how to check how a lifter is bad? (Valve Noise)

I have a 1995 740iL E38 series BMW, i have noise on my right side of the engine that sounds like a tick. The sound is in the lifter/ header area. I took it into the dealer and they were unable to give me an
exact answer other than what i suggested. I have the TSI software to repair my BMW and it suggests the lifters.
I took the head apart and i have the lifters out too, but no one can tell me how to tell how much play there is supose to be in the lifter, even the BMW mechanics. The software tells how to test them while still in the engine, and i pushed on each one like it says, but didn't really get any play on all 16 on that side.
When i pushed on the lifter (the underneath, and while out of the head) and i can push that middle in all the way till it stops. When it stops it feels like it is bottoming out.
Can anyone give me an exact answer on how to check how a lifter is bad?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

No, but there was a TSB about ticking engines when they had not been run for awhile or not been run long enough to allow the oil to warm up. Soemthign to do with the lifters draining and not getting pumped up again.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

It's almost impossible to test a lifter out of the car. But if you know which one it is, just replace it and get on with your life. If it contacts the cam lobe directly, make sure there isn't visible wear.
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you shouldnt really be able to push the lifter together without a fair amount of pressure, I have struggled to sqeeze them together at all in the past without the aid of grips etc, and if the seals are weak inside this would be systematic of a ticking noise in your engine. i believe "german and swedish" ( or whatever they are calling themselves thesedays) or "Euro car parts" supply a kit containing the full set of lifters for your car ( UK only) no point in replacing just the one if you have gone to the trouble of removing the head etc.
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Thanks, we did end up purchasing the other 8 lifters and putting them all in. We put everything back together and we are still getting the same exact sound.
We checked the cranshaft and also pushed down on the rods while they in the engine. All of the springs compressed down, so the springs seem good.
When the engine runs it sounds like a deasel, and the sound is defenitley on the entire drivers side head bank.
_Bic
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Could it be the camshaft? The stuff you've been replacing would make a lighter ticking or tapping, not so much a knock like a diesel. Or could the oil feed to the hydraulics be blocked making them all fail to work?
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Dan Buchan wrote:

That's a good thought. Might be worthwhile to pull the lifters and blow compressed air back down the oil ports. But I can't imagine anyone letting a 740i go without proper maintenance to the point that sludge would build up.
For that matter, has the oil pressure been checked? It could be a weak oil pump, or a problem with the pressure relieve valve so pressure is bleeding off at idle.
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