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Old 09-10-2014, 04:21 PM   #21
Ol' Ron
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Back in the day that gas waz 25 cents a gal, Johnsom offered Lifters of two lengths. One for stock and one for regroung cams. Actually the lifters were the same length only the heads on the bolts were thicker. All this and two adjusting wrenches for $12.95
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:25 PM   #22
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Originally Posted by supereal View Post
We use adjustable lifters with straight stem valves and one piece guides on rebuilds. They are from C&G, and will stay adjusted if you use the special wrench set sold there. Grinding mushroom stems for clearance properly requires a valve grinder and considerable experience to get square ends. It is easy to grind stems, but you can't add material if you go too far. Almost every valve job results in at least one noisy set. Using zinc rich break in oil for the first couple of hundred miles will allow the lifters to mate with the camshaft. If you have a noisy valve, it is easy to reset it without replacement. Use a go/no go feeler gauge for setting and checking.
I could not have stated this better!
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:41 PM   #23
Bruce Lancaster
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

We need to fire up some old-timers for those procedures! There were several schools of thought, welding on a lump of stock atop lifter, brazing on a piece of steel, etc., then grinding to fit in the old B&D.
I've always used Johnsons, but I recently lost my last spare jar of those and I'm down to a single used set, needing a bit of base grinding of course. Used ones now are drawing gold prices. Time to learn more of the old ways!
I still remember the day the Johnsons died, a long time ago now.
The Johnsons I planned to use had grown a light coat of rest in the basement, and since lifters were like $20 a set I just ordered another set. The box when it arrived was disturbingly heavy...those solid ones with fake Johnson windows cast in the sides had replaced Johnsons, and that was that! I carefully cleaned up the rusty Johnsons and buried the heavies deeeeep in the basement.
The extra weight of the actual Johnsons was pretty trivial. The extra weight of the solids is quite a lot...in a street engine I suspect it does nothing noticeable, as streetable flatheads don't even need much spring, but the things are very unappealing. All that extra weight is bad even if it doesn't affect anything.

Anyway...for you...first check out dimensions with stock lifters and your cam. If they are too short, it's hard to grind on extra length...
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:47 PM   #24
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Isn't the idea to keep the valve train weight as low as possible to allow the lowest possible spring pressure (among other advantages of the lighter lifters). Improper hardening will sure destroy lifters, but overly heavy spring pressure doesn't help lifters or cams either.
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:54 PM   #25
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Did I open Pandora's box ???
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Old 09-10-2014, 05:00 PM   #26
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Did I open Pandora's box ???
Don't think so, believe we are all attempting to learn from the folks on here with the experience! And that wouldn't be me on lifters!! I am in the question and learn mode.
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Old 09-10-2014, 05:58 PM   #27
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Well, here we go again....
The various search engines work for me very well. This has been hashed over several times both here and on the HAMB.
Here is the basic info.
The currently available adjustable lifters are junk. ALL OF THEM.
For a street engine, they might get you by. Big emphasis on "might".

You do NOT need a valve machine or special equipment to adjust clearance with stock Ford lifters if you have a lathe. The stems can be EASILY machined with a carbide tool. If the lathe does not have a digital readout, set the compound at 90 degrees and use the dial for a calibrated feed. A dial indicator can be mounted on the carriage also.
Some of the handier folks will be able to build fixtures so they can grind the stems on various types of grinders and surfacers. After doing a few test pieces on these machines it usually becomes easy to estimate how much to take off at a pass.

Somebody said, you can't add material back on if you take too much off and THAT IS BOGUS INFORMATION!
There are at least 2 ways to add material. TIG weld with 347 stainless or apply Eutectic 16FC with a torch. This is done on the valve stem. NEVER WELD OR APPLY HEAT TO THE LIFTER!

When using stock Ford lifters be sure they are the hollow STEEL ones with the two 5/32 holes in the side, NOT the cast iron ones with the elongated slots.

When it comes to springs and pressure, go by what the cam grinder of your cam says.
He knows what the cam was designed for and what will give maximum performance and life for your application.
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Old 09-10-2014, 06:17 PM   #28
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Did I open Pandora's box ???
1934calkid, I owe you an apology, I was wrong!!!
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Old 09-10-2014, 06:58 PM   #29
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I found some old tooling that was designed to take a measurement from the valve seat to the top of the follower so a guy can have a starting point for initial falve stem grinding. It doesn't get the clearance to a knats ass but it gets a guy in the ballpark. I don't know how many old Ford mechhanics used this stuff but there may have been a few.

The last set of real Johnsons I purchased were the real McCoy but they had been sitting in my uncle's auto parts store for 20-years before that and that was well over 20-years ago. The solid ones were generally for the old Ford tractors. My uncle always had a soft spot for the old flatheads.

A lot of the new ones are refered to as French hollow followers. They are just chilled cast iron.
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:11 PM   #30
Walt Dupont--Me.
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Well, you've heard it all. You will never know what us old timers are talking about until you tried it all on more than one engine. We try to help out the new comers as much as we can. I had 2 sets of Red's so called Johnson lifters that customers brought in in the last couple years. One set I sent back, and used stock lifters, and butt grind. The other set I had to clamp the head of the lifter in a vise and stick a heavy screwdriver throu the lifter to turn it, no way you could do in the engine. BTW. I use Chevy valves with reground cam. Any body that is clever can make a butt grinder. But with my BD valve grinder has a butt grinder on the other end and I can take off .0005 or .020 There used to be a co. in Australor (spelling) that made a nice set Johnson type lifters, I use to get them from Red's but they don't make them any more. One post on this thread said a co. in usa is making them I haven't try them. Walt
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:09 PM   #31
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Originally Posted by Walt Dupont--Me. View Post
Well, you've heard it all. You will never know what us old timers are talking about until you tried it all on more than one engine. We try to help out the new comers as much as we can. I had 2 sets of Red's so called Johnson lifters that customers brought in in the last couple years. One set I sent back, and used stock lifters, and butt grind. The other set I had to clamp the head of the lifter in a vise and stick a heavy screwdriver throu the lifter to turn it, no way you could do in the engine. BTW. I use Chevy valves with reground cam. Any body that is clever can make a butt grinder. But with my BD valve grinder has a butt grinder on the other end and I can take off .0005 or .020 There used to be a co. in Australor (spelling) that made a nice set Johnson type lifters, I use to get them from Red's but they don't make them any more. One post on this thread said a co. in usa is making them I haven't try them. Walt
Thanks Walt, that is the type of information I was interested in, personal experience and a little detail along with it.
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:44 PM   #32
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Pete said-"When using stock Ford lifters be sure they are the hollow STEEL ones with the two 5/32 holes in the side, NOT the cast iron ones with the elongated slots."
Why? Surely they are fine to use in the original application, ie, with mushroom bottomed valve stems. In my experience, having pulled down untold of these engines in all conditions, I've found the cast iron type, as fitted in the earlier motors, to exhibit less wear than the steel ones. The steel ones tend to get a hammered in depresion from the valve stem constantly hitting, and the bottom face, that is in contact with the lobe, tends to wear hollow, moreso than the cast iron units.
Walt, the Australian manufacturer of the worlds finest adjustables, is Mike Davidson, aka Flatattack. Rather than using a 3/8 fine thread bolt as the means of adjusting, he has designed his lifters to use about a 7/8" thread. Much sturdier, and the heat treatment is spot on!
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:24 AM   #33
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

But Brian, Mike doesn't make them anymore. I talked to him about them
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:34 AM   #34
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Yeah, I know, here is an opening for an enterprising individual
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Old 09-11-2014, 06:30 AM   #35
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Pete said-"When using stock Ford lifters be sure they are the hollow STEEL ones with the two 5/32 holes in the side, NOT the cast iron ones with the elongated slots."
Why? Surely they are fine to use in the original application, ie, with mushroom bottomed valve stems. In my experience, having pulled down untold of these engines in all conditions, I've found the cast iron type, as fitted in the earlier motors, to exhibit less wear than the steel ones. The steel ones tend to get a hammered in depresion from the valve stem constantly hitting, and the bottom face, that is in contact with the lobe, tends to wear hollow, moreso than the cast iron units.
Walt, the Australian manufacturer of the worlds finest adjustables, is Mike Davidson, aka Flatattack. Rather than using a 3/8 fine thread bolt as the means of adjusting, he has designed his lifters to use about a 7/8" thread. Much sturdier, and the heat treatment is spot on!
I have found more than one of the early cast iron lifters broken, the cast between the slotes is pretty brittle. Walt
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:50 AM   #36
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Anyone know of a source for good to high quality new non-adjustable lifters? I have only been able to find a few NOS.
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Old 09-11-2014, 09:13 AM   #37
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Sounds to me after hearing Walt, Pete,Ol Ron and Bruce Lancaster chime in that the way to go is with solid non adjustable lifters ? it also seems that the engine would wear out before the adjustable lifters ?....just a thought
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:44 AM   #38
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

In this day and age, it's a wonder any parts are reproduced for Henry's little L-head V8. If I have parts in my inventory then I'll find a way to use them on way or another. If one of the parts breaks the way I baby them then it's damn sure a crap part not to be considered for use ever again. One day we may have even fewer choices than we already have.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:02 PM   #39
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

We still use and sell the Johnson tappets. To the best of my knowledge they are still the same and manufactured in the U.S. You can contact them at (800) 441-1400 if you have any questions?

The company is now owned by Topline Automotive and like I say above, is still mfg their product here under the name "HyLift-Johnson". We haven't had a single "bad" piece since "day-one"!!

The single drawback is they are NOT the lightweight lifters. So far they've posed no problems with a bunch of builds. The ride in my link below probably has 40,000 or so miles on it by now??

Thanks, Gary in N.Y.

P.S. I am familiar with the (now) owner and he is a stand-up guy. I would just add, none of the adjusting screws should be "loose", but if the blocks are pre-drilled for the adjustable lifters there should not be any issues "holding" them during adjusting.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:49 PM   #40
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Beautiful car. I'm sure the engineering matches the impeccable looks.

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