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I have a 1990 Mazda B2200 CabPlus pickup truck, automatic transmission, 194,000 miles. Driving to my parents’ house, the engine started clattering some, but it was still propelling me forward and wasn’t overheating, so I kept going. Figured it was bad gasoline, filled the truck up with premium, that seemed to help for a while. Soon, though, the clatter came back worse than ever, plus now the engine is overheating. But the heat gauge quickly settles back down to its normal range if I turn the heat up full-blast. My mechanic says the problem is the lifters, and that the truck isn’t work fixing. I don’t know much about automobile repair. Is my mechanic correct? Or is it something else?

Before starting (engine cold) check the radiator for water. NOT THE OVER FLOW BOTTLE- THE RADIATOR. Is it low? Keep it full. When running, are bubbles rising in the overflow?

I can’t understand why noisy lifters would cause overheating (perhaps a mechanic that visits this site can enlighten us). but needing to use your heater to help cool the car says something is deficient in the cooling system. At the age of your truck, bad radiator or water pump are likely. Do you have a belt driven fan or electric? If belt driven, check the belt condition or tightness. If electrical, check that it is coming on when it overheats. If it only overheats at slow speeds or idle, it’s not the radiator or water pump. If it’s only at 40 mph and up, it’s not the fan.

The lifters in that engine were notorious for developing a tap and would be indignificant compared to the overheating, which sounds like a head/gasket problem.

Thanks for the reply. I looked in the reservoir, it had thin, beige-colored sludge inside it, looked almost muddy. I had just driven the truck back to the mechanic, so I couldn’t check the radiator. But I did tell them to give me a flush and fill, regardless of anything else they recommend (they are going to call me sometime this morning).

Thanks for the reply. I’m almost certain that the fan is belt-driven. Truck’s in the shop at the moment, but I’ll take a look at the belt when I get a chance. And the mechanic will probably visually inspect the belt anyway, and let me know if he thinks it needs to be tightened or replaced.

Thanks for the reply. One of my co-workers, when I mentioned the “mud” in the coolant reservoir (see our earlier exchange above), made the same diagnosis - head/gasket problem. Would I be right in thinking that this is going to be a very expensive repair?

I’ve seen a stuck thermostat cause overheating and valve clatter (in a '76 Chevy 6cyl).
Change the thermostat if it’s over 5 years old.
Flush the coolant if there’s scum in the reservoir.
If the problem remains then my guess is head gasket too.

There’s not enough info given to be specific but some things to consider.
The muck in the resevoir could be nothing more than aged coolant or possibly a leaking transmission fluid cooler. (cooler is inside the radiator) Check the trans fluid.

An overheating engine can rattle badly due to detonation and could possibly be mistaken for lifter noise.

You’re basing any overheating problem on a gauge reading which could be in error due to a mechanical fault of even by the coolant being low. (the probe on the gauge sending unit needs to be immersed in hot coolant to read properly)

If the engine rattles when it’s cold (the engine, not the air temp) then it could be a lifter problem.
This engine should use small lash adjusters like a Mitsubishi, some Fords, etc, etc. and could be sticking or failing due to the ends disentegrating.
Changing the adjusters, if needed, is not that big a deal.

If the problem is suspected to be lash adusters, or lifters, throw a can of Berryman B-12 in with the engine oil and see what happens. B-12 is cheap, great stuff, and you can get it at Wal Mart of any parts store. This may cure a sticky lifter problem but will not cure a lifter with a disentegrating end.

200K miles = 20-50 weight oil…Does your truck have an oil pressure gauge?

I’m assuming the engine is full of oil that gets changed somewhat regularly?

Thanks for the reply. Thermostat’s definitely over five years old, so you’re probably right that it’s time for a new one. And we are flushing the coolant system.

Thanks for the reply. I change the oil regularly, I always use 10W-30 as recommended in the owners manual. And no, it does not have an oil pressure gauge. I check the oil, though, at least once a week. I usually wind up adding about a quart per month, 'cause the truck does burn a little oil.

I have a 92 B2200 an the lifters are rattling,Does anyone know if there is anything you can soak them in to clean them in. Lifters around here are $2o a piece x 8 is a lot of money.

If the exhaust valves dont open completely it holds in the heat.