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  1. #1
    Jaak's Avatar
    Jaak is offline Looking for that phuk I used to give.

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    Reusing lifters... What's OK and what's not?

    I know for flat tappet lifters, the recommendation is to always replace them when changing a camshaft, however, our engines have roller lifters.

    I've seen conflicting information on what's appropriate. The service manual says to change the lifters.

    Generally it appears that putting in a new cam, we can get away with using the same lifters as so many here have done it already.

    From what I've gathered, lifters, their bore in a block, direction of rotation and the cam, come together in a wear pattern as they break in, that is influenced by the various tolerances on the parts and block.

    I've also read things like:
    • Roller lifters must be installed so they roll in the same direction as they did originally
    • Never install used lifters on a new camshaft. (It's not always clear if this applies to roller lifters and opinions seem to vary on this point.)
    • It's fine to install new lifters on a used camshaft.
    • Used cam and lifters should only be used again in the same engine as the lifter bores will not be exactly the same in another block, creating a pattern of accelerated wear. (Does this mean putting a used cam in another engine is a bad idea, no matter how good a shape it appears to be in?)
    So, it would be interesting to hear from the engine builders of the forum, your thoughts on:
    1. Using orginial lifters on new cams
    2. Using used cams in other engines
    3. Any of the other comments above...
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  2. #2
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    Well......I have had three different cams in the motor now on the same lifters.IMO as long as the lifters stay in the same bores and are not allowed to roll the opposite direction you will be fine.......assuming of course that the roller and bearings are in good shape.
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  3. #3
    Jaak's Avatar
    Jaak is offline Looking for that phuk I used to give.

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    Thanks Erik, yours was an example of an engine that came to mind immediately.

    I couldn't help but wonder how much of those concerns are negated by higher precision in machining of the lifter bores.

    How are the cams you took out, doing in other engines?

  4. #4
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    Well,the 268 went to Ultimatecarman.......and Ariesforlife has the stocker.The first ones I saw that there is a question on was the Littleboy that HemiC has now.I guess that one is going to be checked out to see whats up.
    You need to remember also that our lifters don't spin in the bores like a flat tappet would and although the rollers will wear out the lifter won't mushroom like a flat tappet.

  5. #5
    Jaak's Avatar
    Jaak is offline Looking for that phuk I used to give.

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    Yeah, I guess a roller that spun in the bore would be pretty bad, huh!

    I'm thinking about variance in angle to the camshaft and alignment. If the lifter bore is not exactly the same angle and position relative to the camshaft in one engine, vs another, or even from bore to bore, and they get switched around, then you have a different wear pattern from the roller to the cam.

    Even if the bores are identical, if they wear slightly different...

    Obviously small problems are not likely to show up immediately, but I wonder about impact to long term cam life. Don't know about HemiC, so I'll have to dig for that...

  6. #6
    Jaak's Avatar
    Jaak is offline Looking for that phuk I used to give.

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    That's it? Crap, I was hoping someone actually knew something...

  7. #7
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    roller lifter don't atcually "wear in".

    Since their claim to fame is to NOT scuff or slide, metal to metal, the roller and lifter surface should hardly ever line up repeatedly.

    Any visible wear, I would expect would be from cold-starts, dirty oil/lack of oil, valve/lifter float, or something abnormal.

    That's not saying you shouldn't see some of the surface "less shiney" ... It IS metal on metal, and any higpoints on either side may in-polish the surface a tad
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  8. #8
    Jaak's Avatar
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    Hmmm, interesting but confusing. If they don't wear in, why recommend replacement, ensure they're not moved or put in rolling backwards to the original install?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaak View Post
    Hmmm, interesting but confusing. If they don't wear in, why recommend replacement, ensure they're not moved or put in rolling backwards to the original install?
    Several reasons
    1. make money
    2. lack of understanding of what they do
    3. paranoia
    I am NOT taking a jab, these are my impression of many "recommended" change things, oil at 3000, never changing direction on standard radials after they have been run....
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    Jaak, 30,000 miles on my lifters and cam - only the slightest visibility of where the lifters traveled on the old cam. The old cam showed no signs on the lobes. MY first journal had a scuff pattern by comparison. Keeping the lifters in the sames holes and traveling the same way, plus a bit of assembly lube for the first metal to metal fire up was my only protection.

    Yeah, i read the new lifter piece in the manual too; however, I would guess from a warranty perspective, if an engine had a TROUBLED CAM, and was being replaced, Lifters would obviously need replaced too. Pretty sure the manual isn't a how to guide for high performance cam swaps.
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  11. #11
    Jaak's Avatar
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    The service manual was just one comment.

    The rest came out of this text, for this example, but echos what I've read other places as well.



    So the question on my mind is, does this guy, with his research using pro race engine builders as well as his own experience, know something we don't, or do we know something he doesn't.

    Hmmm.. Forum full of people that do it for a hobby, or book of material from people that do it for a living.

    It's quite possible for hobbiests here to be right and pros to be wrong, but what I'm looking for is a "Statement..." and "Here's why and what happens..."

    It's my engineering background that does it. It's great to say common knowledge is something, but what is it based on?

    I don't have an opinion on this, and I'm not seeing detail explanations for either side as to why.

    BigJim's #3 point so far has the biggest credibility I've seen so far. However when inspecting my lifters, I saw some slightly different (but not significant) wear patterns between them. More due to bore angle/position tolerances I believe, than anything else.

    BigJim's #3 is easy to give weight. If you don't change them and something fails, how will you feel about fixing the carnage? And when you read it in an introductory racing engine book that seems to fairly good (I don't believe it's anywhere near the level I'd like to see it.) then it makes you come on your favorite car forum and pose the question.

    I'm interested in Erik's flag on the LittleBoy in HemiC's car as well.

    Some of these issues may not manifest themselves until the engines have put on a fair bit of mileage.

    So far it seems we're looking around at each other, not seeing issues and giving each other the thumbs up.

    Personally, I don't know how a roller lifter could possibly wear worse than a regular tappet. The issues of concern to me, also appear to be things that could be true, but would happen beyond other major wear factors appearing in the engine. But what do I know, I'm just speculating like the rest of us.

    Where are the damn SAE engineers? LOL!

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    Well, If they are talking flat-tappets, either solid or hydraulic, you MUST replace the lifters... the initial break in establishes the wear pattern and is used to "spin" the lifter in place so it doesn't wear really quickly.

    For a Roller bearing in a Street use-application, I suspect the suggestion would be different.

  13. #13
    Jaak's Avatar
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    No, roller lifters... Gotta go out right now, but I'll scan the parts out of the book and post them. (I could have interpereted wrong! LOL)

  14. #14
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    Keep in mind that in extreme racing applications they are replacing rings, bearings, valve springs etc almost after every race. These standards do not need to be applied to your average hotrod street motor.

    Tons and I mean tons of 5.0 Mustangs, 5.0/5.7 Camaro-Firebirds reuse the factory lifter over and over again, as long as you don't get any funny wear patterns appearing on the cam or roller itself.

    Consistency in the wear patterns is what you are looking for, any abnormalities in the pattern are subject to inspection.

    I started this thread because I saw what I would consider abnormal wear. The manufacturer may be able to come back and say all is well...just a couple high/low spots from final finishing......but because only a couple lobes showed this abnormal wear I am not putting that cam in the car.

    http://www.lxforums.com/board/showthread.php?t=96293
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    There is a huge difference between these engnes an what I'm assuming is in the engine builders book.
    The biggest factor would be the diameter of the camshaft vs old school camshaft. There is a huge difference in lobe profile and valve spring presure being used. The race roller has a life expectancy of 1 pass to 1 season. With regular inspections either every pass, (prostock)or after every season (week end drag racer)
    Now these hyd lifters are designed to go for many thousands of miles. The ramps ground into the cam is mild by a race standard.
    Another factor of the hyd lifter in the smooth ride is recieves insteads of a solid roller. The hammer affect of a solid shortens it's life.

    The best advise I can give. Inspect them when you change the cam. (I know it's a hassle) IF ANYTHING looks wrong replace them. The ramp is very easy on the lifter. (by old school standard) Otherwise it's a personal choice to replace them. They should last 100k without hassle.

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