Valve noise

My Sable has a 3.5L in it. I thought it has developed lifter noise (normal clicks). Now I understand my car doesn’t have lifters? So, what normally needs to be done with “lifter noise” if the car doesn’t have lifters?

What year is the vehicle??

It is 2008

That isn’t valve lifter noise, I’d guess it is the VVt actuator or the timing chain making noise.

Any check engine light?

No, just an increase in what sounds like tappets or lifters

Seems like variable valve timing failure makes noises. Normally will set a CEL. This might just be the start of VVt problems.


Chain slap doesn’t always set the CEL, I’m guessing timing chain slap, possible from one of the three chain/tensioners, looks like a lot of timing chain tensioner issues with this engine…

1 Like

And that leads to the inevitable questions of…
Which viscosity oil does the OP use?
Is the oil changed every 6 months–regardless of how few miles it was driven?

1 Like

How many miles are on this mystery vehicle (without making me look into your past posts)?

So I looked. Be happy it still runs. I’d suggest earplugs for the driver and doing NO service on it at all so it can die a natural death…


I decided to delve a bit, and I found that one year ago he told us it had 200k on the odometer. With that many miles, and a possibly sketchy maintenance history, there are a few possibilites relating to the engine noise, but the book value of the car might make not make it financially-feasible to tear the engine apart.

1 Like

Yeah, I have 240k on it

1 Like

Which viscosity oil do you use?
Is the oil changed every 6 months–regardless of how few miles it was driven?

5w-20w changed every 3k

At 240k anything can happen, and the vehicle’s market value is very low, could be less than the repair cost. And who’s to say something else expensive won’t break if you do fix it. Time to look for a replacement, seems to me.

Both the engine and the trans are beyond their design life. Unless the trans was replaced/overhauled w/in the past few years, that could easily be the next big-ticket item.

1 Like

If its a part that will take less than $100 and 4 hours, I’ll fix it. If it’s engine or tranny I’ll dump it. My own philosophy… My T&C has 340k on it and is still going…

1 Like

The V6 3.5L engine appears to use tappets. One for each valve. As the engine runs the camshaft pushes down on that part to open the valves. Over miles both the camshaft and tappets wear a little. They can be replaced if they or the camshaft lobe wears too much. Too much space between the camshaft and the tappet can result in a lifter-sort of noise. To tell if this is the cause, suggest to ask your shop to measure the valve clearances.

From what I can tell typical (not worn) appears to be intake about 0.2 mm, exhaust: 0.35 mm. A repair manual will provide the acceptable range and how to check.

Welp, IF it is timing chain/tensioner, then the labor calls for 12.0 hours for a FWD and 12.3 for an AWD…
So better hope Mustangman is correct in it being a VVT issue… lol
Unless it is a variable timing control actuator, they call for 12.5 hours each or 13.4 hour for both…

1 Like

For a 2008 hmm … I wonder if it might be possible to simply disable that function? Risking emissions problems though.

Sure, if you make a custom part and want the car to run poorly, set a check engine light and fail emissions testing.

1 Like