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Old 01-09-2011, 09:37 PM   #1
Head Hunter
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Default Ford Flathead valve adjustment

We have a 53 ford flathead motor ,cant adjust lifters out anymore ,broke the little tool to hold lifters, valves still chatter ?? Thanks
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:39 PM   #2
swissmike
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

Fix tool?
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

Fixed tool and got new one ,also ordered new lifters still wont adjust , Wrong valves???
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

Holes drilled into the sided of lifter bores work better then the little Johnson tool. But you can only drill the holes when rebuilding an engine --shavings, you know.

Anyway, what valves & cam do you have? How does the car run otherwise?
By the way, flatheads always seem to have some valvetrain noise, solid lifters do that.
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

Is that a stock engine with stock heads and original valves?
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:04 AM   #6
blown49
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

All valves or just some?? You may have a cam going flat!

Jim
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:17 AM   #7
31ACoupe
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

you might want to consider using the chevy valves, theres a lot of info in archives on that or you can get tex smith's book which has good info on the valve train.
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:03 AM   #8
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

AJ will cringe when I suggest this, but here goes. I just pulled the valves on a complete engine I bought to verify that it has hollow body adjustable lifters. No way would I try to use those damn Johnson tools. So, going down to my local hardware store, I bought some of those plastic covers you use on the legs of stools or furniture that would fit down in the lifter bores. I call these my "lifter condoms". You can put those down in the bores to catch the shavings when you drill into them. Attach a magnet in the vicinity of the hole when you drill it and the shavings will stick to the area around the hole and to the drill bit. After the hole is drilled I use the shop vac with one of those small tube attachments and I use another magnet on a stick to clean everything up. I'm sure that microscopically I am missing some of the shavings, but that is why we run an oil filter, right? And by the way, I modified the oil system to for all oil to go through the filter, too.

The hard part about drilling these holes, if you have never done it before, is to get them as far down as you can. I drill a 3/16" hole and use an old ice pic.
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

Always used the Johnson tool. Agreed it is a little cumbersome, but always worked for me. Maybe your valvetrain is just plain wore out beyond adjustment? Places like Reds-Headers sell complete valvetrain kits including cam lifters springs and valves for less money than buying all individual components.
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Old 01-13-2011, 11:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

Was a compression test done? Are you sure a valve or two isn't stuck?
Is it an old flathead or completely rebuilt?
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:38 PM   #11
Bruce Lancaster
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

And clarify...have you run out of tappet adjustment range with a gap still showing, or did you get to correct dimension but still have noise??
What clearance spec are you using, and what is the gap after your adjustment??
A '51-3 engine with adjustable lifters will need more turns than an earlier engine, as those late flathead valves are actually shorter than '32-50. I did put adjustables in a '53 engine once, Johnson hollows back when they were readily available, and they did have plenty of range for
the late valves.
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

Hi, I just caught this post and am in a similar predicament. I am fine with a pre 49 engines but never fool with 8ba style engines. I got a very nice ported and relieved 8ba block at an auction and want to use it. I was going thru my ford parts manual to order valves and see that here are two length valves used in an 8ba engine. 49-50 use a valve with an overall length of 4.750" (which is the same as an early engine) and the 51-53 engine uses a valve with a 4.54 overall length. This is .210 difference in length, a further check of the lifter numbers revealed that there were early lifters and 51-53 later style lifters that were longer.

If you are having a problem adjusting your lifters far enough, I'd check the length of your valves first, I can't see how you can adjust almost 1/4' out on a lifter with out running out of threads.

Now I just started with this education today so if you are reading this and know the answer feel free to join in and help both of us out..
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:07 PM   #13
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

Well I'm answering my own questions, after spending all afternoon researching the valves and the parts book nomenclature, it seems like there are two style of late engine valves but the measurement distance refers to the valve spring retainer height and the valves are the same. The problem develops when you install the early long springs on the late short valves and you get coil bind. Since this isn't the issue back to square one.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:20 PM   #14
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

I'm going to go look again on that...I too have worked on exactly one late-late type. My memory is that the valves themselves differ in length, but substantially less than the spring dimension varies. Don't remember source...I am up to my neck in early Ford literature, but have only rags and tatters as late as 1951. Hmmmm...whyinhell do people wander across 49th street??
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:28 PM   #15
Bruce Lancaster
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

Here's an old post, casting lots of fog on the issue through endless comparison of apples, oranges, and rantings of a machinest who is too young:

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...ngth&showall=1

But I think no actual overall length spec...the only numbers refer to spring and groove, not end to end.

Looks likely that actual valve overall is same length, but will see if I have anything definitive on that at home.

Remember: Late model iron is confusing. Go get a 59A.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

Could a reground cam have too small of a base circle now, after the regrind?
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:52 PM   #17
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

Use chevy aftermarket (Manley brand) valves and you will have to wind the johnstons down not up. Or take a good .020 off the tip of each valve.
Of coarse this is all dependant on how many times the seats have been ground.
you may need some where between .020-.050 spring shims, using a lincoln spring at an installed hight of 2.125. This is using the one pce srping retainer with clips. the taller the seat the less shims used, or that has been my experience so far.
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Old 01-13-2011, 05:07 PM   #18
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

I also realise that the last post I placed is no help at this point, but you may have to remove the heads to get an answer on your valves. Also when you set the cam to adjust the lifter does the lifter sit level or very close to level with the lifter bore.
If the lifter sink well below the lifter bore and is hard to attach the johnson lock wrench too it is usually a combination of two things.
It has been my experienced that the original hollow johnstons sink quite low in the bore with a reground cam and this is amphasized double when the lifters have been re surfaced as well.
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:25 AM   #19
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

These drawings may help. I recently made these after ordering and receiving all new parts from Mac VanPelt and assembling. Includes all part numbers and dimensions.

Jim
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File Type: pdf valve dwgs 2.pdf (635.0 KB, 495 views)
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Last edited by blown49; 01-14-2011 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 01-15-2011, 10:04 AM   #20
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Default Re: Ford Flathead valve adjustment

Quote:
Originally Posted by alchemy View Post
Could a reground cam have too small of a base circle now, after the regrind?
IIRC back in the mid '60's when I bought a set of adjustable Johnsons for an 8ba at a local speed shop there were 2 different sets available, one for stock cams, one for regrinds/race.

Ed
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