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Thread: ATF to cure noisy valve lifter?

  1. #1

    ATF to cure noisy valve lifter?

    Since I acquired my 1947 Packard Super Clipper with the 356 CID engine 2 years ago it has a loud tapping sound once the oil gets hot.. I am assuming it is a stuck valve lifter as it is coming from the area of the valves. I tried using a stethoscope with inconclusive result so I am open to other suggestions. The car has been driven probably less than 50 miles per year for at least the past 30 years. I removed the oil pan and cleaned out the sludge and ran some engine flush in two oil changes. the engine valve gallery is very clean now but the one lifter persists in clattering ( unbecoming of a Packard IMHO). A couple of people have suggested putting a quart of ATF in with the oil as a possible cure assuming of course it is a sticking lifter which is the problem. I know this is an old mechanics trick but have never tried it myself but was wondering what the members of the forum think?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jim Bollman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Williamson, NY, USA

    Re: ATF to cure noisy valve lifter?

    I have never tried ATF, but have had good success on several engines with Marvel Mystery oil. Use it in the crankcase for lifters and in the gas for valves.

    AACA Life Member #091218
    Wayne Drumlin Region AACA
    Crosley Automobile Club #204
    Antique Truck Club of America
    Early Ford V8 Club of America

    1949 Crosley StationWagon
    1951 Crosley FarmOroad
    1950 Ford F1 Stake Truck

  3. #3

    Re: ATF to cure noisy valve lifter?

    Thanks Jim, Marvel isn't available in Canada at least where I live but there are other things like CD2 and Rislone but maybe ATF is just as good?

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Paso Robles CA

    Re: ATF to cure noisy valve lifter?

    I bought an 87 ford pu that the prior owner had NEVER changed the oil on. I removed the oil filter and cranked the engine to drain it as it would NOT pass through the drain hole. refilled it with 4 qts ATF and 1 qt oil. ran the engine for one hour. drained and refilled with 4 qts oil and 1 qt ATF. changed oil after 100 miles.
    After that it got oil changes every 3K miles. 50K miles later I had to pull the pan to replace a leaky gasket. the pan was SPOTLESS.
    ATF is very high detergent and will clean sludge


  5. #5
    Senior Member Ron Green's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Camp Hill, PA. USA

    Re: ATF to cure noisy valve lifter?

    I have used a quart of ATF to quiet lifters several times with success. I remove a quart of engine oil and replace it with a quart of ATF. Run the engine a couple of hundred miles and then change the oil and filter with no ATF. I have found it seems to work better if you run the vehicle on longer trips rather then shorter ones when the ATF is in.
    Ron Green

    AACA Member #337715
    AACA Gettysburg Region Member
    Former President-International Amphicar Owners Club (IAOC)

  6. #6
    Senior Member De Soto Frank's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Scranton, PA. USA

    Re: ATF to cure noisy valve lifter?

    If you've already cleaned the sludge out of the sump, I would try the ATF, up to two quarts (my MoToR's says the 356 has a 7 qt crankcase), and drive it a bit - some nice long drives in the country...

    I don't think the ATF will do any harm...

    The biggest fear of running high detergent stuff in old engines is that the detergents "will suddenly break-up all the gunk at once, which will then block-up oil passages, etc...."

    You've already removed most of the crud, so the ATF is certainly worth a try...

    Good luck!
    Frank McMullen
    1928 Ford 49-A Special Coupe
    1930 Chevrolet Special Sedan
    1941 De Soto S-8 De Luxe Sedan
    1948 & '50 Chrysler NY'ers
    1941, 1954, 1955-first Chevy trucks
    1961 Rambler American Convertible :D
    1965 Ford F-100 long-bed pick-up
    1982 Honda Silverwing GL-500 Interstate :cool:

    Dearly Departed:
    1955 De Soto Fireflite S-21 sedan
    1960 Chrysler Windsor PC-1 sedan
    1961 Plymouth Belvedere sedan

  7. #7

    Re: ATF to cure noisy valve lifter?

    Alemite CD2

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Milledgeville, IL. 61051 USA

    Re: ATF to cure noisy valve lifter?

    I have always been intrigued by the notion that ATF is high detergent. Just what is the detergent for in an automatic trans? There is no combustion to form acids, dirt etc.....just wondering....

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