Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

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Marshall V. Daut
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Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by Marshall V. Daut » Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:58 pm

I still can't get the search engine on this website to chase after archived discussions on specific topics, so I am probably asking a question that has been beaten to death here over the years. Add one more drubbing to the list...

On a Model A website, a recent on-going thread addresses stainless steel valves used in tandem with adjustable lifters and reground camshafts. Although it's a Model A subject, it also extends to Model T's with the same component combination. A couple posters related their experiences with this combination and had been told by the engine builders to set the valve lash at 0.025" on the exhausts. That seems extreme to me. I have always used 0.013" - 0.015" on exhausts and 0.011" - 0.013" on the intakes. Apparently the stainless steel valve stems "grow" when hot and close up a narrow gap, such as a 0.015" setting, causing wear on the cam lobes.

There are stainless steel valves with new single lock lifters and a used camshaft in my friend's 1924 Model T engine rebuild. I had used my usual 0.011" on the intakes and 0.013" on the exhausts. I see in some vendors catalogs that they recommend 0.022 - 0.032"" gap. Now I am wondering if I should go back and open up the valve lashes, although I want to avoid clappy lifter noise. The engine has not been started yet, so we're still safe either way.

Am I am worrying about mice gonads here or is the wider gap legitimate? The MTFCA engine manual says as low as 0.010" is good. Lang's says 0.022 - 0.032". That's one heck of a difference! Whom do I believe? Will the engine be noisy at the 0.022"+ setting? Are the 0.011"/0.013" settings o.k.?

Marshall


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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by Scott_Conger » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:19 pm

New valves will probably be long and you will likely have to shorten them

Modern material is very stable regarding CTE...you should set them to the cam mfg's spec to get proper valve event timing which will likely be something like .010/.012" intake/exhaust.

If you have hardened seats, gap will likely remain stable after a few hours running. If you cut seats in the block, you may find that after 10-15 minutes the valve lash closes a very tiny bit and then is stable. This is due to the valve face burnishing/pounding the seat to perfect conformity (the valve face is typically 1 degree different than valve so that it does just this).

Remember, the valve isn't the only thing changing dimension with temp...the block does too and without overthinking this, you're going to be safe following the cam grinders directions.

Something that will make gaps wander is if the lifters have not been ground flat on the bottom and rotation of them can lead to very small variances of gap. Few people do this, but it is time and $ well spent and the lack of flatness and perpendicularity to the body is sometimes shocking.
Last edited by Scott_Conger on Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by Henry K. Lee » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:20 pm

I set mine on .012" and they run sweet!

Hank


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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by 2nighthawks » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:33 pm

Marshall - I'm going to be following this thread very closely, as I expect to learn something,....either that the way I've always set valve clearances is O.K., or that I've been doing it wrong! As far as I know, I think your .011" for intake valves and .015" for exhaust valves is just fine, and pretty much what has always been recommended as far as I have heard. Actually, I usually set them ALL at .015" just to be sure! My "theory is that a "thou" or two extra will hurt nothing, but a "thou" or too tight could cause a burnt exhaust valve. There are those that would argue that a couple extra "thou" clearance will cause a bit more noise, and I would agree with that, but I also feel that the only ANNOYING sound is when one or two have a bit more clearance that all the others,....THOSE are the ones you will hear! And by the way, I don't know that stainless steel valves in particular have any different expansion rate from heat than any other steel valves,....FWIW,.....harold


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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by 2nighthawks » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:36 pm

Scott & Henry - You guys type faster than me! :D


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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by 2nighthawks » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:40 pm

Marshall - Scott C. "touched" on the main reason that I set valves at .015",....I have always felt that valves initially "pound in" a thousandth or two when the engine is first started up,....again,....FWIW,.....harold


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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by Marshall V. Daut » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:49 pm

Good stuff so far. Keep it coming! Thanks. I'm still curious why Lang's recommends 0.022" - 0.032", among other vendors' catalogs.

Scott -
Yes, you are right. We had to trim the ends of the valves because they were too long for the adjustable lifters we installed. I was pretty sure we'd need to do that - and we did need to do that. That's happened with a couple T engines I've done, but not with any Model A's. Weird.

And yes, after lapping the valves proved to be fruitless, I bit the bullet and bought 31/46 degree and 60 degree Neway cutters with an adjustable pilot to do the valve seats properly. The 1 degree interference valve seat cut with the 45 degree valve head was the recommended way to go by the good folks at Neway. VERY helpful and patient techs, by the way.

In case anyone wants to see what all the hub-bub is about on the Model A website, here is the link. https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=272007
Just substitute "T" for "A" when reading the discussion if you are a die-hard Model T guy. :) The significant postings begin with posting #6.

Marshall


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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by 2nighthawks » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:01 pm

By the way,....I always get too "wordy" when posting on the forum, but there is another point or two that might be worth mentioning to add to the excellent explanation and advise from Scott:

Besides the wear that Scott mentioned, there is also quite often, considerable wear on the top of the lifters on the Model T's. From many years, and many miles on the Model T's with the bottom of the valves stems continually striking the top of the lifters, I have seen lifters with the tops actually worn visibly "concave" from wear. I'm sure others have seen this too as it is not uncommon, and it makes it very difficult (if not impossible) to accurately measure valve stem/lifter clearance with a feeler gage! It is noteworthy that Ford actually addressed this problem with the Model A design valves, as the bottom of Model A valve stems are actually "mushroomed" out to a larger diameter contact surface in order to minimize this wear on the tops of the lifters. This is why, particularly with Model T "valve jobs", it is VERY important to be sure to grind the bottom surface of the valve stem perfectly flat and perpendicular to the valve stem, because you want to be sure that the whole flat surface of the valve stem bears on the top of the lifter, rather than "point contact" from a carelessly ground stem which would result if valve stems are not accurately ground flat "perpendicular".

See,....told you I always get "too wordy",.....sorry,.....harold


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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by 2nighthawks » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:05 pm

I forgot that you were talking about "adjustable" lifters, but the same careful & accurate grinding of valve stems is still important IMHO,.....harold


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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by 2nighthawks » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:19 pm

Marshall - FWIW,....they "HAVE TO" make valve stems a bit too long, so that the machinist or mechanic can accurately grind the stems to the perfect length for proper clearance! Every engine is different, especially after "who-knows-how-many" valve jobs your Model T has "suffered", right? :D

And by the way,...you will LOVE the Neway valve tools and equipment! I think cutting valve seats with carbide cutters is far superior to "grinding" the old fashioned way! I always "cringe" at reading (or hearing) that someone is going to "lap-in" the valves! To me, that's pretty much a waste of time and energy and a very poor way to deal with an engine that needs a valve job. And by now Marshall, I'm sure you have found that NEWAY not only mentions the fact that "lapping-in" valves is not needed, but they highly discourage lapping-in! And one of the nicest features of that is that you don't get all that valve grinding compound in your engine when doing a valve job. That extremely abrasive compound can be very damaging to an engine if you don't get every single speck of it out of your engine,...so it's nice that with NEWAY equipment, you don't use that stuff at all!


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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by lesvonnordheim » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:27 pm

This is an interesting subject for me.....I have been running a 280 Stipe cam with hard valve seats, Chev. exhaust valves, retainers, T valve springs and adjustable tappets. Set the valve tight according to Stipe recommendations. The engine is a 13 and has been running with no further adjustments including bearings for over 15 years. I also run synthetic 10-30.

I have another 13 engine with a Scatt crank that I was planning to install in my car but planned on using the existing 280 cam and new adjustable lifters and stainless chev. style valves for the exhausts. If using stainless valves is a really a problem with those in the "Know" who have hands on experience …… I want to know. Not interested on what some one thinks but has no hands on experience. Stainless valves (Chev. Style) have been available for years.....have not heard of this issue before. With a new cam and lifters there will be some normal wear that will increase valve clearance from the initial settings. Using hard seats, modern exhaust valves the valves do not pound the valve seats down and the valves hold up much better compared to what old Henry provided. Keeping tighter clearance is a plus for valve lift providing there are no related issues with burning valves.

The Bottom line for me......before assembling the valves in the "New" engine with Scatt crank.....should I buy 4 standard chev. exhaust valves and hang the stainless valves on the wall? Using stock chev. exhaust valves, standard retainers & two pice clips in conjuction with new model T springs for me is a no brainer!

The 13 engine presently in my car with original crank is running great! No issues except I worry about joining the two piece crank shaft club when on a tour far from home. I take pride on keeping my model T off the trouble trailer and enjoying driving my car when on tours and not expecting others to fix what I should have fixed at home.


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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by It's Bill » Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:03 am

Super topic. I was under the impression that lifters had a slight crown on their cam contact faces so that they would rotate in their bores during operation. Is that not so with model Ts?

Cheers, Bill


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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by Joe Bell » Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:31 am

Bill,
All the lifters I have seen rotate on running in a T.

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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by TonyB » Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:16 am

No one seems to be addressing the discrepancy between the original clearance was range of 0.025-0.032” and using modern materials the 0.011-0.015” clearance. The difference is in the “modern materials”.
The original design used two piece valves, seats in the block and none precision camshafts. All these factors contributed to the necessity for greater clearance.
Modern stainless valves are quite stable, hardened valve seats move less than 1/10 if a thou and modern camshaft are good within 0.002”. Given this, the clearance can be reduced substantially.
I personally go for 10 thou on intake and 12 on exhaust but could not clearly justify a few thou difference either way.
The cheap and nasty VW air cooled motor used 4 thou on the intake and 6 thou on the exhaust and I only suffered one burnt exhaust valve in over 300,000 miles.
So if you use original parts, use the original specified clearance. If you use modern materials then lower clearance are acceptable.
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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by Adam » Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:54 am

It's Bill wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:03 am
I was under the impression that lifters had a slight crown on their cam contact faces so that they would rotate in their bores during operation. Is that not so with model Ts?

Cheers, Bill
You are correct! T lifters from the Ford factory have a very large radius on their cam-contact surface.

Not sure if they were radiused specifically to make them “rotate”, but I believe it did have something to do with initial break in or longevity.

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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by Mark Gregush » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:09 pm

Re; original clearance was range of 0.025-0.032”
Besides the worn lifters, I think those would be the range the valve gap might have been set using the piston travel to set with a worn cam and depending on how worn the cam is, the higher number could be even higher. If you want to get a concept of how wide .025 to .032 is, look at your spark plugs, that is how far the lifter would have to move before the valve started opening. How far the piston has moved I don't know but there would be some loss in the fuel being pulled in.
I have never seen .025 on the Model A valve setting, we do ours at about the same as T's, .015 exhaust and .012 intakes. With a reground/new T cam, follow the directions of the manufacture or if unknown I would go with .012-.015 and .010-.012 on a regrind.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :roll:

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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:14 pm

Marshal

when Herm Konkhe was more active, he posted this, regarding the condition of lifters that are purchased these days. It's an interesting study on the care or lack thereof of the grind that is the precision face of new lifters...he goes on to explain what he does, and why, and of course receives his share of accolades and a little nay-saying for his efforts...in any event it's instructive: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/25 ... 1346978647

FWIW
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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by Henry K. Lee » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:27 pm

Tony and Scott,

Excellent input guy's. I did not clarify in my post that about tappets and engine run-in! Old metallurgy vs modern design is like night and day!

All the Best,

Hank

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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by John Warren » Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:12 pm

Well as long as we are talking about valves. These came with some model t parts. 🤷‍♂️ 😁
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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by Marshall V. Daut » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:51 am

It appears that this topic of discussion has "exhausted" itself. (Ha, ha, ha!) Despite some detours, the postings with clearance suggestions all make sense to me and basically boil down to whether one uses original Ford valves or new stainless steel valves. It seems that the consensus is that if one is using original valves in seats in the block (not in modern hardened seats), use the wider valve clearance settings because the clearances may close up a bit. If one is using modern stainless steel valves, the closer settings can be used, allowing for minor changes against in-the-block seats once the engine runs in. Am I interpreting the input correctly? In my particular case, to be safe with the stainless steel valves in my friend's engine, I'll open the settings up from .011"/.013" to .012"/.015". That should cover all bases for noise reduction, good performance and reducing the likelihood of burning any exhaust valves/seats.
Thanks to all who offered the benefit of their experience. I'm sure the information posted will help other readers with the same question and concerns that I had before posting my question.
Marshall

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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by Mark Gregush » Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:40 am

I wonder if the wider gaps that were suggested are for original lifters and cam are not so much for expansion but because of wear of all the parts. As each lobe, lifter gets cupped and stem gets worn at different rates it changes the time the valves open and close between the 4 cylinders reducing the power. That is why there is information in the repair book on using the gauge to set your valves using original setup and worn parts. You would grind the stems so that each valve would open and close at the same place for each cylinder thus the gaps would be all over the place. Using an original used cam, new adjustable lifters and new valves I tried the piston travel method. There was a somewhat improvement in power over just gaping the valves to .012/.015 but they did chatter some as one would expect with the larger gaps.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :roll:

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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by Marshall V. Daut » Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:28 pm

Yes, years ago I tried the piston travel method of adjustment after my '26 engine came back from the rebuilders and was a super DOG. It couldn't get out of its own way, as they say. I made my own flip gauge and followed the instructions on piston travel and adjustment. Although there was a slight (and I emphasize SLIGHT!) improvement in power, the engine was so noisy that I went back to the .011"/0.13" settings I usually use.
I found out later that the rebuilder had installed a "reground" camshaft that was a p*ss-poor grind. The cam that had been in the engine took the T upwards to 50 MPH, but #1 journal was so out of round that I had to replace the connecting rod every few months. The rebuild corrected that problem. But had I known the rebuilder was going to swap camshafts, I would have put a stop to that. A camshaft REALLY makes a difference, lifter adjustment and favorite settings notwithstanding. You can't put lipstick on a pig and expect to end up with a homecoming queen. Lesson learned.
Marshall

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Re: Adjustable lifters with stainless steel valves...

Post by Mark Gregush » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:59 pm

I spend a little time going thru some of the current catalogs. I found 2 references to gap, Snyder's was .010 and on the back page of Lang's there is a chart of sizes etc. While the .022 to .032 is listed there for cars made after 1913 if you read the notes at the top, it basically stated not to use for valves and cranks.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :roll:

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