Posted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:38 pm Post subject: Help, I need info to pull my engine!!!
Recently bought a 03' with a 3.4L from a relative sight un seen. first mistake. It was described as having a slight lifter noise. I am an ASE master so I was not to afraid of that, figured I would swap out the lifters when I did the intake gaskets. Turns out this slight lifter tick ate the cam. I am looking to see if anyone has replaced a cam without dropping the whole front end, or if someone has some pics form their job of dropping the whole front end. I know it is not epic, just wondering if someone has some short cuts.
I know there is a lot of Q's about ticks knocks and rattles, so I will pass on my findings for the lifter problem identification, maybe you can help someone else with it. This 3.4 has a sharp knock from idle all the way up. (maybe best described as sounding like a midget was pounding on the inside of the engine with a ball peen hammer.) The knock was insignificant with a cold engine, but got much worse as the engine heated up. The location could not be pinpointed even with a stethoscope. I tried removing each individual sparkplug wire while the car was running. This will take the load off of that cylinder/piston and if the noise quits, will diagnose faulty rod bearings. Upon removing the oil fill cap, it was possible to recognize the noise was occurring at the same rate as the valve train movement. This eliminated the bottom/ piston noises because they would occur at 2x valve movement due to engine timing (crank spins 2 revolutions for every 1 revolution of the cam). From there it was just a matter of disassembly and inspection.
I know this is a bit elementary for some, but hopefully it will point someone in the right direction and save them some pain.
On the 3800 it isn't possible to swap cams without dropping the cradle or removing the engine, I have no idea about the 3400 but I would assume that this is the case as well.
Personally I think the easiest way is to remove the engine, but as long as you have access to a lift, dropping the cradle shouldn't be too bad. The only extra steps you would need to take to drop the cradle is to disconnect the steering rack from the cradle and probably the control arms and sway bar as well. Loosen the driver side cradle bolts and remove the passenger side bolts then drop the passenger side of the cradle...with the 3800 it needs to drop about a foot maybe more, the 3400 might be different.
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