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Old 09-03-2014, 10:12 AM   #1
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how to tell if hydraulic lifters are good?

hello everyone, so im waiting for my (t5) head to get back from the machine shop and want to know how to tell if lifters are good or not. the head is used and hasnt had oil in it in a while. so all the lifters feel a little squishy. I was told that they need to be solid when you press them but was told if the oils been out of the they become squishy any ways. And in my head on my car I already get that clicking sound on start ups till the cars warmed up alot. So im not sure if I want use my old ones. Also could you even use them from a different head? I was told they need to go back in the same order you took them out. If this is true how could you use ones from a different head? wouldn't they be worn differently?

So my questions are does any one have a good way to test/tell if the lifters are ok? Can you use different ones from another head? Do they have to go back in the specific order you took them out? If I have to buy new ones Id like to just replace the ones needed n not all of them since they are pricey. Lastly does anyone know when to get these the cheapest? Also does brand matter on these?
Thank you Connor
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:20 AM   #2
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The little button on the underside of the lifter should be squishy when they are out of the head. When they are in the engine oil pressure pumps up that cavity thru the hole on the side of the lifter. If the little button is stuck solid, then the lifter is seized and will clatter when you run it. If you have any that are stuck you can soak them in WD-40 or Kroil or something to free them up.

You can use lifters from any 16V Saab B-series engine, they are all the same if you need to swap one.

The lifters almost never go bad unless the engine was badly sludged or overheated or something, in which case the lifter bores and cam journals in the head will be all fucked up anyway.

I'd recommend waiting until you get it back together and let the engine run in and come up to temp. Sometimes when they are sticky from sitting they free back up once they get hot pressurized oil going to them.

If you're never done a Saab head before, be aware that it can easily take 30 minutes of idling after a fresh assembly for the lifters to start to get quiet. Don't freak out the first time you start it and they all make noise like crazy.
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:56 AM   #3
 
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take each lifter and soak it in a cup of your favorite oil.

leave them in there as long as you can. this can help fill them and avoid any ticking.

I get a small mouth wash cup like at the dentist and turn the lifter so the fill hole faces upward; gravity will fill it form there..

When I rebuild my motor, I used a T5 head (used) on my B202 Block (C900).

I soaked each lifter in its own cup of motor oil as i described above. I left them there for at leat a wek; each lifter was totally full of oil..

there was even evidence of dirty oil (nasty dirty black shit) that was pushed out by the good stuff..

when I installed the head and gaev it its first crank; there was ZERO ticking..

on my now dead C900 NA, even after a head job the old lifters ticked all the time (maybe one was bad).

I am shocked all the folks that claim to be oldschool Saab technicians didn
't chimne in with that lil tidbit...
...

I get zero ticking from the newer lifters in the used T5 head.....Ever, cold start or not.
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:11 AM   #4
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There's no need to soak them for a week, running it at idle won't hurt them after installing them and it takes 30 mins to leak check and make sure everything is working right before a drive anyway...

You're welcome to do things any way you want, but you don't see me spouting off about how you choose to do it, or making generalizations about what a tech does or does not do.

I don't know if you realize, but mechanics are pretty damn good at finding the fastest way to get a job done, and my method has worked well for me for 10 years thanks very much. And I don't have to wait for them to come out of the marinade for a week. Especially since I usually get a head gasket or a head swap done in a day or two so I can move on to the next thing.

Next time just leave it as a handy piece of advice, which you will note I also made a comment about soaking a sticky one. If they aren't sticking, they don't need to sit in oil or solvent!
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:37 PM   #5
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To both of you thank you for taking time to try and help me. I've heard the thing about soaking them. I've was also told to expect chatter until the engine is warm and idled for a while.
Anyways I'm going to poke at all the lifters when I get home and will report back!
Also do you know if it matters if the lifter go back in the same spot? I'm going to put them back in the same spot anyways but just curious
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:46 PM   #6
 
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Originally Posted by DrewP View Post
There's no need to soak them for a week, running it at idle won't hurt them after installing them and it takes 30 mins to leak check and make sure everything is working right before a drive anyway...

You're welcome to do things any way you want, but you don't see me spouting off about how you choose to do it, or making generalizations about what a tech does or does not do.

I don't know if you realize, but mechanics are pretty damn good at finding the fastest way to get a job done, and my method has worked well for me for 10 years thanks very much. And I don't have to wait for them to come out of the marinade for a week. Especially since I usually get a head gasket or a head swap done in a day or two so I can move on to the next thing.

Next time just leave it as a handy piece of advice, which you will note I also made a comment about soaking a sticky one. If they aren't sticking, they don't need to sit in oil or solvent!
Oh I wasnt poking a stick in your gut, I made it as a suggestion since the OP was concerned with ticking..

it was to help him not tick; it wasnt to taker a jab at you mate,

I know my rep for being snark is bad but I wasnt trying this time; Scouts honor

I am trying to keep it clean.....

B202 2.2 cause we are never perfect; we are carnal men...

maybe I should have explained I left them in for a week becasue my engine was in a million pieces and I didnt need them the next day or the next month...

Last edited by B202nut-2.0; 09-03-2014 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:52 PM   #7
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^^ Fair enough, no worries.

condaddy, if you marked them and they can go back in their original bores that's best, but unless one is damaged it shouldn't matter if you mix them up. If you bought a new one it would go into a bore that it wasn't worn into anyway, so don't stress about it.
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:49 AM   #8
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I had a few that weren't that squishy or I had to put on it kinda hard to break it loose the it was somewhat squishy, not as squishy as the ones id say are "ok".
So should try to soak them in something or just have a little piece of mind and buy a few new ones? Any suggested brands if I do ?
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Old 09-04-2014, 06:11 AM   #9
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Soaked mine in purple power overnight, installed coated in oil then cranked the engine for oil pressure.
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:05 PM   #10
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I ended up going with some solid lifters/followers in mine.. and some higher revving springs for a few more ponies up top. probably another ol school trick not worth mentioning..

I was thinking about preparing my stock head by doing just what was recommended.. pulling the lifters and soaking in oil.. had an old v8 that tapped liked crazy after sitting up for a while.. and it worked for that..

thanks for post.. reminded me of some things to do..
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