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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Hydraulic lifters

I just came back home after a 1300 miles long trip. Some hydraulic lifters started making noise. As I start the engine cold it always used to make some rattling noise in the lifters until the oil got to them.Lasted only a few seconds before the sound was normal. Now, even driving around 60 mph the noise is still there. Is this something that is normal wear on the engine and should I install a bigger oil pump? Also, can I just replace the lifters that are bad?
The engine has about 50,000 miles total.I heard several people go over to install solid lifters with adjustable rockers. How is this done and what parts are there to use from. It seems that a certain Volvo type will fit the Rover 3.5 liter.
HELP! I need this car for daily driver.
Oil pressure is always around 50 to 60 psi !
Werner Van Clapdurp

collapsed lifter

exhaust leak

clogged lifter

worn/loose rocker arms. (or the like)
James D.

Sounds as if your practice of allowing the engine to start up before oil has reached the tappets has had predictable results and worn tappets to point of rattling. Personally (having modified oilways in head) i dont give the engine any juice on start up and switch off as it tries to start, then spin it till oil pressure starts to build followed by a couple of squirts of juice - no rattle! Minimum wear.
Danny Smith


I would check for an exhaust manifold leak first. I've used Rhodes lifters before and they do clatter.

For parts check out RPI web site, Rimmers web site or Real Steal adverts.


What do you mean with spinning around and no juice to it?
The moment I turn the ignition key on in start position the engine turns on immediately! NO spinning around here, unless I disconnect the ignition wires. Who want to go to that trouble anyway!?
werner van clapdurp

Spinning around with no juice ... interesting ... when the car is shut off, the gas in my float bowls almost always evaporates (no, really!?! a V8 with a hot engine bay?!), or so I believe, because it won't fire upon startup until I've given it a couple kicks of the gas pedal. So I usually do sort of per Paul -- spin for a few seconds -- shut off, give the gas a couple of kicks, turn the key and it's off to the races. (I don't think it's thought helpful to goose the gas as you start it up ... causes a _lot_ of wear I believe.) Anyhow, my technique may be a peculiarity of having a mechanical fuel pump; I guess an electric would just top up the float bowls the second you turn the key.


Hydraulic lifters are a generally maintenance free lifter that require no or little adjustment. Solid lifters will give you a bit more performance but you will have to adjust them occasionally. It's not just the lifters that wear, it's also the camshaft that could be helping to cause the noise. Proper way to go is to do the camshaft and the lifters in one go. Replacing a few lifters at a time will only prolong the inevitable. Lasting 50 000 miles is not unusual for a reground cam and lifters. Taking the inlet manifold off will let you see almost instantly if the cam and lifters are worn (you have to take the lifter out to see it of course. HTH

To clarify a bit- I don't use choke,(disconnected) and when the engine tries to start, switch it off. Then spin till i see the oil press sw rising (doesn't try to fire during spin), two dabs of acc pedal and off she goes! If i start up immediately then noisy tappets for about 5 secs. Not music to my ears.
Danny Smith

The OE lifters have a life of about 50000 UK Miles at which point it is usually necessary to change them together with the cam as Stainzy suggests. You should also change the timing chain and inspect the sprockets on the wheel at the same time.

....and those readers who maintain a silent engine with more than 50K miles since the last change will tell you that they either are lucky or they change their oil frequently.

...and yes a lumpy engine will rattle first but in those circumstances the rattle is a warning of what is to come.

...and after clean oil, one way of prolonging engine life is to start with normal oil pressure. The secret here is an air bottle in the cockpit and a passenger with only one leg.

PS even if you could identify the offending follower the rest are well on the way to recycling.
Roger Walker

This thread was discussed between 23/04/2001 and 02/05/2001

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