I just tighten the bolts down slowly skipping a bolt each time, with maybe 5 or 6 passes. I do believe there is a spot where you can turn the engine so that there is little or no pressure on the rockers on 1 side at a time. Seems to me its 45 degrees past top dead center.
Where oh where was all this info when I was doing my
September 9 2012, 10:24 PM
1st 2 390 rebuilds ??? I just gave up and went to adjustables which worked out just great but I thot I tried averything to get the lifters to unload, shims etc. Sighh, glad I found this forum just to see where all my mistakes were made if nothing else.
Non Adjustable Rockers-blueprinting-I measure it all
September 10 2012, 11:34 AM
I added some stuff for the FE cool guys, from Ford's western race shop, back when...and from many builds since pal. I want you engine to run great and 'live'(many miles)
I am kind of doing this because I see too many guys hurting parts that should live. If done nice, this stuff never.rarely happened.
You have good advice but what are we building and how good were the machinists ?
Did you sink any valves? Mill the heads, block ? Add hard seats ?
What lifters? Cam? Reground? Custom ground? By who? Some base circles are way off at times...
When the FE's were new, and having a first ring and bearing job, and valve job, the stacked errors were usually within designed specs. That was a long time ago. If you don't know who machined what, you can have a bad mix of errors.
We blueprint everything to avoid problems. It is easy, just be methodical.
I always bolt the entire valvetrain on, and number or mark the shafts left and right. I do this with the intake off for a test fit. Then I go through the firing order 1 5 4 2 63 78, starting on compression/TDC for number 1, then turn the crank 90 degress, or 1/4 of a crank turn, check 5, 90 more, then 4, and so on. Turn the crank clockwise, facing it.
In 2 crank turns you can see the lifter preload. I measure the distance from the bottom of each lifter's snap ring, to the top of the plunger, with an angled end feeler gauge or these go no go gauges we have. You can make some from paper clips, etc. Mic some stock, bend a 90, use it to gauge if not in a machine shop. I use the narrow tip feeler gauges too
Now here is a subtle trick. The lifters may have to bleed down. This can be slow so just spin the pushrod by hand, until it will spin, then measure. Don't check the button height, if a valve is slightly hung open......let it bleed down to where it will run.
We do the button check, and often just pre pump down the lifters before setting them in the block. Just chuck a spare pushrod in a drill press,set the lifter in a coffee can, tray, whatever, and press down until the plunger has some play. Then, set them in the block, add the rockers, tins, tighten in little steps to not bend the shafts, and run the valves. Check them one by one, in pairs, going through the firing order
I always do this too, before final assembling the heads. Lay a long straight edge on top of all 8 valve tips to see which valves are high, or low. These notes can help you figure out whay the button heights are off later.
I did a ton of FE valve jobs, 5 angle, 7 angle, radius exhaust seats, 30's45. higher, higher, and we would select dress the stems, in the stem tip dresser, on the valve grinder, to make them all close to perfect, or dead nuts.
If the heads are on the long block, you can straight edge the stems in place. Just check it to find sunk valves which can cause other problems.
Then , after the rockers are on, and lifters bled enough to spin the pushrod being checked, I write all 16 dimensions on the build sheet and see what we can select fit or adjust if there is a problem. You can find problems this way.
If you have a few low buttons, that can add to pushrod to intake interference.
If the engine guy does not center the intake over the distributor hole, that adds more errors, so make it nice.
We always center the intake then add a witness mark to locate it in the future, or torque it where it should be. I have a truned, hard,ground mandrel from the old race shop. But you can also slide hardened drill rod into the block bushing, where the distributor gear centers and turns, then clamp a 0-30-0 tip indicating dial indicator on the rod, and trace the bore in the intake, and see how far forward or backward you are.
With no tools or machine shop, take the tapered rubber seal off of the distributor. Set it in the block and move it 4 ways. Forward,rearward, to the left, to the right. 2 axis', side to side, check the play. 4 places. Easy Peazy. Use a feeler gauge on these 4 dimensions, and split the difference. Not doing this causes a lot of problems that Ford designed out by using the block dowel in the front end seal rail.
Just about all aftermarket intakes deleted the locating slot in the intake, and allowed some problems for guys who just throw stuff together or don't know better.
This idea created the stuck distributor syndrome.
If the intake instructions say....remove the dowel....be careful and locate the intake distributor bore where it should be. You can hurt the block, distributor, cam gear and distributor bushings and shaft if you just drop the distributor where 'chance' places it.
On you rockers and shafts again. You can swap parts to fix some things, find bad rocker pushrod seats, etc.
Many are fine....if the button heights are close, great. If not,adjust the dimensions. We have had 5 slightly different pushrod lengths in one engine, to make it all perfect.
For the street, close is fine
Many guys forget, in the 50's,60,s and 70,s, many guys used the non adjustable rocker, and a chrome moly adjustable 3/8'' pushrod. These are twice as tough as stock. To this day, many Blown Fuel dragsters, altereds and blown alky and gas Dodge Hemi's...based upon the 354 and 392....run low 6's at over 240 MPH, with non adjustables, and adjustable pushrods.
You use bent wrenches to adjust them every round. Easy once you get the hang of it. 7/16 open end Snap Ons, bent, with a T
I ran them hard 40 years ago, on fast FE's, on a tight budget. And for racing, many times since. You can easily zero lash hi rev, anti pump up hydraulics,or do it with solids. But the stock, crane or Isky adjustables are great, if you have the Dinero..
The Cranes have less ratio sadly
The Isky is on hold, and true to the 1.76 ratio. The stock adjustables are priced too high today....but worth it.
Back to blueprinting
If the base circle is low on the cam, and the hard seats in really high, I have seen little or no preload. I have select fit a lot of pushrods too, in 010 steps. You use a lathe, but I am close to pushrod makers for parts
On stock pushrods,you can un press the ball on one end, turn it, and re press the ball
We have soft jaws for the lathes. Chuck it, and slide hammer the ball out slowly. easy, just time consuming. Turn the tubing, clean it, re press the end.
I used to do batches, 010 steps,put them on the shelf, and we could slide them in if stock pushrods were used. Same deal with 3/8'' chrome moly non adjustable pushrods. They are harder to pull the end from, i just get new ends, and turn the old one, groove it, get a bite, and pull it.
All of this is for the 'Swiss Watch' style blueprints we did.
If you want even valve float, you begin with even button heights. Less is better for RPM usually. The lifter determines this. I have no idea which lifter you have.
You can stack errors and hang a valve too. Sunk valves, really milled heads and blocks can load the plunger really low too, so if you don't check, who knows?
After checking, if good, then pull the rockers, 1/4 turn steps, on all 4, even. Install the intake, correctly, center the distributor hole if you removed the front dowel. Then check for pushrod to intake interference. Use a thin, long probe and run each cylinder, one by one, 2 full turns each. All 8.
Each pushrod gets twisted. Strong light shined into the pushrod holes, and check the clearance. Then go full 2 crank turns per pushrod, to see the clearance at full lift, opening, and closing.
Before this test, we fill the lifters first. Set each lifter in a can of oil, 30 W. Use the pushrod still in a drill press, and pump pump pump until no bubbles float out of the bleed holes on each side of all 16 lifters. . Pump each lifter until rock hard when you try to press the plunger down. Install them, add the intake,center it, snug it, no end seals needed,pushrods, rockers, tins and then cycle all of the valves and look for clearance
I prefer to fire a new engine with the lifters primed, so there is no start up clatter. Priming the pump does not fully bleed the lifters. I think some guys hurt stuff not priming. I have seen it cause issues.
Any contact can bend pusrods, stall a lifter, slow the rotation,cause a flat cam, or noise, or early or untimely engine death .
If this is a fast engine, or run hard from time to time, with dual springs or good dampened singles, I like to see the buttons close to equal and higher than lower.
Rememeber, as the engine goes many miles, the stems get higher, due to valve seat recession and valve face wear. So this can lower the button as designed.
If OK, install the intake, centered, sealed and torqued in steps. Always re torque after break in, and a few hot/cold cycles.
Also, as a final check,adjust your stands left or right to get the rockers over the stems as even as you can. You can snug them slowly and evenly, then use an aluminum or soft drift, gently. You tighten the bolts snug, and back off 1/4 or so, so that the rocker stands can be coaxed either way. They should be adjusted to have equal overhang looking straight down at the valve stem.
We also played with stand width, and rocker width, but remember,the offset is designed in for a reason, valve rotation on a stocker. This is needed to to valve train pedestal/shaft rigidity compare to ball and pedestal rockers, like on a Chevy.
You are kind of stuck on the last rocker on each stand, so center them first. Make the 1st and 8th rocker over hang the stems equally. Lightly cinch them. Then center the 2nd and 3rd stands, so that the rockers hang to the side of the stems equally. Then torque, in 3 steps,and re torque later, after a heat cycle or two.
Pay attention to how the stretch feels on the oil clearanced bolt. If spongy, use a new one. Do not just turn a grade 8 or 12 bolt for this location. They are case hardened from outside, and heat treated then tempered. Removing the OD will cause the bolt to fail, on first torque, or soon after. The narrowed bolt has to be turned, then heat treated.
Did you measure the rocker shafts for wear? And measure the rocker bores? Pull the plugs, brush and clean the bore and pre lube?
The first thing we always did/ do, on a tear down inspection, re blueprint, send the engine to the next race, was, pull the rocker shaft plugs while making no chips, and carefully see if chips or bearing are in there. You pull the plugs, and tilt the assembly slightly, and plug the lower hole with clean paper towels, or a white cloth. Then you run clean, filtered solvent down the shaft, and see what comes out. Then let it drain onto the white cloth. You can find failure signs and clues. We had microscopes to analyse debris, fast...Then you run the brush down the inside of the shaft, a good engine man has these,and clean it over a white cloth, and look for chips, sparkles, etc.....wear.
If OK, dis-assemble everything, maintain the order, measure it all, and fix the wear. Add the new shafts, or rockers neede for a nice set.
At this point, any shaft within tolerance got/gets, chucked in a lathe, and finely polished to very bright finish. Crocus cloth...fine brown sand paper, and oil..or...400 the 600 grit wet or dry with WD 40 if there is slight wear, then crocus cloth. Use high chuck speed
Now for a sad sad story. We made and machined the first tool steel shafts for race FE's. A very very talented Ford machinist and race engine builder named Brad Pick started a business, from Ford's race shop, and Ford men. He did beautiful valve train parts, valves, engines and more.
He used high speed...so please, polish your shafts at moderate speed....WITH A LIVE CENTER on the non chucked end. Go half and half on the soft jaw chucking.
He was turning hard steel at high speed. This is smart, you get a fine finish using carbide. He was doing a long run of about 50 pairs for NASCAR and Drags. He was working long hours to win Trophies for Ford. The chuck jaws were wearing, on the bored soft jaws we thought. The stock began to unchuck, maybe due to centrifugal force opening the 3 jaw chuck..and the part slid on those long OD turning passes. The bar stock had fed down to a shorter piece,and maybe the steady rest needed to move, we never knew. The bar stock began making a noise, as the chuck turned fast. The bar slid, and apparently wobbled. He looked left, behind the lathe gear head, just as the bar stock slid left and began to whip harder and harder. The stock bent to a 90 real fast, and it beat his poor skull in and killed him. They found him the next day, dead and missing part of his poor head.... He was a big, strong handsome man.....smart, talented, innovative, good.....and the lathe was still running with the stock spinning, all red. That really fucked us up for a while.
Recalling the evolution of the FE is a blessing and a curse for me here. I simply try to help FE guys build better engines,and you go back to the glory days, and the stories of Ford team guys come back.....and you remember fallen heroes who died for Ford....trying to build stronger valvetrains, and win more with Ford. More than one good man was lost trying to advance the race level of a Ford.
We had 2 guys get decapitated racing a Bronco in the desert.
We kept this gorgeous race car, up in the mezzanine for all to see....with it's trophies in front of it, up high. Many built better race cars due to this constant reminder for all team members.
That car caused the invention of all of the safety nets you see around a driver these days. They keep arms, legs and heads inside the car during a roll. Ford men died to figure that out too.
RIP, Brad Pick. A truly talented engine man and protype machinist. We both trained under a master Ford machinist,,engine man and tuner.
OK, the more on rocker blueprinting and having fun today.
Also, run the engine 2 more turns to check or adjust the oil splash tins. They can get tweaked, so re bend them nice and even, gap wise. Leave them on unless this is a Drag only, roller cam and rocker thumper.
Did you make sure the narrowed bolt is over the oil supply on each side?
Also, you will never win the BAJA 1000, Pikes Peak, the Mint 400, Barstow to Vegas, or other extreme durabilty races, with a race prepped, Ford race shop engine, without the tins, or with restricted oil to the rocker shafts.
It was tried, and the shaft and rocker wear was excessive. And the valve and valve spring cooling was reduced too much....as observed in degrees..and minimal oiling caused spring rate loss, increased head temps, and too much guide wear.
Drags only, fine. Street use, it aint going to go 100,000 miles
Hope this helps.
Sorry for the morbid stuff, but I was there and it still hurts.
This message has been edited by HolmanMoodyStroppeVet on Sep 11, 2012 1:09 PM This message has been edited by HolmanMoodyStroppeVet on Sep 11, 2012 11:49 AM This message has been edited by HolmanMoodyStroppeVet on Sep 11, 2012 11:16 AM