@Glasshouse- I know that noisy lifters can be caused by sludge build-up from motor oil. This usually occurs after high mileage, and can cause a ticking sound. I have never done the lifters myself, but I would say they are an intermediate job. They are not overly complicated to install or uninstall, but they require taking apart the top end of the motor. If you are careful, and put everything back in the way it came out, you will have few problems.
Just make sure you have a good work area, the right tools, and the time to take the car apart and put it back together. It will be a project, but you will learn a lot about your car. You will also save yourself a hefty labor bill by skipping the mechanic. If you run into trouble, you can always have it towed to a shop to finish the job (probably will not happen).
I repair my car every chance I get, and it saves me money. I have run into repairs I have had trouble with, but I have never done irreparable damage. Honestly, I have never met a problem that a few curse words, a couple of bloody knuckles, and a little problem solving did not fix.