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Technical Do Solid Lifter Cams go flat?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Elcohaulic, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 904

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    In 45+years of messing with cars, I have never heard of or saw an engine with solid flat lifters go bad. I've been mainly into Chevys, Pontiacs or Oldsmobiles..

    I wanted to know if anybody ever saw or heard of one going bad?

    With all this trouble of cams going bad in the recent years maybe this is the answer..

    Thank you,
    Jeff
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2020
  2. N2hotrods
    Joined: Jul 6, 2010
    Posts: 137

    N2hotrods
    Member

    Solid lifter cams go flat. You just don’t see as many of them used as the hydraulic flat tappit.
     
  3. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 904

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    I don't doubt it but I have never saw or heard of one going bad.. Jeff
     
  4. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,033

    Ebbsspeed
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    They do go flat, but since there is probably 1 solid flat tappet cam for every 50 hydraulics it's not a surprise people never hear of them going flat. Proper valve clearance adjustment is real important on a solid lifter cam, and if it's too loose the valvetrain is hammered hard. Lobes are ground with a gradual takeup ramp that cushions the impact of the lobe to lifter interface during the early part of the lift. This gradual ramp takes up the valve clearance before the aggressive lift part of the lobe is reached. If the valves are set too loose the lifters are hammered against this aggressive lift section of the lobe, causing extreme point loading which may exceed the capabilities of the oil to prevent metal-to-metal contact. This being the case, the cam will go flat in short order.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2020
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  5. cpraceman
    Joined: Feb 6, 2011
    Posts: 4

    cpraceman
    Member
    from walls, ms

    Just be sure to use the proper break in oil with an additive and proper RPM and time.
    You should have no issues.
     
  6. LAROKE
    Joined: Sep 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,679

    LAROKE
    Member

    Hasn't happened to me yet, but at least two of my friends have lost cams in their Jimmy 302's due to a bad diaphragm in the mechanical fuel pump spraying fuel on the adjacent cam lobes, washing the lube away.
     
  7. buffaloracer
    Joined: Aug 22, 2004
    Posts: 797

    buffaloracer
    Member
    from kansas

    They can but I think that most people that run them pay more attention to detail .
    Pete
     
  8. Any camshaft can flatten a lobe or two. Roller cams are the least likely and flat tappet cams are the worse . Solids or hydraulics are the same in the flattening dept.
     
  9. In my world, the B and C Cummins use flat tappet solid cams and large face mushroom tappets, and I’ve replaced a few over the years due to flat lobes. I’ve also replaced a bunch of roller cams that have gone flat. Usually in the case of flat roller cams, the axle bearings on the roller fail and then the tappet or follower takes out the cam.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  10. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,657

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Yeah, it almost seems like you exchange 1 failure point for another with roller cams.
     
  11. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,841

    sunbeam
    Member

    I had a 62 ford 375 hp 390 that had a cam go flat on a exhaust lobe.
     
  12. Ericnova72
    Joined: May 1, 2007
    Posts: 369

    Ericnova72
    Member

    There is no difference between the cam cores for flat tappet solid lifter and flat tappet hydraulic lifter. Only difference is the cam grind profile itself, solid cam grinds have a lash take-up ramp.

    So both are just as likely to go flat or survive, it has noting to do with what guts are in the lifter.

    most problems come down to the majority of the hydraulic cam purchasers are looking for the easy way out or least amount of effort, and don't do their homework as far as prep and the break-in process.

    Get into some of the modern aggressive circle track solid cam profiles and they often will be showing wear at the end of a season and need replacing, despite the best maintenance schedule and upkeep, simply because of the spring pressures they need to run are right at the maximum a flat tappet can handle.
     
  13. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,076

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I had friends/associates with 406" Ford FEs. More than 3 developed flat cams,
    I joked that with the noisy valve train those monsters had, the only way you'd detect a flat cam would be the performance falling off...
    Mine was a 427 side oiler, in my '54 Ford Coupe. I adjusted valves regularly, for fear I might be next!
     
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  14. In a word YES, the can wipe out.
     
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  15. Stan Back
    Joined: Mar 9, 2007
    Posts: 697

    Stan Back
    Member
    from California

  16. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,761

    Pete1
    Member
    from Wa.

    Giggle, Chortle, GUFFAW!! That is the best description I have heard in the 67 years I have been in the cam business..
    THANKS.
     
  17. now thas funny right there.......................
     
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  18. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 904

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    LOL!! Good one..

    I see more rollers go bad than anything else..
     
  19. bschwoeble
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 552

    bschwoeble
    Member

    Solid lifter cams are meant for those who like to tinker or who grew up adjusting valve lash. People today just want to set it and forget it. It would be interesting to know how many people can use a feeler gauge to set valve lash, especially on an engine that is running.
     
  20. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,344

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    Im guessing not many !
     
  21. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,344

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    " additional money" yea , approximately $550 additional money , in dome households , that buys a lot of groceries !! Oh , that's just for cam & lifters
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
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  22. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,841

    sunbeam
    Member

    Unless you are at extreme limits solid cams do not require frequent lash adjustments. It was some time in 1958 that Ford cars even had hydraulics.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
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  23. LAROKE
    Joined: Sep 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,679

    LAROKE
    Member

    I do both my inline sixes but not while it's running. I get it up to operating temperature, put #1 cylinder at TDC and adjust half the valves, put #6 cylinder at TDC and adjust the rest.

    It will be similar when I rebuild the 322 Nailhead as I have an Isky E3 solid lifter cam and FACTORY EXPORT RACING rocker arms adjustable for that build.
     
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  24. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,459

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    Hey I check my hydraulics, every twenty years or so.:rolleyes:
     
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  25. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,344

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    Obviously , you and I don't share a value system ...
     
  26. And all Y-blocks had mechanical cams. I grew up adjusting the valves on my first car with a y-block. Not that hard. I did it more often than needed because I liked playing with it.
     
  27. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,841

    sunbeam
    Member

    On low oil rocker shaft motors I almost always set running on oil throwing rocker stud Chevys not so much.
     
  28. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 901

    Joe H
    Member

    I had one that wore out, all the lobes were down on lift, but it was pretty even wear. It had over 2000 passes at the drag strip, about 15 years worth. I was to poor to change cams over the years. 455 Pontiac with Wolverine Blue Racer cam.
     
  29. bschwoeble
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 552

    bschwoeble
    Member

    Almost fifty years ago, a kid would come by the garage with his "59" Biscayne "348" car. He asked how to adjust valves and not get an oil bath. I mentioned a couple ways. He said he found that when he drains the oil and starts the engine, he can adjust the valves and not get a bath. I laughed, thinking he was kidding. He wasn't.
     
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  30. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 6,589

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    Wonder if there is any difference in lubrication between a lobe and lifter that are in constant contact and pressure vs. having, at least having the potential for, some clearance.
     

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