Lifter Cost Variances
Depending on where you buy, component costs can vary. Just the lifter component will cost anywhere between $4-$40, the intake manifold gasket which you will replace is another $8 to $50. I am taking into account you won’t need to replace the camshaft or Camshaft Bearing, Pushrod, Pushrod Cover Gasket or the Rocker Arm.
So the first variance is between $4 per lifter to $40 since engines vary you might need to replace only 2 lifters or 16 lifters, so the math will add up accordingly. Don’t forget to add the gasket price variance too.
The above doesn’t include any small items such as nuts and bolts which might be needed, in most cases these come free.
Now let’s look at labor costs.
To start off with, this is a 3 to 7-hour job. So again a variance. It all depends on the complexity of the job to be performed and the type of engine.
Labor costs vary between $80 to $120 or higher. So again a variance, consider the delta between a 3-hour job at $80 to a 7-hour job at $120.
What I conclude on this section is that the lowest cost would be for replacing one lifter at $4 with an $8 gasket in a 3-hour job costing, so the total cost would come to $232 before tax. On the other end of the scale might be a 16 lifter replacement at 7 hours and cost you a whopping $40 per lifter with a $50 gasket for $120 an hour and this will reach $1,530 before tax. So there is a delta of $1,298 to consider.
I doubt it will exceed these limits.
Now let’s take a look at how you actually replace a lifter.
This is an abridged version of the actual process and is just a guide to show you what it takes to replace lifters.
Step 1: Removing and Disconnecting Ancillary Service Components
Step 2: Upper Manifold
Step 3: Fuel Injection System
Step 4: Lower Intake
Note: manifolds tend to be tough cookies prepare a rubber mallet or screwdriver for prying and thumping.
Step 5: Valve Covers
Note: Removing the valve covers requires removing other things such as the ignition coils in some instances. The newer the engine, the more complicated the process.
Step 6: Remove the old lifters
Note: when arranging rocker arms and pushrods, have tags ready to mark each one, so you know their exact order. Never mix them up, or you are done for.
Step 7: Install the new lifters
Note: for flat-tapped lifters, you must replace the camshaft as well! (added cost here)
Step 8: Gauging
Step 9: Return everything
Remember you took a lot of stuff off? Well, now its time to replace it all. I won’t go into details, but take heed when reinstalling the distributor, since it has to be done precisely with the harmonic balancer.
Step 10: Start the engine
Well, all is in place, and now its time to turn the engine on.
Assuming the engine turns smoothly, now refill the radiator with coolant, and let the engine idle until it reaches operating temperature.
Step 11: Final checks
Once the engine has run a minute or so after reaching operating temperature, check the oil for water, this is to check of the manifold gasket is in place.