that was the cause. I'll add that I notched the new fan's blades and it still ticked, but not as loud.

If you do have the air pump and belt on, take a hose or metal tube and put the end close to that area and listen to see (strange combination of words) if that might be where the ticking is coming from.

Yes, long shot.

Biba
 

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Biba has a good suggestion, if your motor mounts are sagging a bit, the fan will hit on the cross member. Ticking sounds as you describe come from either a worn cam, or follower or both. Check the ends of the cam lobes to see if they are nice and round. If they come to a point, I would suspect the cam is worn and needs replacing. I typically run my cam clearances a bit on the tight side to lessen the cam slap on the follower. Injectors will drive you nuts. I chased that one on my 164's and realized that you live with it.
 

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wow a female into alfas AND working on the engine!!!!
We should put her into a museum or something she's RARE.
I suggest the nearest alfa guy in Auburn be a gentleman and pay her a visit and see what's going on
we should encourage such behaviour
 

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Hi Alfoni,

You didn't say what year your Spider was. There's a thread on the BB about series 4 Spiders (1991 - 1994) making more ticking noise. I remember a discussion about a change in valve guide material causing this due to increased wear. My daily driver has louder than normal ticking sound, and I diminished this by tightening the valve clearances.



Here is my story and I hope you all will join my frustration and help me out. I am so mad I can barely take it.

1. Ticking sound in my Spider.
2. Checked valve clearances with feeler guage. Exhaust valve No. 4 cylinder is .020. No. 3 is .0185, No. 2 is .019 and No. 1 is .019 Intake remaining are .018. (.0157 through .0177 is intake spec right? according to book. Exhaust is .0177 to .0197 according to book.
3. Alfa Parts shop here in California says my clearances are just fine and NOT the cause of my ticking. I do NOT buy any tappets.
4. So we time it perfectly to the shop manual I am using every step of the way.
5. I find the exhaust gaskets are leaking and therefore replace EVERY one perfectly. Previously the gaskets were installed upside down.
6. Put everything back perfectly.
7. Start the car.
8. Ticks!
Did I get poor advice on my clearances/tolerances???

what the heck is wrong?? Why didn't I buy tappets?
 

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Auburn isn't that far from Sacramento. Go see the Barbershoppe and ask their opinion on what the car should be like. Just a thought, these cars run cams on tappets and not hydraulic lifters, so there is a propensity for making some noise. Just drive fast enough and you won't hear the noise, and you will really enjoy the drive. :)
 

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Ooops....I was so interested in writing a reply, I didn't read the thread title (I also have trouble reading instructions).

Alfoni, good for you to be concerned about the noise, and for not being afraid to do some wrenching on your Alfa. Be sure to use the resources of the BB, and you will probably get your issue resolved.

...except for the thread title stating it's an '88 Spider.
 

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Richard Jemison
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Ticking

Re-read my first post...:rolleyes:
Worn cams WILL cause the "tick" even on correct lash settings.! Particularly identifyable as you have seemingly only one problem lobe & follower.
This is bounce of the cam follower as a result of the worn seating and lift area of the lobes.
 

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Hi Afanoni,

Not sure if this is any help, but I recently replaced the mechanical fuel pump on my giulia super and the new pump makes quite a noticeable ticking sound. Of course this may not apply to your car if you have an electric fuel pump (not sure what spec your car is). My thought is if you have had it checked and everyone thinks it is ok then just drive it and learn to live with it or turn up the music loud.

Ciao for now,
 

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You may have solved this problem already, but my '89 Spider has a tick like what you describe, I have done all the same things as you with checking and rechecking valve clearance, replacing exhaust gaskets and all. What I discovered is that one of my tappets over the valve shim does not fit the hole it goes into, I bought a new tappet and put it on and it only makes it worse. From what I understand is if the engine gets too hot, it can distort the tappet hole in the head and cause the tappet to stick a little and you get the ticking noise. On mine, when the engine is cold and I first start it up, the engine is quiet, but as it warms up the ticking gets intermittent until the engine is fully warm, then the ticking is very regular.

I figured this out by pulling the tappets out to check the shim sizes, seven of the tappets came right out with my little magnet, but the tappet on the exhaust valve on #3 would not come out with just the magnet. Like I said, I replaced the tappet and it got worse, so I am guessing short of pulling the head off and taking it apart and having that hole machined, there is really nothing to do but let it make noise, so far it has been several thousand miles and the sounds has not gotten any worse.
 
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