Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

Top End (cylinders and heads)
Post Reply
Chobber69
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:20 pm
Bikes: 48 Pan - Clone
Location: Ontario - Canada

Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#1

Post by Chobber69 » Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:31 am

Great site...getting the engine slowly asmbl'd. Picked up a solid lifter conv kit....still in wrapping, w/4x pushrods (adj type), 4x solid lifters w/4x springs? What's w/the springs...I would guess-ti-mate, the springs slide into the tappets, once you remove the hydraulic units out, prior to inserting the solid lifter units in...but not certain if it's neccessary? I'm second guessing myself here and thinking it might take up the slack....as would the hydraulic units, with oil in them....am I close....or right out their? The directions say you should do it, as well where the longer pushrods are supposed to go. My engine is a shortblock 74" pan, that came with std tappets...so you could choose your poison i.e. hydraulic or solid units.



FlatHeadSix
Posts: 2677
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 5:14 pm
Bikes: '31 VL, '34 VD, '45 WLA, '47 WL, '49 FL, '51 WL, '58 ST (Hummer), '71 GE (Servi)
Location: Lonoke, Arkansas

Re: Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#2

Post by FlatHeadSix » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:01 am

chobber

Toss the springs in the junk drawer, longer push rods are for the exhaust valves. If you have aluminum push rods, set 'em TIGHT!

mike

VT

Re: Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#3

Post by VT » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:35 am

My engine is a shortblock 74" pan, that came with std tappets
V-Twin short block?
Take a look at this set up. It's not cheap, but it the best solid lifter set up available that the world has to offer. You have the tappets, if you need to use conversion kit cups, leave the cup springs out, but consider the S&S steel pushrods instead of the aluminum, although I've used Colony aluminum push rods with converter cups to solid tappets for the last 50K + miles with out ever a problem (my Crane® tappet needle bearings never suffered the pounding. Still had tight rollers when I pulled the motor down at 35K). I change my oil every 3,000 miles and adjust my solid lifter (aluminum) push rods at the same time. I've never had to re-adjust any of the push rods except for the rear intake (maybe it gets hotter than the rest of them). I'm a freaking Felix Unger, you know :?: ... like "Monk"...about my motor and anything else that I can possibly get my hands on and control.
Adjusting solid push rods is done by being able to turn the rod being adjusted with no trace of bind. You can dial each pushrod in and out, "from too tight to just right". "One dry finger against the side of the rod. No trace of bind during one complete rotation", the Mechanics Motorcycle Institute - "Harley-Davidson University" approved method for solid lifter comportment.
solidcombomv7.jpg
Big end of the rod goes to the rockers and small end goes in the tappet cup.

Note: The only Harley-Davidson service manuals ever written that describe adjusting solid lifter push rods is the Knucklehead manual and the early Sportster service manuals. Read them, if you wish, but their method of simply "with no trace of bind" can be interpreted as too loose an adjustment. The tappet cups need to have oil in them, but the one dry finger method was not included in the factory description. Yes, aluminum expands, but better a little noisy (when hot) than too tight, and running the motor cold with too tight a push rod is bad. You can't wait for the motor to heat up and risk a valve not completely seating when cold. Peace. Panheads trump anything on two wheels. 8)
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Chobber69
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:20 pm
Bikes: 48 Pan - Clone
Location: Ontario - Canada

Re: Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#4

Post by Chobber69 » Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:22 am

I'm starting to get-it! Read the manual a few times, but when you talk about it w/people...it starts to clik! From what I've read, thru threads and ref books....different years i.e. early vs late pan....have upgrades to both tops & bottom - as well - as various lifter/tappet type...talk about trial & error! Figure, in the evolution process, the pioneers who used to weld the old hydraulic pushrods ends + solid conv tappets...were on the right track? All good reading....which made me wonder, which one was meant to be installed? I'm committing to the solids..thank god the v-twin short block (you-guessed-it)...came w/std tappets, have you priced these puppies lately? (note #1: had to shine a flashlight in their, to confirm a tappet was actually resting peacefully their; and note #2: guess these puppies had to have been installed, as the tappet blocks were installed...from the bottom up?). The cylinders went in easy....after figuring out the piston install, thanks to the many pics in the now well used manual! The heads are OEM 56s, after a little TLC by the local machinist/bike shop....ya, I'm getting nervous, the engines almost complete now! Hope this thing doesn't blow-up, in front of my eyes...when it's time! I'll keep the lifter springs, as a momento....to some good advice. The project is only 5.5yrs old now....maybe another year (damn), ride free!!

indianut
Posts: 160
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 1:26 pm
Bikes: American
Location: Florida

Re: Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#5

Post by indianut » Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:08 pm

I will Never understand why anyone would want to put solid lifters in a daily ridden Panhead! Why not put them in your car and truck also!

VT

Re: Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#6

Post by VT » Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:32 pm

Here's a good reason:
If you want to read some daunting instructions, try poring through JIMS hydraulic install sheet :!:
Then, there's that goofy "tin shield on a stick" gauge to regulate-adjust each hydraulic tappet, but basically dirty oil will foul those units. If even one of them clogs, you've got problems.
Download a hydraulic instruction sheet from JIMS and read it first before you invest.
Yikes:
jimshydcm1.jpg
© JIMS, Camarillo, Calif. (cam-a-reel-yo)
That's a lot of conditions that have to be met. We're assuming that anyone running hydraulic lifters would also have an oil filter installed.

Harleys only have (4) pushrods. They are easy to get to and rarely need adjusting, only checking.
Auto-mo-biles have 12 or 24 pushrods and have a better hydraulic track record than the AM Harley lifters. I don't trust motorcycle hydraulic engineering.
I trust my fingertips for the four lifters, but not some "promised" product.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

panpered
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:32 pm
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Contact:

Re: Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#7

Post by panpered » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:30 am

VT,

I want to make sure I understand what you are saying. Make sure the tappet cups have oil in them, so the ball spins smoothly in them. Wipe the pushrod down to remove the oil. Adjust. A dry finger pulled along the side of the pushrod should just barely spin the pushrod without any binding.

Is this the correct procedure for adjusting solid lifters with aluminum push rods?

Thanks.

VT

Re: Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#8

Post by VT » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:42 am

without any binding at all
If you feel it bind even a tiny bit on an 1/8th or 1/16th of a turn, then loosen the split nut a tiny bit ( or just force the push rod hex backwards, heck the split-nuts are sacrificial) until the push rod spins freely again. Then tighten the nut again, it until you get that tiny drag back, then loosen it again until the rod will turn with no trace of bind in a complete rotation. Then back the push rod hex up, and lock the split nut tight. Then re-spin (turn) the push rod again one more time to make sure you didn't blow it and now find that you have that tiny drag back again.
That's it.
Get good at the 3-hand method of push rod/keeper nut tightening. Trust in solid lifters.
Last edited by VT on Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:00 am, edited 2 times in total.

VT

#9

Post by VT » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:42 am

:arrow:

FlatHeadSix
Posts: 2677
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 5:14 pm
Bikes: '31 VL, '34 VD, '45 WLA, '47 WL, '49 FL, '51 WL, '58 ST (Hummer), '71 GE (Servi)
Location: Lonoke, Arkansas

Re: Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#10

Post by FlatHeadSix » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:36 pm

Indianut

Solid lifters in a car or truck engine is actually a very good idea, but not for 99.9% of today's car owners. Most drivers can't, or won't, even install their own wiper blades let alone pull a valve cover and adjust a set of valves.

Studebaker V8's were made from 1951 until the end in 1964, not a one of them left the factory with hydraulic lifters. Many of them were high performance (the Hawks and Avantis) and lots of them went into trucks which provided reliable service with minimum maintenance. I drove one to work every day for 20 years, the same truck, and it still runs great at 335K miles. The only time I ever adjusted the valves was after a valve job.

Many of the running changes made to the panhead engine during its 17 years of use were directly related to the valve train. The factory did a lot of experimenting with different hydraulic lifter systems, each successive change was an improvement on an earlier failure, they either didn't work good initially or they didn't last very long in service. Other than the bearing improvements in the big end, most of the other changes were in the oiling system and lifter design.

Solid lifters are bullet proof, unfortunately some of the other components in the system are not, tappet rollers and cam lobes being the most obvious. If you keep them adjusted (a one-beer job) so they don't pound the other components to an early death they will live long and prosper.

mike

FlatHeadSix
Posts: 2677
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 5:14 pm
Bikes: '31 VL, '34 VD, '45 WLA, '47 WL, '49 FL, '51 WL, '58 ST (Hummer), '71 GE (Servi)
Location: Lonoke, Arkansas

Re: Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#11

Post by FlatHeadSix » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:55 pm

Panpered
What VT is trying to tell you is that you should start with absolutely clean components. Both ends of the rod should have a light film of oil so that you are not grinding or lapping the ball ends into dry sockets when adjusting. When snug they should turn 360 degrees without feeling any grit or interference.

Push rods with aluminum shafts should be set TIGHT. There is no way to measure it with any kind of instrument, it is a subjective thing done by feel, each mechanic will have his own frame of reference for what is "tight". Tight, for me anyway, means that you can still turn the rod by gripping it with a thumb and 2 fingers, but barley. It will still turn, but it takes some effort.

mike

john HD
Moderator
Posts: 3654
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 7:24 pm
Bikes: '42 WLA X 2, '55FL, '93 Ultra Classic, '91 Fatboy, '97 883, '71 Suzuki Duster 125, '83 GPz 750.

Re: Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#12

Post by john HD » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:45 pm

i guess i am on the other side of the fence on this issue.

when i got my pan as a screwed up chopper, it had solids in it. the motor sounded like a 3 ring circus under the pan covers!

i figured what the heck and got a set of hyd lifters and pushrods. after installing them 12 years ago i haven't touched them.

i do need to take them apart since i have one leaky cork now.

go figure.

john

FlatHeadSix
Posts: 2677
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 5:14 pm
Bikes: '31 VL, '34 VD, '45 WLA, '47 WL, '49 FL, '51 WL, '58 ST (Hummer), '71 GE (Servi)
Location: Lonoke, Arkansas

Re: Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#13

Post by FlatHeadSix » Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:15 pm

John
The fence line runs right down the middle of the pan production years. My '49 came with the oil-can pushrods which were doomed for failure right out of the chute, the rest of the engine was not set up for juice lifters so the best, and only, solution for the early pans is to toss the oil-cans and put in a set of solids. Cheap, easy, and it WORKS!

Your engine was designed for hydraulics, if everything else is good then the juice lifters are the best choice for you.

mike

Cotten
Posts: 6788
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:09 am
Location: Central Illinois

Re: Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#14

Post by Cotten » Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:28 pm

John wrote:
"when i got my pan as a screwed up chopper, it had solids in it. the motor sounded like a 3 ring circus under the pan covers!"

Probably because they were adjusted loose as a goose, as VT endorses.

Or is it just his English?

Panheads should not sound like sportsters, and should not be adjusted like them, either.

....Cotten

VT

Re: Solid Lifter Conv Kit?

#15

Post by VT » Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:32 pm

Tight, for me anyway, means that you can still turn the rod by gripping it with a thumb and 2 fingers, but barely :!: :!: . It will still turn, but it takes some effort. :!: :shock: :shock:
Death to Your Motor......if you use this method above. Beware.

Note: This is why Stett and I publish our own books - so no other publisher like Motorbooks® Intl. can control us. Ask Bruce Palmer.
What we print is pure mechanical fact on a page. "Editors" will always try and change your words as soon as they get their mitts on it. (i.e; "Oh, they really didn't mean to say this....what they meant was this....")
Not.
Last edited by VT on Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post Reply

Return to “Top End”