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OM642 - clicky/ticky valves at startup #5132486 06/12/19 04:51 PM
Joined: Apr 2019
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Gadgethound Offline OP
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Howdy oil experts,

I have a 2012 Sprinter 2500 with the OM642 3.0L V6 diesel. It's got approx 140,000km on it. I had the emissions system including EGR deleted about 40k ago. About 30k ago I filled it with Amsoil Signature Series Max-Duty Synthetic Diesel Oil 0W-40. This is apparently the best that Amsoil has to offer for light duty diesels like the OM642.
A few thousand km later, I started noticing a puff of blue smoke coming out the exhaust when starting the engine while hot and the engine would run rough for a few seconds or until I stepped on it to raise the RPM up a little. Around this time, I also noticed that when cold starting the engine (vehicle parked in 70 F ambient temperature), I could hear the familiar "clack-clack" of an unhappy valve or two. The sound disappeared within 1 second and the engine ran normally. That has not changed a bit. Over the last 20,000km, I've not noticed any change (condition is not worsening). I am going to be doing an oil change shortly and I am wondering if this oil may be the wrong oil for this engine. Is it possible that the high levels of zinc in this oil could be causing problems for the close-tolerance hydraulic lifters that the OM642 uses?
I've also thought that maybe the 0W rating of this oil is just too thin (that does not explain the aforementioned problem with hot startup), but I don't want to use an oil with a higher winter viscosity. Last winter I noticed that when cold starting the engine in below-freezing temperatures, the "clack-clack" unhappy valve noise went on for as long as 2-3 seconds. I installed an oil pan heater to keep the oil thinner during the winter and that helped reduce the duration of valve noise at startup, so I know that in it's current condition, this engine doesn't like thick oil at startup. I've also heard about loose/sloppy timing chains and tensioner problems with this engine model, but this is definitely valve noise, not a timing chain (I know what that sounds like on the OM642).

SO... I am looking for a suggestion for my next oil change. I'd like to stick with Amsoil, but I am wondering if i should go to an oil with a higher W (winter) viscosity or maybe an oil with less zinc additives.

The engine seems to be wearing nicely so far. I had the oil tested a few thousand km ago and TBN is good at 5 and wear metals are low, although the bypass filter system may be filtering out some wear metals. It consumed about 1 quart of oil over 20,000km.

You can see the oil test result from a few thousand KM ago here:
https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/foru...sprinter-amsoil-0w-40-18k-km#Post5088967

Re: OM642 - clicky/ticky valves at startup [Re: Gadgethound] #5132511 06/12/19 05:44 PM
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Popsy Offline
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Could it be a leaking injector? Leaking when engine off, blue/grey smoke at startup with some knocking (for lack of better word).


96 Barchetta, 300V 5W40 | Forfour 95, SHU 0W40
Mazda 6 2.3, Castrol 0W30 | Colt Ralliart, 300V 0W40
Re: OM642 - clicky/ticky valves at startup [Re: Gadgethound] #5132514 06/12/19 05:46 PM
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loneryder Offline
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I have an 08 642 pre adblue. The best thing you did was deleting the egr. How did you go about it? I would suggest checking your tc tensioner and maybe going to a heavier oil..
I agree with you about MB suggested oils.

Re: OM642 - clicky/ticky valves at startup [Re: Gadgethound] #5132524 06/12/19 06:08 PM
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kschachn Offline
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And to clear up a common misconception in your post, the winter rating (W) of 0W does not make the oil too thin. The only time a 0W rated oil is thinner than a 5W or 10W is well below 0F, usually around -25F or -30F and all oils are massively thick at that temperature. Above that a 0W oil can actually be thicker than a 5W. It has nothing to do with the viscosity at 70F or at operation.

If you want a thinner or thicker oil you have to look at the second number (40), the winter rating is the wrong number to look at. If I were you with this Sprinter van (and our company has several) I'd use a heavy duty diesel oil changed out on a much shorter interval than is recommended.


1994 BMW 530i, 246K
1996 Honda Accord, 280K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 420K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 281K
Re: OM642 - clicky/ticky valves at startup [Re: kschachn] #5132549 06/12/19 06:43 PM
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Gadgethound Offline OP
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Thanks for the input so far everyone!

@Popsy - yes, good thinking about the leaky injector. That's quite possible. If that's the case, I'm not going to worry about it. Any idea what it takes to change injectors on a OM642 btw?

@loneryder - yeah, I heard a lot about EGR really gumming up the intake badly on these engines. I had a local shop here in Vernon, BC do it. The shop owner is a ECU wizard. He connected his laptop to the factory ECU and reflashed everything while his mechanics ripped out the OEM exhaust and put in a brand new stainless system. The EGR valve is still installed, but just unplugged. His ECU reflash made the ECU happy with a unplugged EGR valve. I'm very happy with their work.

@kschachn - thanks for the info on oil weights. I've never really understood that. What would you recommend? Factory recommendation is 5w30, should I go back to that? My only concern is that this engine works very hard and gets hot. The oil sump sensor regularly shows 220F during the summertime as I drive the mountainous terrain around here. Coolant temps rarely reach 212F though.
By heavy duty diesel oil do you mean a 15w40 or similar?

Re: OM642 - clicky/ticky valves at startup [Re: Gadgethound] #5133378 06/13/19 04:50 PM
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Gadgethound Offline OP
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I'm still looking for an answer on the following:
1) Is a heavy 15w40 oil a good idea for this OM642 engine or should I go with the manufacturer recommended 5w30?
2) Can high levels of zinc cause problems with hydraulic lifters in modern diesel engines like the OM642?

Re: OM642 - clicky/ticky valves at startup [Re: Gadgethound] #5133428 06/13/19 05:38 PM
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loneryder Offline
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Originally Posted by Gadgethound
I'm still looking for an answer on the following:
1) Is a heavy 15w40 oil a good idea for this OM642 engine or should I go with the manufacturer recommended 5w30?
2) Can high levels of zinc cause problems with hydraulic lifters in modern diesel engines like the OM642?

5or 15-40 would be the best to protect your engine. Levels of zinc over 1000ppm will protect your timIng chains. Never heard of it harming lifters.

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