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Old 09-10-2014, 11:55 AM   #1
1934calkid
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Default Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

This question was presented to me by a very reputable engine builder on here: You won't like this but I don't use adjustable lifters, I butt grind the valve stems on my engines. Nobody makes good adjustable lifters that I know of, there all made in China etc.. The adjustment screw in those lifters are usually to tight or to loose. It's hard to find a machine shop now that has a butt grinder on there valve machine. You can't do it on a bench grinder. If there is an older shop around your area they should have one. Ask that question on the Ford Barn, if anyone knows where to get adjustable lifters that are easy to adjust. To bad you didn't live closer, I'd adjust them for you.
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:21 PM   #2
Tony, NY
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Bob Drake has them, page 20. Claims they are precision made. They are different than Reds.
http://www.bobdrake.com/Images/Sales...ds-Forever.pdf
http://reds-headers.net/index.php?ma...&products_id=4
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Mine are Johnson's from Reds, but they do not say where they are made. The ones shown in the above link are solid style, the ones I have are the hollow style.
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I have used Drake lifters. Some were too tight. Some were too loose. A few were just right. Never use 'em again.
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I am the "Poster Child" for BAD adjustable lifters. I'm sure that some are good, but all are very suspect in my mind. Further, it doesn't matter how much you pay for them.
My most recent set is from Bob Drake and I hope they are OK.
Here is a picture of one of many BAD ones that destroyed an engine for me. It had a "Rockwell" hardness of about 34. Drake claims 62, which should be OK. All are foreign made AFAIK.
Walt is absolutely correct. If you can use FORD lifters, you will sleep better at night.
Here's the pictures. BTW, the cam didn't like these at all
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Valve lifter 001.jpg (150.3 KB, 263 views)
File Type: jpg Valve lifter 002.jpg (151.7 KB, 269 views)
File Type: jpg Valve lifter 003.jpg (150.5 KB, 259 views)
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

So please can someone outline the original Ford method for setting the clearance, right from start to finish PLEASE!

And why can't I grind the stems at home?

Thanks Tom.
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Old 09-10-2014, 01:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Walker View Post
So please can someone outline the original Ford method for setting the clearance, right from start to finish PLEASE!

And why can't I grind the stems at home?

Thanks Tom.
Tom,
You can grind them at home. All it takes is a valve grinder, some machining experience and know the difference between .001 and .010

John
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Old 09-10-2014, 01:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Ok so where does one buy solid lifters ?
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Old 09-10-2014, 01:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Ok so where does one buy solid lifters ?
Why would you want solid lifters? The lower the mass the better. Were you referring to non-adjustable lifters?
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Old 09-10-2014, 01:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I am in the process of doing an "econo-build" of a good used 8BA I have. I was planning on making a fixture that would present the butt of the valve stem at exactly 90 degrees to my belt sander. With the proper grit belt, why wouldn't this work? Is there a radius on the end of the valve stem? Is the finish important? Sorry, "Don't try this at home" is not good enough with out sound backup reasoning. I have enough spare parts to experiment with this a little.

I have pretty much rejected the idea of adjustable lifters because of all that I have read here and other places. I would expect someone could clean up in this market by producing a quality lifter that was a little longer than stock so it wouldn't sit down on the bore when using a reground cam. Make a standard length for new cams and an .080" over length for regrinds.
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Old 09-10-2014, 02:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

What you propose will work just fine, Tubman. Just a bit time consuming
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Old 09-10-2014, 02:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I have two sets from Reds with some miles on them with no problem. Cant imagine why anyone would prefer grinding the stems over a adjustable lifter seems a lot of time and trouble to me. Of course adjusting a set isnt very much fun either ?????

Really want to hear what Walt Dupont says about this.....????????
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Old 09-10-2014, 02:24 PM   #13
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Originally Posted by BUBBAS IGNITION View Post

Really want to hear what Walt Dupont says about this.....????????
I think you heard Walt's opinion in the first post.
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Old 09-10-2014, 02:38 PM   #14
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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.
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Old 09-10-2014, 03:01 PM   #15
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Don't know anything about these guys but they advertise new USA made adjustable lifters for just south of $200.00 for the set.
Crank Grinding & Machine Inc.
(DBA) CGM Motorsports
8211 Cloverleaf Drive
Millersville, Maryland
21108
If you want new adjustable lifters it might be worth contacting them.
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Old 09-10-2014, 03:28 PM   #16
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I am using Isky brand. In the last 5 sets only one lifter was marginally loose. When you use the adjustable try to make sure you do not screw down to far and have to come back up. The internal thread and external tread are not quite the same. That is where you get the tightness. If you go down and back up you lose the tightness.
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Old 09-10-2014, 03:44 PM   #17
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

The photos in reply #4 by Kahuna sure would be enough to scare anyone !
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:03 PM   #18
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

There is a LOT of junk around since the death of the Johnson long ago. There was an article on Red's site years ago that noted something like 7 available sources, mostly soft junk. There are at least 2 or three more recent ones, and I have not heard any consensus that a good one has emerged. There has also been some outright fraud leading to things like those horrible pictures with lifters sold as Isky but shown to be very definitely not Isky after the catastrophic failures. And Isky I think is selling those extremely heavy solid ones, though I suspect that they are functional if Isky is guaranteeing cams bought with them.
All of that makes originals, still by far the lightest, look very good. They are significantly lighter even than the actual extinct Johnsons.
However...more tech is going to be need by most. Grinding is not going to do the job with aftermarket cam that has reduces circle, it is going to take some welding too.
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:10 PM   #19
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Thanks Bruce, so what is your advice on what to put in my engine for lifters ? now we are more confused than ever LOL................
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:21 PM   #20
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Isn't the early small block chev valve the same except the length is .098 longer and the ford spring has to be shimmed .060 to fit on the chev valve? That is what I am going to use for my regrinds and non-adjustables from now on.
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:21 PM   #21
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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 ?

Quote:
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.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Johnson Lifters 1.jpg (35.9 KB, 115 views)
File Type: jpg Johnson Lifters 2.jpg (71.3 KB, 124 views)
File Type: jpg Johnson Lifters 3.jpg (61.6 KB, 104 views)
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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
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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 ?

Quote:
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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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.

Last edited by 40cpe; 09-11-2014 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:00 PM   #41
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

it looks like the Johnson company sells to comp cams http://www.compperformancegroupstore...&Category_Code=
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:15 PM   #42
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Originally Posted by 1934calkid View Post
it looks like the Johnson company sells to comp cams http://www.compperformancegroupstore...&Category_Code=
The description was obviously written by someone that had zero knowledge
about the parts.
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Old 09-11-2014, 02:03 PM   #43
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Look at the weight (102g), those are sure not hollow.
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Old 09-11-2014, 02:06 PM   #44
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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it looks like the Johnson company sells to comp cams http://www.compperformancegroupstore...&Category_Code=
Where does it say these are the Hylift-Johnson lifters? Are there any other suppliers of the Hylift-Johnson lifters?
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Old 09-11-2014, 02:26 PM   #45
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Today, 11:02 AM #39 GOSFAST
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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, 02:48 PM   #46
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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The description was obviously written by someone that had zero knowledge
about the parts.
Where is the problem with the description?

Just wondering. There is a footnote in the add, also kinda expensive though

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Old 09-11-2014, 03:02 PM   #47
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Where is the problem with the description?

Just wondering. There is a footnote in the add, also kinda expensive though

Harry
It is a rewrite for a hydraulic and/or solid push rod lifter and wasn't corrected properly for a flathead lifter.
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Old 09-11-2014, 03:14 PM   #48
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It is a rewrite for a hydraulic and/or solid push rod lifter and wasn't corrected properly for a flathead lifter.
That's why I pointed out the footnote: (Product Representation: Actual part may vary based on configuration ordered.)

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Old 09-11-2014, 03:59 PM   #49
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Here is a picture that comp cams sent me, says that they are made in Michigan....
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Old 09-11-2014, 05:56 PM   #50
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GOSFAST View Post
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.
Gary, have you used them in any blown motors?
Thanks, Joe
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Old 09-11-2014, 06:16 PM   #51
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Here is a picture that comp cams sent me, says that they are made in Michigan....
I have some just like that, made in MI, under the Sealed Power brand label. Rock Auto was selling them.
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Old 09-12-2014, 06:56 AM   #52
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Gary, have you used them in any blown motors?
Thanks, Joe
Have done a few units with the blower setup and the Johnson's, no problems!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross F-1 View Post
I have some just like that, made in MI, under the Sealed Power brand label. Rock Auto was selling them.
Hi Ross, at one point in time Sealed Power "owned" the Johnson tappet line! Crane cams also had control of them for short period along with Wolverine Gear (the Blue-Racer line) in Osseo, Mi.

Thanks, Gary in N.Y.

P.S. Like I stated above we still use and sell the Johnson tappets, they are a quality piece. We also are a W/D for Comp Cams.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:46 AM   #53
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

You are talking about Sealed Power AT 770 tappets which have always been available. They seem to work just fine in any "street" application. Not for competition engines.
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Old 09-16-2014, 03:25 PM   #54
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Here are some NOS original Johnson's that showed up on that auction site........any comments ?
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File Type: jpg KGrHqRgwE7PlR14WHBPGdZhwVlQ60_57.jpg (94.2 KB, 137 views)
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Old 09-16-2014, 03:45 PM   #55
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I've never seen that kind of finish on a lifter surface before. What gives?
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:05 PM   #56
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Can Bruce Lancaster chime in or maybe Pete Ron or Walt ????
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:07 PM   #57
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I bought mine from that guy (Clewwho40). He seems to have a never-ending supply of "NOS" Johnson's. I grilled him before I bought, he maintains they are new, never used, and not just reconditioned. They certainly appeared to be brand new. The "finish" is a photo thing, they came with a normal smooth finish. (I think it is rows of fluorescent lights in the ceiling). I've had no problems, they hold a setting. It's just kind of strange that he has so many, I bought mine from him 5 years ago.

PS they came in a Johnson box with the Johnson tools
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:16 PM   #58
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

The old Johnsons I have seen have a thick head adjustment bolt.
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:38 PM   #59
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I've never seen anything like the pattern in photo, and I would suspect that it must be a photo artifact of reflection from something actually minute...?
They certainly look right, hollow with slots, but I'd have to dig in the basement for known oldies to compare in detail. I think there have been at least two recent hollow offerings, and I have no idea about appearance or quality of those.
They look nice...as with all above, an ongoing supply seems very odd. They have been scarce for decades with nothing but the solid ones easily available for a long time.
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Old 09-16-2014, 05:45 PM   #60
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Bruce Lancaster should be on Jeopardy ! I bet he would give Ken Jennings a run for his money ! LOL.......
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:08 PM   #61
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

That wavy looking stuff might be some form of corrosion preventative compound or grease on the cam follower face.
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Old 09-16-2014, 07:46 PM   #62
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I bought a set of those adjustable lifters form the auction site from the same seller, but have yet to use them.

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Old 09-17-2014, 01:53 AM   #63
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I also have purchased a set of these lifters from the Auction site ( Clewwho40 ). Sent down to OZ just in soft packages, no box. He states that they are NOS Johnson lifters.

They look to be well made, but I think they are a new production not NOS as they seem to be selling plenty of them. Have not tried them yet.
They look a lot like the Drake ones.

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Old 09-17-2014, 03:57 AM   #64
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I use to buy, compcams, speedway, isky and the ones sold by reds, each time I had one or two that comes loose ;-(
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Old 09-17-2014, 05:10 AM   #65
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If you use the adjustable lifters can you use Locktite on the threads to stop them coming loose or is that a no, no.
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Old 09-17-2014, 08:54 AM   #66
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Back when real Johnsons were twenty books from Joblot, I never used anything on threads or had one loosen in use. They just worked with no fuss. Well, no fuss except a little swearing at the little wrenches...
In flathead repairs, they took over the market as soon as the parts price started looking good compared to labor cost of measuring, welding, and grinding.
Elaborate means remained reasonable for racers looking to save the slight extra weight of hollow adjustables over stock Ford, but as mechanics' wages went up adjustables were a real savings.
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Old 09-17-2014, 01:40 PM   #67
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I hesitate to ask as the question becomes a "punch line", but has anyone on the barn had your Johnsons resurfaced? Who did it? Did they perform correctly? Yes I am ready for the humor that will ensue.
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Old 09-17-2014, 01:48 PM   #68
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I hesitate to ask as the question becomes a "punch line", but has anyone on the barn had your Johnsons resurfaced? Who did it? Did they perform correctly? Yes I am ready for the humor that will ensue.
I do an average of one set a month.
They must work. No one has complained.
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Old 09-17-2014, 01:49 PM   #69
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I do an average of one set a month.
They must work. No one has complained.
Thanks Pete.
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Old 09-17-2014, 03:27 PM   #70
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I hesitate to ask as the question becomes a "punch line", but has anyone on the barn had your Johnsons resurfaced? Who did it? Did they perform correctly? Yes I am ready for the humor that will ensue.
JWL did a set for me.
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Old 09-17-2014, 05:21 PM   #71
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I have a friend who has the tool and he has done a number of them for me. Perform just like new.
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Old 09-22-2014, 11:21 AM   #72
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Hi gents...
Was wondering what brand of adjustable lifters were used by rebuilders? More specifically I bought a "junk" flattie at a garage sale. It had a Vilvan rebuilder tag rivited to the front. Vilvan hasn't been in business for a long time. Regardless I pulled the manifold off and was suprised to see adjustable lifters, made my 50.00 purchase price seem like a bargain.

Note: I say junk because the engine was missing all the bolt-ons and the head nuts were partially corroded off.
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Old 09-22-2014, 12:55 PM   #73
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There were at least two brands but I have never seen any old ones except Johnson's. As I mentioned above, they took over for rebuilds whenever the skilled labor cost of fitting original parts passed the rather small extra cost of the adjustables.
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Old 09-22-2014, 01:33 PM   #74
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Johnson and Witteman are the only two hollow brands I have heard of. But I have no knowledge of how to identify used lifters one from another. The solid adjustables I believe were made by McQuay-Norris, at least thats what an employee of Isky told me years ago.
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Old 09-22-2014, 01:42 PM   #75
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If you use the adjustable lifters can you use Locktite on the threads to stop them coming loose or is that a no, no.
What works for me, is after I'm satisfied with the adjustment, I hit the bolt threads with a shot of carb cleaner or brakclean, then put a dab of JB weld on the threads where they enter the lifter. The result is an adjustment that cannot change in normal use.
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Old 09-22-2014, 04:02 PM   #76
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If you use the adjustable lifters can you use Locktite on the threads to stop them coming loose or is that a no, no.
In a word, yes, make it green locktite, and to get it lose, more green and maybe some heat?? never been there ?? BUT: I have read it here ?? ....OLD....BILL
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Old 09-22-2014, 05:06 PM   #77
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There is a green loctite meant specifically for creeping into assembled threads.
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Old 09-22-2014, 06:28 PM   #78
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It would be a wicking type anaerobic threadlocker like Loctite 290. I use the green 209 a lot but it is more of a bearing setting type that doesn't wick. The stuff is the strongest I've used. It used to be loctite No. 35 but they changed their numbering system.
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Old 09-22-2014, 06:41 PM   #79
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I dont go the locktite way because there is always oil down in those threads. You will never know if the loctite will work until you break the bond,.....if there is one.
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Old 09-22-2014, 06:56 PM   #80
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If you are going to use adjustable, why not buy original NOS Johnsons, which were also sold under the name of Sealed Power or Wohlert for example. There are a couple of East Coast sources for NOS if you are interested. I would bet they also have NOS original Ford light weight non-adjustable ones. Depends on your preference.
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Old 09-23-2014, 07:40 AM   #81
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Are the lifters Flathead Jack sells any good?, or do they all come from the same manufacture?
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Old 09-23-2014, 12:36 PM   #82
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?


Good dicussion. I had an old timer rebuild the engine in my `35 in 2007. It is a later 221 with rod bearings instead of Babbitt. He put adjustable lifters in it and has never been touched after the rebuild. Sadly, he passed away shortly after he built my engine. Fast forward to last summer. I had a local engine shop rebuild the engine for my `51 F1. Six months later and very few miles one or more of the lifters have loosened. The engine sits deep in the pickups and it is either remove the engine or maybe by removing a fender to get to the lifters.

On an earlier post it was recommended to either `stake' the lifters or use Locktite to prevent it from happening again. I want to do it right for the last time. Now, should I use one of these methods or go with new Johnson's?
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Old 09-23-2014, 01:02 PM   #83
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If you are going to use adjustable, why not buy original NOS Johnsons, which were also sold under the name of Sealed Power or Wohlert for example. There are a couple of East Coast sources for NOS if you are interested. I would bet they also have NOS original Ford light weight non-adjustable ones. Depends on your preference.
Could you give us some more specific information on these please? I have gone to the Sealed Power (actually Federal-Mogul) website, and the lifters they show in a couple of places (while adjustable) are obviously not hollow. Researching Wohlerts yields even less specific. The main link is to Mac's who I have heard bad things about lately. Also, some specific sources for these would be great!
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Old 09-23-2014, 06:04 PM   #84
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I would doubt if there are a lot of original NOS Johnsons out there. Skeptical, you bet. The ones I've seen marketed as Johnsons look exactly like the new French ones. If they were made with a proper grade of cast iron and chilled to specs then they should be good as far as the follower face is concerned. If they are poor quality casting then they will either crack in the side openings or the follower face will wear unevenly. The tapet adjuster screw is a whole other matter. It's fingers crossed with all the new hollow adjustables these days.

I would trust an old worn set from a motor that has set for 35 years more than I'd trust any new ones. All of the solid adjustable ones were made for Ford tractors but have been used on cars since the early 70s. The solids are fine in a low rpm setting but the more you gain rpm , the more kinetic energy they build. At some point, that might get detrimental to the function of cam or valve train.

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Old 09-23-2014, 06:15 PM   #85
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I was going to sell a set of used Johnson (definitely theirs), but looks like I should hold onto to them for what I'm reading in this thread.
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Old 09-23-2014, 06:41 PM   #86
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Here is the real thing. In this box of NOS Johnson's sold under the name of Wohlert was 2 adjustment wrenches stamped with the Johnson name, etc. Sold them with a reconditioned used set, and kept the lifters. There are other real NOS Johnson's out there. You have to get off the internet, talk to people, do your research and get on the phone. Macs and the rest of re-pop suppliers, good luck. I do know that Comp Cams adjustable lifters were supposed to be made in the USA, by who and how ? A good set of reconditioned Johnson's with "Green" Locktite, on prepped threads would be a good second choice. See photos;
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Old 09-23-2014, 07:41 PM   #87
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Thanks for your reply.
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Old 09-23-2014, 08:05 PM   #88
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Wohlert of Lansing, MI. used to be a manufacturer of starter ring gears, flex plates, & flywheels. With the equipment they had, they could have made a lot of different auto parts kind of like Thompson Products (TRW).
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Old 09-23-2014, 08:40 PM   #89
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Here is the real thing. In this box of NOS Johnson's sold under the name of Wohlert was 2 adjustment wrenches stamped with the Johnson name, etc. Sold them with a reconditioned used set, and kept the lifters. There are other real NOS Johnson's out there. You have to get off the internet, talk to people, do your research and get on the phone. Macs and the rest of re-pop suppliers, good luck. I do know that Comp Cams adjustable lifters were supposed to be made in the USA, by who and how ? A good set of reconditioned Johnson's with "Green" Locktite, on prepped threads would be a good second choice. See photos;
Interesting. I see they list them for '52-'53 Fords/Mercs. Wasn't the valve training either a little longer or shorter than the previous V-8's during these two years?

I recall something was different. I wonder if these are made for this specific application or are they just labeled that way and no different.
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Old 09-24-2014, 07:18 AM   #90
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Good question, maybe someone on the barn knows the answer. I bought that set of Wohlert boxed Johnson's from an East Coast vintage parts supplier. He knew what he had, and they were not cheap, but the real thing from back in the day. I know where there others, some boxed as Sealed Power with Johnson wrenches.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:22 AM   #91
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

The valves were longer and had the rotator cups. This actually started in mid to late 1951. There must have been a length difference on those followers but it's not a lot of difference.
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Old 09-24-2014, 11:54 AM   #92
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Originally Posted by Shadetree View Post
Good dicussion. I had an old timer rebuild the engine in my `35 in 2007. It is a later 221 with rod bearings instead of Babbitt. He put adjustable lifters in it and has never been touched after the rebuild. Sadly, he passed away shortly after he built my engine. Fast forward to last summer. I had a local engine shop rebuild the engine for my `51 F1. Six months later and very few miles one or more of the lifters have loosened. The engine sits deep in the pickups and it is either remove the engine or maybe by removing a fender to get to the lifters.

On an earlier post it was recommended to either `stake' the lifters or use Locktite to prevent it from happening again. I want to do it right for the last time. Now, should I use one of these methods or go with new Johnson's?
Shadetree , you can do a full rings bearings & Valve grind on your engine right in your truck !! I grew up doing them . Made a 4Ft. long valve stick for lapping valves !!
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Old 09-24-2014, 01:08 PM   #93
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I do it "Adjustables" because I have em and I can do em. and "NOT" take the engine to someone and have, grind, weld and do whatever to set backlash to my short block, I will make the adj. before I lay the crank, and I can see the lifter on the heal of the lobe.... then I will run through the hole thing again, with go/no go... I bought this lifters "TAPPET S" in 1948, and I have the box they came in. it says on the box " distributed by "Harman & Collins, inc.... yes I ran the cam too. I payed $13.60 for em ( it says on the box ) came as a kit.???I may use some green lock tight, this time ??..... OLD.....BILL
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Old 09-24-2014, 01:24 PM   #94
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Never had any trouble with any of them. Had to use the solid adjustables in the first few years I was building engines. However they may have been of better quality than the ones you get today. Use the long valves for high lift cams and cut or grind 1/8 inch off the lifter bore to make adjusting easier, and don't gorget to drill the hole to hold the lifter from turning. Can't believe how many times this subject has been around.
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Old 09-24-2014, 01:27 PM   #95
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Quote:
I may use some green lock tight, this time
Just be careful not to get any of the Locktite down the lifter bore.
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Old 09-24-2014, 05:33 PM   #96
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Just be careful not to get any of the Locktite down the lifter bore.
HEY BILLM :You must know me ?? If / when I try to glue something, I get it all over it, me, the neighbor's cat, and low flying aircraft.....OLD.....BILL
thanks for reading my story .....BILL

Last edited by OLD...BILL; 09-24-2014 at 05:37 PM. Reason: left a word out ??had to move it over
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:20 PM   #97
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I have a set of the Comp Cams solid adjustable lifters. Any reason why I couldn't lighten them?
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:33 PM   #98
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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I have a set of the Comp Cams solid adjustable lifters. Any reason why I couldn't lighten them?
It's possible but you could adjust 5 sets of stock type lifters in the same time.
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Old 09-24-2014, 11:22 PM   #99
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I bought a set of hollow adjustable lifters from Dennis Carpenter about two years ago to use in a '36 LB engine that's a stock rebuild except for a 0.030" over bore. The box these lifters came in has Made in the USA printed on a label attached to the outside of the box. Carpenter's parts counter guy told me who the manufacturer was but I have long since forgotten their name. Anyway, after reading all the posts on this thread, I decided to take them out of the box and check them over carefully. I found some of the adjustment bolts so tight I had trouble turning then with a 7/16" open end wrench, while others had bolts that threaded in and out of the lifters by turning them with my fingers. I know I should have checked these carefully long before this but didn't. Unless I can figure out some good procedure to tighten up these loose ones, I will take these back to DC for either good replacements, or get credit refunded to my account. Damn, when I worked for a manufacturing company, we had QC checks in place that would never allow parts like this to get out the door. I guess in today's manufacturing environment there is little or no QC requirements to get product shipped.
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Old 09-25-2014, 12:49 AM   #100
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I had a local engine shop rebuild the engine for my `51 F1. Six months later and very few miles one or more of the lifters have loosened. The engine sits deep in the pickups and it is either remove the engine or maybe by removing a fender to get to the lifters.

Or... take the front wheels off and let the truck sit on the drums. Way easier on the back.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:28 AM   #101
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Another note: Didn't Johnson also offer longer hollow adjustables for reground cam applications? I thought I recall seeing a set or two sale a few years back.

Does anyone recall these ever being offered?
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:51 AM   #102
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I think Bruce mentioned that they had some with a thicker head on the tapet adjuster screw.
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:52 AM   #103
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Yes, there are "tall" Johnsons. However, the difference is only the screw hex is taller, not the body of the lifter.
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:46 PM   #104
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Originally Posted by corvette8n View Post
Are the lifters Flathead Jack sells any good?, or do they all come from the same manufacture?
I've asked that question, also got no response. I have a set I'm going to try, they look very nicely made and test in the high 50s Rc in the hardness tester. I think Flatattack has them also, they might be made in Australia.
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:57 PM   #105
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

This motor is going to be pretty peppy so I just that because I had these solid adjustables, perhaps I should consider lightening them.
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Old 10-22-2014, 03:53 PM   #106
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Originally Posted by 1934calkid View Post
Here are some NOS original Johnson's that showed up on that auction site........any comments ?
I just bought a set of these. I have a friend that owns a machine shop & he has a Rockwell hardness tester. I would like to have them tested.
Question is, does the bottom of the lifter have to be tested, or can the side near the bottom get tested?
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Old 10-22-2014, 03:58 PM   #107
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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I just bought a set of these. I have a friend that owns a machine shop & he has a Rockwell hardness tester. I would like to have them tested.
Question is, does the bottom of the lifter have to be tested, or can the side near the bottom get tested?
Bottom.
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Old 10-22-2014, 04:00 PM   #108
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Bottom.
Thank you, I'll post the results as soon as I know!
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Old 10-22-2014, 05:30 PM   #109
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Now after you test the Bottom, make sure you remove the high spot with some 600 paper.
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Old 10-22-2014, 05:39 PM   #110
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Ok will do! What kinda numbers should I be looking for?
Should I have the adjustment bolt tested also?
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Old 10-22-2014, 07:34 PM   #111
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Ok will do! What kinda numbers should I be looking for?
Should I have the adjustment bolt tested also?
The screw isn't too critical.
Bottom should Rockwell at least 55.
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Old 10-23-2014, 03:19 AM   #112
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Ok still on topic, but re the Flatattack lifters, does mike Davidson still have the tooling for these , maybe some enterprising. Flat header could step up to the plate and make some quality lifters on the flat attack profiles.
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:56 AM   #113
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Well I just came back from the machine shop & I have to say I'm very disappointed with the results.
1st one read 45.7
2nd 39.8
I stopped there.
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:16 AM   #114
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

So these NOS lifters that are being sold on Ebay are New Old Stock junk? I thought it seemed too good to be true.
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:11 PM   #115
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Check an old johnson for a reference.
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:12 PM   #116
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

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Check an old johnson for a reference.
I do; several times a day. Sorry, couldn't resist.
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Old 10-23-2014, 01:44 PM   #117
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Red's Headers are claiming "Rockwell Hardness of 55-58" on theirs:
Lifters - New Johnson Style Hollow Adjustable

$215.00

Like the Hollow Johnsons style we have known and loved...but BETTER! With a thicker head on the adjusting screw for easier wrenching. Lightweight (80g) for less wear.

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Old 10-23-2014, 02:30 PM   #118
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I do; several times a day. Sorry, couldn't resist.
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Good one!!!!

Does anyone have one to check or know what the numbers should be before I go back to the ebay guy for a refund??
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Old 10-24-2014, 02:18 PM   #119
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I was told that a good lifter should test at least 60Rc. Drake's claim 62
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Old 10-25-2014, 08:24 PM   #120
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Silly question, How do they harden those lifters? Is it material or heat treating?

Red
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Old 10-25-2014, 10:14 PM   #121
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

I guess I stepped into that. Now that you have those very hard lifters, how much spring pressure are you going to put on them. for an L-100 I use 50 lbs for the street. You can ge this by putting a .o6o" shim under a stock spring.
Good luck
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Old 10-25-2014, 10:36 PM   #122
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Quote:
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So these NOS lifters that are being sold on Ebay are New Old Stock junk? I thought it seemed too good to be true.
I bought from that guy, after asking pointed questions about whether they were reground or what. He always maintained they were factory fresh, never in an engine. I had to pull mine after about 5,000 miles for other reasons, and none showed unusual wear. I'd be real curious what the game is. I can't believe "rejected Johnsons" were available to anyone at any point, with inadequate hardness.
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Old 10-26-2014, 07:09 AM   #123
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Default Re: Adjustable or Non Adjustable Lifters ?

Right now I am building a 8N tractor engine for a collector, they take the same lifter as a flathead, the engine had been rebuilt back in the 50's, it had the original Johnson lifters, it was a pleasure to adjust those lifters, they all had same torque on the screws and I could adjust them with the original Johnson wrenches to hold the lifter. I haven't seen a good set since that place in Aostralier, spelling, stop making them. Walt
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