When installing new lifters in your engine there are numerous causes for headache, and one of the most common issues gearheads come across — especially in well used engines — is a lack of external engine cleanliness. The oil port on your average flat tappet or roller lifter is very small and can easily become blocked by dirt or other debris falling into your engine and create a lubrication problem between the lifter and camshaft.
In the video above, Summit Racing‘s Parts Specialist, Carl Pritts, clues us in on some crucial tips and tricks to use when troubleshooting or installing new lifters in your engine. From pre-installation preparation to physical install, Pritts’ advice is sure to make you a more informed enthusiast and skilled mechanic.
Preparing The Engine For Installation
The most important tip for the DIY types out there is to go slow and take your time throughout the entire process. Pritts points out the fact that most people tend to rush through the engine disassembly process to remove the old lifters. If you’re rushing through the process of removing residual silicone and gasket material, no matter how careful you think you’re being, some of that debris will inevitably end up falling into the lifter valley only to be left behind.
If you even question for a second that some dirt may have fallen into your engine, it’s always in your best interest to clean it out with a shop vac, if you can see it, or in extreme cases dissembling the engine to flush it out. You finish your install, start the engine, and the oil starts churning up all of the debris and eventually feeds it into your lifters.
Before you know it you have a clogged lifter and at least one damaged camshaft lobe, pushrod and/or rocker caused by friction and heat from a lack of lubrication. To avoid this headache, simply use a towel or piece of plastic to protect the valley from falling debris when cleaning the intake manifold mating surface.
Another tip that Pritts shared, which may seem more obvious to some, is to always use your ears on the first startup. You’ll know if a lifter is not operating properly by the obviously abnormal rocker noise or other loud racket caused by a valvetrain void of lubrication. At this point it’s critical to shut off the engine immediately and repair the problem before causing catastrophic damage to your top end.
Lifter Preparation And Installation
A critical step that is sometimes overlooked is cleaning and lubricating the new lifters prior to installation. When you pull your new lifters out of the box, you will notice that they will be coated in what looks like a lubricant of some sort. This is not a lubricant and is actually used to prevent rust during storage and shipping. To clean this rust inhibitor off of your lifters, thoroughly clean them using mineral spirits and then soak them overnight using a high quality break-in oil afterwards.
Pritts presents a lot of great points to think about the next time you install a new set of lifters or a flat tappet camshaft. For all of Summit Racing’s lifter tips and tricks, be sure to watch the entire video — you’ll be thankful that you did.