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Technical 1955 Pontiac V8 valve lifters

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Skankin' Rat Fink, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    Hey group ...

    I am in need of valve lifters for my 1955 Pontiac 287 engine. Are they the same as later Pontiac engines?

    RockAuto, NAPA, etc. show no matches, but I've learned not to trust these catalogs. EGGE lists what appears to be a 1955-only lifter (VL10, $17), and another lifter for every other Pontiac V8 (VL49, $4). But the VL10 page lists a VL49 under Interchage?? https://egge.com/part/nos-1304-vl10/

    I would appreciate some expert advice. Thanks!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
  2. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,260

    dan c
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    as i recall, the '55 came with solid lifters. that may be the problem...
     
  3. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    No, they are hydraulic. I have had them out and I have the shop manual that indicates hydraulic lifters in 55.

    Sent from my LG-H900 using H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  4. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,174

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    you might call Egge and ask..............

    Ray
     

  5. draggin'GTO
    Joined: Jul 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,773

    draggin'GTO
    Member

    The H-O Racing Specialties, Inc. book titled 'Pontiac High Performance Engine Design & Blueprint Assembly' lists most of the year to year parts interchanges on the back page of the book.

    It shows 1955 all by itself, with 1956 and up lifters interchanging with each other. 1955 did use hydraulic lifters, but for only this first year of the Pontiac V8 the valves were adjusted using a locking nut.

    So it appears that 1955 lifters, for whatever reason, don't interchange with later lifters.
     
  6. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    Well that's unfortunate. I believe I will give EGGE a call and pay up.

    Thanks for the info!

    Sent from my LG-H900 using H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  7. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    Alright I called EGGE .... the rep said I can change my engine over to 1956-up lifters as long as I switch to 1956-up pushrods. But my info seems to show that pushrods are all the same, 1955-1960, 9.1360" overall length.

    Now I'm not even sure I've got 1955 lifters in there right now. Will report back when I have my actual measured pushrod length.
     
  8. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    All my previous old engines had solid lifters, so I'm new to hydraulic ... and I don't know who to believe when the info conflicts
     
  9. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    Pushrods seem to measure to about 9.25" with a tape measure. I would think these are the same pushrods as 1956-60. Does anyone have a good, definitive length on a 1955 pushrod? Can I tell a 1955 lifter from a 1956+ if I inspect them side by side?
     
  10. Here's a bump to the top for you. This is the kind of stuff that can drive you nuts. Hopefully a Pontiac expert will be along to help shortly.
     
    Skankin' Rat Fink likes this.
  11. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    So by looking at photos ... it seems like 1955 lifters have a body that extends higher above the plunger. I don't know yet if the seat height is the same. I have a set of 1956+ lifters in hand now ... I am going to pull my old ones and compare. If the seat height and oil groove are compatible, I'm going to run them.

    844-HT951.jpg
    1956


    1955.jpg
    1955
     
    gas pumper likes this.
  12. Have you actually walked into NAPA where you could get a look at a lifter for comparison or actually get a look in the paper book or just looked on line.

    On line catalogs are nice but they will never ever compete with the book and a pair of eyes that can read and decipher what is written.
     
  13. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,153

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    I read [in HRM] that SBC lifters would work in a pontiac...
     
  14. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    I'm pretty certain they are not going to work with stock length pushrods.

    Sent from my LG-H900 using H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  15. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    Not yet. I don't think NAPA will have the 55 lifters to really look at them, but maybe their book would be a help.
     
  16. The book will show either two different part numbers or a crossover part number if the other part is compatible. I have when I needed to make a comparison order one of each part and sent the one back that didn't work. Sometimes there is a restocking charge but if you know the parts guy he will normally know a way around it. For the difference in cost it is worth the gamble either way.
     
  17. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547

    stimpy

    go over to the mellings products site and there catalog has a spec section
    pontiac lifters oil groove is in the wrong spot and will not allow the lifter to pump up .
     
    Skankin' Rat Fink likes this.
  18. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547

    stimpy

    the pushrod change might have to do with the rocker arm oiling , if the pushrod has a solid ball on the end the lifter will pump up and hold the valves open as it will be hydraulically locked at the lifters orfice , if it has the hole in the end it will unlock the lifter hydraulically and do its job properly as the rod will release the pressure at the pushrod/rocker ball socket at the top ( plus lube it ) , I know the early v-8s oiled thru the rocker stud for the rocker ball , also the lifter length might have to do with a smaller/larger base circle of the cam shaft as that would change the oil slot location on the lifter body

    also the later lifters ( post55) (sealed power #HT951) are the same ( excluding RA4 ) till 1979 when the tall blocks were done ( 350-455) the 301-265 used a different lifter
     
  19. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    My NAPA doesn't have their paper books anymore.

    I think I've made some interesting findings. Possibly with some promising results. I will report back with photos.

    Sent from my LG-H900 using H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  20. Dan Timberlake
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,331

    Dan Timberlake
    Member

    Here is the description of the valve train oiling from the 1955 SAE paper
     

    Attached Files:

  21. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    So the 1955 Pontiac shop manual describes only a hydraulic lifter. No mention of a solid lifter. The 1955 V8 has an adjustable valve train, unlike other 50s Pontiac V8s. I took a lifter out of my engine and took it apart. There was no spring, no plunger. The pushrod seat seemed to rest directly on a machined shoulder in the lifter body. It seems to me that these are solid lifters, with an oil groove and a check valve, just so they can send oil through the pushrod. They must be intended for the 1955 GMC truck engine. That's the only thing that makes sense to me. And that's why I couldn't get them adjusted ....

    2016-03-20 11.53.45.jpg

    I compared the oil grooves, and I looked at how it lines up in the engine. The '56+ lifters should have their groove placed properly to get oil. 1955 solid lifter on the left, 1956+ hydraulic lifter on the right.

    2016-03-20 12.04.03.jpg

    The pushrod seat height is higher in the 56+ lifter. I also have a full set of new pushrods, stock length, 9.136". These are shorter than the pushrods that came out of my engine. I dropped the lifters in with the new pushrods, and everything seems to line up. I will adjust these up and run the engine once I get my hands on another intake manifold gasket.

    2016-03-20 12.04.28.jpg
    2016-03-20 11.49.36.jpg
    See the link in my signature if you noticed this isn't a 55 car.
     
  22. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    Update for all future generations. Maybe a Google search for info brought you here.

    The lifters seem to fit, work, and adjust perfectly. So in my non-expert opinion, this is a perfectly workable setup, with cheap and easily available parts:
    1955 adjustable rockers
    1956 lifters
    1956 pushrods
     
  23. Apples to oranges here but there was a similar issue with Buicks between 1955 and 1956. I was told by one or two antique engine parts suppliers that you could use 56 lifters in a 55 by changing the pushrods.
    That is until I read a 56 Buick new product information manual. This specific topic was covered as a result of the camshaft material being changed. Accelerated wear using lifters and distributor gear not for that specific year was a possibility. You might want to check into this.
     
  24. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    I'm assuming you mean accelerated wear on cam lobes, or on lifter faces? Do you know where I can read up on this?
     
  25. MJVAUGHANS
    Joined: Sep 15, 2003
    Posts: 24

    MJVAUGHANS
    Member


    1. Did you buy new 1955 rocker arms, or are you using the originals?
    2. How long have you been running this combination?

    I messed with, and am still messing with this issue on my 1955 gmc with the same engine. I ordered some replacement pushrods from comp cams because you can get any end style, any length and they are chro-moly so they are stronger.(I have a valve spring situation also and have crushed the ends of the stock pushrods, but that does not effect the lifter, pushrod and rocker arm geometry you are working on.)
     
  26. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,304

    henryj1951
    Member
    from USA

    from memory the pontiac, diameter is .842
    pushrods are
    5/16th's tube
    326,389,400,412 OL 8.685
    1957/81 287-455V8's OL 9.150
    and something about
    1955 through 1960 -n-
    1961-66 were different...
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
  27. just thought I would bump this thread .
     
  28. Skankin' Rat Fink
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,564

    Skankin' Rat Fink
    Member
    from NYC

    I haven't found any more information about accelerated wear.

    I have put 8,000 miles on the engine since fitting these lifters. Still runs great, no signs of trouble, haven't even had to adjust the valves.
     
    bchctybob and wvenfield like this.
  29. MJVAUGHANS
    Joined: Sep 15, 2003
    Posts: 24

    MJVAUGHANS
    Member

    [QUOTE="The lifters seem to fit, work, and adjust perfectly. So in my non-expert opinion, this is a perfectly workable setup, with cheap and easily available parts:
    1955 adjustable rockers
    1956 lifters
    1956 pushrods[/QUOTE]

    Where did you get your rockers from?
    Your studs and rockers balls are 3/8"?
    Do you know if they are 1.5 or 1.65 ratio?
     

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