Subaru Sports Wagon. Tapping sound

Submitted: Thursday, May 10, 2007 at 21:34
ThreadID: 45326 Views:4782 Replies:11 FollowUps:5
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My '94 Subaru Sportswagon 1.8 has developed tapping sound from right hand rocker cover when cold. These engines are East West.
Is not every time but after running tends to disappear. I have been told it is probably hydraulic lifter sticking and should be replaced. My mechanic says I should replace all 8 lifters, as they will all be on there way out.
Motor has done 300,000km and I am about to take off on 12-month trip around starting in Top End in a couple of weeks.
Does any body have experience of this problem?
Should I get the 1 lifter replaced, replace all or not worry?
Will this damage the car?
Will cost $800-$1000 to do all 8 and I am not keen to spend money I don’t need to on an old car if I only need another 40,000-50,000k out of her. I can camp for 3 weeks on $800 easy. Cheers.

Ps Have already fully serviced her, new trailing arm bushes, new CV joints, brake pads and fuel tank sender.
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Reply By: Footloose - Thursday, May 10, 2007 at 21:53

Thursday, May 10, 2007 at 21:53
No specific knowledge of that vehicle but....
12 months trip ?
Do I sense someone who is about to break down in the middle of nowhere ?
Do I sense someone who is not going to be at ease on the entire trip?
If it's sounding sick, it probably is. Why get stuck where the cost is going to skyrocket ?
Get it done before you even start thinking of going. Peace of mind is worth it, especially with an older vehicle.
Or you could just buy a Lotto ticket ....

AnswerID: 239169

Reply By: Oldsquizzy (Kununurra) - Thursday, May 10, 2007 at 22:05

Thursday, May 10, 2007 at 22:05
It could just be a stuffed lifter or it more often than not is one of the following:- 1 Oil pump seal old and hard and letting in air. 2 secondary relief valves in camshaft housing stuck either open or closed.
AnswerID: 239171

Follow Up By: Oldsquizzy (Kununurra) - Thursday, May 10, 2007 at 22:40

Thursday, May 10, 2007 at 22:40
EA82 - Single Timing belt and hydraulic adjusters.
FollowupID: 500217

Reply By: garrycol - Thursday, May 10, 2007 at 22:35

Thursday, May 10, 2007 at 22:35
First thing is that subaru engines are north south not east west.

The EA82 engine is a single OHC engine so I would have thought it had cam belts/chains rather than lifters but I am not sure. I would be working out exactly what the engine layout is first before trying to diagnose the problem. it sounds like cam to valve clearances are out and need adjusting.

AnswerID: 239182

Follow Up By: Member - extfilm (NSW) - Friday, May 11, 2007 at 02:28

Friday, May 11, 2007 at 02:28
mate look at a compass?????????????
FollowupID: 500238

Follow Up By: disco driver - Friday, May 11, 2007 at 11:40

Friday, May 11, 2007 at 11:40
Hi extfilm

North South or East West does not relate to which way the heads are pointing.
It refers to the crankshaft positioning in the frame.
East West is a transverse engine with crankshaft across the car (most Front Wheel drives) and North South has the crankshaft along the car (Big 4wds, Holdens, Lexcens, Falcons but not the newer Toyotas (Avalon and Aurion).

Got the picture now!

FollowupID: 500293

Follow Up By: garrycol - Friday, May 11, 2007 at 19:30

Friday, May 11, 2007 at 19:30
exfilm - a subaru has its cranckshaft aligned longitudinal in the car - like a cruiser, patrol, landy so is termed a north south engine. An east west engine like a magna, RAV, Freelander has the engine mounted transversely across the engine bay.

Most north south engines drive the rear wheels but subaru has always been an exception. Another exception is are Renault - 12 and 16s.

Most east west engines like minis are front wheel drive - I do not know of any that are rear wheel drive.

I think you need to learn a bit more about your engines.


FollowupID: 500350

Follow Up By: Member - extfilm (NSW) - Friday, May 11, 2007 at 20:33

Friday, May 11, 2007 at 20:33
I apologise......... I do know that as I did my mechanics apprenticeship......... How red is my face right now........ No need for anymore explanations....... I do not even know why I posted that but I do know a case of beam and coke makes you say really weird things........
Once again, sorry for the remark......
FollowupID: 500373

Reply By: Member - extfilm (NSW) - Friday, May 11, 2007 at 02:50

Friday, May 11, 2007 at 02:50
Red up,
I know the subaru enginge quite well......... Have had 2 subas and was a mechanic whilst these cars where around............
Now I have taken one to places that people look at it and say "how did u get that here" And "how did u get it out....?????)
Now it seems to me that you are doing a "12 month trip around" leaving from Darwin..........??????
i LEFT sYDNEY ONCE IN A SUBARU that looked like it needed the tip 2 years ago. I took it to WA and back to Sydney...... I did drive it straight to the tip mind you........
Subarus are blodoy good and it seems you are doing an easy trip around oz........
As for 3 weeks on $800? $100 per week on food.......$500 on fuel....... = 1000kms per week??????
Mate just go for it...... obviously your not doing roads that are out of teh way......... Take a chance and have funnnnnnnnnn
AnswerID: 239210

Reply By: traveller2 - Friday, May 11, 2007 at 08:00

Friday, May 11, 2007 at 08:00
We used to have an L series (dad still has it), was rattley from the day we got it and eventually we had to replace the lifters, wasn't very expensive to do at a Subbie specialist. It will go for a long time before problems occur, try a better oil and see if it shuts it up at all.
AnswerID: 239222

Reply By: Gronk - Friday, May 11, 2007 at 09:49

Friday, May 11, 2007 at 09:49
Son had a subie that had noisy lifters, turned out to be oil pump seal, but that was years after noise started !!

If noise goes away after warming up, I wouldn't be too worried about it yet !!
AnswerID: 239252

Reply By: Ole Grizzly - Friday, May 11, 2007 at 13:03

Friday, May 11, 2007 at 13:03
Heck !!! The repair cost is a better option than the inconvenience and charges for a Rescue/ Tow and Repair. And just think, less to worry about and get down to enjoying your trip.. Cheers and have fun.
AnswerID: 239278

Reply By: Andrew - Friday, May 11, 2007 at 13:58

Friday, May 11, 2007 at 13:58
My 85 model got noisy and we just went to a better oil (synthetic) didn't fix it completely but it was better. Also reduced the wear possibilities.
Problem is air getting into hydraulic lifters (yes i know its overhead cam so more accurately they are cam followers) and not bleeding out propely. Caused by wear, sometimes oil pump seals, made worse by running too heavy an oil to try and quieten it or by sludging up engine by not changing oil often enough. Quotes to repair scared me too so i just ignored it as it usually improved as engine warmed up and you couldn't hear it at cruising speed. Still running okay @ 180, 000 km when I sold it and I first heard it at 100.


AnswerID: 239290

Reply By: Member - stefan P (NSW) - Friday, May 11, 2007 at 14:44

Friday, May 11, 2007 at 14:44
my old 84 touring wagon had that ticking sound, part of the character of the car. Mine had 350,000 never had the engine opened, great little cars!!

AnswerID: 239298

Reply By: jamess - Friday, May 11, 2007 at 14:46

Friday, May 11, 2007 at 14:46
Hi redup,
Have had this job before, your particular problem is most likely to be air leaking past the oil pump seals. This engine has had a habit of noisy lifters so if the tapping noise has just started then it sounds as though you have been very meticulous with your oil changes. If engine compression etc is in good condition, for insurance, replace belts, camshaft seals and lifters as well.
AnswerID: 239299

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, May 11, 2007 at 18:47

Friday, May 11, 2007 at 18:47
Andrew and Jamess are on the money.
Air in the oil is the most likely cause with the EA82.
Cure is to use thinner oil - no thicker than 15W40, and replace the oil pump seals with the genuine rubber seals. Then drive the vehicle hard to drive the air out of teh hydraulic tappets. the oil pump seals is not a big job - I did it about 5 years ago - the seals cost about $30 back then and it wasn't a hard job.

Take it to someone who specialises/knows subarus. Everyone else is just guessing. Subareck in Adelaide are the locals who do good repair work at a good price.
AnswerID: 239341

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