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Old 01-23-2014, 12:22 PM   #1
felix37
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Default some advice for adjusting valves

Thought I would get your opinions on this. I'm getting ready to put my valve assembly together on my new engine. I have already installed my crank and was wondering if it is worth the hassle to drill my lifter bores for ease of adjustment? At this stage of the game, does it make sense? I do have the Johnson lifter wrenches that came with my cam kit. is it as difficult as everyone say's to use these?
Thanks! Felix
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:29 PM   #2
Andy
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

I found the johnson wreches totally unusable. I made a spanner from music wire but ended up drilling the bosses. I would add thin jam nuts if you have room on the threads.
The other problem I had was that with a new Isky cam, the lifters were so far down that the wrenches would not go on. I was rotating the cam for adjustment and then rotating it back to check clearance. Not needed with drilled bosses.
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:34 PM   #3
Joe KCMO
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

The Johnson wrenches work just fine. I would recommend that you use a thin adjusting open end wrench. I ground one to half its original thickness. Not so bad to use the combo.
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:36 PM   #4
Karl Wolf
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

If you're running a hotrod cam, the reduced base circle will make it a bit more difficult to use the wrenches- maybe impossible. The lifters sit lower in the bores. Some people relieve the tops...
Sounds like a lot of work now, but I would consider pulling the crank so as to be able to clean out the drilling proceeds from the lifter bores...

I drilled mine, next time I will put in the cam and a lifter to determine where I want to have the holes at the inside of the bores- make a jig and drill from the bottom... If that's practical...

Karl
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:49 PM   #5
4tford
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

I never use the wrenches. I have two foot long drill bits one is 1/8" and the other 3/16. I find it quicker to drill small hole then larger. I use a cut off 3/16" punch to hold the lifter. I normally have to rotate the crank on each setting but that is fine as it keeps me in shape I use a dial indicator to show me full open then rotate crank one turn.
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:54 PM   #6
chap52
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

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I have snapped the tabs off of those Johnson Wrenches...Drill the holes, save he frustration.
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:13 PM   #7
V8 Bob
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

I would definitely drill the lifter bores. I also find it easier to initially set the valves with the cam gear removed. A bracket bolted to the cam and turned with a wrench saves having to roll the crank (and pistons) if installed.
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:20 PM   #8
Pete
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

If you absolutely have to use adjustable lifters, STOP right here and disassemble the engine. You cannot drill the lifter bores with the crank in and expect the engine to live very long.
Forget about the Johnson wrenches.
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Old 01-23-2014, 02:13 PM   #9
Mike51Merc
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

I use Johnson wrenches on stock cams with no problem. You just need to know how to fit them (lefty and righty).
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Old 01-23-2014, 02:24 PM   #10
Bruce Lancaster
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

The things are annoying but usable if the lifters are close to stock height. Much drop makes them useless as noted by all. If they are usable in your case, using them is going to be less work than taking everything back apart for drilling...
Flatheads generally do not need repeated valve adjustments as wear is very low there in stock or mild engines. That being said, some recent lifters will not hold adjustment because of poor machining. Check lifter height and go for it if practical...
If you have a small base circle, you can cope by turning cam repeatedly during adjustment, reallydamnannoying but again probably easier than dismantling engine.
Removing cam gear is quick and easy, and this allows you to work just from the cam and not turn entire engine for each move.
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Old 01-23-2014, 03:02 PM   #11
oldford2
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

  1. Holes in the lifter bores make life easy when adjusting valve clearance. However, you are too far along to drill now. Should have been done before the block was hot tanked and cleaned. Too many little chips to cause bearing problems later.
  2. John
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Old 01-23-2014, 03:27 PM   #12
barnfind
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

RE: Should have been done before the block was hot tanked and cleaned.
Sounds like it might be easier to get the machine shop to add that to the to-do list.

Anyone have a picture of the hole of where it actually gets drilled?
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Old 01-23-2014, 03:37 PM   #13
Andy
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

I needed to drill them al the way down near where the boss flares into the floor. I bought a foot long drill.
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Old 01-23-2014, 03:45 PM   #14
Ol' Ron
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

Another thing to consider is:
When using a cam with a small base circle like an L-100, 400jr or any cam with over 350 cam lift is to cut down the top of the lifter bore to get the wrench in when the cam is on the base circle.
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Old 01-23-2014, 05:23 PM   #15
Model A Bill
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

I took the easy way out I had Walt do mine.But I did drill the lifters bores before I took it to him.I don't think he liked it much using the adjustable lifters but he did as I wanted Thanks Walt

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Old 01-23-2014, 05:36 PM   #16
Walt Dupont--Me.
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

My 2-1/2 cents worth. We'll start with the drill holes. I drill a 5/32 hole, drill the hole close to the bottom, at least 3/4in. or more down. If you drill to high the pin won't go in the lifter slot on low cam. NOW, you can't drill the holes with the crank in. You'll never get all the grindings out of the engine. After drilling the holes I use one of those one inch dingle ball hones that you hone out wheel cyl. with. and run it up and down lifter bore to get that burr off where you drilled the hole. Then bring the block back to the machine shop and put it in the jet washer for 15min. Wash it out with the water hose, Now you ready the assemble the engine. After saying all that, I HATE ARJUSTABLE LIFTERS. I butt grind about all my engines. WHY? Because most of todays lifters are junk in my mind. If they say ( Like Johnson lifters on the box, there not the old Johnson lifters.) The lifter screw usually turn so hard no way you can do it in the engine. Or there to loose. The only way to turn them is clamp head of the screw in a vise and stick screw driver through the lifter and turn it. One turn is about .040 when you get the lifter so you can get a feeler gauge in then you can tell how many .000 you have to shorten or lengthen the lifter. Remove the lifter, mic. it with a caliper rule then shorten or lengthen it what you need. After doing a few you get the feel it and it won't take long to do them all, 2-4 day LOL. I took a 1/4in. rod about a foot long and drilled a 5/32 hole in the end in a lathe so you get center, stuck a 5/23 drill in the hole and brassed it in. Easier to drill the holes. Or you can put in a ch---y engine. OOOOH cukker, I shouldn't of said that. I didn't mean it, really. Walt
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:06 PM   #17
Andy
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

OK, Bear with me. You could put in an adjustable lifter and get the clearance set. Remove it and the valve and measure both. Measure the new solid lifter and use the difference to shorten the valve??I suspect the valve would be too short to start with due to the performance cam. Chevy valves? Weld something?
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:41 PM   #18
Straightpipes
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

With an L-100 regrind I used Chevy valves but that doesn't help the fact that the lifter is way down in there.

Measure the valve from where? I don't think that will work.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:44 PM   #19
Lawrie
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

The easy way to adjust them is measure the clearance ,then turn the cam until the valve is fully open ,you can get the adjusters easy then,BUT like Walt says the old original followers are lighter and stay set.
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:01 PM   #20
Ol' Ron
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Default Re: some advice for adjusting valves

Andy
Remove about an1/8" from the top of the lifter bore. Plan ahead.
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