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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Are faulty Hydraulic Lifters responsible for the excessive valve train noise in some TS-111 engines?

This noise I am talking about is very different from the “clacking” noise, which a PVCX can usually fix or significantly reduce. And it is much louder than the normal level of valve-train noise that you hear in most TS-111 engines.

I recently purchased a 2014 Chieftain with 2,600-miles. The engine was quiet and ran great. It began to make a lot of top-end noise almost immediately after its 5000-mile service. After reading every Forum and thread I could find on “clacking” and then posting and discussing the issue both online and with other riders in IMRG, I have to agree with those that say there are several different causes of excessive TS-111 engine noise:
  1. For some it is the cam compression release problems found on some 2014 models (a fairly-easy fix).
  2. For most it is timing and preignition issues which can be corrected with the Dynajet PV-CX module and re-mapping service provided by Fuel Moto (a close to $400 fix that may void warranty and EPA emission compliance).
  3. For some it is the wet sumping problem (a very expensive fix that required engine remove and splitting the case, etc.)
  4. There may be some piston slap noise (no real solution)
  5. There have been some reports of timing chain slap – fixed by adjusting/replacing the tensioner
  6. Most TS-100s have some valve train rattling some have very loud valve train rattling caused by partial failure of some or all of the hydraulic lifters. It is often described as sewing machine chatter.
After everything I have read and everyone I have talked with and the comments from those that have listend to my Chieftain engine noise, I think that 98% of the excessive/increased noise on my Chieftain is valve train (lifter/push-rod/rocker-arm) rattling caused by partial failure of the hydraulic lifters in my TS-111.

I’ve reached this conclusion because:
  • The noise is very loud (like an industrial sewing machine) in 1400 to 2000 RPM range
  • Engine load (accelerating, decelerating, even speed on level terrain) does not noticeably change the noise level
  • When cold, the motor is quiet (no noticeable valve-train noise) until it warms up
  • The noise became annoyingly loud after the 5,000-mile oil change (possibly a change in oil viscosity)
  • My Indian dealer tech told me that he has heard this valve train noise starting after oil changes on some Indian motorcycles and in one case the noise stopped after an oil change.
I am guessing that the hydraulic lifters installed by Indian are not of consistent quality. Some partially break-down and require a higher viscosity oil to work properly because they do work properly (no valve train rattle noise) before the engine warms up.

It sounds like fresh oil may sometimes start the noise and that would only be true if the hydraulic lifter’s tolerance is marginal and wear has moved it to the edge of proper functionality.

This may also explain why some TS-111 are fairly-quiet and others have various levels of sewing machine chatter noise. Mine is sometimes so loud, not even loud rock completely drowns in out (like all four lifters are not working properly). It also seems to explain why different oil viscosity impacts the noise and why a fresh oil change could change the noise level.

I am not sure if this is technically accurate but It seems to me that at lower RPMs, it is more likely that marginal hydraulic lifters will “leak” more fluid and be noisier. At higher speeds, there is less time for oil to leak out. There would also be less “leaking” when the oil is cold (an at a higher viscosity). If the lifters are leaking just enough fluid to release tension from the pushrod, this would create the rattle noise, but not result in a significant loss of power.

I am also guessing Indian engineers have figured this out and working on sourcing more reliable hydraulic lifters. If the 2018s are less noisy, it may be because they have gotten better quality hydraulic lifters from their supplier.

I am also guessing that this is being keep confidential because if this was ever made public, the cost (financial loss) to Polaris would be very significant, because, per the service manual, hydraulic lifter replacement requires engine removal and cylinder head removal and then reassembly– a very labor-intensive process.

My local dealer’s Indian Motorcycle tech was kind enough to take some time to listen to my Chieftain engine noise. He confirmed that it was most likely valve train (lifter/push-rod/rocker-arm) noise. When asked, he said if it where his personal chieftain, he would pull the engine apart (since there would be no cost, just his personal time) even though he honestly doesn’t think he would find anything definitive. So he recommend that I not pay to do that as there is a 99% chance I would end up paying the full cost with no fix. I believe he is most likely correct as I am unaware of how he or I could prove that a hydraulic lifter was not in spec (leaking too much oil when under pressure / only partially failing).

Does anyone know of a way to check and prove that a hydraulic lifter is not in spec / leaking too much oil when under pressure / partially failing?
 

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It would be hard to imagine, from a purely mechanical standpoint, that ALL the lifters in an engine have gone bad, so is your "guessing" (you used that term a few times) assuming one, two, three or all four are the source of the noise?
Now, oil supply TO the lifters must be considered also. But attempting to help in diagnosing any type of noise over the www will yield MANY opinions. My engine was dead quiet up until the 20,000 mile point at which it started clacking. Being a mechanic I deduced it to be either wrist pin knock or intake noise.

With proper tuning thru Craig B and my PVCX, his first tune sent to me eliminated 95% of the noise. Ignition timing due to Indians settings along with accrued mileage was the culprit.

My suggestion as it has helped many hundreds of times in my 41+ years as a m/c mechanic, is to invest in a mechanics stethoscope and listen to various points of the engine at that rpm range while in neutral. You will hear where the sound is coming from.

RACNRAY
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It would be hard to imagine, from a purely mechanical standpoint, that ALL the lifters in an engine have gone bad, so is your "guessing" (you used that term a few times) assuming one, two, three or all four are the source of the noise?
Now, oil supply TO the lifters must be considered also. But attempting to help in diagnosing any type of noise over the www will yield MANY opinions. My engine was dead quiet up until the 20,000 mile point at which it started clacking. Being a mechanic I deduced it to be either wrist pin knock or intake noise.

With proper tuning thru Craig B and my PVCX, his first tune sent to me eliminated 95% of the noise. Ignition timing due to Indians settings along with accrued mileage was the culprit.

My suggestion as it has helped many hundreds of times in my 41+ years as a m/c mechanic, is to invest in a mechanics stethoscope and listen to various points of the engine at that rpm range while in neutral. You will hear where the sound is coming from.

RACNRAY
Thanks RacNRay, I’ve talked with Craig B and provided a recording on me engine noise. He agreed in is not something a PVCX would fix. He agrees it sounds like valve train noise, not a tuning/ignition mapping problem. He says he has some of the same rattle noise in his bike and is currently working on another bike with the same rattling sound — trying to figure out what is causing it.
If all 4 lifters in my mChieftain were manufactured at the same time, the couldn’t they all be equally out of spec.
 

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Yes it is very possible that a lot of several hundred or more got released into production but quality control should have caught it if that was the case mine rattles and it vertices the sound of my new 585 cams witch seem to make it rattle even more
The rattle is obnoxious
Worst think about the bike followed by low top speed and when stock lack of performance
Everyone has different ideas about what performance is my standard is high
I am glade you started this thread as I was going to
Maybe we can narrow this thing down
Ive suspected the tensioners for a wile now
Or valve/ lifter clearances being to great
Maybe both
We have a lot of talent on this form let’s get this figured out
 

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For a more thorough understanding of this engine, tune in to @Tom - AMS, @Shardy and @CraigB1960 and others with substantial knowledge base and background.

The thread is in depth and thorough. Just look up @Tom - AMS and follow all thats written. He has pretty much touched on valve train, piston issues etc. Good lengthy reads with real world experience
 

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We have a member with 60k miles or better and he took the cam chest off to view the chain tensioner, perfect with no signs of any eminent failure.

How about you replace the lifters on your bike @Silverback and let us know it that was the problem. Don't you just love diagnosis by process of elimination?

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about the only way to tell is replace all the lifters.amf had a problem with hyd lifters at one time ,i would replace with solids and adjustable push rods from j and p cycles.with these motors a push rod tube would have to be removable to adj push rods.could be the next aftermarket thing to come up witho_O
 

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My experience with bad hydraulic lifters is that they make the most nose at startup because they've emptied themselves while sitting. At shutdown your oil is still hot and "thinned" and would bleed out same as running at operating temp. Unfortunately just pulling the valve covers on our engines involves some teardown. Having a look inside the cam cover could eliminate a few possibilities though. That's pretty simple.

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
First let me clarify that the loud valve-train/lifter noise in my 2014 Chieftain TS-111 engine is very different from the “clacking” noise, which a PVCX can usually fix or significantly reduce. Nor is the normal level of valve-train noise that you hear in most TS-111 engines.

I've read comments by several auto mechanics saying that leaking hydraulic lifters are often quiet until the engine warms up because at start-up the oil pressure fills them with the thicker/higher-viscosity cold oil. Once the engine oil warms up, leaking hydraulic lifters can no longer maintain sufficient volume of the hot oil which is now thinner/lower-viscosity.

According to the diagnostic guide in the Indian service manual (pages 7.39-7.40), the noise could be collapsed lifter(s), weak or broken valve springs, worn camshaft, worn rocker-arm, or bad rocker-arm bearings.

I am guessing that because my 2014 Chieftain has only 6000 miles on it, one of the following is causing excessive valve train noise (which is very different from the clacking, which a PVCX can fix):
  1. Defective or out of spec hydraulic lifter(s)
  2. The 2014 exhaust cams and their impact on the lifters. At least one owners has stated in another thread that Polaris changed his 2014 exhaust cams due to excessive valve-train noise. He reported that it greatly reduced the lifter noise.
  3. The so-called “manufacturing tolerance stack” as many dealer technicians say this is what they are hearing from the Polaris. If this is the case, this means that when the cylinder and head heat-up they expand to where the hydraulic lifters are unable to take up the slack, which allows the push-rod to bounce between the lifter and the rocker-arm, which causes the loud valve train noise. While “manufacturing tolerance stack” sounds like a clever explanation, it is in fact a design or manufacturing defect. No engine is designed or manufactured so that the hydraulic lifters are unable to do what they were intended to do.
In all three cases, the excessive valve train noise is a defect, not normal nor acceptable.

The fact that there are many Indian TS-111 that do not generate excessive valve-train/lifter noise should be more than enough for the factory to acknowledge that this is a defect in some TS-111 engines that should be covered by the warranty.

Because I recently purchased my 2014 Chieftain from a dealer that is a long distance from where I live, I feel my local dealer really does not want to pursue this. However, one way or another, I will be filing a warranty claim with Polaris.
 

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First let me clarify that the loud valve-train/lifter noise in my 2014 Chieftain TS-111 engine is very different from the “clacking” noise, which a PVCX can usually fix or significantly reduce. Nor is the normal level of valve-train noise that you hear in most TS-111 engines.

I've read comments by several auto mechanics saying that leaking hydraulic lifters are often quiet until the engine warms up because at start-up the oil pressure fills them with the thicker/higher-viscosity cold oil. Once the engine oil warms up, leaking hydraulic lifters can no longer maintain sufficient volume of the hot oil which is now thinner/lower-viscosity.

According to the diagnostic guide in the Indian service manual (pages 7.39-7.40), the noise could be collapsed lifter(s), weak or broken valve springs, worn camshaft, worn rocker-arm, or bad rocker-arm bearings.

I am guessing that because my 2014 Chieftain has only 6000 miles on it, one of the following is causing excessive valve train noise (which is very different from the clacking, which a PVCX can fix):
  1. Defective or out of spec hydraulic lifter(s)
  2. The 2014 exhaust cams and their impact on the lifters. At least one owners has stated in another thread that Polaris changed his 2014 exhaust cams due to excessive valve-train noise. He reported that it greatly reduced the lifter noise.
  3. The so-called “manufacturing tolerance stack” as many dealer technicians say this is what they are hearing from the Polaris. If this is the case, this means that when the cylinder and head heat-up they expand to where the hydraulic lifters are unable to take up the slack, which allows the push-rod to bounce between the lifter and the rocker-arm, which causes the loud valve train noise. While “manufacturing tolerance stack” sounds like a clever explanation, it is in fact a design or manufacturing defect. No engine is designed or manufactured so that the hydraulic lifters are unable to do what they were intended to do.
In all three cases, the excessive valve train noise is a defect, not normal nor acceptable.

The fact that there are many Indian TS-111 that do not generate excessive valve-train/lifter noise should be more than enough for the factory to acknowledge that this is a defect in some TS-111 engines that should be covered by the warranty.

Because I recently purchased my 2014 Chieftain from a dealer that is a long distance from where I live, I feel my local dealer really does not want to pursue this. However, one way or another, I will be filing a warranty claim with Polaris.
I've been over the fender of a few cars listening to an engine run with a lifter noise to the front and then one to the back. I've witnessed lifters (Hydraulic Lash Adjusters) lose prime while running and at normal operating temperature. Granted those were V-8, V-6 and I4 gas engines but the operating principal is still the same as a TS111. I often wondered if oil aeration could be the culprit as I can make #37 clack on command, two sharp left turns at operating temperature and #37 will clack for maybe 5 seconds.

With 6k miles on your bike I'm not sure how much you will convince anyone that the cam, rocker arms and/or bearings are bad. There are pretty easy diagnostic procedures to ascertain if you have a broken valve spring or a weak valve spring. Again, if you feel the lifters are defective have them replaced, if it corrects then you've figured out your bike. As for you assertion there is a defect in the TS111 and Polaris/IMC knows it, well, you'll need to do a lot more than just read from the shop manual.

The Service Contract that was put on the 2014's provides coverage for mechanical breakdowns. When you or your shop is able to provide irrefutable proof of a mechanical breakdown that is causing this noise, let them know and LET US KNOW TOO!!

People here have speculated, for years, what the problem could be.


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I agree with what you say. However replacing the lifters is quite expensive as it calls for removing the engine and removing the heads and I no longer have the tools or shop to do that myself.
And it’s eqally possible that the noise could be caused by rattling pushrods as a result manufacturing tollarance stack causing too much expansion for the lifters to handle.
The rattle is sometimes so loud I can hear it over the radio blasting rock. If Polaris won’t fix it, I’ll have to trade it in for a Harley as that would kill my trust in Polaris to stand behind any of their products (yes, I’ve heard HD horror stories). Or I’ll sell to someone who isn’t bothered by the sound.
I truly hope Polaris will do the right thing because (other than that obnoxiously loud rattle) I love everything else about my chieftain.
 

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Good luck. I'd suggest getting a dealer on board with you at least. Going to Polaris armed with an audio recording and lots of speculation likely won't get you anywhere.

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Yup! That's exactly what the top end noise is in my 2018 Indian,pronounced mostly at the 1900-2300 rpm mark.But ya don't hear it when it's first started,only after she's warms up alittle.However,mine does quiet down somewhat after being driven for a few miles.But you're 100% correct as it is top end noise,AKA,valve train,as you stated,and I believe it's the hydraulic lifters and has something to do with the oil.I plan on experimenting with different oils to see if that helps.When I did the 500 mile service on mine,changing the oil and filter,that top end noise was reduced,but I also used a different type and viscosity oil from what's recommended.So I'll run it for another couple thousand miles,then change it again and see what happens.Dave!!!
 

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After reading the multiple threads on noises has anyone given thought to maybe it's the same reason a lot of Harley riders put Shovelhead heads on their Pans. The valve covers over the heads have got to account for amplifying a lot of the internal noises. My buddy's Pan sounds like a Singer sewing machine.
 

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After reading the multiple threads on noises has anyone given thought to maybe it's the same reason a lot of Harley riders put Shovelhead heads on their Pans. The valve covers over the heads have got to account for amplifying a lot of the internal noises. My buddy's Pan sounds like a Singer sewing machine.
One could easily insulate the inside of the outer valve cover and reduce some noise.

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Ya don't insulate anything metallic that should normally run fairly quiet,especially hydraulic lifters.After changing the oil in mine,and after the motor had reached its'operating temperature,my top end noise was reduced quite a bit,but only after she had been run for awhile.But then again,I only have 850 miles on the clock so it's still alittle early to make any judgement calls on it because those lifters may eventually quiet down after the break in period.We shall see!!
 

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I agree with what you say. However replacing the lifters is quite expensive as it calls for removing the engine and removing the heads and I no longer have the tools or shop to do that myself.
And it’s eqally possible that the noise could be caused by rattling pushrods as a result manufacturing tollarance stack causing too much expansion for the lifters to handle.
The rattle is sometimes so loud I can hear it over the radio blasting rock. If Polaris won’t fix it, I’ll have to trade it in for a Harley as that would kill my trust in Polaris to stand behind any of their products (yes, I’ve heard HD horror stories). Or I’ll sell to someone who isn’t bothered by the sound.
I truly hope Polaris will do the right thing because (other than that obnoxiously loud rattle) I love everything else about my chieftain.
Unfortunately in my experience with noise on my 2014 Classic, Indian will do nothing to try and fix the problem. If it isn't using oil, popping codes or hasn't blown up then you are on your own. I have been fighting with Indian for 4 years and they just say it's normal and to ride it.
Good luck though.
 

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Ya don't insulate anything metallic that should normally run fairly quiet,especially hydraulic lifters.After changing the oil in mine,and after the motor had reached its'operating temperature,my top end noise was reduced quite a bit,but only after she had been run for awhile.But then again,I only have 850 miles on the clock so it's still alittle early to make any judgement calls on it because those lifters may eventually quiet down after the break in period.We shall see!!
Right. Don't insulate the lifters......

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