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Cold start; lifter noise

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Old 02-09-15, 09:20 AM   #1
CRowe14
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Default Cold start; lifter noise

Good day everyone... A question if I may.

So I hadn't driven my LS in about a week and when I went to start it yesterday afternoon, it was kind of loud and I could hear what I can best describe as perhaps lifter noise. Kind of like a very quick, repetitive clicking noise from the engine. I have read about this before but couldn't quite remember what, if any solution was recommended or if its somewhat common.

After the car runs for about i'd say...10-15 seconds, it immediately quiets down, however the clicking/lifter noise can still be heard, however, its very subtle.

After driving into work this morning, a 20 minute drive-13 to 15 stop and go, the rest expressway @ about 60-65, (the car should be pretty warmed up), I placed the car in park, turned everything off and sat there and observed the sound of the engine. Very quite, however, once again I could faintly hear the slight chatter of the engine. I did notice this before but thought I recalled this being somewhat normal for this car, especially with it having a timing chain and something regarding the lifters, I simply cant recall what it was I read.

This car is quiet, but its not tomb quiet. With my particular vehicle, its louder outside of the vehicle at idle and once getting in, its very quiet but still able to hear the lifter noise. Then while driving, especially at highway speeds, again very quiet, but still engine noise.

Im curious to know how everyone's LS behaves/sounds in comparison to what I've described.
Thanks a lot everyone!
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Old 02-09-15, 10:17 AM   #2
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Could be wrong, but I believe you are just hearing the normal sound of a direct injection engine. It will make an almost ticking sound. Completely normal.

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Old 02-09-15, 10:20 AM   #3
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That's exactly what it is I hear. My apologies for not being able to better articulate what it was I was trying to describe. But yes, the very quick paced ticking is what I hear. Thanks Greg!

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Could be wrong, but I believe you are just hearing the normal sound of a direct injection engine. It will make an almost ticking sound. Completely normal.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:22 AM   #4
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What you describe is most likely completely normal. It's a result of the extreme quietness of the cabin where you actually can hear a pin drop. The pin is the high pressure fuel pumps rubbing against the camshaft lobe within your engine and it is not exclusive for this car as it's seen across the industry.
The warm up loudness is also normal due to the timing chain, cams and lifters but it settles down once warm. It is a trade off for increased millage and power but well worth it and a non issue once the car is warmed up.
The best way to know the ticking is not severe is to turn on the radio to a very low volume and if it goes away you should be just fine.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:36 AM   #5
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Thank you kindly Devh.

I just took a few moments to read the links that Greg posted and saw that you were instrumental in that thread formulated in early 2014, regarding a similar if not the same issue. This gentleman, however, states that Lexus repaired/replaced his short block and afterwards, stated he had no more noise. But im guessing that he was possibly experiencing more noise/a worse problem that what I have described here. As I stated originally, I thought I did recall this noise being normal due to the fuel injection variable (remembering now as I've read the previous posts' and your explanation), I just wanted to verify. I deem it strange that Lexus would undertake such a grand repair if it is normal, so Im assuming that the gentleman must have had a serious issue.
Again, a grand thanks Devh.

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What you describe is most likely completely normal. It's a result of the extreme quietness of the cabin where you actually can hear a pin drop. The pin is the high pressure fuel pumps rubbing against the camshaft lobe within your engine and it is not exclusive for this car as it's seen across the industry.
The warm up loudness is also normal due to the timing chain, cams and lifters but it settles down once warm. It is a trade off for increased millage and power but well worth it and a non issue once the car is warmed up.
The best way to know the ticking is not severe is to turn on the radio to a very low volume and if it goes away you should be just fine.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:46 AM   #6
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Keep a few things in mind...the car is direct injected and that in itself is a louder experience (believe me I've heard cars that are much louder, Audi's being one)...the oil in our cars calls for a very light weight synthetic oil, which can effect sound...the car doesn't have lifters, it's a double overhead cam design with caps on top of the valves. I want to say there are spray nozzles up under the valve covers that coat the valve train, keeping it lubricated and quiet. Personally the engine is perhaps a bit loud for a Lexus, I have a friend who commented as much, but I don't think it's bad at all. And overall - in my opinion - the car (like you said) is not tomb quiet, but it's more than decent.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRowe14 View Post
Thank you kindly Devh.

I just took a few moments to read the links that Greg posted and saw that you were instrumental in that thread formulated in early 2014, regarding a similar if not the same issue. This gentleman, however, states that Lexus repaired/replaced his short block and afterwards, stated he had no more noise. But im guessing that he was possibly experiencing more noise/a worse problem that what I have described here. As I stated originally, I thought I did recall this noise being normal due to the fuel injection variable (remembering now as I've read the previous posts' and your explanation), I just wanted to verify. I deem it strange that Lexus would undertake such a grand repair if it is normal, so Im assuming that the gentleman must have had a serious issue.
Again, a grand thanks Devh.
Car forums are a great resource of information but unfortunately it can gravitate someone to the extreme end of diagnosis that is completely hearsay and unverifiable. It could be a little piston slap at warm up but still be completely normal and have no detrimental effect except to be a little worried. I doubt it because we would see this phenomenon on the trucks that share the same engine without direct fuel injection.
What I would like to see is an LS460 without the typical DI noise. If you search for DI noise on the internet you will get many hits from other manufactures describing the same sound.
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Old 02-09-15, 12:35 PM   #8
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Hey Double, thanks a grand!

Forgive my ignorance regarding the engine on this vehicle, and saying it sounds like "lifters" when there aren't any. But you description makes sense enough to me that I can comprehend the sound. I would like to say this however, I am not complaining at all! I came back from lunch a short while ago and I absolutely just love this car. Everything about it. I mean...to refresh a few memories, I am coming from (and still have) a 2000 Honda Accord with 180k+ miles! No complaints here! I'll take a little noise for everything else the car is and offers.
Thanks again!

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Originally Posted by Doublebase View Post
Keep a few things in mind...the car is direct injected and that in itself is a louder experience (believe me I've heard cars that are much louder, Audi's being one)...the oil in our cars calls for a very light weight synthetic oil, which can effect sound...the car doesn't have lifters, it's a double overhead cam design with caps on top of the valves. I want to say there are spray nozzles up under the valve covers that coat the valve train, keeping it lubricated and quiet. Personally the engine is perhaps a bit loud for a Lexus, I have a friend who commented as much, but I don't think it's bad at all. And overall - in my opinion - the car (like you said) is not tomb quiet, but it's more than decent.
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Old 02-09-15, 12:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRowe14 View Post
Hey Double, thanks a grand!

Forgive my ignorance regarding the engine on this vehicle, and saying it sounds like "lifters" when there aren't any. But you description makes sense enough to me that I can comprehend the sound. I would like to say this however, I am not complaining at all! I came back from lunch a short while ago and I absolutely just love this car. Everything about it. I mean...to refresh a few memories, I am coming from (and still have) a 2000 Honda Accord with 180k+ miles! No complaints here! I'll take a little noise for everything else the car is and offers.
Thanks again!
It's debatable and it can be stated that the car does not have lifters in the classical sense however the cam followers or shims are often referred to as lifters on overhead cam engines. I had a big online debate where I pointed out this vernacular in a Toyota service manual.
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Old 02-09-15, 05:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devh View Post
It's debatable and it can be stated that the car does not have lifters in the classical sense however the cam followers or shims are often referred to as lifters on overhead cam engines. I had a big online debate where I pointed out this vernacular in a Toyota service manual.
Yes but the lobe is right on the follower, so traditionally you don't get the "tap" at half engine speed you might experience on cam in block engines or valve adjustment engines (like a Honda) where you can adjust a screw on the rocker that comes in contact with the valve.

I've never heard valve train noise from the type of design that is in our engine.
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Old 02-09-15, 05:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRowe14 View Post
Hey Double, thanks a grand!

Forgive my ignorance regarding the engine on this vehicle, and saying it sounds like "lifters" when there aren't any. But you description makes sense enough to me that I can comprehend the sound. I would like to say this however, I am not complaining at all! I came back from lunch a short while ago and I absolutely just love this car. Everything about it. I mean...to refresh a few memories, I am coming from (and still have) a 2000 Honda Accord with 180k+ miles! No complaints here! I'll take a little noise for everything else the car is and offers.
Thanks again!
You sound like me when I first bought mine...and I was coming from the same car.
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Old 02-11-15, 09:12 AM   #12
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I think I know what the op and many of us are hearing on cold starts. My '07 LS does this, as well as my mom's '13 LS. I have a new Subaru WRX with direct injection and it does it too. 5 to 15 seconds of this "noise" on cold starts then it abruptly stops.

Modern DI engines generally use a strategy on cold starts to light off the catalysts as fast as possible. In normal operation, DI systems inject fuel during the intake stroke to create a well mixed (homogenous) mixture. This is good for power, emissions and economy.

On a cold start DI will inject much later, during the compression stroke. This does not give the mixture enough time to blend, creating a "stratified" mixture, over rich near the spark plug and over lean elsewhere. This mixture is then ignited by a very late (retarded) spark. Added to all this is specific cold start cam phasing (very advanced intake, slightly retarded exhaust).

The net effect of all this is "ragged" combustion event making very hot exhaust for the fastest catalyst light-off. I really think that most of the "noise" some of us notice on cold start is normal and caused by the very peculiar combination of the timing of the injection, ignition and cam phasing during the cold start, simply creating noisy combustion events. Add to this the early intake cam timing opening the intake valves during the exhaust stroke late stages , resulting in a brief pulse of exhaust gasses past the intake valves (reversion) which could easily generate some noise in the intake tract.

My WRX shares the same cold start strategy. It has a manifold vacuum/pressure display. When the initial cold start "noise' stops, the manifold pressure drops from -2 psi to -10 psi with no change in rpm.
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Old 02-11-15, 09:39 AM   #13
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On cold mornings, I start the car and let it run until the engine slows. I like to sit a few more seconds before backing out of the garage. Upon pressing the accelerator, I get this high pitched sound that is almost certainly based on depressing the pedal. I can't put my finger on it, but sounds above and beyond the typical engine sound. I can give it a little gas and I hear the high pitched rev and upon relieving the pedal, it stops. After perhaps 5 minutes, it's gone.

I know I discussed this in another thread, but I've never discovered what it is, and haven't had time to take it anywhere. Just thought I'd throw it in here! ;-)
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Old 02-11-15, 12:05 PM   #14
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The 1UR-FSE in our cars does have roller finger followers and SHLAs (stationary hydraulic lash adjusters):
http://minkara.carview.co.jp/en/user...oto.aspx#title
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Old 02-11-15, 02:26 PM   #15
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Have to absolutely love this forum and all of the well informed members, thank you!!
I cant honestly say Robert, that I follow all that you stated, but to the best of my ability, I've understood you to say, in my own version, that amidst the several steps it takes tis high performing, highly technical engine to start up and get warm, many thing take places thus causing "noise" lol! But it is normal, and that is what im happy to hear. THank you kindly for the very, very in depth description. I'm learning here...
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