This can’t be right! I have had nothing but trouble assembling this “rebuilt” engine that only had the crankshaft installed when I picked it up from the builder. Fitting everything else has been a living nightmare – and it continues. Over the weekend I posted a question about the installation of retainers and keepers on the modern valves the builder had converted to 20 years ago. O.K. Based upon the good advice posted, I assembled a couple springs over the valves and put in the modern retainers and two-piece keepers. It was a b*tch getting the springs over the new adjustable lifters (0.015” oversize) and in place. I can’t believe the lifters are supposed to sit this high beyond the lifter bores. The builder cut them down to make adjusting the lifters easier, but this seems extreme.
Trying to compress the springs in order to install the keepers and retainers beneath ended up with the springs compressed almost completely against the top of the valve chamber, even with the lifter resting on the camshaft’s heel. Yes, the keepers are in the lower groove of the Chevy 350 valves. When the tension was released, the springs seemed to be in compressed position, as if the valve were already up. I had pre-adjusted the lifters to 0.011” and 0.013”, whose gap is still present.
Look at the photos of #5 valve in the down position and #4 in the up position. Do the spring heights and compressed conditions look right to you engine guys? Something just can’t be right here. I have never had this much trouble assembling an engine and I’ve done dozens of Model A’s and several Model T’s. If ever there was an argument for leaving things bone stock in a Model A or T, this engine validates that.
I would think if you had to much compression of the springs that it would be hard on the camshaft causing premature lobe wear. I would try to measure the spring height with both the valve open and closed, then take a couple springs to an engine machine shop that has a tool for measuring spring rates at those compressed lengths. Ask for the shops advice on that design of engine, I am sure no printed specifications for the application exist of those parts on a Model T engine.
Those adjustable lifters look way too tall. I've had to grind open end wrenches to a very thin profile to adjust lifters on both Model A's and Model T's lifters in the past. I would phone a Model T parts place and ask the measurement of one on their shelf totally collapsed for comparison.
Someone has faced the tappet bosses shorter to make wrench adjustment easier. The bosses are normally well above the main bolt boss in the picture above.
Too bad you didn't take it to Joe Bell. It would've been done right and I bet at a lot less cost than what you probably paid. But don't know how close you are to Ohio since your profile doesn't indicate an address.
Sorry for your aggravation but you are modifying the engine and things that you describe like the spring being darn near compressed to instal the keepers should be expected. From your pics I don't really see anything that's totally weird. the springs look OK once in position. Don't expect it to look or install "standard" because it's not. You need to hear from other Chev valve users.
Here's chev valves with modern keepers on a recent rebuild of my '23 engine.
Normal adj. tappets used, normal results.
I think Tom nailed it
I'm more concerned about your missing main bearing bolts! I guess you're not that far yet...
Yes, as Tom suggests, someone cut down the bosses. A needless and wasteful thing. Any style of adjustable lifter can be adjusted without doing that. It's not difficult at all.
Same as Dan, Chevy valves except I used Ford 9N tractor retainers.
These can be hard to do i had barrow an old school C clamp valve compressor and had put little stickem on the keepers hold them while letting the
Keepers and retainers seat
From Marshall's initial post, I'm pretty sure he was already aware the lifter bosses were shortened.
You're right Hal. I was reading fast this morning and missed it. thanks for keeping me honest.
Marshal, where are you. Perhaps there is someone nearby that can help.
Dan and Pat's lifter pictures, look like the old style 3 piece, with the soft lock nut, and some even have the soft bolt. If it is they will wear very fast.
The bolt, nut, and lifter should laugh at a new small file.
The soft ones had a wide lock nut, and the super good one's made by Bobs, have always had a thin, hard, nut, are perfect in every way.
The adjusting bolt is normally black, from the heat treatment process.
I'll post a picture.
Also, any lifter should have the valve end locked, and should be put in a valve grinder, and true the valve, and Cam end, as none are true.
Sure you can adjust the valves without cutting down the boss, but that means you crank the engine over till the lifter is on the cam heal, check the gap then crank it thru the cycles, set the gap by the mathematical formula when the lifter and valve is up, then do it all again to check.
Yes, exactly! Easy!
A follow-up on the engine progress: it's alive!!! Well, perhaps not alive, but it's the next best thing. All the pre-fitting, shimming and lapping in the bearings paid off on the backend of this project. The engine went together quickly and easily after resolving the valve retainers, keepers and spring tension concerns. All I need to do now is buy eight cotter pins that are equal in size for the rod nuts. Lots of cotter pins in the garage, but not eight that will fit. Barring the hardware store being out of cotter pins tomorrow, I think this nightmare is finally over! 'Looks and feels like it'll be a good engine.
Thanks again to all here who pitched in with their advice and experience. A great resource!
Would non magnetic cotter pins be advised for the rod nuts?
If you have Chevy dippers on your rods you can bend the ends of the dippers up against the rod nuts to secure them. A pair of Vise Grips works well for the job. That way you don't have to over tighten the nuts to align the slots for the keys.
Also it is advisable to use new rod bolts. Often the used ones have been stretched from over tightening.