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Took the '39 for a little cruise the other day since we finally got a decent day here. Really miserably wet this spring! Along the way I began to hear a lifter clicking at idle, so today I pulled both valve covers to check all the lifters. Not sure how one rocker got so much free play in it, but #4 cylinder intake rocker was probably 3/4 turn loose? I have poly locks, and the allen setscrew was plenty tight. Maybe I missed it, but didn't hear any noise when it was cold.
Anyway I adjusted them all up this morning, and it seems to be great now. Also relocated my coil that's mounted on the firewall. My Brodix valve covers use tall 1/4" studs so I have to pull the valve covers straight up about 4" before they clear the studs, and my firewall mounted coil had to be removed to do that. Moved it to above the distributor so it wont need to be touched if I ever pull the valve covers again.
Supposed to be another good annual car show tomorrow, and they're calling for sprinkles and sunshine. If it's not too wet I'll go, but if it's more than sprinkles I'm not wasting my time.
Good work Vall. Sounds like you’re feeling well again. Glad to hear it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,563 ·
Well it seems like things just wont stop going wrong. After replacing the heads with the new Dart heads I noticed some lifter rattling, so pulled the valve covers and readjusted them all. One seemed much looser than the others, and I wondered if maybe I just missed it?
Then on the way home from the car show last Sat. I noticed lifters rattling again. So took the valve covers off today and found some loose, but the one that was looser was completely off the valve and pushrod! I swung it back over and attempted to adjust it, but ran out of adjustment on the poly lock. Not enough threads left for the pushrod!
So I broke out the tools and pulled the intake. Can't see anything wrong in the lifter valley, but I'm afraid I've got some bad lifters. I pulled them all and the rollers look like new, so the cam isn't likely hurt. But I'm guessing they're bad internally, and maybe have weak or broken springs. I have another set of factory roller lifters, so I'll drop those in it. But I'm planning to disassemble the old lifters, and check all of them to see what they look like inside. Something just isn't right, and I can't see anything wrong externally.
I did find a pushrod issue that could have been tragic if I didn't catch it now. I bought hardened pushrods for the Dart heads because they have guide plates. But there are deep wear marks on every pushrod, which indicates they sold me stock type pushrods that were worn out by the hard guide plates. So had to order another set from Jegs instead of Summit, as I wont trust them to make it right and get me the chromoly or hardened pushrods.
 

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That does sound strange Vall. i never had that happen to me. Could there be an oil pressure problem which made the lifters loose their pump?
are your pushrods showing a straight lineup to the valve stems when you drop them in. Some heads are slightly offset for port relocation. Ive been looking around lately at roller lifters and rockers for my setup and I’ve noticed lifters are sold offset and rockers as well left and right. Maybe check your heads part number to see if dart recommends offset valve train. Just a shot in the dark. Hope you figure it out.
 
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Discussion Starter · #1,565 ·
That does sound strange Vall. i never had that happen to me. Could there be an oil pressure problem which made the lifters loose their pump?
are your pushrods showing a straight lineup to the valve stems when you drop them in. Some heads are slightly offset for port relocation. Ive been looking around lately at roller lifters and rockers for my setup and I’ve noticed lifters are sold offset and rockers as well left and right. Maybe check your heads part number to see if dart recommends offset valve train. Just a shot in the dark. Hope you figure it out.
I have the intake off already Mario, so I can see everything. I can't see how a SBC could, or would ever use offset lifters or pushrods? Nothing I've seen has shown that in my searches? But mine is a factory roller motor, so lifters are OEM style, not those retrofit lifters that guys use for pre 1987 SBC engines.
I believe I might have a collapsed spring inside the lifter that was completely loose. Unfortunately I let it get mixed in with all the others I pulled, so now I have to check them all to see if I can locate the bad one so I don't have to pull all of them apart to find it. I will clamp them in the plastic jaws on my vise and try to compress each one until I feel one that's easier to compress. Then pull it apart to see what's going on. I hope I find something, as if I don't I'm really puzzled what caused this!
I have 60 psi cold at idle, and just under 50 psi hot at idle. So really great oil pressure. Howards Cams told me to run thinner oil back when I first assembled the engine and had a previous lifter issue. I had straight 30w. breakin oil in it, and was told I needed to run 5w-30w in an engine was a roller cam because roller lifters have smaller passages and wont work with thicker oils. So I'm running 5w-30w VR1 Racing Oil.
 

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Heads that are modified would use these as necessary.
Font Screenshot Rectangle Parallel Circle

Product Font Screenshot Fictional character Personal protective equipment
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,567 ·
Heads that are modified would use these as necessary.
I'd assume the offset is not side to side, but inward or outwards, and maybe for extremely high lift cams to keep the pushrod roller tip centered on the valve, or avoid the pushrod from contacting the inside edge of the guide plate? Don't think they're for modified heads, but for high lift cams.

But the good news is I found the culprits today! I brought all the lifters into my basement shop where I have an arbor press, and tested each one for compression strength based on just how it felt. The 4th one I tested collapsed easily, and stuck in that position. I removed the clip and shook the follower out of it, but the spring wouldn't come out. Got one of my hardened hooks and tried pulling the spring out, but it isn't moving. Guessing it broke and is jammed inside the lifter body.
I went through the rest and found two more that pushed down about 1/8" and then got firm. The other 13 I can't even compress, and I think it would take a long cheater bar on my arbor press to move them, so they're likely OK. But I'm tossing all of them in the trash and replacing them all.
I'm really happy I found some bad ones, as it was a mystery just visually checking them. Now I just need to get my replacement pushrods, and gaskets, and it can go back together.
 

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Glad you found the problem. By the way the offset is left to right as the part description states and look at the rocker photo. Seat area is not centered on the width. Lifters are the same left to right. I’ve been hunting lifter and roller sets and that’s how I found out about it. You don’t have to agree but that’s what I found out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,569 ·
Glad you found the problem. By the way the offset is left to right as the part description states and look at the rocker photo. Seat area is not centered on the width. Lifters are the same left to right. I’ve been hunting lifter and roller sets and that’s how I found out about it. You don’t have to agree but that’s what I found out.
The product details don't show up in the link you posted Mario, so I was guessing. Since it's to one side I assume it's for larger cc runners where the valves are offset to clear the runners.
I wasn't disagreeing Mario, just didn't see any description to indicate what you saw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,570 ·
Looks like pushrods and gaskets wont be in until Tuesday. Bummer. Our Beaches Wed. night cruise and drags start Wed. next week, and we're finally getting a good stretch of dry, warm weather after a soggy spring. Doubt I'll get it back together Tue. unless parts arrive early, and they never do when I'm in a hurry.
Got the oil and filter changed today, and cleaned up all the surfaces to prep for new gaskets. Not much else I can do for now, but wait.
 

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Looks like pushrods and gaskets wont be in until Tuesday. Bummer. Our Beaches Wed. night cruise and drags start Wed. next week, and we're finally getting a good stretch of dry, warm weather after a soggy spring. Doubt I'll get it back together Tue. unless parts arrive early, and they never do when I'm in a hurry.
Got the oil and filter changed today, and cleaned up all the surfaces to prep for new gaskets. Not much else I can do for now, but wait.
Cool I’m sure you’ll get it going in the.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,574 ·
So I finally got my new pushrods from JEG's after 8 days. Went to assemble the engine, and set all the lash. Fortunately I decided that doing so with the intake off would make it all much easier! I found a couple more lifters in the set of lightly used lifters I had dropped in to replace the other set. So both sets went to the scrap bin, and I ordered another new set of Howard's high performance hydraulic rollers. So another week waiting until I can get the engine back together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,575 ·
I tried to fire up the '39 today, and it acted like no spark. Tried cranking the distributor as I cranked the starter, and eventually it fired, but ran so-so. I decided to throw the timing light on it, so set it up, but then it wouldn't restart at all. I held the trigger on the timing light as I cranked it over, but no signal or strobe on my light.
I pulled a plug wire and cranked while I held it near ground, and spark was very weak and yellowish color. So I began checking the ignition circuit. 12.8 vdc at the ballast resistor, but only 4.5 vdc output side. I happened to have a new spare resistor, so pulled it and checked both on the bench with ohm meter, and one read 3.5 ohms, while the new one read 1.5 ohms. I know high performance GM engines used a .3 ohm and std. used a 1.3 ohm, so tossed the old one and installed the new one.
Tried to start it again, but no fire still! I grabbed a jumper wire and jumped the ballast resistor and it fired right off. Weird? I've got several thousand miles on it with a ballast resistor, so not sure why it doesn't want to run with one now?
My distributor is a points style with an Accel 2010ACC electronic conversion, and they warned in the instructions not to run without either a ballast resistor, or a resistor wire on the ignition. Now I'm wondering if my new wiring harness has a resistor wire, and the ballast resistor added to that, creating too much resistance? That 4.5 vdc output was certainly too low, but input looked right. Didn't check the new resistor to see what it had before I jumped it. I just moved both wires to input side so it wasn't reduced. My alternator puts out 14.5 vdc, so with 12.8 into the ignition maybe it has a resistance wire?
Anyway she's running now, and hope I don't hurt the Accel ignition if the harness doesn't have a resistance wire! Strange that it suddenly quit while the car sat the last few weeks; or why it ever ran before?
The resistor got very hot during cranking the engine over, and about burnt my fingers when I touched it! Which makes me think it wasn't a good one.
Glad to have the old gal back up and running again! She sounds great, and just in time for our Wed. night drags/cruise in tomorrow!
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,576 ·
Anybody bought any points or condensers recently? I lost my points eliminator kit in my old points distributor today because the ballast resistor went out, and I thought I'd move the car a short distance to make it easier to work on. Only took a couple minutes running with the ballast resistor jumpered and the HEI kit took a dump.
Stupid mistake, and I was headed to a car cruise this afternoon, so rushed out to find points and condenser to swap back. Autozone didn't even carry them for a Chevy, and O'Reillys charged $45 for the two parts! Nuts!
Did some searching when I got home, and most places don't even list them, while others were the same price I paid.
Guess when I out a new kit in the distributor later, I'll darn sure keep the spendy points and condenser just in case, so I wont have to buy them again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,578 ·
You were probably in a hurry Vall but you could have got them on ebay, some even with with free shipping, for much less. Accel 8101 Ignition Contact Points for GM Distributors 1956-74 chevy buick jeep | eBay There are also a bunch of the newer style with the consenser attached to the points plate.
Yes, I was a couple hours away from leaving to go to the drags, so didn't even have time to keep checking different local parts stores. Of course I did check when I got home and found them at Ebay and Amazon for $20 cheaper for the pair.
I ordered a new Accel points eliminator kit last night and was surprised they've actually gotten cheaper since I bought the first kit about 2 yrs. ago. So should have that in less than a week and I'll put the points, condenser, and screws in the glovebox for a backup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,579 ·
Heading to the cruise in Wed. I noticed my right turnsignal was extremely slow, and I could watch the indicator slowly glow brighter, and then finally flash. Left side was fine, but the right side blinked at about 1/3rd as fast with this weird issue.
I have LED lights inside the stock taillight housing, but regular 1157's up front. I took a look at wiring today, and figured maybe I had some resistance at the steering column plug. But voltages there all seemed normal. So I decided to pull the right side headlamp apart to get to the turnsignal lamp, as I have them mounted inside the headlamp reflector. Put a new 1157 in, but same issue. I turned the turnsignal on while trying another bulb, and accidentally put the bulb in 180 degrees out of orientation. It of course wouldn't lock, but the turnsignal began to blink normally!
I figured out I had swapped the two wires for park lights and turnsignals when I wired the car, so I swapped them around and it worked perfect! Absolutely no idea why the dimmer element would work OK for the last 18 months, and suddenly give up? I know LED's need more resistance, but only having them on one end always works. I guess if that one is the dimmer element it isn't enough to make it flash, or at least it's only marginal!
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,580 ·
At the last cruise in Wed. a buddy pointed out that my center stainless strip on my grille was "going bad". I looked at it and thought how could SS go bad? But it was mostly black, with just some spots of bare stainless steel.
I could feel the black stuff was on the surface, not surface going bad. A close look today revealed some sort of coating on the SS trim? When I bought the replacement new a year or so ago it had a plastic film over it that I peeled off. But I think it may have accidentally had two layers, or some sort of clear coating under the film.
I took a razor blade today and put it on my belt sider to shape the edge to match the contour of the strip, and then resharpened the new edge. It didn't take much to make the black coating flake off, and then I polished the trim using 2000 grit paper. Looks like new again.
Tried cleaning up my red Moroso spark plug wires to get dirty grime off them. Not much I tried worked well. Thought my Purple Power full strength would, but no luck. I was out of WD-40 that I usually use on a rag to clean them. Have a gallon on order. So I saw a can of upholstery foam cleaner on the shelf, and figured why not try it? Sprayed some on a rag and rubbed a plug wire with the rag. It actually removed the grime with ease! I pulled the plug wires one at a time and did them all. They look almost new again!
 
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