Another Comp Cam & Lifter Failure?? - Help me please

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ZJeepX
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Another Comp Cam & Lifter Failure?? - Help me please

Post by ZJeepX »

Hello All,

So heres where I’m at. 1992 Jeep XJ w/ 4.2 mini Stroker via Russ / aw4 , np231

Silvolite PN#2229 Bored .06 over
Comp Cams 4x4 Extreme - PN# 68-232-4 w/ nitride coating
Comp Cams High Energy Hydraulic Lifters - PN# 822-12
Melling m81 - Standard Oil Pump
Stock length pushrods (Melling)
Was running a new set of stock rockers all this time but as you will find in the novel below I just switched to HS Roller Rockers because they are pretty.

Engine was broken in with comp cams break in oil and run @ 2000rpm standard procedure replaced the oil then replaced again @ 500 miles and then again @ 1500 miles. Was running Lucas 10w-30 Hot Rod oil for the first 3000 then switched to 15w-40.

Russ provided all of the parts and did all of the machine work. I did all of the assembly. Project went on for years and finally a couple of years ago got it done and have been driving the Jeep for about 4,000 miles or so on the new motor. Had a ton of annoying electrical gremlins, went through about 8 Cps sensors and a few distributors. They don’t make the original molar Cps for early models. Finally figured all that out.

The Jeep has been running really good up until this week when I pulled off the highway and heard loud tapping noises. Pulled over and opened the hood while idling and it was very loud. Shut her down and got the Jeep home.

- Took the valve cover off and found that the #6 cylinder rockers had enough play in them to wiggle them back and forth easily by hand. So I checked all of the rockers and made sure they were torqued to spec.
- Changed the oil and filter to a lighter weight 5w30 (was running 15w-40) Oil that I dumped was clean, no metallic flakes or anything unusual
- Changed the spark plugs to a one step colder set which I had been planning to do. The plugs that were in for the last few thousand looked good. Grayish proper color.
- Started her back up with the valve cover off. Tapping was still there. Rockers were getting oil at idle and made a little mess when given any throttle.
- Removed the rockers push rods and inspected them. Some of the pushrods were a little worn on the very tips. Holes were basically misshapen just a bit on the rocker side. Lifter side the rods were all fine. No bent rods.
- Had a set of Harland Sharp roller rockers that I have been too lazy to install so I decided to throw them on with a full new set of push rods just to see if that alleviated the tapping at all.
- Checked that the pushrods were correct length and that the lash was within spec. Basically all of the rockers torqued down to spec from zero lash within 1 full turn of the bolt. Most were right at 3/4 turn. Some were in between that and a 1/2 turn.
- Felt all of the rockers for play after torquing and rotating the engine and they felt solid.
- Started the engine up again with cover off and they got oil just as before. All of pushrods spun as they went through the motions.
- Still have very loud tapping! Let the motor warm up to see if that would help and it did no so I shut her off.
- Once again, I grabbed all of the rockers to check for play and found that #5 exhaust was slightly loose and #1 intake was slightly loose. Waited for things to cool down a little and checked again and #5 exhaust pushrod can be pushed down by hand and feels totally spongy which brings me to my questions…

Does this means my lifter is collapsed? Also, could the lifter just have bled down quickly from the oil being 5w-30? (its what I had in the garage) Either way I assume it’s not supposed to do that so quickly.

There is a little play in a few other lifters as well (although not near as bad as #5) which makes me think I have multiple collapsed lifters and most likely flattened cam lobes…

I am planning to tear the head off as it clearly can’t be helped I assume but in the meantime, please let me know your thoughts so I can move forward and try to get this thing running like it should!

My other questions would be, what cam and lifter set should I run next? I was looking at Clay Smith potentially depending on cost. Made in America and all that. Or should I go back to a stock cam and lifter setup to keep things reliable?

I daily drive the Jeep and really don’t abuse it although its fun to smash the pedal every now and then. Really, performance wise I did the mini stroker in hopes of having a mild motor that was fun and reliable.

Thanks for you time!
-Zach
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Re: Another Comp Cam & Lifter Failure?? - Help me please

Post by Cheromaniac »

I went through the same pain 17 years ago when I had both lifters fail on the no.6 cylinder after 34k miles. I originally built my stroker with a Crane 753905 cam and Mopar valve springs but since I still had the original stock cam and valve springs, I threw those back in with new lifters. The engine ran reliably for another 10 years and 52k miles until I eventually sold the Jeep at the end of 2016.
The performance difference with the stock cam was negligible so I didn't really miss the Crane cam.
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1995 Mustang GT - 4AT - Modded Sold
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Re: Another Comp Cam & Lifter Failure?? - Help me please

Post by ZJeepX »

Cheromaniac wrote: March 9th, 2023, 10:48 pm I went through the same pain 17 years ago when I had both lifters fail on the no.6 cylinder after 34k miles. I originally built my stroker with a Crane 753905 cam and Mopar valve springs but since I still had the original stock cam and valve springs, I threw those back in with new lifters. The engine ran reliably for another 10 years and 52k miles until I eventually sold the Jeep at the end of 2016.
The performance difference with the stock cam was negligible so I didn't really miss the Crane cam.
I wish I had kept my old cam although that poor thing went through some hell and probably wouldn’t be any use today. Problem is that I don’t have it any more after moving across the country back and forth a few times.

Basically I have to start over with a new cam at this point. With all of the failures that I have read about, I’m not thrilled to be in this position. Would a stock cam grind potentially be more reliable because of the less aggressive lobes?

Also, I do have some heavier springs currently installed by Russ that were meant to compliment the Comp Cam. Would those work with a stock grind cam? Or would I need to do the springs as well? Don’t have those any longer either…

Thanks for the reply,
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Re: Another Comp Cam & Lifter Failure?? - Help me please

Post by TJBUD »

ZJEEPX, bummer on the cam/lifter problems. Have you pulled the cam and lifters and looked at them to for sure see what has failed?
If the cam is really nitrided (comp cams nitrided cam part #-s usually end in -5?) and failed that will be really interesting to understand.

I looked at the data sheets on Lucas hot rod 10w30 and 10w40 and both have 2100 ppm of zinc which is fine for flat tappets. What was the 15W-40 you changed to after 3000 and for how many additional miles before failure? I assume the 5W-30 was after the failure and unimportant.

Russ can advise you on the springs since he knows your cylinder head.

Good luck, TJBUD
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Re: Another Comp Cam & Lifter Failure?? - Help me please

Post by Russ Pottenger »

Hi Zach,

Sorry to hear of your problems with the camshaft. The nitride upgrade in large part greatly diminishes camshaft failure but obviously in your case something is happening.
In recent years I have switched over to the Johnson Hylift A2011 lifter primarily because I was having some inconsistent bleed down down issues with the 822 lifter but not outright failure.

Sounds like you’re running the earlier style cam with the drilled bolt spring and pin. Other things come to mind is verifying you have the correct OEM washer and your timing cover has the nipple in it.

Feel free to reach out to me I’ll be happy to brainstorm with you.

Russ
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Re: Another Comp Cam & Lifter Failure?? - Help me please

Post by ZJeepX »

TJBUD wrote: March 10th, 2023, 9:25 am ZJEEPX, bummer on the cam/lifter problems. Have you pulled the cam and lifters and looked at them to for sure see what has failed?
If the cam is really nitrided (comp cams nitrided cam part #-s usually end in -5?) and failed that will be really interesting to understand.

I looked at the data sheets on Lucas hot rod 10w30 and 10w40 and both have 2100 ppm of zinc which is fine for flat tappets. What was the 15W-40 you changed to after 3000 and for how many additional miles before failure? I assume the 5W-30 was after the failure and unimportant.

Russ can advise you on the springs since he knows your cylinder head.

Good luck, TJBUD
I haven’t pulled the head yet. Will get to it this weekend most likely. I would be stoked to find that it was only the lifters and not the cam. My biggest worry is that I check everything, replace the lifters, and assume the cam is good only to find out that I need to tear the head off again because the cam is also bad. Would it be that obvious if the cam is flat? If I don’t see any wear and measure the lift to check would I most likely be ok?

The 15w-40 was rotella t4, should have 1200ppm which as far as I know is fine for flat tappet. Only ran for the last 1000 miles. Figured it was ok but I will probably run Brad Penn or similar in the future if I can prevent this!

5w-30 was mobile 1 with Lucas ZDDP engine break in additive. That was only run for a minute or two after the failure to check the new roller rockers. I wont be running mobile 1 in the engine at all.

Thanks for your time,
Zach
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Re: Another Comp Cam & Lifter Failure?? - Help me please

Post by ZJeepX »

Russ Pottenger wrote: March 10th, 2023, 10:09 am Hi Zach,

Sorry to hear of your problems with the camshaft. The nitride upgrade in large part greatly diminishes camshaft failure but obviously in your case something is happening.
In recent years I have switched over to the Johnson Hylift A2011 lifter primarily because I was having some inconsistent bleed down down issues with the 822 lifter but not outright failure.

Sounds like you’re running the earlier style cam with the drilled bolt spring and pin. Other things come to mind is verifying you have the correct OEM washer and your timing cover has the nipple in it.

Feel free to reach out to me I’ll be happy to brainstorm with you.

Russ
No worries Russ! I’m bummed but it will get sorted. I will pull the head and check everything this weekend and get back to you. Hopefully the cam is ok but I am concerned about replacing just lifters and then having more issues if I miss something on the cam. What is the best way to check for flattened lobes? Obvious wear is a clear indicator but if things look ok and lift measures out ok do you think I would be alright to keep running the cam?

I can’t seem to find Hy-Lift lifters anywhere. What is the cost on those? Also, do you have any experience with Clay Smith lifters or their Cams? If I do need a cam, what would you recommend for the most reliability, I did like the comp cam as far as torque and the sound of it.


I’ll get the head pulled and confirm some things. Would be awesome if it was only the lifter bleed down issue.

Thanks ,
Zach
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Re: Another Comp Cam & Lifter Failure?? - Help me please

Post by ZJeepX »

Updates! And some pics

Alright so I got the head off today and pulled the lifters. Cam is still installed, not sure I will pull it out. Let me know your thoughts everyone…

First off, noticed that I am getting some piston slap on multiple cylinders. Does this look normal or excessive??

Next I pulled all lifters and looked at them closely, they actually look pretty good and don’t have excessive wear which makes me pretty happy. Looking at the cam through the lifter holes with a bright light, it also looks good from a quick visual. No wear marks that I can see. Would this indicate that the cam is probably ok? I will do a lift check with the dial indicator to verify everything is within spec.

How could I tell if the lobes are wiped? Would it be fairly obvious or could it be subtle?

Do the lifters look worn to you?? Obviously I am having issues with them bleeding down quickly and something is wrong there but otherwise they don’t look bad to my eye.

See pics and let me know what y’all think please.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Thank you,
Zach
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Re: Another Comp Cam & Lifter Failure?? - Help me please

Post by Russ Pottenger »

Hi Zach,

The lifter should have a slight crown on the bottom. I use a 6 inch metal machinist ruler and place it on the bottom and hold the lifter up to a light and you should be able to confirm there’s still a crown in the lifter.

Usually a visual on nose of the cam lobe should be a determinative.

The cost of the A2011 Johnson Hylift lifters from me are $118.00 a set if you decide that you would like to replace them.

Just so you and others know you can always put a new set of lifters on an old cam but not vica versa. You just have to put break-in molly lube back on the Camshaft and on the bottom of the lifter and start the cam break-in procedure over.
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Re: Another Comp Cam & Lifter Failure?? - Help me please

Post by ZJeepX »

Russ Pottenger wrote: March 12th, 2023, 11:46 am Hi Zach,

The lifter should have a slight crown on the bottom. I use a 6 inch metal machinist ruler and place it on the bottom and hold the lifter up to a light and you should be able to confirm there’s still a crown in the lifter.

Usually a visual on nose of the cam lobe should be a determinative.

The cost of the A2011 Johnson Hylift lifters from me are $118.00 a set if you decide that you would like to replace them.

Just so you and others know you can always put a new set of lifters on an old cam but not vica versa. You just have to put break-in molly lube back on the Camshaft and on the bottom of the lifter and start the cam break-in procedure over.
Hey Russ,

I just checked all of the lifters and they all still have a slight crown. All are consistent as well, none of the gaps look different to the naked eye.

Also just rechecked the cam with an Inspection Scope up close with bright LEDs on the end of the scope and with the bright led right up to the cam, you can see little wear marks from the lifters travel across the lobes. No major marks or gashed or anything. Without the scope, just shining a bright light down the lifter bore and looking from above, they look polished silver and no visible marks.

Do you think it would be safe to run the cam or are there any more specific tests I could do to determine if the lobes are bad?

Thanks for the info,
Zach
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Re: Another Comp Cam & Lifter Failure?? - Help me please

Post by ZJeepX »

Also, does the piston slap look ok to you in the second photo? I have piston slap marks in most cylinders, varying degrees.
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