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Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: Frog ()
Date: February 20, 2018 01:04PM

I looked back at some ten-year-old threads regarding the priming of valve lifters. All the different suggestions remind me of a line in a song by the Five Man Electrical Band. The song “Signs,” rereleased in 1971, has the line: “Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”

In the thread, one says squirt oil in the little hole; others says soak them overnight in oil, or pump them up with a push rod, or prime them when you prime the engine with the electric drill; one said that some suppliers preprime the lifters at the factory.

I’m at that stage, now. Over the ten years that have passed since then, has common ground or consensus determined what’s the best way to “oil up” lifters, or am I just to refer back to those yonder years and do what the shop manual says?

For those of you under fifty-five years old, here's that song:
"Signs"

Rob Lane
Clayton, in the Northeast Georgia Mountains.
1964 500 Coupe
Purchased by me in April of 1964.

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: jcorvair ()
Date: February 20, 2018 01:07PM

I run the oil pump while rotating the engine forward and backward, making sure oil is pumped up all pushrods.

James
Maple Ridge, BC

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Turbo
2013 Hyundai Elantra (daughter's future car)
2009 Silverado HD Crew Cab 4x4 (for haulin cars, trailers, fifth wheels, quads, etc.)
2013 Victory Car Hauler (enclosed)
2015 Polaris 570 EPS
2016 Polaris 570 SP

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: jjohnsonjo ()
Date: February 20, 2018 01:27PM

If you use the drill methods you can also make sure there is oil coming through the journals. I do this before the top cover is buttoned up.

J.O.

65 Corsa Turbo Vert
79 Honda XL 500S
69 Honda CL 160 D
2010 BMW F 650 GS
2003 Bounder 36D
2013 KIA Optima SX turbo-AKA ZIPPY (wife,s car)
69 Newport Holiday Sailboat
Baja 150 dune buggy cart
Coleman HS 500 UTV
2016 KIA Sorento SXL Turbo

Bethlehem,Pa

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Date: February 20, 2018 02:00PM

Slightly askew to topic: The oil pump primer I made for my Corvairs also worked on my 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2.

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: stitch ()
Date: February 20, 2018 02:17PM

Signs...Brought back memories. Got married that year, was a "Longhair" and the only way I could get a job, (Busboy at the La Rhonde revolving restaurant in Honolulu) was to wear a short hair wig. Had it for almost a year until the manager saw me with my hair down! Fired me...Memories..smileys with beer

"If you can't fix it with a Hammer, you have an Electrical problem."
Stitch...
Schertz, Texas.
(Smallish town/burg 17 mi. NE of San Antonio)

!967.. 4th body
8th off the line

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: vairmech ()
Date: February 20, 2018 06:58PM

I have never primed lifters before installation. As has been mentioned I install lifters dry internally then run the oil pump while turning the engine over by hand watching the oil come out the main and rod journals, I think at one time I even posted a video of that.

Ken Hand
Handy Car Care
248 613 8586

Vairmech@aol.com

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: Bob Helt ()
Date: February 20, 2018 07:18PM

Well, Frog,Let's look at this logically

What is the desired condition of the lifters after you finish your engine work? Do you want them full of oil or just partially full so that they can click and clack to alert everyone to your Corvair?

Of course you want them FULL of oil.

Condition 1
Install the lifters as they come from the supplier. The lifters will nornally have little oil. Start the engine and let it run to fill the lifters. Just ignore the noise while they fill. And also know that it may take 10 minutes to 2 hours to get that last lifter full of oil. And all that noise sure isn't good for the parts. But you can do it. It's your choice.

Condition 2
Install the empty lifters as you build the engine. Prior to starting the engine, use your electric drill to operate the oil pump and let it run overnight. This will fill the lifters but maybe some may not fill completely. It usually works but it may be hard to tell any lifter that has not filled completely . Also remember that even if you rotate the crank while doing this, you're NOT going to get much if any oil up to the rocker box for your observation. That's because the lifters have a flapper valve that takes lifter motion to pass the oil there. So while this way does work, you are working in the dark not really knowing what oil is getting where.

Condition 3
Since you want the lifters full when you want to first start the engine, why not just fill them yourself at the beginning and be absolutely certain that they are full of oil. Do this by using a trigger type squirt oil can the has a tip that fits the hole on the side of the lifter. Squirt and fill the lifter and be done with it. Then install the lifter.

Do it your way.

Bob Helt

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: RexJohnson ()
Date: February 20, 2018 07:59PM

Some lifter manufactures say to Not prime the lifters. You would think that they would know what they are talking about since they made them.

RJ tools
Salem,Oregon

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: jjohnsonjo ()
Date: February 21, 2018 05:17AM

RexJohnson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Some lifter manufactures say to Not prime the
> lifters. You would think that they would know what
> they are talking about since they made them.


That's because most of them will never be used in a horizontal engine and the air will come out in seconds, in a V-8,V-6, inline 6 or 4, but not so much in a Vair.

For me when I start a fresh engine, I want the lifter quiet so I can hear any other noises that shouldn't be there. I also install a muffler for the same reason.

J.O.

65 Corsa Turbo Vert
79 Honda XL 500S
69 Honda CL 160 D
2010 BMW F 650 GS
2003 Bounder 36D
2013 KIA Optima SX turbo-AKA ZIPPY (wife,s car)
69 Newport Holiday Sailboat
Baja 150 dune buggy cart
Coleman HS 500 UTV
2016 KIA Sorento SXL Turbo

Bethlehem,Pa

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: BobV66Vair ()
Date: February 21, 2018 06:50AM

I used to soak them and then use a push rod to pump them. Does that help get oil into them lifter reservoir?

Bob Vinnacombe
Sandy, Oregon
1965 Corsa 140 stock
1966 Monza Soon to be race car
1968 Monza Parts for now

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: Richard ()
Date: February 21, 2018 08:36AM

Cam manufacturers tell you not to prime the lifters, because full lifters will hold the valves open until they have time to bleed down. Until they bleed down there is a risk of bending valves or push rods on some engines and especially with a bigger cam.

Many like to adjust valves with the engine running. They know enough, to only adjust 1/4 turn at a time and wait a minute for the engine to smooth out. The reason the engine stumbles is because there is still too much oil in the lifter after the adjustment and is holding the valve off its seat.

Adjusting the valves cold, then priming the pump and rotating the engine may not completely fill all the lifters, but it sure won't overfill the lifters and possibly creating an interference problem.

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: 66vairman ()
Date: February 21, 2018 09:44AM

Richard Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Cam manufacturers tell you not to prime the
> lifters, because full lifters will hold the valves
> open until they have time to bleed down. Until
> they bleed down there is a risk of bending valves
> or push rods on some engines and especially with a
> bigger cam.
>
> Many like to adjust valves with the engine
> running. They know enough, to only adjust 1/4 turn
> at a time and wait a minute for the engine to
> smooth out. The reason the engine stumbles is
> because there is still too much oil in the lifter
> after the adjustment and is holding the valve off
> its seat.
>
> Adjusting the valves cold, then priming the pump
> and rotating the engine may not completely fill
> all the lifters, but it sure won't overfill the
> lifters and possibly creating an interference
> problem.

Richard explanation is good. A full lifter does take a few seconds to bleed down, unless they are competition lifters that bleed down fast, but those tend to clatter at idle.

One issue I found with new "dry" lifters is they can bottom out opening the valve until they fill with oil. Once in a while I got a damaged lifter seat - had to replace the lifter. Now I fill the lifters before install, do a cold adjustment to zero lash (lifter fully extended) and then after a start up and run-in at 1,500RPM I do a HOT valve adjustment using 1/2 turn down after zero lash (clicking stops).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/21/2018 09:45AM by 66vairman.

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: davemotohead ()
Date: February 21, 2018 10:01AM

I fill them 1/2 way! grinning smiley





Email me at: Dave Motohead

1960 4dr sedan caveman car
1961 Rampside (Chetside)
1962 Rampside (Barnside)
1962 Short Rampside (Shortside)
1962 Monza 700 Wagon
1963 Monza 900 coup (General Nader)

-----------------------------------
Rust Free Lancaster Ca

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: Bob Helt ()
Date: February 21, 2018 12:18PM

RexJohnson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Some lifter manufactures say to Not prime the
> lifters. You would think that they would know what
> they are talking about since they made them.

The Corvair shop manuals tell you to even fill the lifters with oil prior to installation. Maybe Chevrolet knows better about what they are talking about since they designed the Corvair engine.
Bob Helt

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: davemotohead ()
Date: February 21, 2018 12:23PM

I have to agree with Bob on this one, I just cannot put moving parts in a new engine dry, I have lubed them up with a oil squirt can on every engine I have ever built in the last 45 years and have never had a problem.





Email me at: Dave Motohead

1960 4dr sedan caveman car
1961 Rampside (Chetside)
1962 Rampside (Barnside)
1962 Short Rampside (Shortside)
1962 Monza 700 Wagon
1963 Monza 900 coup (General Nader)

-----------------------------------
Rust Free Lancaster Ca

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: tknobby ()
Date: February 21, 2018 01:23PM

I never soak or pre fill lifters prior to installation. New lifters will have a small amount of oil in them. Plenty for the internal lubrication of the lifter for start up. If a new lifter is full of oil and adjusted with 1 turn preload there is a possibility the valve will be held open and little to no compression will be built in the combustion chamber resulting in a very poor start up. New lifters have very close tolerances and bleed down will be minimal at best.
Hydraulic lifters are mini oil pumps. I let the pumps work. I always adjust the valves cold on all my builds with lifters that are Not filled with oil. I find it very easy to feel where the zero lash exists during adjustment. I know preload will be correct and the valves will not be held open when the are supposed to be closed. Of course the lifters rattle for a while as they pump up and fill with oil but soon quiet down.
And I Always prime the oil pump prior to start up.

T...

Tom Knoblauch
San Antonio, TX
AmericanFlat6.com

'64 Spyder Vert Big Valve heads, EFI, Custom roller cam, front disc brakes on 2" dropped spindles
'65 Vert 95 EFI 4spd
'65 Monza Coupe 95 w/ Thomas Tribute 110 heads, 2 2bbl 40MM Webers, 140 exh tubes, 110 exh logs, PG w/ high stall Converter, 2" dropped spindles w/ 6 piston Wilwood calipers
'66 Monza Coupe 3.0L EFI 4spd
'68 Monza Coupe 140 3.0L EFI Slide Throttle 4spd
'63 Rampy 80hp w/ 102 Tribute 2 carb heads 4 spd, disc brakes on 2" dropped spindles

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: davemotohead ()
Date: February 21, 2018 01:33PM

Tom, I fill them and adjust them cold and my new engines start up with no rattle, I also prime them with a dummy distributor before start up. 100's of engines built this way and never a problem, not going to change now.





Email me at: Dave Motohead

1960 4dr sedan caveman car
1961 Rampside (Chetside)
1962 Rampside (Barnside)
1962 Short Rampside (Shortside)
1962 Monza 700 Wagon
1963 Monza 900 coup (General Nader)

-----------------------------------
Rust Free Lancaster Ca

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: tknobby ()
Date: February 21, 2018 01:48PM

I'd never expect you to change Dave. You know what you are doing. Sometimes we just have a different approach. End results are the same.

T...

Tom Knoblauch
San Antonio, TX
AmericanFlat6.com

'64 Spyder Vert Big Valve heads, EFI, Custom roller cam, front disc brakes on 2" dropped spindles
'65 Vert 95 EFI 4spd
'65 Monza Coupe 95 w/ Thomas Tribute 110 heads, 2 2bbl 40MM Webers, 140 exh tubes, 110 exh logs, PG w/ high stall Converter, 2" dropped spindles w/ 6 piston Wilwood calipers
'66 Monza Coupe 3.0L EFI 4spd
'68 Monza Coupe 140 3.0L EFI Slide Throttle 4spd
'63 Rampy 80hp w/ 102 Tribute 2 carb heads 4 spd, disc brakes on 2" dropped spindles

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: davemotohead ()
Date: February 21, 2018 01:53PM

I am too old and too stubborn to change, I fear change! grinning smileydrinking smiley





Email me at: Dave Motohead

1960 4dr sedan caveman car
1961 Rampside (Chetside)
1962 Rampside (Barnside)
1962 Short Rampside (Shortside)
1962 Monza 700 Wagon
1963 Monza 900 coup (General Nader)

-----------------------------------
Rust Free Lancaster Ca

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Re: Priming the Valve Lifters
Posted by: Seth Emerson ()
Date: February 21, 2018 03:27PM

Someone will chime in that they fill half of their lifters all the way full!

Seth Emerson

Check my new Performance Corvair Web site [www.perfvair.com]

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