Assuming it's just from the lifters being gunked up and not a symptom of something more serious like bad oil pump, what does lifters clattering actually lead to? Can a lifter get stuck and get a valve munched by a cylinder? Do the valves not open all the way? What are the consequences besides having a car that sounds like junk for the first 5 minutes when you start it first thing in the morning?
I've asked about this before but only about solutions, not the consequences. Our '98 golf's lifters sound pretty loud for a while after cold start. I was considering changing out the lifters when I have a few days off but it's a beater anyway so I'm wondering if it's at all worth the trouble and expense. Especially since the '06 rabbit is starting to get some valve noise at 30k and that's without any abuse of the recommended oil change period.
If you use the proper tools, you don't even have to remove the head, just remove the valve cover and camshaft (timing belt obviously as well). Then blow compressed air into the cylinder through the spark plug hole to prevent the valve from dropping into the cylinder (the site explains the procedure).
What I took away from the VW lifter design is you want to use at most 5w30 oil; the extremely narrow clearances of the lifter assy. would frown upon thicker oil at cold temperatures.
I re-read your post and you did pose a question; my apology. Just goes to show you that you shouldn't try to do anything important after your second martini.
Consequences of lifter clatter: Rather doubt that a lifter will get so stuck that it gets "munched" by a piston under normal circumstances. Most likely you have more than one lifter that is partially collapsed and the cam is beating on them.
From what you described I would think that you would notice a loss of power on acceleration and an engine miss from time to time.
If you love your '98 then by all means replace the lifters. If it is a real "beater" then replace the vehicle. The decision is yours.
I am surprised that your '06 Rabbit is starting to generate lifter noises after only 30K miles. Does your Rabbit have solid or hydraulic lifters? Is it still under warranty (3 years or 36K miles)?
I personally think Keehan is correct when he says that all the newer VWs like 5-30wt oil and don't like a higher viscosity, unless driving in a high heat climate.
Engine flush... To periodically "flush" [cleanout] your engine or not; that is the question.
I recently posted a thread on the MK4 forum on engine flush and to date have not really received any informed responses. Maybe in goatmonkey's situation a flush could help. I frankly, don't know; but I am interested in other members opinions particular those that have a flush done before.
Anyone's response with an informed opinion would be most welcomed.
If you run a search on google groups about this, there's a good deal of feedback on flushes. The most often recommended thing is Valve Medic. Warm up the engine, dump it in, drive around a bit, change the oil. Next time you start it up, angels will sing, rainbows will shoot out of your exhaust pipe and the engine will no longer rattle.
I've run Valve Medic through this engine twice in the past 3 months. There was very little singing, the engine still rattles and I keep forgetting to check for rainbows. This car has pretty low mileage for a 10-year old vehicle so it's been sitting around a lot. Naturally things are pretty gunked up. Other than the VM, i've been trying to take the moderate approach and just let it clear up on its own since now it gets driven to work every day. Also I manage to find an excuse to change the oil ever 1-1.5k.
Valve Medic is an engine oil additive that claims to cure "sticking (ticking hydralic only) lifters". It has been around awhile; but, it is not a true "flush" product. I have tried it in the past on my1982 Scirocco and frankly found no satisfory results resulted from its use. Not too surprised as Miss Scirocco had 200K miles on it when I put it in.
Regarding your 98 "beater" I still say if your really love it then replace all of the lifters. If you really would be enjoying driving something newer then replace the vehicle.
Also, since you apparently have lifter and / or valve guide problems I seriously doubt that changing oil every 1500 miles will help clear up your problems.
Frankly, I would be more concerned about your 2006 Rabbit. After only 30K miles you should not be experiencing lifter problems.
There's no problems. The 06 ticks a bit when I first start it up but it seems that VW valve-trains are louder than what I'm used to in general which is honda and nissan. The warranty is actually 50k/5 year.
Will collapsed lifters lead to engine failure or will it just start running worse? I'm not even sure I'll have this car past next summer so all i'm looking for is can this kill it?
2006 Rabbit - I recommend that you have your dealership take a look at it. My 2000 Jetta 1.8T with 102K miles on it does not tick at all either on a cold start up or when warmed up.
1998 Golf - Total collapsed lifters are rare in my experience. I seriously doubt if all lifters would totally collapse at the same time. In any event, if they do it will probably not damage the engine, it just won't run. Might chug a bit and then die.
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