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Hydraulic Roller Lifter Servicing

In this post I will cover the inspection, disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly of valve lifters on high mileage and/or neglected V10 Magnum engines. Cleaning is highly recommended if the engine has experienced valvetrain failure. The lifter in this post is the #9 exhaust valve which is at the end of the oil gallery and will collect the most debris. V10 Magnum lifters are the same as found in many Chrysler products of the same vintage including the Viper, 5.2 Magnum, 5.9 Magnum, 3.3 V6, and 3.8 V6.


First Inspection:

Lifter lower side

Lifter upper side

Lifter top

Take note of the varnish and sludge built up on the lifter after 145,000 miles and lack of oil changes. Lifters in this condition are difficult to remove from the engine and difficult to take apart.



Tools needed:

  1. Flat head screw driver

  2. Small punch

  3. Right angle pick

  4. Straight pick

  5. Pliers

  6. Brake Cleaner

Only work with one lifter at a time as to not mix up pieces. Lifters must be reassembled with their own components. Using different parts may lead to valve train failure.

Use the screwdriver to pop the ends of the spring clip out of the channel while being careful not to bend the clip.

With the ends popped out, grab the clip by hand to remove it. If your lifters are not stuck the end may pop out on its own.

Right angle pick to remove lifter cup.

Use the pick to find the oil feed hole in the lifter cup and pull the cup out.

Lifter cup removed.

Punch to remove oil from lifter.

Push punch into the middle of the lifter to depress the check valve and plunger to drain the lifter of oil.

Spray brake cleaner into lifter filling to the top.

Depress check valve to allow brake cleaner to fill the lower part of the lifter. Allow to sit for a few seconds and flip over and drain the brake cleaner.

Debris flushed with brake cleaner. Note the metal shaving from somewhere else in the engine that collects in the lifters and clogs them up.

Tap lifter on bench to move the plunger to the top of the lifter and grab with pliers for removal.

Pull the plunger out with pliers. Heavily varnished lifters may require a twisting motion to remove plunger.

Lifter with plunger removed.

Straight pick to remove check valve.

Place pick in one of the 3 vertical slots and pry upward to remove check valve cage.

Check valve components removed and laid out. Note the metal shavings trapped in the check valve. These can get caught between the ball and the set allowing the lifter to bleed down causing lifter noise and reduced valve lift.

Fully disassembled valve lifter. From left to right: Lifter Body, Main Spring, Check Valve Cage, Check Valve Spring, Check Ball, Plunger, Lifter Cup, Retaining Clip.



Equipment needed:

  1. Brake cleaner

  2. Ultrasonic cleaner

Spray down valve lifter with brake clean to remove the heavy dirt and debris before ultrasonic cleaning.

Lifter components placed in ultrasonic cleaner filled with a solution of warm water and purple power cleaner. Tank heater turned on and cycle time of 480 seconds. Additional cycle times may be needed for extremely dirty lifters.

Solution after 15 minutes.

Before vs after ultrasonic cleaning.

Dry lifter and coat with WD-40 or similar to displace moisture and prevent rusting until reassembly.



Parts should go under a final inspection for damage before reassembly. Lifters with damaged parts should be discarded and replaced. Use the disassembly section as a guide. The steps are the direct opposite on reassembly. Use the punch to relieve air pressure in lower lifter to make it easier to put in the retaining clip. Once reassembled lightly oil and reinstall into engine in the same location the lifter was removed from. Do not pump up lifters prior to running as valvetrain damage may result. The engines oil system will fill the lifters on their own. Do not run engine above idle until all lifter noise has ceased.

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