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Old 07-07-2013, 12:02 PM
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Noisy OEM roller lifters on new engine

Have recently gotten my rebuilt SBC 350 on the road. Short block was built by machine shop and I assembled top end (heads, valve train, intake). Valves were set using the EOIC method with poly locks. I have tried 1/2 turn preload and all the way up to 1 turn preload. Press in studs replaced with screw in studs (vortec heads), boss was not machined flat, just the "repair" type studs used. Two of them have backed out while driving, so I removed all of them, cleaned threads and installed with red loctite. Running Comp cams 268XFI HR13 with 1.6 stamp steel rockers. Push rods are not contacting heads. Lifters are OEM roller, not sure of brand as they were bought by pervious builder.

The lifters are noisy even after multiple adjustments not running and running. There are 1 or 2 lifters on the passenger side that I can hear from inside the car at idle that are bothering me. They don't sound like the normal clak-clak-clak, but sort of intermittent? I have tightend my headers before each cold start up (they have nice thick 3/8" flanges), so I don't think it is them. The only thing I haven't checked is push rod length. I am using the ones the pervious builder put in with 1.5 rockers. I believe they were comp cams and said 5.700" on them. I have done a lot of reading and some say the OEM lifters can't take the high lift (I am in the .570" range). I 10 hours on the engine.

Please help!

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Old 07-07-2013, 12:31 PM
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Well I have been there before and I just live with it. I have a 880 vortec block with Dart shp aluminum heads and a lunati voodoo hydraulic roller cam 219/227 @ 50 515/530 lift and I get all kinds of valve train noise.

You won't get rid of it. Its a combination of the oem style lifters with the spider rack and the aggressive lobes of the camshaft. I am running full roller rockers so that just adds to it. I have another 350 with a retrofit style roller cam with the link bar style lifters and it does not make all this racket.

Now to answer you questions I also have a couple of spots more noisy then the others and went nuts over it trying different settings etc and nothing would get rid of it. I thought maybe lifters were bad. Spent couple hundred dollars and instead of the gm lifters I went with horwards cam lifters and they are made by company called Morel I believe and they do the same thing.

Save yourself the worries just make sure your valve lash is set correctly I usually use a 1/2 turn past zero lash and be done with it and enjoy your ride. Nothing you do will get rid of it as its a combo of things. My lifters and rocker arms still looked like new when I did the last cylinder head swap.

I have watched youtube videos of the 350 lt1 and lt4 motors along with the vortec and they all have the clacking sound but they are just fine. You also might want to invest in some full roller rocker arms as those stamped steel rockers are not good for high spring pressure and very high lift cams.

Last edited by eric32; 07-07-2013 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:36 PM
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The other thing to I should add is I noticed sometimes all the rockers have oil on them. Then other times (like when I am adjusting them with engine running) they don't oil at all. I'll shut it off and then they start oiling again. Then sometimes a few will oil and others will not. I was hoping it was a related problem. When I first primed the engine with a drill, all the rockers oiled.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:56 PM
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Full roller rocker arms are noisy when used with a high lift (more than .470" valve lift) camshaft. Camshafts with more than .450" - .470" valve lift have cam lobe base circles that are reduced diameter. When the lifter runs on the cam lobe base circle, the rocker arm trunnion drops away from the bottom of the poly-lock adjustment nut. Then on the cam lobe return ramp, the space between the roller trunion and the bottom of the poly - lock adjustment nut is taken up with a "click" as the roller trunnion contacts the base of the poly-lock.

That is normal for full roller rocker arms. It is often mistaken for hydraulic lifter noise.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:22 PM
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I don't have roller rocker arms, I have stamped steel "stocker" type rocker arms that are 1.6 ratio.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:50 PM
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Your cam, rockers, springs, and lifters all combine to give you a condition you just have to live with. You can try thicker oil but it'll only help a little bit.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:05 AM
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I got some roller lifters from the junk yard, Chevy v6 and compleatly took them apart except for the roller. These were from the same engine, some had junk in them some didn't. I also squirted the roller with brake cleaner to remove any oil then spun them to see if any made noise an moved the roller around a bit to see if it was worn out. But before doing that that I'd roll all of the push rods over some glass. In side the roller lifter there's a cup, spring an a disc with a small hole in it, Maybe one or two for the lifters have crap in side of them that maybe cutting off oil flow to the rockers. Also on the side of the roller lifter theirs a hole where the roller receives oil from the lifter bore, I'm not real sure on this but I would think that both holes should be facing each other. Taking 16 apart is an all day job.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:12 AM
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The factory lifters will always tick with this combo regardless of how many times you clean them. Going with a light weight valve train and beehive springs will fix it but this tick probably isn't worth the expense. It's not an uncommon problem when running aggressive cams with high ratio rockers.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tayto View Post
Have recently gotten my rebuilt SBC 350 on the road. Short block was built by machine shop and I assembled top end (heads, valve train, intake). Valves were set using the EOIC method with poly locks. I have tried 1/2 turn preload and all the way up to 1 turn preload. Press in studs replaced with screw in studs (vortec heads), boss was not machined flat, just the "repair" type studs used. Two of them have backed out while driving, so I removed all of them, cleaned threads and installed with red loctite. Running Comp cams 268XFI HR13 with 1.6 stamp steel rockers. Push rods are not contacting heads. Lifters are OEM roller, not sure of brand as they were bought by pervious builder.

The lifters are noisy even after multiple adjustments not running and running. There are 1 or 2 lifters on the passenger side that I can hear from inside the car at idle that are bothering me. They don't sound like the normal clak-clak-clak, but sort of intermittent? I have tightend my headers before each cold start up (they have nice thick 3/8" flanges), so I don't think it is them. The only thing I haven't checked is push rod length. I am using the ones the pervious builder put in with 1.5 rockers. I believe they were comp cams and said 5.700" on them. I have done a lot of reading and some say the OEM lifters can't take the high lift (I am in the .570" range). I 10 hours on the engine.

Please help!
Check to see that the pushrod length is correct to give a narrow sweep across the tip of the valve, w/o going off the edge. It wouldn't hurt to recheck all the various clearances in the valve train as well.

The lift limit before the lifters lose contact w/the dog bone retainers when using 1.6 ratio rockers is about 0.566" (or a lobe lift of about 0.354"), so you are in the danger zone. There's enough variation in castings that might allow you to get away w/it, but I'd think long and hard before tempting fate because if the lifter rotates after losing contact w/the dog bone, forget about it. Crane sells a lifter designed to help w/this but they're spendy.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MouseFink View Post
Full roller rocker arms are noisy when used with a high lift (more than .470" valve lift) camshaft. Camshafts with more than .450" - .470" valve lift have cam lobe base circles that are reduced diameter. When the lifter runs on the cam lobe base circle, the rocker arm trunnion drops away from the bottom of the poly-lock adjustment nut. Then on the cam lobe return ramp, the space between the roller trunion and the bottom of the poly - lock adjustment nut is taken up with a "click" as the roller trunnion contacts the base of the poly-lock.

That is normal for full roller rocker arms. It is often mistaken for hydraulic lifter noise.
Sorry .... wrong thread. Should have been in "SBC 350 Rocker help" thread.
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by cobalt327 View Post
Check to see that the pushrod length is correct to give a narrow sweep across the tip of the valve, w/o going off the edge. It wouldn't hurt to recheck all the various clearances in the valve train as well.

The lift limit before the lifters lose contact w/the dog bone retainers when using 1.6 ratio rockers is about 0.566" (or a lobe lift of about 0.354"), so you are in the danger zone. There's enough variation in castings that might allow you to get away w/it, but I'd think long and hard before tempting fate because if the lifter rotates after losing contact w/the dog bone, forget about it. Crane sells a lifter designed to help w/this but they're spendy.
I will check the push rod length. Before I do, do you think I should just go back to my 1.5 rockers? Will I loose much power? When the engine was on the dyno before the 2nd rebuild it had 1.5 rockers, same cam and made 375FHWP, we only did 3 pulls to seat the rings and they adjusted the timing twice and left the jets in the carb "as is".

Do you think I have damaged a few lifters because of the high lift and this is why a few are noiser than others? Or maybe a few are noisy because they are "on the edge" ? Installed spring height and seal to retainer was checked at machine shop already. After the dyno run a bunch of the valve seals had been "kissed". Once I got the beehive springs the machine shop machine down the guide to get more seal clearance. I visually checked the push guide slots in the heads to see if they were touching, none are contacting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ap72 View Post
The factory lifters will always tick with this combo regardless of how many times you clean them. Going with a light weight valve train and beehive springs will fix it but this tick probably isn't worth the expense. It's not an uncommon problem when running aggressive cams with high ratio rockers.
I already have beehive springs, p/n 26918-16

Last edited by tayto; 07-08-2013 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 07-08-2013, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tayto View Post
I will check the push rod length. Before I do, do you think I should just go back to my 1.5 rockers? Will I loose much power? When the engine was on the dyno before the 2nd rebuild it had 1.5 rockers, same cam and made 375FHWP, we only did 3 pulls to seat the rings and they adjusted the timing twice and left the jets in the carb "as is".
I don't know how much power the 1.6 rockers are worth, but there's no advantage to changing rockers as far as the dog bone vs. lifter retention goes- the lobe lift is already at the limit and it's the lobe lift you're concerned with, not the net lift per se. That said, there are manufacturing tolerance stacking and casting variations that can affect the retainer to lifter engagement, so take each case on an individual basis- check to see if there's sufficient engagement w/YOUR block and cam.

Quote:
Do you think I have damaged a few lifters because of the high lift and this is why a few are noiser than others? Or maybe a few are noisy because they are "on the edge" ?
I seriously doubt the lifters were damaged, the push rods would usually be the weak link if there were insufficient clearance or coil bind, etc.

If your budget will allow, get a better set of lifters like the Cranes. You also can look into using an LS-type retainer instead of the dogbone retainers. More: Thread on using roller lifter retainers instead of dogbones: Question About A 350 Roller Setup
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:33 PM
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Pushrod length for OEM factory stock hydraulic roller SBC's is 7.200. Check your length and geometry.

As Cobalt mentioned, .356 lobe lift is a lot for the factory set up/ lifters, if not too much.

GM limited lobe lift to .328 when they designed the HOT cam for use with 1.6 rockers and factory style lifters.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:41 AM
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I am running 515/530 lift with 1.5 full roller rockers and my stuff is running fine but I would not run any higher lift then this on oem roller lifters. I have read some of the magazines run bigger lift cams with this setup but I would not like to do so as its allowing the lifter to travel down further in the hole. I also ran a gm zz4 roller cam and its a lot easier ramp rate compared to comp xtreme energy and lunati voodoo style cams and it still made all that noise your worried about. I am also using high quality one piece pushrods heat treated with .080 wall thickness and they cost almost 80 bucks when I bought them so I did not cheap out on any of that stuff. All my geometry is correct and checked. Even the factory 350 lt 1 and lt 4 motors had a special knock sensor because of this from what I read in order to not retard the timing because of it. I also have a few rocker arms more noisy then the others and I spent countless times trying different lash settings and different lifters etc and saw nothing out of the ordinary and correct wear pattern on the valve tip right in the center so I just said the heck with it. Its been fine for over four years.
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Old 07-09-2013, 06:40 PM
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Cobalt, in other words don't bother putting my 1.5s back on, right? I guess I will start with checking my push rods first. Really tired of spending money on this car, I don't really want to buy another set of lifters to be honest... The original builder picked the cam, if I were to do it again I would have picked something different. What do you guys recommend for preload? 1/4, 1/2, 1 turn? I have everything set at 1 turn at the moment, but it seems to idle rougher than it did with 1/2 turn preload. Not sure if this is placebo effect or not.

Thanks for all the help, it's looking like I am going to have to "live with it".

Last edited by tayto; 07-09-2013 at 06:53 PM.
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