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Here are 3 causes for lifter tick!
Bad Lifter, Dirty Oil Deposits, Bent Push Rod, The rocker arms will make a noise if push rod clearance is not adjusted right. God-Bless! and hope this helps you!or the rocker arms may be worn.
Ticking sound is typical of slack in the valve train. Try using a wood dowell "stethescope" and touch it to the rocker arm cover over each cylinder. If a rocker arm adjustment is too slack, you'll hear a clicking sound rather than a muted murmur. If you find the noisy lifter you will need to remove the rocker arm cover and adjust it. CAUTION NOTE - It is possible that a hydraulic lifter may have some grit in the internal valve. That would stop the lifter from functioning properly.
The 4.2L and 5.3L engines do not require a periodic valve lash adjustment.
The 4.3L engines are equipped with screw-in rocker arm studs with positive stop shoulders. Because the shoulders that allow the rocker arms to be tightened into proper position, no adjustments are necessary or possible. If a valvetrain problem is suspected, check that the rocker arm nuts are tightened to 18 ft. lbs. (24 Nm). When valve lash falls out of specification (valve tap is heard), replace the rocker arm, pushrod and hydraulic lifter on the offending cylinder.
You engine is a pushrod type engine rather than the overhead cam design of most other bikes on the road. All Harley's are designed this way other than the V-rod models. As such, it has rocker arms to open and close the valves. These rocker arms have bushings that ride on steel shafts. These parts wear but the hydraulic tappets take up most of the wear but can't compensate for the looseness at high RPM's. This would be my guess. And, since I can't hear the noise, a guess is the best I can do. To find out if this is the problem, you'd have to take your rocker box covers off and remove the rocker arms and the shafts to measure the amount of wear in all the parts. The rocker arms can be "re-bushed" meaning you can have new bushings installed and reamed out to fit the new shafts you'll need.
modern engines- rockers arms don't need to be readjusted- they have hydralic lifters- if ticking loudly- you might need to change oil- either it is starting to break down or milage is high enough on vehisle to step up one grade during warmer weather
mcdevito75 here, Not really a lifter as much as could be a rocker arm, check for proper oil level. No way to test without removeing the valve cover., If high mileage, it"s not worth it, once you change 1 rocker you"ll have to change them all approx $20.. each rocker arm part.
The ticking sound is most likely caused by uneven wear on the cam lobes. The next time you've got the valve covers off, take a look at the cams and you will likely see scuff marks on one or more of the high-points of the camshaft lobes. This can cause a ticking sound each time that part of the lobe comes in contact with the rocker arm. The only cure for this would be to replace the cam and rocker arms - which is not worth the many $$ it will cost. The noise may be annoying, but isn't anything to worry about. My Goldwing started making a ticking sound at about 90,000 miles - and continues to this day, now with more than 169,000 miles on the engine.
Uneven cam lobe wear can also cause lateral movement of the rocker arms - and a ticking sound as the rockers move slightly sideways on their shafts (note the springs on the shafts that hold the rockers lightly to one side).
I should also mention that pitted valve stem tips can also cause a ticking noise. In any event, do not run the engine with less than the specified .004" valve tappet clearance as this can cause valve damage and compression loss.
Worn valve lifter, or the rocker arm needs to be tightened a little.
Have to remove valve covers to see if one is loose.
If it is the lifter, the whole top part of the engine has to be taken off to get at it.
A worn valve lifter or a loose rocker arm is causing that noise.To find out which one it is, the valve covers have to come off and check each one. If the rocker arms are snug, then it's a lifter, in which case the whole top part of the engine has to come off to get at the lifters.