LIFTERS WENT BAD????--NEED ADVICE - 460 Ford Forum
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post #1 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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LIFTERS WENT BAD????--NEED ADVICE

Hey guys, I need to pick your brain and see if you can help me figure out what part went bad in my engine today. I think the lifters went bad, but there's something about this that doesn't make sense. Let me give you details on what I have and what happened....

I have a 78 F150 with a 460. The motor has a hydraulic roller cam, Lunati roller lifters, and comp cam roller rocker arms. I was driving home from camping today towing my travel trailer up a hill at 4200 rpm in 3rd gear when all of a sudden I started loosing speed and power and I heard a loud lifter clacking noise. So I pulled over and the engine would not idle but it would run if I gave it some throttle, all the while making lifter clacking noise. Got it towed home and pulled the valve covers off and check the rocker arms and EVERY SINGLE ROCKER ARM was loose. But let me explain what I mean by loose. The rocker arm was touching both the valve and the pushrod with no slack at all, but it was not compressed at all (with hydraulic lifters you adjust it to where the rocker arm is touching the valve and pushrod with no slack and then you give it another turn). The additional turn was not there. So I adjusted the rocker arms and gave them all one turn and locked the nut down and fired up the truck. The truck was very difficult to start and wouldn't idle and only ran for about 10 seconds and I shut it of because it wouldn't run very well. Then I pulled the valve covers off again and EVERY SINGLE ROCKER ARM was loose AGAIN.

At first I thought I had lost oil pressure, but the oil pressure gauge reads 75 psi when it's running, so it's getting oil. The only thing I can think of is ALL the lifters went bad at the same time, which doesn't make sense to me at all. I can understand 1 or 2 of them going bad, but not all 16. For some reason the lifters are not staying pumped up with oil....or something.

So guys, any idea if I'm on the right track? What do you think the problem is? These lifters are $400 a set and I don't want to throw money at something that isn't the problem. Any advice is appreciated. Just trying to brainstorm with y'all and figure out the problem...

Last edited by 78 F150; 05-26-2014 at 10:02 PM.
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post #2 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 11:10 PM
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I would pull the intake to start with and have a look inside. Did your camshaft break?

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post #3 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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I would pull the intake to start with and have a look inside. Did your camshaft break?

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I doubt the camshaft broke. I would think if it broke I would have more problems than what I'm having and I also wouldn't be able to spin the cam via the crank by hand. I guess the next step is to pull the intake and remove the lifters. When inspecting the lifters, what exactly am I looking for? I pushed down on the rocker arm to see if I could depress the lifter, but it wouldn't budge.
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post #4 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 12:44 AM
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I'd put a good mechanical oil pressure gauge on there to verify your oil pressure. Is there any oil getting to the top end?
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post #5 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 05:39 AM
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Sounds to me like the lifters have bled down due to lack of oil pressure.
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post #6 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 09:23 AM
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First thing you need to do is go back in and set the valves right, 1/2 max. If you go one turn, then you probably have too much preload and that can be adding to your problem. Doe each cylinder making sure you are on it's tdc. How many miles are on the engine ? It always ran fine or have there been problems before ?
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post #7 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 10:52 AM
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did you lose a plug in the front of the lifter galley and its dumping your oil out into front cover? just a thought!!!
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post #8 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Ok here's some tests I did tonight to try to figure out the problem.....

Someone mentioned the pin on the distributor gear might have broke and the gear spun and threw off the timing which might have caused some bent valves, which might have been the problem. So I pulled the distributor out tonight and the pin that holds on the distributor cam gear is NOT broke.

I checked timing also and the timing is right on; however when the engine runs it sounds like the timing is way off and it doesn't want to run. But I assume this is because the valves are not opening like they should because of the loose rocker arms (the preload disappeared). So then I put a socket in a drill and spun the oil pump to verify that oil is getting all the way up to the rocker arms. All of the rocker arms are getting oil, which tells me the oil passages in the block are NOT clogged or blocked off by debris. It also verifies that the oil galley plugs in the block are still in place and the gauge reads 70-75 lbs of oil pressure.

Another bit of info.....last night when I was checking the rocker arms, I tightened one rocker arm down with one full turn of preload and locked it down. Then I tried to wiggle the rocker arm side to side and I couldn't budge it. However, tonight when I was checking for oil, I wiggled the same rocker arm and it is just as loose as the others and I didn't even run the engine. So the lifter lost pressure over night....Does this verify the lifters are bad? I still can't believe that all 16 lifters went bad at the same time, but I can't think of anything else it could be. So this narrows it down to bad lifters, right??? Am I on the right track? Or is there another possibility or scenario I'm not thinking of? What'cha guys think???
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post #9 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 09:10 PM
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Dose the manufacture of the lifters you are using say to do 1 full turn preload?
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post #10 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Dose the manufacture of the lifters you are using say to do 1 full turn preload?
Uuummm....good question. I don't know. I have Lunati roller lifters (p/n LUN-72336-16). I'll try to research an answer to that....
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post #11 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 10:38 PM
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May want to call Lunati and ask them about the problem you are having.

Is just a disc or ball that holds the oil pressure, that and plunger to body clearance. Take a look at the attached diagram. I can tell you right now one turn for lifter pre load is not a problem and in the past Crane has recommended 1 -1.5 turns on standard travel hyd. roller lifters and I believe Morel has too.

What was suggested was that the pin on the cam gear broke and the gear on the cam has slipped retarding the cam timing. Same suggestion I gave in a less detailed way as well on the other board along with measuring what valve lift you have and to do a compression test. Do a compression test and post up the numbers. If you know how to read the numbers you can tell a heck of a lot.
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post #12 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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May want to call Lunati and ask them about the problem you are having.

Is just a disc or ball that holds the oil pressure, that and plunger to body clearance. Take a look at the attached diagram. I can tell you right now one turn for lifter pre load is not a problem and in the past Crane has recommended 1 -1.5 turns on standard travel hyd. roller lifters and I believe Morel has too.

What was suggested was that the pin on the cam gear broke and the gear on the cam has slipped retarding the cam timing. Same suggestion I gave in a less detailed way as well on the other board along with measuring what valve lift you have and to do a compression test. Do a compression test and post up the numbers. If you know how to read the numbers you can tell a heck of a lot.
I've got one more test to do and if I don't discover the problem I'll do a compression test....

Talked to a guy today and he told me it sounds like the oil system is sucking air somewhere. He said he had it happen on a truck once and found that the oil pickup tube was cracked and it was sucking air and the air was getting into the lifters and the results were the same as what I'm having (lifters not staying pumped up). So long story short, I'm going to back off all the rocker arms till they are sloppy loose, prime the oil system with a drill, let the lifters set overnight to give them a chance to rebound and pump up, and then set the preload at 1/2 turn. Then fire it up and see what happens. This might take me a couple days to do since I'm going to let the lifters set overnight before I tighten the rocker arms with the 1/2 turn preload.

But there's one thing about doing a compression test I have a question about.....cylinder compression is a separate system and doesn't have any effect on the oil system, lifters and the rest of the valve train.....What will doing a compression test tell me about the lifters and oil system? Or am I wrong about this theory?
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post #13 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-28-2014, 12:14 AM
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I've got one more test to do and if I don't discover the problem I'll do a compression test....

Talked to a guy today and he told me it sounds like the oil system is sucking air somewhere. He said he had it happen on a truck once and found that the oil pickup tube was cracked and it was sucking air and the air was getting into the lifters and the results were the same as what I'm having (lifters not staying pumped up). So long story short, I'm going to back off all the rocker arms till they are sloppy loose, prime the oil system with a drill, let the lifters set overnight to give them a chance to rebound and pump up, and then set the preload at 1/2 turn. Then fire it up and see what happens. This might take me a couple days to do since I'm going to let the lifters set overnight before I tighten the rocker arms with the 1/2 turn preload.

But there's one thing about doing a compression test I have a question about.....cylinder compression is a separate system and doesn't have any effect on the oil system, lifters and the rest of the valve train.....What will doing a compression test tell me about the lifters and oil system? Or am I wrong about this theory?

A compression test can indicate if any valves are bent or cam pin sheared...



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post #14 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-28-2014, 12:18 AM
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Air entrainment at high RPM was the reason Crane called for 1 - 1.5 turns of preload. Are two schools of thought on Hydraulic lifters. They will pump up so set them near the top of the travel so they won't keep the valves from seating at high RPM. The other is if there is air entrainment in the oil, heavy valve springs, or loose clearances to bleed down fast set them towards the bottom of the travel so you don't loose lift. The hot trick setup today is a limited range lifter set close to the bottom.

I could see if you got a lot of air in the oil it making them want to collapse, but your oil pressure should have taken a hit too, at least 10 - 20 psi if not more. You will also see foaming in the oil coming out of the pushrods. Is like a bottle of soda, the CO2 is dissolved in the fluid because of the pressure, release the pressure and you know what happens!

A compression test just tells you how good an air pump you have. Tells you if valves are sealing, rings are sealing, blown head gasket, holes in pistons, tells you if your cam timing is off. Can point you in the right direction as well as rule out a bunch of stuff.

Once had a Toyota that owner gave up on. He rebuilt the engine and it just would not run. Had Dual over head cams. Compression was 90 psi and even which indicated a valve timing issue. Turned out the machine shop did not time the exhaust cam (intake cam drives it via a gear) and it was off. Fixed that and started right up!

Now in your case if lifters are not opening the valve full lift it can affect compression and give lower numbers. That is why said to verify what kind of lift getting at the valve. You crank it over with the starter not hard to see how far the valves are being opened.
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post #15 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-28-2014, 04:47 AM
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oil or lifters

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Originally Posted by 78 F150 View Post

So guys, any idea if I'm on the right track? What do you think the problem is? These lifters are $400 a set and I don't want to throw money at something that isn't the problem. Any advice is appreciated. Just trying to brainstorm with y'all and figure out the problem...
Chinese parts are failing right and left....use tested w/reputation parts
I've had valve train breakage from Comp Cams w/no explanations...
just "money back" and that's it....the countries being flooded w/junk stuff
go to the track and ask around...use syn. oil also
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