Rebuilt ALH Lifter Noise NEED HELP!!!

01tdialh

Active member
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Location
Wa
TDI
2001 jetta
Just got back from our excursion and played your video. Nice setup and Sweet fleet! Especially the small cart and cycle, I bet someone's mighty happy with those.
Something else crossed my mind, piston slap. Has a different sound than bearings or lifters though. Hopefully just something loose in the pump. Maybe in your advance mechanism, there is a field that you can view it from on vcds. I suppose you could see if it is bouncing around maybe. Or if you have a friend who gets brave after a couple beers, stick him under the hood to find where it's coming from;)
A side note, though I know it's to late. The Molinar rods Frank carries are from a fellow who was introduced to rod technology back in the '80's when we worked together at Oliver when they were getting into main caps and rods for stock cars.
I doubt it’s piston slap! My piston to cylinder clearance is .0015” on the dot!! And thank you!!!
 

jmodge

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Greenville, MI
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2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
Curious if you get much smoke with those injectors, .260's must pump some juice. Did you rebuild it with ALH pistons?
 

d24tdi

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Jan 6, 2019
Location
MT
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97 AHU in a Toyota pickup
I’m running 5w40 shaeferrs and doing it with that and joe Gibbs break in oil!!
Well I doubt you'd have any problems with either of those, so I think you are right, seems unlikely oil viscosity could be causing issues with the followers.

As another poster noted, seems like your best bet at this point is to start going after whatever parts were common to both the old engine and the new one. Probably will be a fairly short list given the recent thorough refresh.

Is the issue *exactly* the same now as it was with the old engine, or any different at all?

Any chance it could be something funny we're not thinking of? Like the alternator overrun clutch making noise until the alt slows back down to near belt speed? Does it only occur while the engine is spinning down to idle, or is it there consistently when you hold a steady RPM?
 

jmodge

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Location
Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
Well I doubt you'd have any problems with either of those, so I think you are right, seems unlikely oil viscosity could be causing issues with the followers.

As another poster noted, seems like your best bet at this point is to start going after whatever parts were common to both the old engine and the new one. Probably will be a fairly short list given the recent thorough refresh.

Is the issue *exactly* the same now as it was with the old engine, or any different at all?

Any chance it could be something funny we're not thinking of? Like the alternator overrun clutch making noise until the alt slows back down to near belt speed? Does it only occur while the engine is spinning down to idle, or is it there consistently when you hold a steady RPM?
That's another possibility to consider, accessories. Sounds unlikely to be engine internals to me either given what you've done. No evidence of valve float/ piston contact on the old pistons from too high of an oil pressure?
FYI, I have taken an old dormant injection pump that was sitting for awhile and put it in a vise, filled it with Liqui Moli Diesel purge and let it sit for a few days. Then I put bolts through the pulley flange and so as to not rotate it from the nut. It started out pretty stiff but There was a noticeable difference in resistance after several turns. The pump is still in use and working fine.
 

01tdialh

Active member
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Location
Wa
TDI
2001 jetta
Well I doubt you'd have any problems with either of those, so I think you are right, seems unlikely oil viscosity could be causing issues with the followers.

As another poster noted, seems like your best bet at this point is to start going after whatever parts were common to both the old engine and the new one. Probably will be a fairly short list given the recent thorough refresh.

Is the issue *exactly* the same now as it was with the old engine, or any different at all?

Any chance it could be something funny we're not thinking of? Like the alternator overrun clutch making noise until the alt slows back down to near belt speed? Does it only occur while the engine is spinning down to idle, or is it there consistently when you hold a steady RPM?
I need to pull the belt and try that..it Makes noise at all rpm. Can’t tell if it makes noise during acceleration because of exhaust and intake noise! The noise is identical to before!!
 

01tdialh

Active member
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Location
Wa
TDI
2001 jetta
I didnt
That's another possibility to consider, accessories. Sounds unlikely to be engine internals to me either given what you've done. No evidence of valve float/ piston contact on the old pistons from too high of an oil pressure?
FYI, I have taken an old dormant injection pump that was sitting for awhile and put it in a vise, filled it with Liqui Moli Diesel purge and let it sit for a few days. Then I put bolts through the pulley flange and so as to not rotate it from the nut. It started out pretty stiff but There was a noticeable difference in resistance after several turns. The pump is still in use and working fine.
I didn’t see any interference at all on the old motor!
 

Poor King

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Joined
May 20, 2020
Location
NY
TDI
92 Jetta, 03 Jetta
I didnt

I didn’t see any interference at all on the old motor!
Did you hold the revs at 3-4K for two mins straight like I had mentioned?..There are a few BMW and GM motors which suffer from oil starvation to the head/cam and that practice is the remedy.

It will also determine whether it is an accessory that is ticking or caused by loss from oil reciprocity.
 

jmodge

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2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
Checked out another one of your videos and after you figure out your present issue i would like to bend your ear a little.

I think you will have it figured out soon. I see you you have extra parts and a running car in your fleet, TDI necessities. Bearings on the serp tensioners fail, so check those when you pull the belt. If it's not an accessory, it won't take someone like you long to pull and swap an injection pump. I would put one to soak right now if you don't want to pull it from the running car. Fuel can get tacky sitting around, you don't want the quantity adjuster sticking on you.
 

01tdialh

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Location
Wa
TDI
2001 jetta
Did you hold the revs at 3-4K for two mins straight like I had mentioned?..There are a few BMW and GM motors which suffer from oil starvation to the head/cam and that practice is the remedy.

It will also determine whether it is an accessory that is ticking or caused by loss from oil reciprocity.
Yes i did try that and didnt notice any change!
 

01tdialh

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Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Location
Wa
TDI
2001 jetta
Checked out another one of your videos and after you figure out your present issue i would like to bend your ear a little.

I think you will have it figured out soon. I see you you have extra parts and a running car in your fleet, TDI necessities. Bearings on the serp tensioners fail, so check those when you pull the belt. If it's not an accessory, it won't take someone like you long to pull and swap an injection pump. I would put one to soak right now if you don't want to pull it from the running car. Fuel can get tacky sitting around, you don't want the quantity adjuster sticking on you.
The toyota doesnt have the VW tensioner, its a custom piece! Ill pull the belt and see what happens! I have a extra pump and injectors to swap in but am very busy on the current build! When i get a day ill dig into it!
 

01tdialh

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Wa
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2001 jetta
That's good then. Even new parts can often find themselves defective. I would check any parts with a bearing or roller 😶
Will do! I have tried many many times to located even a general area the noise is coming from with a stethescope, but have failed! Like i said it really only does it after accelerating through a gear, maybe putting a load on it somehow changes something?!? By the time i stop and open the hood its quiet again!
 

Poor King

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Location
NY
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92 Jetta, 03 Jetta
So if you are on neutral and rev the motor, it does not tik?

Btw, I saw your video an rebuilding an ALH and getting all the measurements down to a science, and I will use it as a guide for my own motor rebuild. So thanks for that!
 

01tdialh

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Location
Wa
TDI
2001 jetta
So if you are on neutral and rev the motor, it does not tik?

Btw, I saw your video an rebuilding an ALH and getting all the measurements down to a science, and I will use it as a guide for my own motor rebuild. So thanks for that!
Awesome! Glad it will help!! No, i can be in neutral and rev it and its mostly fine. Occasionally ill get literally 1 or 2 taps and thats it!!
 

Poor King

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NY
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92 Jetta, 03 Jetta
Just thinking about it drives me crazy. Did you try adding motor oil in increments to see if it stops or lowers the duration of the tik... just to completely negate the oil starvation theory. If you had AC you could stress test the rotary accesories.
 

01tdialh

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Location
Wa
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2001 jetta
Just thinking about it drives me crazy. Did you try adding motor oil in increments to see if it stops or lowers the duration of the tik... just to completely negate the oil starvation theory. If you had AC you could stress test the rotary accesories.
No ac! What do you mean by adding in increments? Like start adding more past full? I just dumped in 4.5 qts when I switched from breakin oil
 

01tdialh

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Location
Wa
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2001 jetta
Just thinking about it drives me crazy. Did you try adding motor oil in increments to see if it stops or lowers the duration of the tik... just to completely negate the oil starvation theory. If you had AC you could stress test the rotary accesories.
When I pull the valve cover there wasn’t a TON of oil, but I pulled the cover on my alh Jetta and it has about the same amount pooled up! Checked oil pressure at the head and compared to my car and they are within 2 psi hot and cold. It totally makes sense that a lifter is coming unprimed somehow, as they take a bit to fully pump up! But everything checks out perfectly! Only other thing i can think of is a lifter bore is out of spec. Just comparing with the cam in and valve uncompressed they all feel tight and consistent to each other..
 

Poor King

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NY
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92 Jetta, 03 Jetta
Add an extra .5 of oil. Could be the difference in volumetric displacement between the two motors since on had head work done and runs a diff set of pistons.
 

Poor King

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NY
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92 Jetta, 03 Jetta
Just saw it and came to post-- it's definitely not oil starvation. You got a internal part with play and returns to spec/tolerance once it is warmed up. I don't see how you can find the problem without tearing it apart.
 

jmodge

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Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
Check for an exhaust leak, possibly where the injector mates to the head. If not swap out your injectors and then your pump. I saw a video of your truck in the snow, lot of black smoke, hope you didn't damage another piston.
 

Poor King

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Location
NY
TDI
92 Jetta, 03 Jetta
Check for an exhaust leak, possibly where the injector mates to the head. If not swap out your injectors and then your pump. I saw a video of your truck in the snow, lot of black smoke, hope you didn't damage another piston.
That injector and fuel pimp would be a problem to consider except for the fact that the ticking stops once it has warmed up. However a piston can definitely be a viable scenario for such a noise.

I only know of 4 culprits for cam tick, if all working parts where installed correctly--

1. Oil weight
2. Incorrect timing
3. Low oil reciprocation
4. Design flaw

The final issue is something I have personally dealt with both on BMW and GM products, where the head design caused high cam wear because of oil starvation at startups.
 

01tdialh

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Sep 25, 2018
Location
Wa
TDI
2001 jetta
Check for an exhaust leak, possibly where the injector mates to the head. If not swap out your injectors and then your pump. I saw a video of your truck in the snow, lot of black smoke, hope you didn't damage another piston.
That was a while ago and have turned down the fuel a ton since then!! It doesn’t smoke much anymore!! I’m going to swap injectors, the more I actually listen to the noise in the gopro video, the more it sounds like an injector!
 

01tdialh

Active member
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Location
Wa
TDI
2001 jetta
That injector and fuel pimp would be a problem to consider except for the fact that the ticking stops once it has warmed up. However a piston can definitely be a viable scenario for such a noise.

I only know of 4 culprits for cam tick, if all working parts where installed correctly--

1. Oil weight
2. Incorrect timing
3. Low oil reciprocation
4. Design flaw

The final issue is something I have personally dealt with both on BMW and GM products, where the head design caused high cam wear because of oil starvation at startups.
Pistons were set to .0015. And the same noise was present before I rebuilt the motor! Pistons are tight I know that for a fact
 

01tdialh

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Location
Wa
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2001 jetta
What about camshaft timing? Without the vw trans bolted up I’m using the balancer mark but feel it’s not real accurate!
 

d24tdi

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Location
MT
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97 AHU in a Toyota pickup
From the best I can hear, that sound in the video is an intake thump, very similar to the noise the PD engines make when they wipe a cam lobe or chew a hole in a follower, or what some other engines do if they bend a pushrod or wear a rocker arm out. I think your original focus on the valvetrain as the source of this issue is correct, I don't hear anything in your video that sounds like an injector knock to me, or an injection pump noise, etc.

That intake pop/whump/thump noise is usually an exhaust valve not opening enough, and/or closing too early, due to the flat cam lobe or failed follower. Then when the intake valve then opens for the intake stroke, there is residual exhaust pressure inside the cylinder that burps back into the intake, causing the popping noise. If it gets bad enough, you can also get MAF plausibility codes, find soot in the air filter, other signs like that. Have you seen any of those?

I suppose you could also get a similar noise from other valvetrain malfunctions, but I also hear what sounds like some lifter tap at the same time the thump happens. So I think insufficient lift or duration from excessive follower clearance is more or less still what you'd want to go after.

The possibility of excessive clearance in the lifter bore and resulting oil pressure loss and lifter bleed-down could be something to investigate, like you said. But in that case I would probably expect the issue to get worse when warm, not better. Still, maybe the lifter clearance gets tighter when the engine warms up and that offsets the thinner hot oil. I think you're right to keep this possibility on the list.

Remind us once more what kind of work was done on the cylinder head when you had the engine apart? You said new cam and lifters, what about the rest of the valvetrain? Did it get a valve job?

Any chance it could have one or two valves with an installed stem height that is shorter than spec, due to a new seat or due to the stem end being ground down or some other cause? If that were the case, then the hydraulic lash adjuster in the lifter would be working overtime to make up the excess clearance and maybe it wouldn't be able to keep up when the oil is cold, leading to excess clearance and the two noises (tap and intake thump) that you're hearing.

If you got creative and could get hands on the right measuring equipment, I bet you could check both the lifter bore clearance and the valve stem height with the head still on the motor and the cam and lifters pulled.

Other than those two possibilities, hard to think of much else.
 
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