You Have Noisy Valve lifters?:                                           

(The below, assumes you know it really i,s the lifters making noise , use your $5 mechanics stethoscope, to be sure)
The problem can be simple or complex. It can be 2 problems,  KEEP AN OPEN MIND!

Start with easy and work up.  I will list all the noise makers. (try)

Both type of lifter (Adjustable or Hydraulic)  (1.8L and bigger motors have HLVA)

  • A  bad valve  (in any way) Bad lifter, Bad rock, bad rocker shafts, bad any thing here.
  • Sticking , bent valves or galled or carbon filled guides.   (valve sticks open,some times)
  • Broken valve spring, missing 1 of 2 valve keepers.
  • Rocker lash adjuster screws, and nuts loose, caused by shoddy maintenance. (not set to spec. torque at last 60k service !)
  • Seized rockers or grossly worn rocker shafts . Broken parts , anything , under the valve cover. JUST LOOK !
  • One or more bad cam journals or lobes. (bad cam, bad cam  bearing) Oops the GM book shows , over setting cam cap torque and its stripped out. 16v !
  • The 16v has horse shoe keeper #11 springs at the rocker to cam interface (bufffer pads) that LOVE to break and or fall off.  In as low as 90k miles.! Get them here.
  • The 8v has these funny funky phillips screws, for the rocker shafts that like to come loose. In fact, the factory started staking (wiki it)  these screws to prevent this.
  • The GM/GEO 96' manuals , show torquing the rocker screws to 98 FOOT/lbs. instead of INCH /lbs.  12 times error, resulting in, yes,  stripped out parts.
  • Someone , set the lash in a way that is actually opposite of lash, they set it holding the valve open all the time. This will burn the valve up and maybe allow it to hit the pistion.

Staking is what we did for hundreds of years,  (mechanics) before the advent of , LOCTITE.  (in this case it is only the countersunk, flat head screws, seen on 8v)
Staking simply, upsets the metal surrounding said screw.  Jamming it.

Adjustable Valve Lifers:

Running  0 (zero) weight viscosity oil ? in the hot summer? will make lots of valve noise. and this oil is not listed in your FSM nor is it listed in your operators guide.
So, pray tell, why are you running illegal oil, in the crank case. ?  (trying to save fuel ,at the expense of a blown engine?)

The Valve lash is excessive, set it per the manual.
The worst case:
In the military we called this "messing (stronger words) up a soup sandwich."  He buddy , your mech could "Frak up a soup sandwitch"
Say ?
You? let the TIMING belt slip (60,000 service , was/ is not a thing for you?)
Then you or Mr. Soup,  try to set lash and get confused about 4 cycles, and TDC and all that bother.  ?
Then manage (horror) to get the valves lash so wrong, as to have 1 valve, say , #1 exhaust last so wrong,  and was set ,so it never closes, in a gross manor?
The #1 piston, when hot this day,  and at high speed , hits the valve and bends it.  Kiss off #1.  Here is Mr, Soup doing a bundle.
I think both engines, are free-running, dispite SUZUKI, quoted warnings below, but if you work hard, at that soup sandwich, bad can happen. (Takes hard work)

T-belt  slipped, valves noisy or smacking  your piston tops

Hydraulic:  HVLA (Hydraulic.Valve Lash Adjusters)
 As found on 1.8L 1996 Suzuki Sports or newer and or bigger Suzuki engines.
 They fail for 3 reasons.

  1. Reasons for Failure :  ( NOT CHANGING OIL , when needed ! allowing them to GUM UP!)
  2. They are worn out (see #1)
  3. They are gummed up  (see #1)
  4. You are running the wrong engine oil.   Try reading the operators manual with your car and using the oil type listed for your climate or current weather.
In most cases, run 10w-30 oil,  (any top brand,  no need for $15 a quart OIL, not at all, just change oil often , with a common top brand of oil.  ) 

Change oil at 3k to 7k miles, the higher  mileage engine gets more often change outs.

This also keeps the Cam CHAIN from , going bad , early
If the HVLA is gummed up, take them out and clean them with GUNK/ or berrymens cleaner or soak them for 24hrs, in pure ACETONE and then clean them.

They will (HVLA) need to be primed after cleaning,  Read the FSM or go to and read the on line FSM.  Its all there, and costs only $15 for 30day look.

The FSM is here,  just LOOK.   DIY ,  no need to be in the dark, lit $15 bucks set you free.

ALLDATA DIY Access - 1 Month