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Advice on possible lifter tick and oil consumption


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Been reading threads here for years, but just now signed up to make my first post.

 

I bought my 2012 Silverado 5.3 in 2018 with 113k miles.  No maintenance records but looked well cared for and has run great since I bought it.  I changed the oil at 115k and at 122k (per DIC, and I always use Mobil 1 full synthetic) and I don't recall noticing low levels of drained oil, but I wasn't looking out for it - all just seemed fine.  I did notice significant loss at the next change at 129k, probably 2 quarts or so but unfortunately didn't measure.  So, I started monitoring the situation and switched to a fixed 5k interval, ignoring the DIC.  Just changed again at 134k and was about 2.25 quarts low, so I'm burning just under one quart every 2,000 miles.  Given the timeline outlined above, I'm not certain when it started burning.  Could have been before I bought it and just never noticed it being low (dipstick never showed low and oil pressure is always good) or could have happened sometime between 5-12k miles ago.

 

In addition, a few months ago, I noticed a ticking sound coming from the engine, pretty clearly on the driver's side.  It's intermittent but around 75% of the time at startup.  After doing some reading and comparing to some sounds on YouTube videos, I'm thinking it's a lifter.  Putting the oil consumption and lifter ticks together and reading up on it, it seems like both are likely related to the known AFM issues, which I wasn't aware of prior to all this.  That said, there are no apparent problems - engine is smooth at all RPMs, code reader shows no misfires or other codes, oil pressure is always 30-50 psi depending on engine temp and RPM, and the used oil looks fine to me.  So, my question is what should I do?  It seems like there are 3 main options after reading up on all this:

 

  1. Do nothing except continue to monitor oil levels and pressure, continue changing oil at 5k, and just address issues as needed (if a misfire develops, for example), hoping nothing worse happens.  Possibly also add the Range AFM disabler, but I'm not sure if it will really prevent any additional problems at this point (will it?).
  2. Change the lifters (and also possibly add the Range) at moderate cost.  Seems like this would address the tick, but also the oil consumption?
  3. Preemptively delete the entire AFM with cam/tune/etc. at significant cost to avoid catastrophic damage (destroyed cam sending metal into the lower end).

 

Are there other options I'm missing?  Given my situation, what should I do?  Any advice would be much appreciated, so thank you all in advance.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Zeezil said:

Been reading threads here for years, but just now signed up to make my first post.

 

I bought my 2012 Silverado 5.3 in 2018 with 113k miles.  No maintenance records but looked well cared for and has run great since I bought it.  I changed the oil at 115k and at 122k (per DIC, and I always use Mobil 1 full synthetic) and I don't recall noticing low levels of drained oil, but I wasn't looking out for it - all just seemed fine.  I did notice significant loss at the next change at 129k, probably 2 quarts or so but unfortunately didn't measure.  So, I started monitoring the situation and switched to a fixed 5k interval, ignoring the DIC.  Just changed again at 134k and was about 2.25 quarts low, so I'm burning just under one quart every 2,000 miles.  Given the timeline outlined above, I'm not certain when it started burning.  Could have been before I bought it and just never noticed it being low (dipstick never showed low and oil pressure is always good) or could have happened sometime between 5-12k miles ago.

 

In addition, a few months ago, I noticed a ticking sound coming from the engine, pretty clearly on the driver's side.  It's intermittent but around 75% of the time at startup.  After doing some reading and comparing to some sounds on YouTube videos, I'm thinking it's a lifter.  Putting the oil consumption and lifter ticks together and reading up on it, it seems like both are likely related to the known AFM issues, which I wasn't aware of prior to all this.  That said, there are no apparent problems - engine is smooth at all RPMs, code reader shows no misfires or other codes, oil pressure is always 30-50 psi depending on engine temp and RPM, and the used oil looks fine to me.  So, my question is what should I do?  It seems like there are 3 main options after reading up on all this:

 

  1. Do nothing except continue to monitor oil levels and pressure, continue changing oil at 5k, and just address issues as needed (if a misfire develops, for example), hoping nothing worse happens.  Possibly also add the Range AFM disabler, but I'm not sure if it will really prevent any additional problems at this point (will it?).
  2. Change the lifters (and also possibly add the Range) at moderate cost.  Seems like this would address the tick, but also the oil consumption?
  3. Preemptively delete the entire AFM with cam/tune/etc. at significant cost to avoid catastrophic damage (destroyed cam sending metal into the lower end).

 

Are there other options I'm missing?  Given my situation, what should I do?  Any advice would be much appreciated, so thank you all in advance.

 

 

It depends on what it’s used for and if it’s your only vehicle. I would drive it. If or when it fails depending on the total vehicle shape would determine if it gets a good used engine or a rebuilt. Lifter tick or oil use doesn’t always mean failure is eminent. Cylinder deactivation engines may change that. 

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Mobil One isn't what it once was.  I switched off it years ago and engine rattles went away and it only consumes oil when it is regularly spun over 3500 rpms.  It uses ACDelco's oil now and it's been great.

 

Dirty, worn out oil is AFMs worst enemy, don't let it get to 7K miles even if highway.  

 

Get the oil analyzed, send a sample to Blackstone Labs and then maybe every other or so oil change to see if any trends are happening.

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Pull the spark plugs on that bank, see what they look like. If I was to guess you'd have signs of oil burning on cylinders 1 or 7. My parents had a 2012 and after 50k miles cylinder 7 had fouled because of oil, it didn't go through much oil but enough over that time frame to foul the spark plug.

 

Stopping the AFM from working could surely help with the oil consumption.

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On 5/13/2022 at 6:35 PM, KARNUT said:

It depends on what it’s used for and if it’s your only vehicle. I would drive it. If or when it fails depending on the total vehicle shape would determine if it gets a good used engine or a rebuilt. Lifter tick or oil use doesn’t always mean failure is eminent. Cylinder deactivation engines may change that. 

I understand that these symptoms don't guarantee imminent failure, which is one reason I came here for advice.  It's my do-everything vehicle - daily driver (WFH, so no commute), lumber/mulch/bike weekend hauler, and occasional light duty tower (boat/camper, both < 2,000 pounds).  Typical annual usage is only 5-6k miles though.  Also have the wife's car.  Still advise to go with option 1, which is drive it until something bad happens?

 

On 5/13/2022 at 8:06 PM, swathdiver said:

Mobil One isn't what it once was.  I switched off it years ago and engine rattles went away and it only consumes oil when it is regularly spun over 3500 rpms.  It uses ACDelco's oil now and it's been great.

 

Dirty, worn out oil is AFMs worst enemy, don't let it get to 7K miles even if highway.

I've already lowered the oil change interval to 5k or less and will continue to do so.  I am also happy to switch oils if it makes any difference.  Is there a consensus on the best filters these days?  I have been using using both Mobil 1 oil and filters for the last 10+ years on all my vehicles with no issues.

 

On 5/13/2022 at 11:34 PM, CamGTP said:

Pull the spark plugs on that bank, see what they look like. If I was to guess you'd have signs of oil burning on cylinders 1 or 7.

I replaced the plugs 7k miles ago.  Not because there were any issues but because the truck was at 127k and I had no maintenance records, so figured I might as well give it new plugs and wires.  I inspected the old plugs upon removal and I don't recall there being any obviously fouled ones.  I pulled the plugs today and what I found was pretty concerning.  Nearly all of them were oily and three on the driver side bank were extremely loose, with dime-sized seepages of oil under the holes.  I've never had a plug come loose before.  Attached is a pic of the driver's bank after 7k miles.  And here is a link to all the plugs, with closeups.  I cleaned and reinstalled all, making sure they were tight.  Drove great with no tick, though the tick has been intermittent since it developed.

 

On 5/16/2022 at 10:54 AM, shakenfake said:

My opinion is 3 if you can do it yourself. 

I've turned wrenches on lots of external parts but never done any internal engine work.  It might be within my ability but it would be pushing it.  Why would you go this route?  Because it might eat the camshaft and do worse damage eventually?

 

Thank you all for the feedback.

IMG_20220517_142655.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

UPDATE:  I've driven about 1,500 miles in the time since my last post when I pulled the plugs, finding several of them to be loose and oily.  The tick has not returned even once since reinstalling the plugs tightly.  The dipstick also shows a full pan.  In my first post, I noted that it was burning about a quart every 2,000 miles.  About 100 miles ago, I bought and installed a generic AFM disabler, and I really like it so far - no more surging forward when coming out of V4 mode while coasting to a stop, it seems to shift smoother/less overall, and hopefully will also reduce any future oil consumption.

 

But questions remain.  Could the tick and/or oil consumption just have been caused by the loose plugs?  Or maybe the tick was but the oil consumption is unrelated (and I have worn out seals, rings, etc.).  Does anyone have any comment on the state of my plugs from my last post, from before they were tightened?

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