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1986 Toyota Celica Clicking Noise (Valve?)

My 1986 Toyota Celica has around 120 thousand miles. For quite a while (40 or 50 thousand miles, maybe more) there is often a clicking noise that seems related to engine speed. The noise is present when the car is started after sitting several hours. The clicking noise goes away as the engine warms, but sometimes takes longer than other times to do so.

Any ideas on the problem? The engine runs fine after warmed but I’m concerned that the problem isn’t doing the engine any favors.

History: Car has had timing belt break twice (prematurely). Second time it broke, an idler bearing that was a bit rough was replaced. I can’t remember if the clicking started in close proximity to the belt breaking. I don’t think it did, because I notice that stuff.

Oil used is Castrol 10W-40.

Thanks for your comments.

Hopefully there isn’t any internal damage from the broken belts.

Aside from that, I suspect you may have a sticky lifter.

From your post it would seem this clicking noise occurs during the warm months too.

Some of the regulars on here have recommended a cleaner you can add. I think they called it Seafoam? (not positive)

Thanks. The clicking is worse in cooler weather and the longer the car sits, the more likely it is to click.

I guess I’m revealing a lack of knowledge here. Does an engine with an overhead cam have lifters? I thought lifters transferred motion from the bottom of an engine to the valve train. I thought the cam on an overhead cam setup directly moved the rocker arms.

Thanks again.

Shoot. I don’t think my third message posted. I confused lifter with push rod. Is a lifter the same thing as a tappet?

I guess I should get the dealer to adjust the valves since that has never been done. The local mechanics are hit-and-miss on stuff.

I agree that it sounds liek a licky stifter.

An overhead cam vehicle could have lifters or “tappets”. I call them all “lifters”, even though I know that’s technically incorrect. They really do the same function, providing an adjustable transferance of the lifting action of the cam lobe to the valve. In some OHC setups, the cam pushes the bottom of one end of the rocker and the rocker rocks and the other end pushes the valve open. The “lifter” could be either between the cam lobe and the rocker or between the rocker and the valve. In either setup it simply provides a self-adjusting mechanical link (for hydraulic lifters, which most are). In some engines the cam is actually over the rocker, the rocker pivots on one end, and the cam pushes the middle of the rocker down. Again, the “lifter” could be anywhere between the parts depending on the overall design. Any spot would produce the same result.

There are two types of lifters, mechanical and hydraulic. Mechanical lifters are a solid setup. Adjustment is made be using “feeler gages” and mechanically adjusting the space between two of the parts in the setup to get a specific setting that will enable the valvetrain to run properly when warm. Hydraulic lifters are basically a part-in-a-part that are filled with the pressurized oil. That adjusts them automatically. The fluid pressure expands the lifter. They can get gummed up when they get old.

I don’t know what setup your '86 Celica has. You probably just have a gummed up lifter.

It might stop clicking if you used 10W-30 motor oil.

Thanks. I pull out my Chilton’s manual and see if it discusses the configuration.

Thanks. I’ll try dropping the viscosity on the next change. Should be soon.

I put in 5W-30 on the last oil change. The clicking was present very briefly after the change and hasn’t reappeared. I hope this takes care of the problem.

I think Toyota uses,bucket over shim.(for the valves on the old stuff.

and for all its worth,the word LASH ADJUSTER,is used nowadays(but same fuction as a lifter)as mentioned above.

you should have them adjusted if it has the buckets.

good luck

That is if he still has the car…the post was from November of 2007!

good point,

I have to learn to start looking at the history.

brain fart.


No problem. Welcome to the party.

I still have it. Thanks for the info. The change in oil helped for a while. The clicking only occurred every now and then. It seems to have picked up in frequency a bit. I’ll try to get the valves adjusted.