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Old 11-03-2019, 01:51 PM   #1
GOSFAST
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Default Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

This post pertains to "new/fresh" builds, not already running units and like the title states, the valve adjusting area only.

I'm looking for very specific feedback mainly from the Flathead builders here who do the final assembling, I will explain a bit more at the bottom of this post! Here's the input I'm looking to get: at what point EXACTLY do you adjust the valves during the assembly and generally speaking what do you figure it takes time-wise??

Just about every time we build these units we try to find an easier method on some procedures to lower the amount of time spent on each and make the assembling an easier task, adjusting the valves on these Flatheads in my opinion is one of the most "tedious" areas overall.

I don't particularly like to keep turning these (already assembled) units over while "chasing" the valve lash and "wiping" much of the "moly" off the lobes before you even begin thinking of firing it off! Remember we're talking "new" here, not an older already running build!

Working on two member's builds here today I figured a very helpful method to make some of this valve adjusting "headache" a whole bunch easier to deal with.

Just adjusted all 16 valves, one at a time, turning the cam by hand (two fingers actually), and got them close enough to make the "final" recommended adjustment when it's ALL together. So far I have about 45 minutes all tolled for all 16 valves. On the very final ass'y I may not even have to come back and address this again, we'll see how close they stay with the actual Isky springs installed? I took an "educated guess" as to how close I thought they should be set with that "checking" spring in the photo below? Even having to "fine-tune" the lash setting it should take only few minutes AND I'll be able to check this closer while installing the pistons/rings?

Add: I'll have another "tip" later about installing the pistons/rods without turning the cam here also until the point I need to recheck that lash!

Try not to "forget" the original question posed above, sometimes these posts go "astray"!

Thanks, Gary in N.Y.

P.S. Here's two shots of presetting the lash, the cam is being turned by hand, there is no crank/pistons/rods to contend with at this time! In order to make a small adjustment you simply "raise" the lifter out of the bore, make the adjustment, return it to the heel of the cam, and recheck it! VERY IMPORTANT: Once you've finished setting each individual valve DO NOT mix them up from the way they were checked in the block, if you do all the "settings" at this point will be invalid!!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Flathead Ford Valve Adjusting A.JPG (88.1 KB, 160 views)
File Type: jpg Flathead Ford Valve Adjusting B.JPG (108.7 KB, 154 views)
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

This won't apply nowadays, but years back a mechanic described how he did it in a Chicago Ford dealership in the early '50's. He kept jars of lifters on his bench, sorted according to length. If the clearance was wrong, he just measured the lifter and went to the appropriate jar for the right length lifter.
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

I thought this was a very interesting method. http://myflatheadford.com/flat-head-...ve-adjustment/
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Old 11-03-2019, 07:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

[Quote: “I’m looking for very specific feedback mainly from the Flathead builders here who do the final assembling, I will explain a bit more at the bottom of this post! Here's the input I'm looking to get: at what point EXACTLY do you adjust the valves during the assembly and generally speaking what do you figure it takes time-wise??

Just about every time we build these units we try to find an easier method on some procedures to lower the amount of time spent on each and make the assembling an easier task, adjusting the valves on these Flatheads in my opinion is one of the most "tedious" areas overall.

I don't particularly like to keep turning these (already assembled) units over while "chasing" the valve lash and "wiping" much of the "moly" off the lobes before you even begin thinking of firing it off! Remember we're talking "new" here, not an older already running build!” Quote]


1 - I put the valves in first. Better visibility to set the cam on the heel with no
crank or rods in the way.
2 - I have never tried to see how fast I could adjust a set of valves on a
flathead other than once when I was teaching a class how to do it. That
was just for show and I did it using stock steel lifters in 1 hour and 10
minutes. I never use adjustable lifters in flathead Ford engines.

Over the years I have taught over 100 people how to adjust flathead valves using stock type lifters and they all picked it up in one class.
IT IS SO EASY, A CAVEMAN CAN DO IT.


———Sent from my Western Electric crank phone on the kitchen wall using Crankatalk.----
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Old 11-03-2019, 08:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

Hi Pete, my "goal" is to have all 16 valves set w/o having all the lube wiped from the lobes (this means NO valve springs installed at all for now), so far I've reached that goal as of tonight!

We should be able to do the entire ass'y, pistons, valves, etc. w/o having the cam turning with the actual valve spring loads in play? This will allow the "moly" to stay on the lobes longer than normal. I realize at one point the fully assembled unit must be rotated, but I might be able to hold that off until the unit is installed in the ride?? Again, we'll see, I'll know more tomorrow!

I hope I'm making this clear here, I know exactly what I want to accomplish, just not sure I'm explaining it correctly though.

In short, I believe I can fully assemble the build and the only time it will be "turned" with the springs "loaded" is when the customer is ready to install/run it?

Thanks, Gary in N.Y.

P.S. Much of what I'm trying to do will depend on just how close I can get the valve lash set w/o the actual springs installed and have it be where I want it when the springs are finally in place? In other words I want to see how much difference I see in the preset lash without the "real" spring pressure (70# closed) and with it.

Last edited by GOSFAST; 11-03-2019 at 08:38 PM. Reason: C
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Old 11-03-2019, 10:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

Yes, I get what you are after.
You are overthinking the lube wipe thing though.
I use moly PASTE, not grease. BIG difference in the amount of moly and the unit pressure it will stand. I forgot where I got the last can 30 years ago.
I assemble the valve train one valve at a time from one to sixteen. When I get done they are in for good. It takes WAY too much time to do it twice.

The thinking behind not worrying about how many times the assembled engine is turned by hand is: It is better to shear the mountain peaks off (as appeared under an electron microscope) at very low velocity and have them already dispersed in the lube when the engine is fired, than to have them sheared off at high velocity when firing up, with the resulting heat and chance of micro galling. (not something you hear too much about)


PS: It is cheaper to use stock steel lifters once you get the assembly routine perfected.
No adjustables to buy. Zero comebacks from loose screws.
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Old 11-04-2019, 01:39 AM   #7
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

I set them with out the springs on, before the crank and rods are in, no assylube on the cam, just eng oil, same in the bearings,
once set all the valves and followers go into a table with 1234etc inlet and exh marked,
all clearances checked after assembly with the springs in,then you only have to turn the motor two turns,
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Old 11-04-2019, 04:35 AM   #8
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

Has anyone watched "Fiat Nuzt" utube by John Edwards shop in Ca. He came up with a
jig to measure and the indicator tells how much to either face or grind a valve stem.
slick I believe he sells them. Video is in his playlist sam
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrie View Post
I set them with out the springs on, before the crank and rods are in, no assylube on the cam, just eng oil, same in the bearings,
once set all the valves and followers go into a table with 1234etc inlet and exh marked,
all clearances checked after assembly with the springs in,then you only have to turn the motor two turns,
Lawrie
Hi Lawrie, you "nailed" this one before I did, don't understand why I didn't think of this years ago?? Too simple I guess!

On the second build here yesterday I picked up 16 "checking" springs, we usually keep pairs here for mocking-up, took about 15 minutes to install the 16 valve assemblies (with the light springs) then another 15 minutes to set the lash on 16 valves. Simple really!

The nice part about this method is you can "raise the lifters out of the bores to turn the adjusting screws" with absolutely no "hassle", and all done while still turning the cam still with only 2 fingers!

If this all pans out for me I'll be able to totally install 16 valve assemblies and have the lash "ready-to-go" in under 1 hour (this is not counting the 1/2 hour mock-up time). If this does "pass the test" it will mean I can do the entire procedure in an hour and a half with the mock-up time?

Thanks, Gary in N.Y.

P.S. Thanks again for the replies so far, now all I have to do is install the 32 actual springs and hopefully they don't change my initial lash settings here? We'll see later today!

Last edited by GOSFAST; 11-04-2019 at 06:51 AM. Reason: C
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Old 11-04-2019, 08:11 AM   #10
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

Would it be an idea to have a old timing gear and mark it up around the outside so it can tell you which valve to adjust? Maybe a worn out one and turn the teeth off so it could be used with crank in place if need be? Just some marks and maybe a pointer? Also maybe a little handle to turn the cam? Should be able to do it in one turn of the cam.

Just an idea.

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Old 11-04-2019, 09:42 AM   #11
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

Quote:
Originally Posted by big job View Post
Has anyone watched "Fiat Nuzt" utube by John Edwards shop in Ca. He came up with a
jig to measure and the indicator tells how much to either face or grind a valve stem.
slick I believe he sells them. Video is in his playlist sam
I posted a link above that I think is the same one your talking about. Using stock lifters though. I might try that on my next build if I can come up with a valve grinder.
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Old 11-04-2019, 10:19 AM   #12
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

Next one I do, I'm going to try and go with Pete's method. Set it and forget it I guess.

I'm hoping to get out to the Best Coast one day so I can see it in person.

Last edited by Tim Ayers; 11-04-2019 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 11-04-2019, 12:11 PM   #13
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/NCB51048


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Old 11-04-2019, 02:08 PM   #14
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

For the 32-48 engines I use a Arca cam lobe indicator.. Makes it a breeze.. I also REFUSE to use adjustable lifters.. I have found it faster to assemble with non adjustables, and I never have to worry about them loosening up.... not to mention they weigh 1/3 as much.. I never would have ever imagined using non adjustables would save me 2x the amount of assembly time, but thanks to a friend (Jay Temple) teaching me I have learned it truly is way faster..


Usually start to finish, it takes me around a hour presuming the seats are already ground..


I'm not a engine builder by trade but do get to do 4-5 flathead valve jobs a year..
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

Quote:
Originally Posted by 35fordtn View Post
For the 32-48 engines I use a Arca cam lobe indicator.. Makes it a breeze.. I also REFUSE to use adjustable lifters.. I have found it faster to assemble with non adjustables, and I never have to worry about them loosening up.... not to mention they weigh 1/3 as much.. I never would have ever imagined using non adjustables would save me 2x the amount of assembly time, but thanks to a friend (Jay Temple) teaching me I have learned it truly is way faster..


Usually start to finish, it takes me around a hour presuming the seats are already ground..


I'm not a engine builder by trade but do get to do 4-5 flathead valve jobs a year..
If I may ask, what is your method to tighten the lash if it is too loose?
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Old 11-04-2019, 07:20 PM   #16
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

Pete: Would be great if you give a brief description of how you grind/weld to set the lash - such that people can "visualize it" in their mind. Obviously one has to have a valve machine to do the work - and grinders will have a "mic" apparatus to measure how much you're taking off the stem. Some guys use lash caps as well.

Also, as some of you know, there are specific tools that can be used to measure the installed height - from the top of the lifter to the valve seat (I'm sure some of you have these tools or have seen them).

One thing that I started doing with my machine shop is that when they put new seats in, they do their seat work in a milling machine with a digital readout. This enables them to put the block in the saddle (off the mains) and machine the valve seats to the same heights - all down the line (due to the digital read out). This results in all the intake seats being a certain height and the exhaust seats being a certain height on each side. I then measure the first valve - to determine the length/lash I need . . . and it will be extremely close all the way down the line. This is how I kind of "get my head into it" before I start.

Another thing to ponder is that there is a certain amount of camshaft "flex" when running smaller base circle cams (due to high lift) and higher spring pressures. You can experience it more in the middle intake valves on both sides, than the outer exhaust valves. You'll probably not see it much on "normal" street grinds, but it does come into play on more radical grinds. Due to this, I always recheck the lash with all the valvetrain in.
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Old 11-04-2019, 11:17 PM   #17
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

Bored,

While I’m not Pete I thought I’d share what I use. I use a tool made by Sioux that measure the exact distance from the lifter to the seat. I also have a gauge made by Kwik-Way that measures the exact valve stem length. I first use the Sioux gauge and measure the depth of all 16, and record the measurements. I then take a new set of valves and measure the new valve in the Kwik Way gauge and grind that exact amount plus my desired lash off in my valve grinder. I can usually grind all 16 valves and mark them and install and check and they are always spot on. Again I learned this from a master at this, Jay Temple. Sure makes a non adjustable valve job a breeze.

FYI . If you have a valve grinder with the 45 degree “v” attachment, with a lot of math you wouldn’t need the Kwik-Way stems length tool. Unfortunately my grinder lacks such a attachment.


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Last edited by 35fordtn; 11-04-2019 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 11-04-2019, 11:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

I also have a little holder the fits min my lathe, and after I measure the clearance or lack of , I slip the valve in the holder and using the compound slide take of the required amount from the stem,
I too use the factory lifters.and have the factory tools that measure the depth from the seat to the follower and another for the valve , but dont use them that much.
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Old 11-04-2019, 11:59 PM   #19
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

Lawrie,

That’s a good and likely more accurate approach. I’d assume your lathe doesn’t have a DRO, if your using the compound slide?
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Old 11-05-2019, 12:40 AM   #20
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Default Re: Flathead Valve Adjusting Methods ??'s

Quote:
Originally Posted by 40 Deluxe View Post
If I may ask, what is your method to tighten the lash if it is too loose?
On stainless valves, I TIG weld the end of the stem with 345 rod.
On titanium valves I substitute lifters and if there is more needed than I can get with that I use a lash cap.
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