Full Version: Intermitent lifter noise
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Just changed oil and am getting lifter noise, but only for about 3 or 4 seconds at hwy speeds every so often. What would you experts out there suggest? Mystery oil or synthetic to see if it helps?
Sounds like what my bike has done ever since I bought it back in '85. I've tried alot of things to make it go away, but nothing has worked. Now I just ignore it. It hasn't hurt the bike yet and I've got around 116,000 miles on it now.
I had the same thing, it went away when I changed to synthetic oil.


I have had my 85 Interstate for about 3 years now. It has 127000 miles on it and it does that sound too. A mechanic told me they all do that.... Nothing has been damaged yet. I am getting ready to switch to synthetic. I hope that fixes it.
Mine was a small particle stuck in one of the oil ports feeding a lifter. It would sit in there all the time, too big to pass through the port, and occasionally block the port causing the lifter to collapse. I was able to 'fix it' on the road repeatedly by pulling the clutch and blipping the throttle from idle, this would work until one night it was constant. I pulled off the road, shut her down and let her sit for a while, at start up it was fine again.

Eventually I pulled the covers and cleaned out the oil parts, that is when I found the crystallized particle in there. No more problems since.
I have really enjoyed getting this feedback. I was so afraid that if I ran the engine with this "once in a while" lifter noise, it would end up destroying the engine. I will try to change to synthentic and see what happens. what weight would be suggested?


beemerman Wrote:I have really enjoyed getting this feedback. I was so afraid that if I ran the engine with this "once in a while" lifter noise, it would end up destroying the engine. I will try to change to synthentic and see what happens. what weight would be suggested?

beemerman,with thaqt one little question you have open'd one of the largest can of worms on this site,or any motorcycle site period.theres notheing like the 'oil question"to ruffle a few feathers,get the heart pounding,im right your not type of thing.....good luck...i ainr saying a word,if you want my feed back,email me privately,and good luck buddy

ps:maybe the next question on here should be asked:who killed kennedy???

all in all this is a wonderful site,great knowmledge about our bikes,someone always can help you,most of the debates are done in good faith,and i guess what really makes you feel good,is that if you were off to the side of the raqod,helmut off,trunck lid up,another goldwinger and probably one of these guy would pull over to see what he/she could do for you!!!!
good/great site..Bob
That's was Elvis.

Kidding - keep the painted side up and pointing down the road.

Back on topic - oil is a personal preference and was discussed at length on another thread and really should not be discussed here. But, upon recommendations from this site, I decided on Shell Rotella 5W-40 Synthetic. She runs quieter and shifts with less 'clunk'.

My .02

%%- (sorry, the Lakers won)
Mine did it twice today. I am pretty shure i t is a particle foating around. The p/o ran rotella , I am thinking about going to a 10/30 for the winter.
I use 10-40 Amsoil all year.
Same as bluewing. Changing to Amsoil 10W-40 synthetic has been a really good move. Wanda runs noticeably better.
I am running a vegetable based cooking oil....

OK so I'm kidding.

The lifter noise is not uncommon at all, especially in early 1200's although I have never heard what might have been changed to remedy it. It definitely seems to be connected with A) the lash adjusters loosing pressure or B) side clearance of the rockers. There was a bulletin from Honda referencing the side clearance issue in '85 or '86 I believe, and I'm pretty sure it was an easy fix.
Many owners have seen the problem disappear after a change of oil or brand/type of oil or a treatment with some oil additive. There is so much subjective feedback on the oil, oil additive issue most of us are afraid to go there.
All that being said, the noise is caused by excessive clearance between the rocker and the valve stem and will do no harm unless allowed to clatter continuously for a long time when it might gall the rocker and mushroom the valve stem from the impact breaking down the oil film. We are not dealing with a very great increase in clearance and the old British twins ran with oodles of clearance (and clatter) and it was never the valve gear that broke down first.
Try a different brand or type of oil. Do a search on this or the Steve Saunders site and you will find a whole lot of fact and opinion on the subject of oil. Just avoid any friction modified automotive oil or any friction reducing additive for the sake of your wet clutch.

You could always take the old mechanics philosophy that new noises are alarming until they are identified at which point they become something to live with.