How to Unstick an AFM Lifter
If you’re hearing an unusual ticking sound coming from your engine, it could be a telltale sign of a sticking AFM (Active Fuel Management) lifter. AFM lifters are components in modern engines that help improve fuel efficiency by deactivating certain cylinders when they are not needed. However, over time, these lifters can get stuck, leading to engine issues and reduced performance. In this article, we will guide you through a step-by-step process on how to unstick an AFM lifter and restore your engine’s smooth operation.
Understanding AFM Lifters
Before we dive into the steps to unstick an AFM lifter, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how they work. AFM lifters are designed to have the ability to collapse and extend, allowing the valves to open or close depending on whether the cylinder is active or deactivated. When a lifter gets stuck, it can prevent the valves from functioning correctly and lead to misfires, rough idling, and an overall decrease in power.
Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace
Begin by parking your vehicle on a level surface and engaging the parking brake. Open the hood and let the engine cool down completely before proceeding. It’s crucial to work on a cool engine to avoid any accidental burns.
Step 2: Access the AFM Lifters
Locate the AFM lifters in your engine. They are typically found on top of the cylinder heads and are connected to the pushrods. You may need to refer to your vehicle’s service manual or consult an expert to locate them precisely based on your engine type.
Step 3: Apply Lubricating Oil
To unstick a stuck lifter, you’ll need a high-quality lubricating oil specifically designed for engines. Carefully apply a generous amount of oil to the base of the AFM lifter that is causing the issue. Ensure that the oil reaches all the internal components of the lifter.
Step 4: Wait and Rotate
After applying the lubricating oil, give it some time to penetrate and lubricate the stuck lifter. Let the oil sit for at least 30 minutes. During this time, you can occasionally start and run the engine for a few minutes, allowing the oil to circulate. This can help further distribute the oil and potentially free up the lifter.
Step 5: Change the Engine Oil and Filter
Once you’ve allowed the oil to sit and circulate, it’s a good idea to change the engine oil and filter. Over time, the oil can become contaminated with debris that may contribute to lifter sticking. A fresh oil change will help ensure optimal performance and reduce the chances of lifter issues in the future.
Step 6: Road Test
After completing the steps above, take your vehicle for a short test drive. Listen for any abnormal engine sounds and pay attention to how the engine performs. If the lifter was successfully unstuck, you should notice a smooth and quiet operation. However, if the ticking sound persists, it may be an indication of a more severe issue that requires professional attention.
When to Seek Professional Help
While the steps mentioned above can often resolve minor lifter sticking issues, there may be instances where professional help is necessary. If you notice persistent ticking sounds, ongoing engine performance issues, or if you’re uncomfortable performing the steps yourself, it’s best to consult a qualified mechanic. They will have the expertise and equipment to diagnose and resolve the problem effectively.
Maintaining Engine Health
To minimize the likelihood of AFM lifter sticking and other engine-related issues, regular maintenance is key. Be sure to follow the recommended oil change intervals and use high-quality lubricating oils. Additionally, driving your vehicle regularly and avoiding extended periods of inactivity can help prevent lifter sticking.
In conclusion, a stuck AFM lifter can be a source of annoyance and may impact your vehicle’s performance. However, with some basic knowledge and careful execution of the steps outlined above, you can potentially unstick the lifter and restore your engine’s smooth operation. Remember, if the issue persists or you’re unsure about performing the steps yourself, it’s always wise to seek the assistance of a professional mechanic who can diagnose and address the problem effectively.