I am still having an urge to put an overhead on the speedster project. From my questions on other threads about various head choices. It appears the Rajo Model A four valve is the only choice I have as far as fitting and not cutting my firewall.(which I really do not want to cut) So I need to learn some things about Rajo 4 valves. I think there are two basic types. Original and a foreign repro. I think the originals have a one piece valve cover and the repro heads use a two piece valve cover. But Im no expert by a long shot. I like the looks of the two piece valve covers. But either style will work for me. Are there any problems to be considered. I think I read somewhere about the valve rockers being weak because of using two separate rocker shafts. but that it could be strengthened by using a one piece rocker shaft. But that may not be an option on a head with two separate valve covers. So any insight on just the Rajo Model A head will be appreciated. Also, what would be an approximate value of a head in various conditions. Such as complete, or with broken water jacket, or missing rockers, or even a New or Repro head, are any parts available or even any of the repros. and last question. Does anyone have one of these animals for sale or know of one .... Thanks for any input you may have, as I am trying to find one or at least get my knowledge of them "up to speed" before Chickasha. Have fun and be safe ... Donnie Brown ...
I just finish building a speedster using a model A RAJO and I hope I can help answer some of your questions
Contact me at:
Dave Szumowski was reproducing them recently but I believe he quit making them because they didn't sell well compared to the 8-valve Model B that he is also reproducing.
It may be worth a shot to contact him and see if he has any left.
Vol 2r n 4 Jul Aug 1989
Here you go Donnie
Thanks Jerome ..
According to the HAMB, several folks on there indicate that Bill Klemmer has a reputation for taking money from folks here in the United States and then not delivering a product. Since it's a big hassle to chase him down in Australia. Just thought I'd mention that. Apparently he was making the 4 valve heads for less than $2500, just, not very uh, consistently.
I heard Mr. Klemmer quite making the 4-valve heads about twenty-five years ago. Rumor has it the patterns were purchased by someone in the San Diego area soon thereafter and they available for a few more years. Unsure who has the patterns at the present time or if the heads are still being produced.
I have an Australian 4-valve head as well as an original. The reproduction is a nice unit.
My Mercury came with a 4 valve head. Looked cool without valve cover but a good flathead motor would outrun it. My rajo head from Mark Chaffin was a big improvement.
What I have been able to dig up is the original Australian repro head sold for 1450.00 plus shipping. Some people received the heads and others were not so lucky. The main problem with them seemed to be the rockers do not match the valve stems. Most say they worked OK with no problems because of that. The head gaskets back then were junk and did not have a fire ring so they blew out real fast. The original gaskets with no fire ring should probably be consider un-useable. I believe the new repro gaskets have the fire ring, and I am not hearing of any problems with them. Then the second generation of the heads were made in California, from what I believe were the same patterns. I can not confirm that, but that seems to be the opinion of most of the discussions. The rocker issue was not fixed, I believe they were sold in the 2000.00 to 2500.00 price range. That is what I have been told by others. Then there is the third generation of heads that were made by Dave Szumowski. They use his own patterns and rockers. All previous issues were addressed. I spoke with him on the phone. He is not currently making them, but is considering to do another run of them. I do not want to say what he estimated the price for to me, because that is his business, not mine. But I believe it will be less than the 8 valves currently being reproduced. His heads are aluminum and not cast iron like the Australian and California heads are supposed to be made of . I have also found out that there are quite a few of the Australian and California heads out there. Most are sitting on a shelf, and were never installed. So Ill keep looking for one or maybe can get one from Dave if he does another run. My personal opinion (worth very little) is the Rajo A 4 valve is a head that "should" be reproduced". It may not perform quite as good as a 8 valve or a fronty or others. But it is a bolt on head, with no modifications to the firewall needed. It use the Ford exhaust so no modifications are needed there. Thanks for the input so far .... Donnie Brown .....
There were lots of problems with the Australian Rajo A 4V heads. There were cast in batches and machined at different shops. some were done in cast iron and later ones available in aluminium. Head Bolt holes were known to be out by almost a full hole in some cases. Yes, bill went out of business in the mid-late 80's but still sold the odd alum casting off the 8V in the end. Some of the foundries he used also sold off some uncollected castings.
Bill was from Victoria and had agents in New South Wales and Queensland. I remember seeing one of is 4 valve heads at Toowoomba Swap in approx 1985 in a crate, marked Rajo. Bill did go to a lot of trouble advertising. Ian McEacheran was the agent for Queensland. Ian was at Tamworth NSW originaly, but moved to the Gold Coast. He may have passed away in recent years.
Here is a clearer photo of Bill's 4V heads (From Jarvis)
I stumbled across the crated Rajo A 4V head, unused, recently in a private collection. It still had Ian McEacheran's name on the head gasket wrapper. This is the same head Ian used for advertising back in 1985c at Toowoomba swap
Here are some photos
And a photo of the Head Gasket Wrapper
Off topic and I'm a non smoker but the rubber tire ashtray collection on the shelf is cool.
Mark, Thanks for the info. The info about the head bolts being off is something new I had not seen anywhere else. It will be easy enough to check out by using a stock T head gasket as a template to check the spacing. The thing that bothers me about the repro heads, is why are there so many of them sitting on shelves. The other thing is, how do you miss the spacing by almost 1/2 a hole. I could do better than that with a hand held drill. The rockers missing the valves is another thing. OK, The first casting was bad. No big deal, mistakes happen. But fix your patterns or drill jigs before you do the second one. It seems the skill level was there to make the parts in the first place, why not get it right ... OK Im done ranting
I'm curious, is there any easy way to identify an original from one of the poor quality reproductions?
Besides obvious clues like aluminum or cast iron in the head itself or age old grime and patina that can't be achieved since the 80's, there are a couple of differences like 1:1 rockers on the old heads but 1:1.5 ratio on the modern repros - and a straight valve cover with a cut off rear end on the old heads while the new ones has the cute double triangular valve covers that can be seen in this thread.
I have the latest Rajo A 4 valve head in my 1912 touring and I am pleased with the engine.
However, I may consider removing this engine and installing the original 1912 engine back in the car and make it a show vehicle. At that point I would offer the complete running engine with Rajo for sale.
This Rajo engine really belongs in a speedster.
Another thing that surprised me when I started looking for overheads like the Rajo model A 4 valve, is there is no provision to oil the rockers, other than the felt pads laid on top of the rockers, the pads are supposed to be soaked in oil. There also is no provision for any excess oil to drain back to the bottom (unless it can go back down the push rod holes). Also, the rear of the one piece valve covers are open. It all seems to work OK, but seems like it could be messy. The two small valve covers on the repro heads, probably are better, and there could possibly be a seal installed at the bottom. I am unsure if there is supposed to be a gasket at the bottom of them or not. But with all the problems, I still think I want one. As long as the head bolt holes are correct, I think everything else can be lived with ...
Donnie I think plenty of guys don't even use a valve cover. Just a couple drops of oil before they drive. I don't think it really needs an oil source great than the felts. Unless it's a really long drive and then you just stop along the way.
move the body back 1/2" and put one of chaffins heads on it.
Original 4V nearly all had a number on a small flat machined strip of the casting, just behind the water outlet. I don't think the Klemmer heads had a number there.
Seth - That's what I do. Before I start the engine, I oil up the top end pretty well. I don't have the valve cover, as you mention.