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Discussion Starter #1
I bought sight unseen a 03 S430 with 175,000 miles. The car is in mint condition having been garaged since new, BUT it has a engine noise in which I need some advice. I bought the car sight unseen from the original owner who sent me a video of the noise. My mechanic said he was sure it was a bad tensioner. I changed the tensioner which was bad, but the noise is still there. The noise seems to be on the right bank at the top. The "ticking" increases in rhythm when accelerating. Here's the noise:

https://youtu.be/88vOxMbew8c

Any advice is much appreciated!

Richard
 

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My goodness, that sounds like a collapsed lifter... Definitely sounds like a valvetrain noise.

It's time to go poking around with a stethoscope and narrow down the location. I suspect it will be under a valve cover and that its component replacement time...
 

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My '03 S430 used to do that, too, though not quite as loud. In my case, the solution was two-fold.

1.) I did engine oil/filter changes every 5,000 miles, and with each oil change, I'd put in a quart of Marvel Mystery Oil. The first three oil changes went like this (I got the car at 139,000 miles and change). The last one that I did, about 1,200 miles ago, was straight engine oil. Not sure if the MMO actually did help any; maybe it did, maybe it didn't.

2.) On a business trip two years ago, I asked if there was the option to drive, realizing that the S430 hadn't yet had a road trip. Boss said yes, just keep your receipts. So, I did an oil change the morning before departure and then used that car for the trip. It was a 1,600-mile round trip, and the car seemed to really like it.

That engine started getting quieter after the second oil change. It continued to gradually quiet down as time and oil changes went on. Now, there's still a very slight tick, but nowhere even close to what it had been earlier. It is also considerably cleaner under the valve covers than it had been. Part of that last bit is some work with kerosene and a toothbrush when I did the valve cover gaskets. Part of that is regular oil changes.

It appears that following the dashboard "A service" recommendations may not be the best idea, long-term, for the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I took the car to my dealer retired MB mechanic this morning. I should know his verdict in a few days. He is thinking it is a lifter. He did say it was one of the nicest S430 he had seen. With that and the fact I bought the car for $700, I wouldn't mind spending more to get it right. I will definitely update when I know more!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just heard from my mechanic. He has checked everything and feels it is definitely a lifter. He said it is one of the best running engines he has seen in his 30 years working on MB. He said the engine is tremendously clean He wants me to pick up the car & drive the h**l out of it on a long trip. I know "cowboyt" mentioned "marvel mystery oil" was what he used to clean the lifters. Does anyone have a recommended additive? He said the car is idling perfectly. It's just the ticking noise. Another question is why is a lifter causing the noise if the engine is so clean?

THANKS for any help!

Richard
 

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I just heard from my mechanic. He has checked everything and feels it is definitely a lifter. He said it is one of the best running engines he has seen in his 30 years working on MB. He said the engine is tremendously clean He wants me to pick up the car & drive the h**l out of it on a long trip. I know "cowboyt" mentioned "marvel mystery oil" was what he used to clean the lifters. Does anyone have a recommended additive? He said the car is idling perfectly. It's just the ticking noise. Another question is why is a lifter causing the noise if the engine is so clean?

THANKS for any help!

Richard
Hi Richard,

Sometimes, no matter how clean, if an Engine stands for a period, there will always be a Valve or 2 open, the open Valve(s) can compress lifter(s) and it will take a while to pump up, sometimes needs a bit of a thrash especially from Cold to pump it back up again :wink

HTH,
 

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By the way, @xke190sl, your S430 is the post-facelift version of my Dad's 2000 S430. Same color scheme, interior and exterior. They look almost identical.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My mechanic has replaced all the lifters on the passenger side. The noise is still there, but it is quieter. He wants me to drive it on a long trip. He feels it will definitely get quieter, but my question is why the noise is still there if all the lifters have been replaced? He did mentioned the oil filter was partially collapsed but feels it did not cause any damage. Just not satisfied. I pick up the car tomorrow! Any feedback appreciated!

Richard
 

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Hi,

You really don't want to know what I think, but here's the 10p worth anyway ;) ...................

When these Engines are Idling, Bonnet, (Hood) up and your head under there, if you can hear anything other than the Can Purge Solenoid going tick tick quietly in the rearmost Left corner of the Engine Bay, then THERE IS A PROBLEM 😉

HTH,
 

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Discussion Starter #14
UPDATE:

I got the car from the mechanic, & the noise to me was dramatically improved. After about 10 miles at interstate speed, the lifters were 99% quiet. I was extremely pleased. The next morning, I drove the car another 20 miles when it suddenly cut off & would NOT crank/turn over. I towed it back to the mechanic. Long story short, the reason the engine would NOT crank/turn over is because it was LOCKED up. The starter was removed, but the engine still will not turn. Again, I had just had the passenger side lifters replaced (& paid $800). I installed new tires because it ran perfectly after picking up the car (after the lifters replacement). I drove the car a total of 35 miles when it locked up. The oil had just been changed & was full. Do NOT know what happened? Im EXTREMLY SAD & DEPRESSED. Now, considering a used engine. The mechanic said it was not because of the lifters?????? NOT A GOOD DAY!

Richard
 

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Hi again,

Mechanic is trying to B*llsh!t his way out of his expensive (m)uck up !!

Remove passenger (Right ?) side Valve Cover and see what has let go, get an expert opinion and tell this fool that you want a full refund plus the replacement Engine cost covered !!

HTH,
 

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He’s right that it wasn’t the lifters per se, but his diagnosis may have been wrong. You have to find out why it seized, but it could be a main bearing failure, which is/was related to low oil pressure. Low oil pressure can produce lifter ticks, and the collapsed oil filter is a clue that something wasn’t right on the lubrication side.


What was the backstory on this car that you managed to get for chump change?
 

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Sounds like just a bad coincidence . Luckily used engines are cheap for these cars , hopefully the mechanic will cut you a break on labor
 

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Hi again,

Mechanic is trying to B*llsh!t his way out of his expensive (m)uck up !!

Remove passenger (Right ?) side Valve Cover and see what has let go, get an expert opinion and tell this fool that you want a full refund plus the replacement Engine cost covered !!

HTH,
This engine clearly had problems to begin with , if we go back to the original post 3 months ago. Whatever problems those were did not get solved by the lifter replacement and it is more likely just unfortunate coincidence it died
 

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Hi,

Having seen, and still seeing abysmal work done on customers vehicles on a daily basis, by so called professionals I simply do not believe in coincidences like this 😉

So lets prove that, half hour to take the Cam Cover off and see if anything in that vicinity has let go !!

I'll post a new thread "Local Garages" in a while with last weeks absolute belter !!
 

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This sort of thing is why I've been learning how to do my own maintenance.

Even shops do this, sad to say. Some of you may remember this little AIRmatic/LCA gem....


Last year, I took the Civic into the nearby alignment shop. Normally, the rear camber on Civics is fixed, but I did install a camber kit on there. It was obvious if you look under the car. They'd assigned this young kid to do it. Got the printout, and the rear camber was still out of whack; basically, they'd done only a "toe 'n' go" alignment. I asked him about it and informed him about the camber kit, and he kept repeatedly saying, "it's not in my computer!" Geez... Anyway, one the older hands, a guy in his 50's, comes over and asks what's up. I (very politely) explain the situation. The kid again says, "it's not in the computer!" I show 'em both the camber kit; the older guy smiles and says, "OK, gotcha." He looks over at the kid and says, "I'll show you how to do these."

An hour later, the car was in perfect alignment. But I had to insist on it.
 
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