When Your Lifters Go You Dont

A Quiet Long Weekend

After a few very busy weeks my wife and I decided to have a long weekend in the bush staying on the brother-in-laws property. The property is near Pemberton deep in the south west of the state.

The trip is a good run along new freeways, windy country roads and a little gravel! I enjoy it since it does cover a range of road types and terrain. Long winding valleys and steep descents give the old girl a good workout and offers lot’s of chances to test the suspension and torque of the small V8.


Country road on a cool morning!

We left home early and set off down the Mitchell Freeway and onto the new section that runs to Mandurah and onto Bunbury.
I had changed the oil the day before we left and was looking to get a good run!
When I checked the dates on the oil filter it seems I was a couple of months overdue – that explained the rattling lifter on cylinder 8! The oil change seemed to fix it and I was sure we would be fine!

On The Road Again

We made good time down to Bunbury as the traffic was very quiet – being a cold Autumn Saturday morning!
Car ran well and we stopped for a drop of LPG and to stretch the legs.

We went through Bunbury via the outskirts of town (avoiding the city centre) and on to Boyanup, Donnybrook and then Bridgetown!
It was outside Bridgetown that the first sign of some unusual noises from the engine bay caused me alarm. By the time we got to the town the tapping noise was very loud and getting the attention of everyone on the side of the road!
I had clearly blocked a lifter and the tappet was not very happy about that.

A Bottle of Magic Lifter Free

After many years dealing with rattly tappets and lifters I have learned a thing or two so I knew that a can of Lifter-Free and Tune-Up would do the job!
For the last two years I have been battling one or two lifters on cylinder 8 and the can of the good stuff usually fixed it for 6-7 months. However, this time we were out of luck!

I figured that maybe we should just drive on and let the chemical work it’s magic on the blocked lifter.
This was my first mistake!

We got halfway to Manjimup and the noise changed – I could hear a secondary noise – a second tap separate to the lifter-tapper connection. Miles from anywhere in particular and no RAC country extended cover – I had no choice but to push on. I cut the speed back until the noise was at it’s least, about 80 kph.

Manjimup At Last

Luckily we made it into town – first thought was to pullover and check the noise under the bonnet so we stopped near the tourist bureau. I lifted the bonnet and the noise was fairly strong at the rear of the right bank of the V8. BUT there was a lot more rattling now all over the engine!

I turned the car off – second mistake – went up to the tourist shop and asked for the phone number of the local RAC mechanic. The dear old lady in the shop had his number and name! I bought a map of the town and thanked her for her help. I was hoping to drive to his workshop and get a second opinion. (Maybe I can fix this myself like I did last time – 6 years ago!)

I restart the car and boy she is rough! Clearly on 7 cylinders – something has locked up as she has cooled down! I try my luck driving out of town – third mistake – thinking I will fix this at the holiday home! We get about 300m and she is not happy I have to stop no way we are getting any further!

I phone the mechanic and he refers me to the RAC first to get a job number. Once this was done he came and had a listen to the engine – by now we had a rather loud valve back blow happening and he felt we had locked a valve open now! A seized lifter! No driving anywhere far now – we are in need of serious repairs to the lifters!

Saturday Morning In A Country Town

Well it is now 11am and the mechanics all shut shop very soon and there are only 3-4 possible workshops to try so our RAC man takes us to the first one “Rusty”. He is interested in helping but his workload is very big for the week and being alone he cannot see his way free for several days!

We go through the list of mechanics – the Ford dealer is a good chance so far – but again no way they can help today or even until early next week. The same message with all the rest so we decide to trust the Ford guys.

Nothing we can do now so we lock the old girl up in Rusty’s workshop and phone Cliff (brother-in-law) to pick us up – a long weekend in Pemberton starts now!

Monday Morning Blues

Monday morning and we call the Ford dealership – they are willing to get the car and have a go at fixing her up.
Should be ready Wednesday!

We get a room in the local hotel – a 5minute taxi ride from the dealership.

Tuesday we call in and no luck – the wrong lifters were sent in and they were having trouble finding push-rods to replace the bent ones. Might be ready Thursday!

Thursday – no luck – will be ready next Monday! Would we like a lift to Mandurah to catch a train home?
Yep – good idea – I will come back Monday with the dealership owner.

Muir Ford Manjimup
So we get a free lift home and enjoy the generous support of the Manjimup Ford dealership.

Country Folk

It is at this point that I have to say that we did not know what to expect during our week in Manjimup but we have learned one important thing. Country folk are a different breed to the average city citizen.
We received nothing but kindness and support from everyone we dealt with during this forced holiday stay.
Even store owners that we visited as we window shopped around the town were good natured and full of ideas and information. We got to know several coffee shop owners as they made our lunch or afternoon cuppa!
We had a great time and will gladly go back to spend another holiday in Manjimup! This time without the engine dramas!

2 Weeks Later

Yes, you read right! I had nearly three calender weeks without my BeaXT! Took some real effort to not miss the old girl!
When you drive the same car for 30 years and use it for business as well – you get into a certain routine – the Camry does not have the same street appeal as a 69 V8 Fairmont!

But anyway, I caught the train to Mandurah and then got a lift with Malcolm back to Manji!
We had a good drive – with a similar family and farm background we spent the time chatting about everything from engines to kids and milking cows!

Ready To Rock and Roll

We get back to the workshop and I thank the mechanics and staff for their support and a good job done!
They replaced 16 push-rods – too many bent and dodgy ones – and most of the lifters as well!
The engine is so quiet now that I can hear the cooling fan when it locks up!


I managed to bend too many of these!

I have decided to drive to Mt Barker not back to Perth since it is later than I expected. I can take the shorter run through Rocky Gully, Mt Barker and then into Albany to visit mum. I have a bed waiting for me at my sister’s farm and a nice hot meal.

The drive is uneventful other than I believe the engine is running hotter (about 10degrees) and the vacuum is reading 3-4 kg lighter! I suspect that the timing is too retarded and she is not happy. Drives fine though, just needs a little adjustment later on.
It did rain most of the way so the air temperatures were low and we have little chance of over-heating. Glad I did not go back to Perth to hit peak hour traffic!

Rest For a Weary Head

I am glad to stop at my sister’s for the night. We have a nice afternoon walk around the farm and then share a beef stew for dinner. A nice sleep and an early start in the morning back to Mt Barker and then on to Perth via Williams.


Panda is glad to see me and suggests a little game!

Weather is great – cool and damp and little traffic on the road – perfect for a steady run home.
I cover the 500km in just over 5 hours since I am not pushing the engine until I am sure she is seated in well and the lifters are all ok! I pop in to Steve’s Shed and get his opinion on the timing – he insists that he sets it right!

The BeaXT is Home

Well what can I say the car is spot on now – running extremely well!

As this video will show!


Fast Tube by Casper

What had been a short run out into the country for a quiet weekend with the family has been real adventure and all part and parcel of owning an old car that has done well over 500000km, nearer 600000 now!

The lesson I have learned is deal with noisy lifters as soon as they start!

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