by Alain Hoffmann
Sticking valves can sometimes make the same ticking noise as the water pump but at a far lower frequency. Check this by sliding your sthethoscope along the valve cover. If your ears fall off at one area you may have found the bad one. make sure it IS an valve before dismounting the complete engine. First listen around that noisy place. Any other aggreates around like smog pump, vacuum pump, exhaust manifold gasket? Listen to all of them carefully for what they have to tell you.
Still sure it comes from the valve? Ok, let's nail it down before you start again with that big wrench an the sledgehammer. Take the valve cover off and put your finger on each rocker arm with the engine running. You normally feel just an sharp movement but the one that gives you a shock like an electric discharge is the faulty one. You can even fix it down further. Get your timing light and connect it to the high tension wire. Vary the engine speed and use your timing light as strobe. Obviously this is best done in darkness - or using a powerful strobe. At one point the valve train seems to stand still. Now watch closely for erratic up/down on the valve stem which means a stuck or burned valve. While you're at it it might be a good idea to have a peek at the others. Maybe one of them also starts to get a mind of his own. Scold them good and give them a spanking. That's not a way to act!
Now you got two solutions: Either tear the engine apart. Costs you an arm and half a leg but hey, what else money is good for? Far better than burning it immediately. Or you can return to your friendly parts shop and buy some additives which claim to restore the engine to full health, make it like new and even paint it inside. Trow at the same time a carb cleaner or an injector cleaner in your cart. It's well worth the try if you compare repair costs. And who knows, it may work as advertised?
If your Rover is an V8 you have hydraulic lifters who regulate valve play themselves. If you're about to change them in no way buy only one or 2. Buy a complete new set. You don't need any high performance stuff - your banger rarely sees the 4000 rpm mark anyway. Better spend your money on a high quality timing chain. If you change lifters it's a mighty good idea to check the cam for wear too. A badly worn lifter almost surely indicates a cam beyond repair - get a new one too. Well, that leads us a long wy from a light ticking at idle. But that's the Land Rover Experience!