Jump to content

Welcome to TheMalibuCrew!

As a guest, you are welcome to poke around and view the majority of the content that we have to offer, but in order to post, search, contact members, and get full use out of the website you will need to Register for an Account. It's free and it's easy, so don't hesitate to join the TheMalibuCrew Family today!

Ticking at idle after warm up

Recommended Posts

Hi,  I just joined the forum to get some advice.  I searched for this specific question and couldn't find a thread so I'll ask here.  I am shopping for a Sunsetter and found a boat I REALLY like.  It's a 1998 LX.  I inspected and drove it yesterday.  The boat is in fantastic shape with two concerns.

1.  When returning to the dock after running at speed for 20 min, i noticed loud ticking at idle.  I'm not an expert mechanic but I do know a little and I think its from the valve train.  Are these engines known for lifter noise?  It's pretty loud.  You notice it even with the motor cover down.  It wasn't as loud at startup.

2. There is some "trailer rash" on the keel. Otherwise the bottom is flawless.  Its to the point where the finished part of the hull has been chipped away and you can see brown underneath but its not deep and I didn't notice any water in the bilge after the test drive.  Is this to be expected for a 20 year old boat? Big problem?

Are these major red flags?  The boat is otherwise good.  It has 181 indicated hours which makes me a little concerned about dry bits in the engine.  I had a '85 Nautique years ago and liked it.  I'm looking at this boat for its skiing wake plus room for a few friends.  I'm not really into serious wake boarding.  

Thanks everyone for giving this some consideration.  I took video of the engine ticking but don't know how to post it.  I will discuss it with a local dealer as well.


Link to comment

I''ll comment on the ticking: as far as I know these engines are not known for lifter noise. I don't recall that being discussed on here as a common problem and, in fact, I remember when I first bought my boat a few years ago, remarking how quiet the valve train was (1999 model year). It may just need a valve adjustment or you may have a bad lifter. If you're not scared of fixing, it may be a bargaining point to get the price down. Also, count on having to replace the rear main seal - I suspect once you start putting some hours on it there's no telling how long it will hold up before starting to leak.

Link to comment

@JMalibu - Always challenging to do the internet diagnosis routine, your description certainly leans toward a ticking lifter.  Could be some debris and may improve although could also be more significant such as a bent or stuck valve.  I would certainly pop off the valve cover and check for any valve lash, valve stem height variation.  There is always a concern when evaluating an engine that has been sitting for extended periods.  A leak down test will tell you if a valve is stuck open and probably a good idea to do one. To answer your question, no they are not known for lifter noise so there is certainly something that needs correcting.

Do you know if the boat sat in the water or on a lift / trailer for the non use portion of its life?  If constantly in water, I would dig a bit to ensure no water saturation has occurred given it sounds like a chip past the gel coat.

If all is sound, a Sunsetter LX with 181 hours should provide years of great boating, if you scroll through some of the Sunsetter threads you will see owners really like them.  Also, tap some of the Sunsetter experts for more details on wake v. slalom hull differences and what years the different hulls were available, the resource section here is a great resource.  @ahopkinsVTX - any advice for his research on that?

Link to comment

You didn't say if it is a Monsoon (injected) or carb engine.  It is possible you are hearing the injectors firing since they do click.

Grab a dowel (wood, metal, whatever) and use it as a stethoscope probe to listen to various parts of the engine.  Put your thumb over the end of the dowel, then press your thumb against the bone behind your ear.  You can now press the other end of the dowel on the engine and listen for the ticking.  Be sure to listen to each injector, the fuel regulator, and all along each head and valve cover.  You will be able to pick out when your sound is the loudest and zero in on it.

It's probably best to keep your dowel out of the rotating parts and belts....

Link to comment

I once purchased a car with a tick attributed to a "sticky lifter" by the dealership. Long story short: The engine had overheated in the past and had three warped pistons and cylinder damage. Repairs required a complete engine rebuild at significant expense to me. Two important lessons for me based on that deal.

1) Never (ever) purchase a used vehicle or boat without speaking with the previous owner first.

2) Always have a compression and leak-down test performed on any used vehicle engine before finalizing the purchase. Oil analysis is recommended also.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...