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How To Change 5.3l Lifters Without Removing Heads

Changing lifters in a 5.3l Lifters is a crucial task that should be performed to ensure the engine’s smooth operation. Lifters can wear out over time, causing noise, reduced engine performance, and even engine damage if left unattended. However, the task of changing lifters can be daunting for some, especially if they think that removing the heads is the only way to do it. In reality, changing lifters can be done without removing the heads, and this article will guide you through the process.

Before we dive into the steps involved in changing lifters, let’s first take a look at the tools and materials you will need for the job.

Tools and Materials Required

  • Socket and ratchet set
  • Torque wrench
  • Valve spring compressor
  • Lifter removal tool
  • New lifters
  • Engine oil
  • Gasket sealant

Step 1: Preparing the Engine

Before starting, make sure the engine is cold, and the battery is disconnected. Also, drain the engine oil and remove the oil filter. Next, remove the valve covers to access the lifters.

Step 2: Removing the Old Lifters

Use the valve spring compressor to compress the valve springs, and then remove the rocker arms and pushrods. Once you’ve removed the pushrods, use the lifter removal tool to remove the old lifters.

Step 3: Installing the New Lifters

After removing the old lifters, install the new lifters in their respective bores. Apply engine oil to the lifter’s surface and inside the lifter bore. Use the lifter installation tool to push the lifters into place.

Step 4: Reinstalling the Pushrods and Rocker Arms

After installing the new lifters, reinstall the pushrods and rocker arms in their original positions. Make sure to torque the rocker arm bolts to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Step 5: Reinstalling the Valve Covers

Once the pushrods and rocker’s arms are in place, reinstall the valve covers. Apply gasket sealant to the valve cover gaskets before installing them.

Step 6: Adding New Engine Oil

After completing the installation process, add new engine oil to the engine. Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes to check for any leaks and to ensure the lifters are functioning correctly.

Can you replace the lifters without replacing the cam?

Yes, lifters can be replaced without replacing the camshaft. In most cases, if the camshaft is in good condition and not showing any signs of wear or damage, it can be reused. However, it’s important to note that if the lifters have worn down significantly or have caused damage to the camshaft, it may be necessary to replace both components. It’s always best to consult with a qualified mechanic or engine builder to determine the best course of action for your particular situation.

How much does it cost to replace a 5.3 LS lifter?

The cost to replace a 5.3 LS lifter can vary depending on several factors, such as the type and quality of the replacement lifter, labor costs, and the location of the repair shop. On average, the cost of replacing a single lifter can range from $200 to $500, including parts and labor. However, if multiple lifters need to be replaced or if additional repairs are required, the cost can increase significantly. It’s always best to obtain a detailed estimate from a qualified mechanic or repair shop before proceeding with any repairs.

Does the 5.3 have lifter issues?

Yes, the 5.3 engine has been known to experience lifter issues. One common issue is lifter failure or wear, which can lead to ticking noises, engine misfires, and decreased performance. This issue can be caused by several factors, such as poor maintenance, low oil pressure, or dirty oil. However, not all 5.3 engines experience lifter issues, and regular maintenance and timely repairs can help prevent or minimize the chances of lifter failure. It’s always best to consult with a qualified mechanic or engine builder if you suspect lifter issues with your 5.3 engine.


Changing lifters on a 5.3L engine without removing the heads is a task that requires a certain level of skill and knowledge. With the right tools and materials, the process can be done smoothly and efficiently. Remember to follow the steps outlined in this article and pay attention to torque specifications and other important details to ensure the job is done correctly. By taking the time to change your lifters, you’ll be doing your part to ensure your engine’s longevity and performance.

Rachael McAdams

I'm Rachael, CEO of AutoGeeX, bring unrivaled expertise and passion to the automotive industry. With extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of cars, she shares captivating tales, invaluable insights, and practical tips with readers. As an active presence in the car community, Rachael ignites excitement, revolutionizing the automotive landscape with AutoGeeX's pursuit of perfection.

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