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Old 08-02-2013, 10:37 AM   #1
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Question Replace the lifters or wait...?

So I just bought this 98 TJ about 2 months ago, I bought it with a loud exhaust leak, I knew what it was and was pretty sure thats why i got a good deal. I replaced the header and gasket to find out it has the apparently common lifter tap problem. I have about $250 available to replace the lifters, but I just looked this morning and it has the infamous 0331 head casting...

SO do you all think I should live with the lifter tap, get a spartan front locker and wait to just replace the head and lifters all at once, or go ahead and replace the lifters now and hope the head is fine after I torque it back down?

I have read the 0331 heads were having problems from 99-01 TJ's XJ's and WJ's I have not read anything about the 98's having the crack problem, I just assumed the 98 would not have the 0331 casting. Is it safe to say, that all of the 0331 castings are the same, with the same likelihood of cracking?

The Jeep has 130,000 miles, runs well other than the tapping at idle, no loss of power, doesn't use coolant or get hot, already replaced the valve cover gasket and everything looked pretty good no sludge or milky nastyness.

Thanks for looking, all opinions welcome

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Old 08-02-2013, 05:31 PM   #2
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I also have a 98 TJ with a 4.0L engine. mine has 84 k miles. No noises as of yet. It is possible a lifter(s) could have something stuck in one (very small piece of gasket material for exmple). You don't have much to lose if you try running some marvel Mystry oil in the engine oil for a while. It is extreemly high detergent stuff, and may clear it/them out. If not you didn't lose but a couple dollars for a bottle. I have not heard about the 0331 cylinder head issue. I assume you are talking about the 4.0L . since I am new to jeeps-but not to engines I would like to know whats up with this yr model cyl head. Thanks for any replies.

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Old 08-02-2013, 07:16 PM   #3
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I used a quart of Marvel Mystery Oil in my 00' when I changed oil the first time after I purchased it used. It had the lifter tick sound and after using MMO the lifter tick went away. It took a couple hundred miles but it did go away and hasn't returned. Like kawzak said, try it for a couple bucks and see if it helps.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:12 PM   #4
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I'm sorry, it does have the 4.0 and after much reading today, it looks like the 98 engine has been replaced with a "newer" engine with the 0331 head casting, or at least the head has been replaced... In late 99 they changed the head on all the 4.0 liter engines to the 0331 head which has smaller intake and exhaust ports, and is prone to cracking between the 3rd and 4th cylinder. There is a bunch of info on the 0331 head crack problem on google, it is not usually related to lifter problems though a huge number of 4.0s are subject to the lifter tap no matter the head casting.

I have tried Seafoam, which made the noise go away for about 1 day but then it returned, slightly less loud though. Then I changed the oil after running the flush for 5 min, and that helped a little, but it is still there. I think I will either try marvel or a high detergent diesel oil like Rotella. I think I have decided to wait on the lifters because I don't want to spend the cash on the gaskets and potentially take the Jeep out of service for a month waiting on a new head.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:43 PM   #5
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I changed the oil to Rotella T5 10w 30, and added Lucas Zinc additive, ticking seemed to get better yet but still there. I did notice the engine appears to never get over 160-180 degrees.

I wonder if it has the wrong thermostat in it? If I change the thermostat to the 195 degree, will that have a positive or negative effect on the lifter noise? It would only be about $20, but I've changed the oil three times in the short time I've owned the Jeep, I'm just about to the point of giving up on the ticking...
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jscuda View Post
I changed the oil to Rotella T5 10w 30, and added Lucas Zinc additive, ticking seemed to get better yet but still there. I did notice the engine appears to never get over 160-180 degrees.

I wonder if it has the wrong thermostat in it? If I change the thermostat to the 195 degree, will that have a positive or negative effect on the lifter noise? It would only be about $20, but I've changed the oil three times in the short time I've owned the Jeep, I'm just about to the point of giving up on the ticking...
No oil additives or a change in engine temps will stop the ticking. They may mask it or make it quieter, but it will never stop the real problem. I would save my money, not risk damaging other engine parts by introducing sticky oil additives, and just redo my lifters once I had enough money.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:12 PM   #7
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Your Jeep should have a 195 thermostat, the computer system requires it to work correctly. Also before you invest in a head/lifters, you might want to do some more reading up on the 4.0. Piston slap is a more common problem, and can mimic lifter noise.

Our has had it for years, got 150,000 on it. Still runs like a top.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepwayoflife View Post

No oil additives or a change in engine temps will stop the ticking. They may mask it or make it quieter, but it will never stop the real problem. I would save my money, not risk damaging other engine parts by introducing sticky oil additives, and just redo my lifters once I had enough money.
Best advice in this thread! One thing is to make sure it's a lifter "tick" and not a lifter "knock." There's a difference between just a sticky lifter and one that is totally eff'd up! Trust me, I'm in the process of having mine replaced as we speak. Wish mine were only sticking, but as the post above says, better to replace before having more costly damage.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:41 PM   #9
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I'm not really sure of the difference, but mine sounds exactly like the one in this video:



I don't believe it has a cracked head yet though, If it is a gummed up lifter, then wouldn't running a detergent though the engine for 5-10,000 miles should help right? Obivoulsly if the part making the noise in the engine is broken then you are right, nothing can be added to the oil to fix the problem, but I have read quite a few posts about people switching to a high detergent oil like Diesel oil, or adding a detergent additive and the noise goes away. I will say I have yet to have success with this but the idea seems sound to me.

I wondered if the engine isn't getting up to the temperature it was designed to run at, if that could cause the lifters to not pump up correctly (incorrect oil viscosity) anyway, I think I'm just going to replace the head and lifters, I didn't want to spend that kind of money right now, but I have the money and may not have it later when the head cracks...
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Old 08-11-2013, 08:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jscuda View Post
I'm not really sure of the difference, but mine sounds exactly like the one in this video:



I don't believe it has a cracked head yet though, If it is a gummed up lifter, then wouldn't running a detergent though the engine for 5-10,000 miles should help right? Obivoulsly if the part making the noise in the engine is broken then you are right, nothing can be added to the oil to fix the problem, but I have read quite a few posts about people switching to a high detergent oil like Diesel oil, or adding a detergent additive and the noise goes away. I will say I have yet to have success with this but the idea seems sound to me.

I wondered if the engine isn't getting up to the temperature it was designed to run at, if that could cause the lifters to not pump up correctly (incorrect oil viscosity) anyway, I think I'm just going to replace the head and lifters, I didn't want to spend that kind of money right now, but I have the money and may not have it later when the head cracks...
Yep! That's exactly what mine sounds like. Last update I heard from the mechanic was that the rockers and lifters needed replaced, and maybe the camshaft. My Jeep is still in the shop, but should have it back later this week. I'll let you know what the bill and scope of work was if you want.

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