Lifter questions please

Discussion in ''Da Nailhead' started by Aussie V8, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. Aussie V8

    Aussie V8 Well-Known Member

    My son's 1962 401 is making noises on start up after being parked up in the garage. It started out as loud knocking and ticking from the top end. I thought it might be stuck valve but we took off the covers and rockers and all the valves are seating. So went ahead and took out the lifters. So the question is, looking at the lifter contact surface what do you think ? Also can they be serviced / freed up by taking apart and cleaning up and put back together. It's not that easy for us to duck down to NAPA and buy a new set. Shipping is expensive and will take at least 2 weeks. Hoping to get away with getting these to free up and replacing on a possible re-build in the future. Will there be any success ?

    Attached Files:

  2. Bigpig455

    Bigpig455 Fastest of the slow....

    My 65 did this with the original lifters, I cured it by replacing my lifters but thats not the only way to go about it....

    I'd guess he lifter face is fine - if it hasnt taken out the cam yet, it's probably not going to any time soon. Just keep the lifters on the matching lobe during re-assembly, and make sure they spin freely in the bore.

    And there's no reason you cant take them apart and clean them... it may not cure things, but at least you know you tried. They come apart pretty easy, just note the order of components as they come apart.

    Good luck, and keep us posted....
  3. telriv

    telriv Founders Club Member

    The bottom of the three lifters shown are N/G. By the looks of one of them the cam may be excessively worn also.
    just my thoughts & observations.

    Tom T.
  4. Aussie V8

    Aussie V8 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the advice Rhett.
    Sorry Tom, I don't know what N/G means ( no good ?? ) :Do No:
    The cam lobes to me don't look too bad. Would I be wasting my time dismantling, cleaning them and putting back in ? They were free in the bores against the cam although some took some effort to get them out, penetrene lube helped.
    Or maybe our problem is a lacking oil pressure on start up. We may also have to drop the oil pan and check oil pump and screen.
  5. 300sbb_overkill

    300sbb_overkill WWG1WGA. MAGA

    If the cam looks good then perhaps you can look for a place that can resurface the bottom of your lifters?

    A Tool & Die type machine shop with a surface grinder and a whirly jig could do it for you in no time flat. I would do it for you but by the time you sent them here you could have new ones there.

    If you can find a machine shop with the equipment you will need to describe what the surface needs to be so a bit of research before you take them in. If you go this route you may want to have the cam re-heat treated so the resurfaced lifters don't wipe out the cam, also send in the lifters to have them done as well. To what spec you say? :Do No: Something else you would need to research. GL

  6. 66electrafied

    66electrafied Just tossing in my nickel's worth

    Yup, NG, NFG, and so on. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but new lifters aren't going to help anything at this point except to dirty up a brand new set.

    Those lifters look they've seen a lot of dirty miles. One thing about the Nailhead, if the cam is worn down, it'll rattle pretty good, so chances are it's that "time"...
    This might be one of the causes of your low oil pressure, the lifters look like they've been starved for a while. If the cam is worn out, it's not going to keep pressure either. The crank bearings probably are all on the cusp of rattling too.

    It's time...
  7. Aussie V8

    Aussie V8 Well-Known Member

    What you say makes sense Marc. He has only had the car 6 months so spending $$$ right now on an engine rebuild isn't going to happen I'm afraid.
    Apart from the rattles on start up the engine runs fine once warmed up, smooth and blows no smoke. So I think I'll clean up the old lifters and put back in and he can enjoy some driving until " the times comes "
    Derek, thanks for your offer, I'm going to put it back together for now. I know it's not ideal but I'll check oil pressure and see if we can get some more when take the pan off and check pump gears tolerance ( replace pan gasket will help with some leaks too )

    Also, can the tips of the rocker arms be replaced ? I have never seen them advertised anywhere. Some ( most ) of these are worn and that's not helping I'm sure.
    Can the metal intake gaskets be re-used ( even with light smear of sealant goop )
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016
  8. Schurkey

    Schurkey Silver Level contributor

    Unless the aftermarket is doing something else, the Nailhead lifters should be flat on the bottom, no taper on the cam lobes, and no lifter bore offset from the cam lobes.

    Buick did not intend for the Nailhead lifters to spin--at least according to the SAE paper presented when the engine was introduced.
  9. 300sbb_overkill

    300sbb_overkill WWG1WGA. MAGA

    That would make it even easier to resurface, all the machine shop would need is to set them up in a V-block and grind them flat!

    Have them mic them all and grind to the shortest one, then they'll be brand new used after they're disassembled and cleaned and reassembled. You can also have the cam reground to brand new used specs as well.(if you can find that service on that side and down under of the world?) You may have to get longer push rods though if the preload is out of spec with the shortened lifters? GL

  10. Aussie V8

    Aussie V8 Well-Known Member

    Derek , I reckon it would cost me more than A$200 to get them ground. That's approx what it would cost for a new set shipped. So I am inclined to go with my theory ( and Marc's ) that there is most likely more to the lifter rattle such as worn bearings elsewhere causing low oil pressure at start up.
  11. 300sbb_overkill

    300sbb_overkill WWG1WGA. MAGA

    Was just trying to give you an alternative to having parts shipped.

    I'm sure if you knew someone that maybe knew someone that worked in a Tool & Die type machine shop they would resurface those for you for maybe $20 or $30 , on their lunch break? Depends on who you know? Doing the work when having access to the right machines wouldn't take to long at all to do something like that.

    Having the cam reground is a different story though, but should cost less than buying a new cam. Keep all of this in mind because the engine sounds like it wants to be rebuilt. GL

  12. John Codman

    John Codman Platinum Level Contributor

    I have also seen what you described in a Buick service manual. The lifters are flat on the bottom and were not designed to spin. What I don't understand is why it is so difficult to get these lifters in Australia. Is it because there is a huge import tax? Personally, if the engine oil pressure is good, while I had it apart, I'd put a new set of lifters in it (assuming that visually the cam looks good) and run the hell out of it.
  13. 8ad-f85

    8ad-f85 Well-Known Member

    Some aftermarket co's do finish the bottoms of nailhead lifters with a radius and grind taper onto the lobes, or so they have told me.
  14. telriv

    telriv Founders Club Member

    You'll be hard pressed to find a cam & lifters available today that DO NOT have a radius/taper. No one believes they should be flat.
  15. Schurkey

    Schurkey Silver Level contributor

    How are the cam grinders getting past the lack of offset between lobe and lifter bore? Without some offset, I'd think there'd be little mechanical leverage to get the lifter to spin. Do "new" cam cores reposition the lobes to achieve some offset?

    About the only thing the original design had going for it was the much-larger surface area of the flat lobe on the flat lifter. With taper on the lobe, and crown on the lifter bottom, even that advantage has been taken away.
  16. 66electrafied

    66electrafied Just tossing in my nickel's worth

    Geez, I don't know about that. Maybe I read this wrong, it certainly wouldn't be the first time.

    I almost wrecked a cam having a convex Chevy lifter mixed in with a bunch of flat Buick ones, - they're flat because they don't hold the cam in from waddling out, that's what the spring clip on the cam is for. On a SBC they're convex so they rotate and hold the cam in place and prevent it from waddling out; - the Buick stock grind cam is suited for flat lifters, you should have seen the scoring that occurred when the wrong one was installed, - they have to be flat. The other thing a Chevy cam is, is ground with a slight taper in the lobes to facilitate the convex lifters. The stock Nailhead most certainly doesn't have that.

    Reading the service manual for Buick; - Buick is insistent that the proper flat tappets and cam are used. The way the valvetrain is configured it would load up all wrong and probably break something if things were in motion. The other advantage the SBC has that permits convex lifters is that they are separate and facilitate individual adjustment, the Buick will not. SBC has the forces loaded straight down. Buick Nailhead is sort of sideloaded. That rocker arm has to be loaded and torqued properly, otherwise things break. Ask me how I know.
  17. 8ad-f85

    8ad-f85 Well-Known Member

    The last time I talked with Comp, Schneider, Delta, and Charles @ Camcraft(?) about nailhead cams was maybe 3 years ago?
    I would advise anyone purchasing a cam for nailheads to call them up and find out their thoughts.
  18. buickoz

    buickoz Member

    rocker tips,from ta performance, I just bought a couple of sets, and had them shipped to brisbane,think they were about 120 bucks for a set,thank or email Sherri, great people there.
  19. Aussie V8

    Aussie V8 Well-Known Member

    Update. Had a good look at the cam lobes ---- no significant wear that I can see AND --- found a supplier on the east coast here that can supply sealed power lifters for good price so going ahead and ordering a new set and as John Codman suggested , drive the hell out of it until it dies.
    Will contact TA on the tips. Thanks.
  20. telriv

    telriv Founders Club Member

    Be careful on the re-pro tips. They are MUCH thicker than the originals, unless a change has been made since the last set I've seen a couple yrs. ago. Too thick & they just about bottom out the lifters when hot & WILL hold the valves open for poor performance which now requires shorter pushrods.

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