Piston Slap: Delphi Lifters Make the Sale?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap delphi lifters make the sale

TTAC Commentator OldWingGuy writes:

My question concerns how General Motors manufactures new replacement engines. Do they use old stock from when the engine was in production, or do they continue building them even though they have been superseded years ago?


I have a 2010 Chevy Silverado with the 5.3-liter engine, with Active Fuel Management. It has over 300,000 km. Oil pressure at idle is starting to drop, but not critical yet. Probably another couple years left in the engine. But I am contemplating putting a replacement new GM engine in when the time comes.

The issue is some of the 5.3L engines have Eaton lifters with an occasional nasty lifter noise. If your engine has this, the Eaton lifters need to be replaced with Delphi lifters. The only way to tell which you have is to remove a lifter, which requires removing both intake manifold and cylinder head. Not something to do with a new engine. So, if you buy a replacement engine from GM, has it been sitting around for 10 years ? Or are they produced occasionally? If the former, I would have no way of knowing which lifter was used short of pulling a cylinder head. If produced occasionally, I would assume GM uses the Delphi lifters.

Anyone out there know how GM produces new replacement engines for a ten year old vehicle ?

Sajeev answers:

I love questions that open multiple layers of concerns…not just because I can blow ’em off with deflective answers.

The only folks who’d know are inside General Motors, so find a dealership’s service/parts department manager motivated enough to find out. That’s because the odds of calling a customer service hotline for the answer is low, and no PR flack will dole out information to a journo if the truth hurts (I presume, I don’t know any PR-peeps!). Nobody wants to admit their employer made/is making a mistake, except when there’s no other option. If you aren’t a self-made entrepreneur, if you care about your job/career, you know the drill.

Don’t sweat it, that’s just life.

And it doesn’t matter how GM usually manufactures replacement engines: you need the specifics about valve lifters and if there’s a stop sale (so to speak) on 5.3L motors with Eaton bits.

I suggest offering a dealership the sale in exchange for verification of the Delphi lifters, otherwise you will contact Jasper to see if their customer support is any better. While I have no personal experience/vested interest here, the Internet is pretty kind to their work and their ability to perform readily available upgrades on their products. For the most part.

Best and Brightest?

[Image: General Motors]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Join the conversation
7 of 28 comments
  • DenverMike DenverMike on Oct 26, 2019

    I'd seriously consider the "parts truck" purchase. Yeah I realize that would mean storing a wreck on the lawn for many, except it's a beautiful thing when any part you need is "in stock", pennies on the dollar, or free at some point. For long term, high miles ownership, you're likely going to need a transmission, rear end, and countless other parts that can nickel and dime you to death. Finding an upper trim truck, leather, nav, 20' wheels is a bonus, along with updated, mid generation refreshed and aftermarket upgrades. It doesn't hurt that you're dealing with the 2nd most popular truck on the planet, but there's a surprising number of decade old trucks around with around 50K miles, extremely clean and garage kept. Nothing beats original OEM parts, but of course you'd be looking for salvage title, totaled, but drives/running, with a bent frame, light damage, flooded, rolled, hail damage, etc.

  • -Nate -Nate on Oct 26, 2019

    Please define the difference between 5.3 and 5.7 liter Chevy V8's..... -Nate

    • See 4 previous
    • -Nate -Nate on Oct 27, 2019

      @Hummer Thank you, much apreciatred . -Nate

  • Parkave231 Doghouse engines always make me (I'm sure unreasonably) uncomfortable. Obviously they work, and the covers are obviously designed to contain noise, heat, and belts that may fly off of a machine turning at 2,000 rpm. Still, it's *RIGHT THERE* next to your legs.
  • Michael Dalia My first car was a 1966 Pontiac Lemans. I also owned a 1972 Catalina and an 1988 6000LE. Currently I drive a 2007 G6 GT convertible which which I love and probably will have until I can no longer drive. Pontiacs are great!
  • Damage The mobile TV is a hoot. There wasn't a single thing on TV in the 70s that was good enough to justify the trouble and expense of putting a TV in your truck.
  • Theflyersfan As a kid, a neighbor had one of these full-sized conversion vans with the TV and wet bar in the back. And it was so cool to go in - as a kid it was, driving it had to be terror at times with blind spots, iffy power and brakes, and the feeling that you're hauling your living room with you! Kids of the 1970s and 1980s had this experience. Afterwards with minivans and then CUV everything, not so much.And I'm crushed that a 1977 van doesn't have some kind of mural on the sides. Coyote howling at the moon, American flag, Confederate flag, bright stripes, something! You can't have a 1970's era van with plain sides! At least a "Don't Laugh. Your daughter's in here" bumper sticker on the back. I always get a Gacy or Bundy vibe with these vans...
  • Jeff S In the EV market Tesla is not a niche player it is the major player. According to the latest data of the California-based vehicle valuation and automotive research company  Kelley Blue Book, Tesla has the lion’s share with 75 percent market share in  the electric vehicle market in the first three months of 2022.Tesla has dominated the electric vehicle market for years in the United States. The electric vehicles manufactured by Tesla accounted for 79 percent of the new electric vehicles registered in the United States in 2020 and 69,95 percent in 2021. The decrease in the market share in 2021 might be explained by backlogs and the global chip shortage, but the company is ramping up its sales and has already increased its market share to 75 percent in the first quarter of the year. According to Kelley Blue Book, the top 10 EVs sold in the US in the first quarter of 2022 are;[list=1][*]Tesla Model Y[/*][*]Tesla Model 3[/*][*]Ford Mustang Mach-E[/*][*]Tesla Model X[/*][*]Hyundai Ioniq 5[/*][*]Kia EV6[/*][*]Tesla Model S[/*][*]Nissan Leaf[/*][*]Kia Niro[/*][*]Audi e-Tron[/*][/list=1]Tesla has delivered 310,048 vehicles in the first quarter of 2022, another first-quarter record. The success of Tesla is proven once again as the company has three electric cars in the top 10 most selling electric vehicles in the United States, while no other manufacturer has even two different models on the list.Tesla leads all others, selling slightly over 936,000 units in 2021. This gave the company a market share of nearly 14%.Mar 30, 2022https://interestingengineering.com/transportation/tesla-ev-market-75-percent-market-share