Reliability Of Vehicle Right After Lifter Replacement

adam759adam759 Member Posts: 3
edited May 2015 in General
Hello Everybody, I am new to this, but I have a fairly simple question.

A few weeks ago, our 2004 Chevy Suburban with just over 100,000 miles started to make a very strange noise out of the blue. We diagnosed it to a stuck lifter. The motor is a Vortec 5.3L. Next week, we are going to have a mechanic, who can do this kind of work in his sleep, replace all the lifters on the one side that the problem lifter is on. However, this is where things get tricky.

In a few weeks, we are taking a very long road trip, about 900 miles round trip. We will have the car with the lifters replaced for just over a week before the trip. The question I have is, will the car be reliable with the lifters freshly replaced to go on such a long trip? Will we have to worry about any issues that might arise, if any? Like I said, the mechanic we are going through has done this work a thousand time and is extremely reliable. Also, other than the lifter, the vehicle and the motor are in pristine condition with no other problems whatsoever. But, even so, should there be any doubt in the reliability being that it is going to be freshly repaired and reassembled?

Any recommendations or advice would be extremely helpful.




  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,614
    If a lifter is failing on one of these, why would you have someone try to only do one side? A lot of the lifter failures that are seen are caused by the rollers failing and not the lifter itself "sticking". If a roller has failed it will also need to have the camshaft replaced.

    Is the "mechanic" that you have chosen a full time pro actively working in a shop who has worked on these engines? Anyone who knows these and the issues that arise would be very hesitant to attempt to only throw some lifters at this, especially when any lifter service requires removal of the cylinder head on that side. Did this mechanic diagnose this failure or did he/she simply provide an estimate based on someone else's opinion on the failure?

    For the record, what kind of service intervals did the engine see, and specifically what oil was used? Did you switch to a dexos approved product back in 2011 when that specification came out?
  • adam759adam759 Member Posts: 3
    Hello, thanks for the reply! To be clear, the lifter "sticking" was only a preliminary observation, and that observation was made by us (having general automotive engine and maintenance knowledge), not the mechanic. The mechanic we are going through is Chevy certified and has worked on tons of these same engines. We are not for certain that is the problem, but based on research and removal of the valve cover, it seems to be the case. Either way, we are going to have it completely fixed. But, my main question is not really about the details of the fix, rather if it is completely and correctly fixed, should we have any doubt on the reliability based solely on the new repairs? Even though the repairs will be done right, can something still go wrong as a result of those repairs over a very long trip? Like I said, everything else on the vehicle is pristine, and it has gotten very routine maintenance.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,614
    edited May 2015
    IMO. You should consider renting a vehicle for your trip. The time frame is way too short to allow for proof that all of the issues will have been corrected.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    edited May 2015
    I'm not too keen on your mechanic's plan either. Lifter noise is very common on these engines and if I were in your shoes I'd use a motor flush as well as even attempt to run a carb cleaner type chemical right through the pushrods for those cylinders and into the suspect lifters (after taking off the coil packs, valve cover and rocker arms). That would also be a good time to check the pushrods and rocker arms for clogging or wear. The pushrods are hollow and must be clear of gunk.

    If that flushing and cleaning doesn't quiet the lifter then the head has to come off (you can't extract the lifters on this engine without doing that). I'm also not keen on putting new lifters on an old camshaft, although you might get away with it short-term.

    If you plan on keeping this vehicle a long time, then when you open the engine you might as well do it right--both heads off, new camshaft, new lifters--what it called a "top end rebuild". Not a cheap repair but cheaper than a new car or a completely new engine.

    As to your direct question---if the repair is done "right" you should have no problems on the road--but of course take a day to run the car and check for leaks, etc.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,614
    edited May 2015
    "I'm not too keen on your mechanic's plan either."

    I don't think the mechanic has been privy to all of the details. But a day or two to check for leaks isn't being responsible from the vehicle owners when it comes to heading out on a trip right after a repair, and especially one this complicated. One minor issue and the car is close to home is unfortunate but that's life. A small problem away from home easily becomes a much bigger one especially when the ability to warranty ones work is now compromised.

    They need to rent a vehicle.
  • adam759adam759 Member Posts: 3
    Thank you everyone for the advice! We are probably going to end up taking another vehicle just to be safe. We did try the motor flush and carb cleaner several times last week to no avail. And to be clear, the mechanic is probably going to replace everything he needs to, such as the camshaft and all lifters, we were just assuming what he is going to be doing at this point. He went away during Memorial day weekend, so we will have details next week.

    Again, thanks for the advice!
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