lifter noise under load

Discussion in 'Street/strip 400/430/455' started by Al Pixton, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. Stevem

    Stevem Well-Known Member

    Lock out your vacuum advance plate as if you have full vacuum advance taking place, not just disconnect it , then re-time the motor and test drive it again.
    Also test with a timing light that as you rev the motor up and down ( idle to 4500) that the timing is steady and does not jump up above what the steady rpm timing reads.
  2. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    Then the lifters need to come out.
  3. Jim Weise

    Jim Weise 1000+HP

    Not that uncommon actually.... I had the same thing happen on a Tomahawk.. actually two of them (same set of lifters).

    Build the first one, took the advice, against my better judgment, to buy Morel lifters.. expensive ones at that.. built the motor, and the lifters were a joke.. ridiculously noisy. Would not rev past 4500, dyno session wasted. Took a VC off on the the dyno, and you could watch them just fall off the cam lobe. Put Johnson lifters (spend another $700 bucks) and what do you know, quiet as a mouse.

    Send the offending lifters back to the Manufacturer, since neither the company I bought them from, nor the Morel would take them back, and give me my money back. Morel takes them apart, I get a bunch of pictures back with little black specs on white paper towels.. it was my fault, lifters had cast iron in them. Funny thing on an alum motor with vitually no cast iron it it.. They wanted $500 to clean and re-assemble them at first.. I told them where they could go with that... after John Callies called me at the shop (he is the figurehead/salesman for Morel) and I read him the riot act, he agrees that something goofy happened, and they will clean and re-assemble them...

    So I try them in the next Tomahawk, except this time I knew better, and did it on the run stand in the shop, and not at the dyno (the first set cost me two dyno sessions)

    Same deal exactly... junk is junk. It's like they never took them apart. And as before, bought a set of Johnson's, and it's quiet as a mouse.

    So now I have a $700 set of roller lifters sitting in a morel box on the shelf in the shop...

    Every one of those lifters is junk.. all 16...

  4. Al Pixton

    Al Pixton Active Member

    Hello Jim, thanks for the these lifters came from t/a performance with the cam.Are these Morel,s Johnson's? How do I tell the difference between the two?Do I go directly to Johnson for new lifters?
  5. Jim Weise

    Jim Weise 1000+HP

    The Morel vs Johnson conversation applies to Hyd roller lifters. I have no idea what TA is selling now for flat tappets.

    Generally speaking, for Hydraulic non roller lifters:

    You need to get away from the "tray lifters"... these are lifters that are sold in bulk (trays of 100, hence the name) and are really only designed for standard duty stock engines, with low spring pressures and gentle ramp profiles.

    Virtually all of the cam companies offer the upgraded HP or racing versions of these lifters. Those lifters have specific specs, and tighter QC in the critical plunger/body clearances.

    For many years, I had a brand of standard lifters that worked all the time in every application. I just bought the last set of those off my vendors shelf, as that company is no longer offering that lifter, and going forward, I will now shift toward the HP Offerings from Crane, Crower or Competition Cams. I have been there before, and will keep searching for a lower cost lifter that works, but for now, we are back to the more expensive HP/race stuff.

    I personally prefer the Pro Magnum lifters from Comp cams, I run them with just enough preload to keep them quiet, in your case Al that would be about .015-.020, if you set them cold. Your Aluminum heads swell up about .012-.015 when they warm up, reducing lifter preload, so we need to account for that.. In iron head applications, i typically run those "just past zero" for preload.

    One thing to note is when you doing the lifter bleed down test, that is best done with the engine hot... inspect it just after shutdown, so you are looking at lifter that should be full of oil, and the oil and parts temps are near operating temp. Refrain from turning the engine over a lot with the starter, so you don't pump the lifters down, and get a false result.

    And of course, as I first mentioned, there are cam grinds out there that are just noisy. But my experience is that if you can see the lifters bleeding down way too fast, that is the issue here.

    I am a full line Comp cams dealer, and can help you with anything you need.


  6. Al Pixton

    Al Pixton Active Member

    So I had time today to remove intake manifold to check lifters and cam. First thing noticed was significant wear/galling on new (1500 miles or so) rocker arm shafts. So what to do next? I am guessing all this ground metal has worked its way through out engine. Need to disassemble and clean? I have a set of early rockers from a 430 I can have them rebuilt with hybrid push rods or go to a roller cam with roller rockers.

    Attached Files:

  7. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    Why? Wouldn't your oil filter do it's job? Cut it open if your worried. Not sure why they would wear like that though unless they weren't being lubricated.
  8. Schurkey

    Schurkey Silver Level contributor

    New shafts...old, worn-out rockers? If those new shafts were paired with new rockers, you've got serious problems in that engine--lack of oil flow, contaminated oil, low oil pressure, excessive spring tension, lack of valvetrain clearance (retainer-to-guide clearance, for example) or somesuch issue(s). If that scoring is the result of re-using junk rockers, well, you won't make that mistake again. I suppose you could have gotten rocker shafts from a defective batch, but that's pretty unlikely.

    Whatever metal went through the engine has either been caught by the filter, or it's already embedded in the bearings and piston skirts. What was the hot idle oil pressure before you took it apart? If it was good, get new shafts 'n' rockers, and if it was low, continue disassembling until you find out why.

    Metal dust in the oil is one reason I've become fond of asswipe (Bypass) oil filters. The bypass design pulls ALL the grit from the oil, even as fine as the particles in cigarette smoke. They're available brand new from Amsoil, or from Frantz; and there's always a modest selection of used ones on eBay.
  9. Al Pixton

    Al Pixton Active Member

    Yes Schurkey, rocker assemblies were new from t/a. I have never liked how the valve train sounded since putting this engine together last year. And running engine with valve cover(s) removed 4 times I never liked the oil flow at hot idle, just a small amount flowing from push rods, not squirting and making a mess. Oil pressure at hot idle is 15 psi in gear at 700 rpm and 22 in park at 850 rpm or so. Lifters were found to not hold valve open after shutting off engine (collapsing) and I am planning to replace with Pro Magnums from comp. cams.
    Julian likes this.
  10. Schurkey

    Schurkey Silver Level contributor

    One wonders who Comp Cams has supplying their lifters now.

    I bought a set of CC lifters for an Olds 455. One was defective--no check ball at the bottom, so it would never pump up. I sent the set back under warranty. CC replaced them--with lifters from a different supplier. This was many years ago. I wonder if they've changed suppliers again.
  11. TTNC

    TTNC Well-Known Member

    Resurrecting/hijacking this thread

    Jim, I see that Comp Cams makes two different hyd flat tappet lifters (pro magnum and high energy) for the 455s, curious if one is taller than the other and that's influencing all this fun we're having with pushrod lengths, if the wrong set was put in by accident.
  12. Jim Weise

    Jim Weise 1000+HP

    Lifter cup depth can vary between manufacturers, and within manufactures with different product lines, even those that are the "correct parts". Could not use the Pro Magnums on your deal there, there are a short travel lifter that is often noisy.. because they run very little pre-load. I have run them on motors with roller rockers, but they are a challenge with alum heads, and the loss of preload as it warms up. I have had decent luck with them, with careful adjustment, but noise is a secondary concern with that lifter. The instructions actually want you to run .005 lash.. but you can run them with a touch of preload.

    Your original lifters were Delphi's with the cold face inserts and the check ball.. they were the "go to" flat tappet hyd lifter here in recent years, which is why we followed the preload path first, those have worked well for me in the past.. We needed a touch more preload, but that still did not quiet them down.
    A deeper issue with the lifters.

    Oh, the joy of non adjustable valvetrains, and flat tappet hydraulic cams.. I got spoiled by the roller cams and Johnson lifters. Forgot how much fun the stock valvetrain/flat tappets can be. Even if you do everything "right" you can run into issues, with noisy cam profiles, and lifters that are not quite what they should be.. even when you buy the "known good ones" and clean them out before install.

    We have instituted a comprehensive heat cycle testing program here recently, with our in house test stand, to catch the things the dyno might now show. I am always looking to improve the product that goes out the door. It's a pain, and a time consuming unpaid deal, but if you don't want to deal with these things, then don't be an engine builder. So I don't bitch.. just roll with it, and do the best I can for the customer.

  13. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    Yep, me too, I have a set of Morel rollers sitting on a shelf in my garage, spent another 650.00 for the Johnsons, and it was money well spent, well shoulda bought the Johnsons the first time!
    The quality control is waaaay better with Johnsons:D
  14. 70skylark350

    70skylark350 Well-Known Member

    I purchased a set of Johnson flat tappet lifters from TA for my 350 build, engine builder recommended them. upon his inspection of these Johnson lifters he rejected them all and we sent them back, they didn't have a dish shape and bevel on the bottom where they ride on the cam.
    My builder told me it is almost impossible to find a good set of lifters these days. He takes every lifter he installs apart and cleans them and fills them with a better weight oil before installing. He said you cant believe the dirt and debris he gets out of most new lifters.
  15. Jim Weise

    Jim Weise 1000+HP

    Yup Dave, been doing that for years, although that won't solve a lifter/plunger clearance issue, and that tolerance is measure in the 5th place beyond the decimal point.. and none of us have that measuring equipment.

    Did you buy these Johnson lifters? I don't think TA is selling these.. He typically sells the Delphi lifter that I used on this one.. unless he ran out, I know my local supplier had exactly one set left on the shelf, and judging from the dust on the box, they had been there a while.

    You would have had to use longer pushrods with them, they don't offer a Buick cup height lifter, and you would remember that price.

    This Johnson lifter company is the one that makes our Hyd roller lifters that everyone loves.. there is another company called Hylift-Johnson that is often confused with it. Melling and several other companies sell that lifter, under their brand.

  16. 70skylark350

    70skylark350 Well-Known Member

    Hi Jim, yes TA offers two types of flat tappet lifters, the Johnson lifters are actually priced lower than the other brand but I ordered them per my engine builder.
    yes he ordered custom length pushrods to get the required preload. He did an excellent job in my opinion. ICS Machine in Pittsburgh. He did a lot of research to build it properly.
  17. 70skylark350

    70skylark350 Well-Known Member

    so what ever became of this issue OP? did you find the cause of the rocker shaft wear????
  18. Al Pixton

    Al Pixton Active Member

    Hello Dave, I think the shaft wear was from inadequate oil flow to top end from bad lifters from initial start up of this engine. I never liked the sound of the valve train and started to investigate the problem. The engine had about 1200-1500 miles on it after a rebuild and during this time I ran engine a few times with valve covers off looking for issues (flat cam lobe etc.) but found no obvious problems,until Jim told me to watch rocker arms after shutting down engine, he said they should be motionless (open valve), however they would go from rocker down (open valve ) to almost closed valve in 15 seconds or so, lifters were collapsing. This is when I noticed excessive wear on rocker shafts and decided to pull engine.
    New hyd. roller cam from Jim is showing up today, so I can get my car back on the road hopefully in time for Hot August Nights here in Reno.
    tdacton likes this.
  19. 1973gs

    1973gs Well-Known Member

    In the last 5-10 years, Competition Cam, Moroso, Mr Gasket, FAST, MSD, Mallory, Accel and I'm sure that there are others, are all owned by the same company. They now use Chinese parts and rename them. I've been a mechanic since 1981. In the last 10 years, the amount of faulty out of the box parts is unreal. Everything has to be inspected before being installed. I now refrain from replacing a part "while I'm in there". I will trust a good used part most of the time over a new Chinese part.
    70skylark350 and Mark Demko like this.
  20. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    Yep the “while I’m there” philosophy doesn’t really work anymore, it’s more like “ geez this original part is old and working fine, I’d better replace it with a shiny new defective one while I can get to it”
    70skylark350 likes this.

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