Author Topic: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6  (Read 24204 times)

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Offline Bad Kid

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Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« on: April 22, 2008, 20:36:07 PM »
Cleaning hydraulic lifters
This guide applies to C20XE, C20LET and V6 Vauxhall Calibra engines.
Introduction
The tappets (or more correctly, hydraulic lifters) are small metal objects filled with oil that sit between the valves and the cam lobes. Over time they can get gummed up with oil deposits. This leads to them becoming noisy, especially upon cold startup. This guide details how to flush them out properly.

Releasing the pistons
You will firstly need to remove your cambelt and cams, so this is ideal as part of a cambelt change.

Here is a hydraulic lifter, from a 89,000 mile 1994 C20XE engine


If you look on the underside, you'll see a small piston. You want to get this out. Place the lifter on a wooden workbench, or sheet of MDF to protect the lip on the underside of the lifter.

Get a big hammer.

Don't be afraid to hit the lifter, very hard. In fact, some of the lifters I worked with today did not release the piston at all with moderate blows. It took a full force whack to release the piston


Between blows, check to see if the piston has dropped a little. When it does, use some pliers and the piston will come out quite easily with a satisfying pop. Here is the lifter, minus piston. There will be a little oil and gunk inside


Repeat sixteen or twenty four times (depending on your engine) and you should end up with a workbench like this:


And sixteen or twenty four split lifters. The pistons are probably interchangeable, but for best practice I kept them in order. The same applies to the location of each lifter on the head.


Cleaning
Next grab some white spirit, meths, petrol or diesel


Soak the lifters in it for a few hours, the longer the better


Rinse them out under a cold tap, PLENTY of crap should come out.


I found it best to squirt a little washing up liquid in each lifter, and shake it vigorously to dissolve the oil. You then get more crap coming out under the tap. Repeat until the water comes clean. Also check the tiny oil hole on the side of the lifter is not obstructed.

Et voila, 16 cleaned lifters


Rebuilding
Add some fresh engine oil. This will reduce the time it takes for them to fill when you start the engine again.


Drop the pistons back in. Finger pressure will be enough for them to click into place.


This should mean a much, much quieter operation... and
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gorytus

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2008, 20:47:08 PM »
If I saw a mechanic potentially scoring the faces of my lifters by bashing them with an uncovered hammer, I'd turn the hammer on him....
Perhaps , at the very least, a quick linish before they go back in?

hammerheads

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2008, 20:48:41 PM »
Mine would deffo benefit from this but it's waaaaaaay too scary to try this !

Offline Bad Kid

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2008, 20:50:48 PM »
If I saw a mechanic potentially scoring the faces of my lifters by bashing them with an uncovered hammer, I'd turn the hammer on him....
Perhaps , at the very least, a quick linish before they go back in?

The hammer didn't cause any dents or scratches to the lifter. In fact, the hammer itself was scratched quite a bit :D The only concern I had was with the skirt of the lifter, hence the wood and rag.
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hammerheads

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2008, 21:02:25 PM »
You're welcome to do this for mine if you get enjoyment out of it  :)

calibraboy

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2008, 21:11:17 PM »
You're welcome to do this for mine if you get enjoyment out of it  :)
same here

Offline Bad Kid

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2008, 21:19:28 PM »
lol! What have I got myself into? :(
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hammerheads

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2008, 21:22:25 PM »
Happy to come down to indulge you in your tappet fetish mate  :)

Got lots of jobs if you've got the time

syms85

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2008, 21:27:12 PM »
nice 1 cheers m8,was only thinking of getting sum new 1's 2day!i'll hav to try that nxt time the cam belt get changed,got my head skimmed twice though,heard that adds to the noise levels.is this true? or is it just the tappits?

Offline Bad Kid

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2008, 21:32:39 PM »
nice 1 cheers m8,was only thinking of getting sum new 1's 2day!i'll hav to try that nxt time the cam belt get changed,got my head skimmed twice though,heard that adds to the noise levels.is this true? or is it just the tappits?

Skimming the head will make your engine produce slightly more power (higher compression). I can't think why it would make it noisier.
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Offline CalibraTurbo666

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2008, 22:18:18 PM »
nice 1 cheers m8,was only thinking of getting sum new 1's 2day!i'll hav to try that nxt time the cam belt get changed,got my head skimmed twice though,heard that adds to the noise levels.is this true? or is it just the tappits?

Cant see why it would be noisier , unless somethings gine wrong!,

you should never skim a let head unless really necesary,if using a head thats been skimmed twice i would be fitting a thicker headgasket (or machining the pistons) , especialy as it could/probably has been skimmed before

high compression gives greater risk of the pistons melting, so it can/will loose you power when the engine preignites (worst case.... knocks the living daylights out of your conrods and blows/burns holes in the pistons)

If its noisier, could be overcompressed, knocking?, or the compression got too much for it under boost and blew a gap in the gasket  (like one of mine when it was skimmed till it could be skimmed no more....., the gasket blew out from the cylinder to the engine bay it was so loud!)

syms85

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2008, 22:25:29 PM »
so its the tappits then?

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2008, 22:34:29 PM »
Put it this way,the head is skimmed right down to the top of the valves!(its done a gud 15 to 20k miles since it was done)its a cascost head and a pain gasget,had a few prods,and needed doing,do u think its going to cause mayjor probs then?done no other mod to its bar a [email protected] filter.can i ever take the head off again?the guy who did it said u shud every time to taken it off,its a pitty if it is wudn't mind doing sum mods to it.cascost heads are hard to cum by i've heard and cost a lot,cud i find an other one?

Offline CalibraTurbo666

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2008, 22:58:15 PM »
Some garages skim things for the fun of it, theres no need to skim a head when you take it off unless its damaged...(many say otherwise) , finding damage can be hard so garages make sure you wont return it by fixing what doesnt need fixing

the main reason for needing a lot taken off is the head being warped due to being run very very hot, or being taken off when hot or not tightened/loosened in the right bolt sequence

Coscast heads are harder to come by, but there not that different, you can get a non coscast low price, fix it incase it goes porous and then its just the same as a coscast

If its been skimmed a lot, it sounds like it has been, you can get a thick steel gasket from cometic, you just use it and it spaces the head up a bit, theres no need if its running fine though but i would be carefull if you are turning the boost up

If your gasket goes, then nornaly there will be 95% of the time be no damage to anything other than the gasket (thats why its there), unless you drive round for ages with a blown gasket between cylnders (it will burn into the engine head and block), if the gaskets fine and you are taking it apart for something else, theres 100% no need to skim it, just put a new gasket in

when mine was skimmed that much, i blew the gasket out of the engine, running a std gasket, but i was running the evo5 chips, so had more boost as well, my engine was a bit more rattley as well (sounded a bit like a taxi), i found out why when i took the head off, thre was a tiny shiny mark in the carbon on the pistons were the valves were hitting the pistons, but mine was very very very skimmed

Offline P34NUT

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2008, 23:00:37 PM »
cheers chav...

i already have the kit but not sure where to start on getting them out or in

V Mad

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2008, 11:08:17 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to post details of your procedure.  I didnt know that you could dismantle these tappets because I was misled by the 'H' manual that said they cannot be dismantled!!

I have added a couple of my own suggestions here based on my experience so far.

To get the plunger out of the body, most of us would prefer not to use a hammer, so as an alternative that works, just tap the whole body sharply onto a flat block of wood a few times until the plunger is nearly out, then you can easily pull it out with your fingers or some pliers. 

When I got the plunger out, I didnt find much muck in there, but I noticed that if you look into the plunger (wash oil away in petrol first), there is a small ball bearing. If you depress this with a thick wire tool, a lot of sludgy oil comes out, and unless you do this, the sludge may be difficult to shift as the ball is spring loaded and seals the sludge inside.  Immerse the plunger ino some petrol, and pump the ball bearing a few times to clean it out.

Thanks again, and I hope my bit helps to improve the effectivenss of your procedure.

Offline ClubCalibra

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2008, 13:03:32 PM »
Great guide mate, good detail and pictures - 169 shop credits rewarded.

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Offline Bad Kid

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2008, 15:31:06 PM »
Cheers Ash!
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Offline Jimmy680

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2009, 14:43:42 PM »
Great guide chav, I just finshed doing mine, I didn't bother with a hammer, I just used a pair of maul grips and they came out easy, cheers

Offline Martin.

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2010, 22:31:53 PM »
Nice guide!
I cleaned my lifters today with the help of this!
May I add,...If your against hitting the lifter with a hammer use a second piece of MDF on top as I did!

And when re-fitting them note that there is a small hole in the lifter (oil way) that according to the Haynes manual needs to line up(well NR as dame it) with the oil hole seen in the pics bellow!


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Offline Bad Kid

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2010, 22:40:23 PM »
Good pics Martin! You've been busy lately haven't you with one thing and another!
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Offline carl

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2010, 22:44:39 PM »
Nice guide!
I cleaned my lifters today with the help of this!
May I add,...If your against hitting the lifter with a hammer use a second piece of MDF on top as I did!

And when re-fitting them note that there is a small hole in the lifter (oil way) that according to the Haynes manual needs to line up(well NR as dame it) with the oil hole seen in the pics bellow!



when i done mine i just pulled the pistons out with a pair of pliers, and i would also recommend lining the wholes up....as i didn't, and they tapped like f*ck for something lke 20 mins :D
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Offline Martin.

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2010, 22:49:26 PM »
[quote author=Bad Kid
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angus346

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2010, 22:55:29 PM »
if doing something like this for the first time what is the potential for damage/disaster. also how difficult is it to set the timing again

Offline Bad Kid

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2010, 23:06:43 PM »
if doing something like this for the first time what is the potential for damage/disaster. also how difficult is it to set the timing again

Tappets are easy man, it's the timing thats hard(er)

If you take your time and turn the engine over by hand when you're done, you dont run much risk of damage! Just give it 2 full rotations by hand, check the tensioner and you're sorted. If you want to start a thread as you go along im sure you'll get plenty of help and advice :)
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angus346

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2010, 23:12:27 PM »
[quote author=Bad Kid

Offline Martin.

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2010, 23:15:08 PM »
cheers buddy. definitly something i'd attempt for the experience and as you say there is no shortage of help on here. i love this site ;D

You can say that again!
90% of the work i've done to my car has come from advice off this site!
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Offline GreddRob

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2010, 16:58:56 PM »
Is this the same for XEV tappits?
M&R

Offline Bad Kid

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #28 on: August 01, 2010, 19:15:22 PM »
Is this the same for XEV tappits?

Yes mate :)
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Offline GreddRob

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2010, 19:24:31 PM »
[quote author=Bad Kid
M&R

Offline easybeast

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Re: Guide to Cleaning Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) XE/LET & V6
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2013, 09:06:51 AM »
Hello there peoples i thought i might add a bit of brain power to this subject :) since iam sorta rippin some tappets out :) instead of starting up a new topic :) as above taking out your tappets,lifters, ect if you dont want to smack your lifters around and create pop corn and say what the beep! when you here something flying out, hit something then you here this clunk behind a cubbit and then you remember your abc's :) buy a cheap pair of pliers "bull noise" get a 5mm x 5mm soild square bar of alloy put it up flush at the tip of the pliers in between the gaw get a pair of vise grips and lock it on the pliers hold the alloy bar inplace get a scribber, ruler and mark from corner to corner x2 until you have a cross get a 4mm drill bit get a cordless or bench drill and drill down on your cross mark driile down until 4mm in then get a 10 to 11 mm drill bit and do the same"you might have to get a small block of wood to continue instead of the alloy bar 4mm to 5mm" once that done you have just made a nipple remover "haha sorry to the chicks out there but ya me being the creator its called a nipple remover hahaha :) " that will remove that inner plunger "little hydraulic lifter" bleeder some people call it an so on, but yah you just made yourself a tool that will remove em all every time and only take 3 seconds instead of making pop corn!! :) even though some of us like pop corn :) movies :) hot chick :) " oh dont bring out the nipple remover you might get a black eye haha unless she likes that sorta thing haha :)