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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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