View Full Version : Cure to ticking lifters

01-25-2014, 03:50 PM
Hey guys so I have a 94 with 80k+ miles on and the problem started with intermittent ticking of lifters. So seafoam and lighter oil was placed and had a short relief. Eventually the ticking got worst so I painstakingly removed and clean each one of them. Now the ticking is just on the initial start up of the day then it will go away completely for the entire day as long as I keep it warm.

1. Clean it again?
2. Lighter oil? - how light?
3. Install new lifters?
- OEM or aftermarket would do?
4. Replace complete head with a refurbished one since a set of lifters is almost half of a decently refurbished head cylinder?

Thanks for any input.

01-25-2014, 04:37 PM
If you are only getting tick on initial start up, I probably wouldn't do anything. Initial ticking with these things are pretty normal. You kind of learn to live with it. If it gets real bad again, you may consider changing the lifters.

Do not put a cylinder head just to get rid of the ticking. It will be a big waste of money.

01-25-2014, 06:51 PM

Okay so if the ticking has been resolved why still tick at initial cold start up? They can't be broken since they stop ticking after they are started. Maybe I didn't clean them well?

01-25-2014, 07:16 PM
Sometimes when things make noise, it does not mean they are broken. When Miata hydraulic lifters get a little age on them, they tend to make some ticking noise. If you can't stand it, go ahead and replace them. If not, let them ride. As long as the ticking is not to bad, the motor will perform just fine.

There is the option of installing NB solid lifters, but some camps believe that the earlier cam profile and solid lifter combo will cause accelerated wear. Racers and tuners do this to make a tad more power, typically they use the shim under solid lifter because it is so light. However, I am pretty sure you can use a shim over if you have the lash properly set.

kung fu jesus
01-25-2014, 07:17 PM
Let them tick for a few moments, then raise the idle via the accelerator to about 2-3k. The oil pressure will eventually fill the the lifters. Sometimes a little driving around will bring them to spec. Miata Life.

01-25-2014, 08:50 PM
Experiment with different oil weights. Sometimes heavier works better, sometimes lighter. (logic being that lighter will fill and pressurize quicker... or that heavier will STAY in the lifters, and thus pressurize quicker)

My '96 would always tick after high-revving. A couple autocross runs. 10 minutes at 75 mph on the highway. Didn't matter. Anything that held the rpm's up for a while, it would tick. What cured THAT car was 15w40. Most other Miatas I've had have been happy on 10w30. I ran an old beater on 20w50 just because it had 200k+ on it, that's what the PO used, and it seemed happy with it.

Lighter oil is better for cold starts and fuel economy, I'd start with that. See if 5w30 cures your problem. If not (or if that's what you're already using), start stepping up until you find the weight of oil that your engine likes.

Also, be sure you're using an oil filter with a good anti-drainback valve.

Don't go dumping a bunch of money into curing a harmless start-up tick, though.

01-25-2014, 08:50 PM
AS far as oil recommendations I have had great success running Shell Rotella T6.

01-27-2014, 10:44 PM
Yup. That's all I've used few a few years, now. It's cheap and ages well...doesn't shear down quickly like some other oils do.