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Old 03-24-2010, 05:39 PM
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Help removing SBC lifter valley plugs!

The 383 short motor I've recently acquired has plugged lifter valley drain holes. I'm going to be running a solid FT cam, so these need to come out. Trouble is, I can't get the damn things to budge... they're 1/4" pipe plugs. I've tried soaking them in penetrating oil and swinging on the wrench, but they won't move. I haven't attached a torque wrench to them yet, but I would guess I've applied around 60-70lbft and they still won't move! I'm anxious about applying much more torque because I have visions of the casting fracturing.

Any ideas? I've thought about using an impact wrench but, again, I'm nervous about the kind of shocks that's going to send through to the casting in an area that wasn't originally designed to accept threaded fasteners. The other alternative is to drill them out... no idea how hard the pipe plugs are though.

Help!

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Old 03-24-2010, 05:57 PM
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Are these hex head (Allen) pipe plugs? If so, all I have ever done is use a long handle version with a 2-3 foot long piece of 1/2" or 3/4" (12mm/18mm - hafta remember the UK went kicking and screaming to metrics)pipe to increase my leverage. Sometimes a little heat. i.e. hand held propane torch, will help re-liquefying the pipe sealant.

If they are wrench/socket type, again, a breaker bar and a bit more length will usually do it, again with maybe some mild heat.

Dave W
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irelands child
Are these hex head (Allen) pipe plugs? If so, all I have ever done is use a long handle version with a 2-3 foot long piece of 1/2" or 3/4" (12mm/18mm - hafta remember the UK went kicking and screaming to metrics)pipe to increase my leverage. Sometimes a little heat. i.e. hand held propane torch, will help re-liquefying the pipe sealant.

If they are wrench/socket type, again, a breaker bar and a bit more length will usually do it, again with maybe some mild heat.

Dave W
Yea, they're hex head plugs. So, no risk of the casting around the oil holes fracturing from using a long breaker bar to undo the pipe plugs then?

PS. We use a weird mixture of metric and 'imperial' units here in the UK... petrol stations display prices in litres, but most people can relate more to gallons and end-up doing the mental arithmetic to figure-out how much the fuel is costing in gallons. We use MPH as a measure of speed instead of KMH (which is used in most of Europe), we use miles instead of kilometers as a measure of distance and most people (at least the ones I know) express small measurements in terms of inches. When it comes to weight though, we use Stones for bodyweight, but mostly thing about smaller weights in terms of grams and kilograms. Personally, having spent nearly 2 years living in NYC and having had a couple of American exes, I've gone back to 'old money' on all my units of measurement (incl. temperature, which confuses and frustrates almost everyone except my parents!)
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v8hed
The 383 short motor I've recently acquired has plugged lifter valley drain holes. I'm going to be running a solid FT cam, so these need to come out. Trouble is, I can't get the damn things to budge... they're 1/4" pipe plugs. I've tried soaking them in penetrating oil and swinging on the wrench, but they won't move. I haven't attached a torque wrench to them yet, but I would guess I've applied around 60-70lbft and they still won't move! I'm anxious about applying much more torque because I have visions of the casting fracturing.

Any ideas? I've thought about using an impact wrench but, again, I'm nervous about the kind of shocks that's going to send through to the casting in an area that wasn't originally designed to accept threaded fasteners. The other alternative is to drill them out... no idea how hard the pipe plugs are though.

Help!
I'm not crazy about these things, but at the same time, I wouldn't worry getting them out either, the amount of oil that runs back thru those holes is pretty small. The cam and lifters get bathed pretty well from crank throw off, it ain't like anybody is running dry inside the crankcase. If you're really concerned, however, you can take the lifters and put a groove in their side connecting the relief diameter to the base. This will put a small indexed pressure oil stream on the lobe to lifter interface, which is a more assured lubrication process than depending upon either drain-back or throw-off.

If you just must get those plugs out;the process to removed them is to heat the plug with an oxy-acetylene torch till red hot, then let them cool and crank 'em out. It's a process I'm not all that crazy about, but it works 9 out of 10 tries.

Bogie
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:27 PM
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Thanks Bogie. I'll run it past my engine builder (I'm assembling the engine, but he's going to dyno it and he did the block machine work) and see which option he recommends. I didn't expect those things to be such a problem to remove. What's holding them in so tight?
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v8hed
Thanks Bogie. I'll run it past my engine builder (I'm assembling the engine, but he's going to dyno it and he did the block machine work) and see which option he recommends. I didn't expect those things to be such a problem to remove. What's holding them in so tight?
That is an effect of using the US National Pipe Thread that is an interference pitch. The slight mismatch that occurs bends the threads and they jam up. Heating the plug drives it into the casting and forces the threads to realign which 90% of the time makes removal with a wrench successful. After that the best way is to drill the plug out with successively larger bit till either the threads are exposed and can be picked out, or all the threads are drilled out and the hole is just that much larger. This is the kind of stuff my father was good at, I don't own his patience.

Bogie
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbogie
That is an effect of using the US National Pipe Thread that is an interference pitch. The slight mismatch that occurs bends the threads and they jam up. Heating the plug drives it into the casting and forces the threads to realign which 90% of the time makes removal with a wrench successful. After that the best way is to drill the plug out with successively larger bit till either the threads are exposed and can be picked out, or all the threads are drilled out and the hole is just that much larger. This is the kind of stuff my father was good at, I don't own his patience.

Bogie
I'm not big on patience, either... I hope my engine builder says they can stay in given how much hassle it's going to be to remove them. You don't think it'll be a reliability issue keeping them in with a flat tappet cam then?
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Old 03-24-2010, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by v8hed
I'm not big on patience, either... I hope my engine builder says they can stay in given how much hassle it's going to be to remove them. You don't think it'll be a reliability issue keeping them in with a flat tappet cam then?
No I don't think this will affect the life of the cam. It's a headache to keep a flat tappet going in this day and age it seems no matter what. Things that help:

- Careful break in with additives and process to the cam makers specs.

- I like a cam bumper even on flat tappets, I think the lobe and lifter have enough to do without also providing thrust absorption.

- For a street driven engine, I prefer to use a silent link chain rather than roller. Even with an all metal cam gear, the silent link chain provides some flex to absorb the vibrations generated by both the crank and a the cam.

- Break in springs, if this is a cam that requires high spring pressures, the use of moderate pressure spring loads for break in helps the lobe and lifter to mate without chewing each other up.

- Remember that small base circle cams as often used on stroker SBCs and the use of high ratio rockers i.e. 1.6 to one instead of 1.5 to 1 are conditions that exacerbate the load between the lobe and lifter making each work harder into the material's strength.

- Pushrod length, getting the correct sweep on the valve stem from the rocker not only improves valve stem and guide life, but also lobe and tappet life as the proper geometry minimizes the forces in the entire valve train.

- Stiff push rods, always over size the push rod if you're getting up there in spring pressure, lobe intensity level, and RPM. The push rod acts as a spring bending under load and releasing that bending force as the load diminishes. This causes impacts between the lobe and lifter especially if the system lofts off the lobe and snaps back as the lobe moves out from under the tappet.

- Same can be said for the rocker studs, their bending moments can act on the lobe and tappet a lot like a bending push rod. So for the same conditions previously stated over size the stud and go to a girdle if the spring pressures are getting high.

Bogie
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:21 PM
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plugs

Before you think I'am crazy try it. Heat the plug and the area around the plug good and hot with a torch not to the point of turning red but good and hot. Then while its still hot put a candle on it letting the wax melt into the threads. Then before it completely cools off turn the plug out. You'll be amazed at how easy they come out.
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:18 PM
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My machinist told me the same thing,
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:32 PM
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Simply drill them. Use a bit the same size as the hex; no need to remove the entire plug. The drilled hole will allow all the oil necessary to lube the lobes. With a decent bit this should not take more than an hour. Someone probably epoxied these things in and trying to wrench them out may crack the valley.
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