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-   -   Lifters not pumping up (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=19890)

Yadkin 12-20-2015 10:21 PM

Lifters not pumping up
This is brand new roller set from Crane, only 300 miles on them. I had to reset the intake and so a new adjustment on the valves. Only four of the 16 lifters act "normal", with the internal return spring holding the lifter to maximum length. I primed the oil pump for several minutes and no change. Lots of oil pumping through the rocker sets.

This is the second set of lifters that has collapsed. Pushrods are custom length, solid tip, my originals were hollow. I have assumed that the lifters receive oil from the block, through the sides, so the solid tips would not be a problem. Am I wrong?

simplyconnected 12-21-2015 02:12 AM

If we are talking about an FE engine, when you tore it down you will have gone through the oil galleries for the lifters with a brush, like a rifle barrel cleaning brush on a long rod.
Here is the rear of an FE block:

The two holes above the cam are the lifter galleries. They go straight through the block:

From the FRONT of the block they look like this:

Notice two important facts, the hole on the left of the cam is also a bolt hole for the cam's thrust plate and the one on the right side of the cam is recessed.

The top hole feeds oil to the camshaft...

... and then the crankshaft:

Typically, Chevy engine builders miss these plugs. You need all of them. After I install plugs, I clinch the edge of the hole with a chisel so the plug cannot push out under oil pressure.

Let's see pictures of your plugs. If one is missing, how would I know without seeing the pictures? - Dave

Yadkin 12-21-2015 09:49 AM

Yeah this is my FE. My local builder did the work. We did several mods to the oiling system consistent with rabodniks recommendations. Galleries were cleaned, deburred, tapped for threaded plugs, cleaned and recleaned. He assembled the bottom end and heads in his clean room, and I assembled the rocker set on up.

Yadkin 12-21-2015 09:56 AM

Spring travel for the "good" lifters is 1.5 turns. Crane recommends 1/2 to 1 turn preload. So this last time I set all 16 at 3/4 up from the bottom, which is the same as 3/4 from the top.

simplyconnected 12-21-2015 12:14 PM

Steve, I don't know what screw pitch your 'turns' are following and I see no pictures. But I think you know how I set mine up. These issues you are having are strange to me as I have not had a failure. I set my intake manifold once and done, which is no different than the factory.

I guess everyone has their own way. To impart my methods only serves to upset others so I've learned to, 'say it once and let it go.'

I do extensive Oil Modifications to my FEs and I document them. Also notice that I chase all the threads in my castings. I make sure all threads are clear & smooth and they go full depth. I sink a magnet then I wash the holes out using high pressure.

Most shops won't be as meticulous or demanding because time is money. - Dave

Yadkin 12-21-2015 12:56 PM

Strange indeed. This builder has the best reputation in the area. It's hard to imagine that he screwed this up.

I inspected the lifters after 300 miles and everything looked fine, no scoring on the sides.

The valve lash adjusters are 7/6"-20, so 3/4 turn equates to about 0.04". The adjuster ball sits in the lifter cup, and of course the rod ball on the bottom sits in the lifter cup. At 0.04" clearance the push rod will maintain its position (but will rattle like heck).

I'm not sure how to proceed. I'm not far from being able to start the engine to see if the engine will pump up the lifters at high idle speed. It should pump oil better than my 3/8" plug-in drill (which got quite hot after a minute or so). This shouldn't hurt anything if not, as long as I don't run it long. At least if I do this I'll know that the alternative- pulling the manifold again and checking oiling to each lifter bore, is warranted.

scumdog 12-21-2015 02:01 PM

Did you rotate the crank etc when you primed the oil system?

Yadkin 12-21-2015 03:54 PM

I primed the oiling using an electric drill through the distributor hole. I rotated the crank by hand many times while setting valve lash.

simplyconnected 12-21-2015 05:05 PM


Originally Posted by Yadkin (Post 97454)
...I inspected the lifters after 300 miles and everything looked fine, no scoring on the sides.

Scoring is one issue but another is debris (or something) holding the check valve open. You can only see this if you take lifters apart. There is no magic here as everything is self-evident. That's the first place I would look. Or, you can simply send them back for another go-around, not knowing why, again.


Originally Posted by Yadkin (Post 97454)
...The valve lash adjusters are 7/6"-20, so 3/4 turn equates to about 0.04". The adjuster ball sits in the lifter cup, and of course the rod ball on the bottom sits in the lifter cup. At 0.04" clearance the push rod will maintain its position (but will rattle like heck)...

Preload should be ok at that depth, if you really are going down that far. This requires a 'touch' that most don't have. At .030" preload your pushrods should be solid and quiet, (like mine are). I hope you get to the bottom of this soon. Lifters do not go bad by themselves in 300 miles. - Dave

Yadkin 12-23-2015 08:51 PM

I finally got some time to finish up, and today I started the engine with the new "preload" settings of 3/4 turn off from bottoming out. It's very noisy, obviously coming from the valve train, but not alarmingly so.

I let it idle to full temperature and the electric fan cycling on. I blipped the throttle a few times and held it at 1500 rpm for about 1/2 minute. No decrease in noise.

I'm sure I can increase the preload to 1.5 turns and turn these effectively into solid roller lifters but that defeats the purpose of having quiet, low maintenance hydraulic lifters.

I guess from here I have no choice but to pull it all apart again. What a chore. I wish there was some way to diagnose this with just the valve covers off.

Once I get it apart I'll check each lifter bore for oiling. I can't believe he'd screw that up by plugging most of the (at least 12 out of 16) holes. I don't see how it's possible, really. I'll have a conversation with him before I do this.

I'm thinking maybe that the taller roller lifters don't have the oiling area in the right place for this engine. Maybe the oiling holes are "trapped" in the wide OD portion of the lifter. If that's the case then the easiest thing to do would be to machine a wide, shallow groove in each lifter to intercept the hole and pressurize the narrow OD area.

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