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Old 04-29-2004, 03:38 PM
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Fractured lifter

Thanks Joe for the posting privilage and hello everyone.


I have a 351W that had a 290 duration cam kit installed in it by the previous owner. It has less than a thousand (no racing miles) on it ,but it unfortunatly had a lifter that basically exploded,a slice about 1/4 inch thick fractured off the bottem. I have seen about everything imaginable happen to a valvetrain but I never have seen a lifter break before.
Any idea what caused it? I was under the impression that if anything they would mushroom. The look of the break could be compared to the way a hard layered rock would break. I was
wondering if anyone has seen this happen before.
It looks like I going to have to do a complete teardown on the motor, because the way it looks to me the wedge shape piece that was about 1\4" thick, at the thick end, almost the size of the bottom of the lifter must of shattered (I imagine it parted ways with the lifter like a bullet coming out of a gun) when it hit whatever it hit. I found several very small pieces but not enough to even come close to what is missing.
I really don't know the full history of the motor. I do know that valve must have been tightened down since that piece broke off. It had a couple of valves that were set tight enough to have been holding a valve open to cause the blown powervalve on the carb. It made it sound like it had way more radical cam than what it is
I was just wondering if anybody has seen a lifter do that. I would not think that just an over tightened valve would do it without collapsing the lifter or bending a pushrod,but I have been wrong before.Kind of sucks because I just got it sounding good, thuught I would check the valves since it had a slight tap after a short drive and noticed I it was adjusted down on the stud farther than the rest.


mike

In Kansas, where there is a flat 1280 feet anywhere you stop.

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Old 04-29-2004, 03:58 PM
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There have been reports that the newer lifters are not as good as the older ones. Due to us (hot rodders) losing a company that made the majority of the lifters in the past.

With that said is this a solid or hyd cam/lifter we are talking about? For it to break as you describe it sounds like a manufacturing/hardening defect. I have never personally seen a lifter fail like that. There are some real experienced and bright guys here so maybe someone has seen a failure like that.

Welcome to the site by the way.

Royce
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Old 04-29-2004, 04:28 PM
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You dont need to do a complete rebuild. The oil coming from the lifters exits there and doesnt continue for other parts, so you dont have to worry about particals in your rods or mains. You may want to remove the pan if possible and clean it. If you cant remove the pan, most likely its not going to hurt anything because you have a screen on the oil pick up. You may try to flush to motor out or try using a magnet on the bottom of the pan and wiggle the debre to the oil plug. If this doesnt work take off the timing chain cover and buy a 5$ magnet extension, you can access the oil pan inside by taking the front cover off. All of these are easier then pulling a motor or tearing it down.


Ben
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Old 04-29-2004, 04:32 PM
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The problem you had is caused during manufacturing. the hardened end is spun welded to the body of the lifter and something went wrong. AC used to build all of the GM lifters at the Flint and Pontiac plants and every once in a while they would produce a bad batch that the faces would break off. It cost them a fortune in warranty claims.
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Old 04-29-2004, 04:42 PM
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I'd say it would most likly be a manufacturer defect than anything else, I'm guessing a regular hyd. lifter, kind of hard to imagine a roller lifter doing that.

As the other dude said, all the metal cam do is fall out of the cam and drop dont on to the crank and land in the pan. Get a magnetic oil plug and drive the engine for a bit. That is if you can't drop the pan. Was the cam lobe damaged? I'm guessing it is at least missing a small chunck.
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Old 04-29-2004, 09:55 PM
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Better hope it didn't take the acm lobe with it.

As a dirt racer experiance, I've seen lifters do all kinds of crazy things and wouldn't put anything past one. We had an engine let go one time and the only good part's left were the timing belt and one lifter the flew out of the bore and rested in the return hole at the back of the block.
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Old 04-29-2004, 10:40 PM
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I've see a few like that. Usually things like that happen when the lifter floats off of the cam lobe at high R.P.M. This is what many people call valve float. It really slams the lifters into the cam when the lifter comes back into contact with the cam lobe. It can also happen if the valve lash/lifter preload is way too loose, only this time rather than the lifter slamming into the cam lobe the cam lobe whacks the lifter at an angle rather smoothly slide up the lobe ramp. My guess would be that the latter would be what happened and then when they tightened the valves up too much.
I agree with your plan to tear this engine down. The damage has probably worn down the cam lobe. The problem with just changing the cam and lifters is that the iron filings coming off of the cam lobes don't always make it to the oil pan. The hard iron filings get embedded into the soft piston skirts. Usually when a cam goes bad you can take the pistons degrease them and then wash them in water. After they dry you'll see rust specks in the piston skirts. These specks are iron from the cam.
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Old 04-30-2004, 10:58 AM
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I broke the top of a lifter on a big block chevy. The lip that holds the top of the plunger in place where the retainer ring goes.

Strangest thing, I was pulling the intake to do a cam swap and laying in the lifter valley was that fractured part. Car was running great, replaced the lifter and it never happened again. No one was able to offer an explanation nor had anyone I knew ever seen that happen before. It was a solid lifter engine, the cam looked fine too.

Unless you find something really off with the way that valvetrain was set up it is probably just a stroke of bad luck and unlikely to happen again, stuff breaks..................
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Old 04-30-2004, 12:56 PM
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Thanks for the replies everyone

They are hydraulic lifters with roller rockers.

I tried a magnet through the front of the pan, where the timing cover bolts on. flushed the pan with solvent,and caught it in a clean pan,blew air everywhere, flushed, and fished with magnet and only came up with a few pieces the size of a pinhead along with some filings that most likely came from the cam. I can't imagine where the other 90% of it is. Well I can, but I don't even want to think about it.

Looks like a teardown is the best option, since I only want to do this once. If I find the other piece I take a picture and post it here.
I was looking for opinions before I write too nasty of a letter to the manufacturer. I really appreciate all the replies.

I stumbled on this site while googling, (spelling?) nice site by the way. I will keep you updated what I find out ,so it is archived, nothing aggravates me more when you find a lead to something that has a guy stumped and they don't post what they done to fix a problem. Thanks a lot.

Mike
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Old 04-30-2004, 09:13 PM
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Think about how much money you will be saving by just tearing it down to find part's. The only thing you gotta buy is gasket's. You can get those for $65. I know it sucks to take it down. Just the other day I was assembling a 362, dragon slayer crank, crower 6.2" rods, JE custom pistons, Lunati custom solid cam, Brodix track 1 raised runner heads when right before firing it up I dropped valve cover nut right down into the lifter valley through a oil return hole. I tried fishing it out with a small magnet but the magnet stuck to the lifter instead and pulled it out of the bore. Then the nut fell down the oil return at the front of the block. Four hours later it was running agian. I had no choice but to tear into it. This engine has six thousand dollars in it. You can't risk it.
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