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Let's talk about resurfacing lifters a minute

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Rocky, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. So, I started dissassembling this 59-AB that came in my old 40 ford parts car [no parts left...sorry] and found some used-but-not-abused Johnson adjustables.....they have the usual wear patterns and no bad gouges. I chucked one up in my trusty drill press and gave it a dose of 180 grit...I plan to graduate to 1000 grit wet/dry before I polish them. I was wanting to run them on a new ["3/4 race"] performance cam ...your thoughts?

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  2. 31 Coupe
    Joined: Feb 25, 2008
    Posts: 193

    31 Coupe

    New hyd. and solid lifters have a 40 inch spherical radius ground on them and the cam lobe has approx. 0.002" taper so that it contacts the lifter off center and spins the lifter. Proper operation means that the lobe and lifter don't rub but roll together at the same surface speed. This is why all cam manufacturers insist on new lifters with a new cam or even putting the same used cam in a different engine block. Bottom line is polishing the lifter is OK providing you can produce that 40 inch radius again. Good luck.
  3. scottybaccus
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,109


    The original hardness may only be a few thousandths thick. I would probably start a lot finer than 180 grit. I've seen this done, but always by hand on a glass or precision ground steel plate.
  4. Babyearl
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 610


    You should have no problems as long as they are square to the bore and smooth. I used to grind mine on the valve machine and sand with 600.
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  5. oldebob
    Joined: Oct 21, 2008
    Posts: 782

    from Spokane WA

    If you know anyone with an old Souix Valve grinder that has the deal on the RH side that pivots. That is for refacing valve stems and lifters. No swirl marks that way. Use plety of oil and REAL easy passes. They come out as new.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  6. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 9,931


    I take mine to a cam grinder. He charges about $2 per lifter and they are like new.
    kidcampbell71 and Mike Miller like this.
  7. 31 coupe is on it as new lifters have a 3 degree crown ground into them. make em flat and that's just what you'll get is a flat cam. Flat surface on the lifters won't spin >>>>.
  8. 46fatford
    Joined: Jul 8, 2007
    Posts: 1,056


    RichFox, Where do you go to get your lifters reground? I too have a set of old Johnson adjustables and want to get them refaced. Will the place take them by mail and ship them back when done? I'm in In and can't find anywhere locally to have them done.
  9. Different cam grinders use different lobe tapers.
    There is not one universal number.
  10. lonewolf
    Joined: Sep 2, 2006
    Posts: 382


    lifters should not be flat, i sent my johnsons to delta camshaft in tocoma washington and they did a great jog there # 253 383-4152 or i think it was like 50 bucks
  11. lakes modified
    Joined: Dec 2, 2001
    Posts: 1,283

    lakes modified
    Member Emeritus

    There is a cam grinder in Albany Oregon who does lifters also.If interested, let me know.
  12. TraderJack
    Joined: Apr 10, 2008
    Posts: 330


    Never tried it, but I think you can do the dome this way.

    Put the lifter in drill press, put the sanding paper on a softer piece of plastic or foam.

    when you press down on the lifter the plastic will deform into a cavity where the sides are higher than the center, ergo, you will get a dome on the bottom of the lifter.

    Might require some testing on bar stock to see how much of a dome you will get.

    Or you can radius cut a piece of flat stock to provide a more accurate dome.

    or you can send it to a cam grinder!

    there is always a way to do it, if you have the desire!


  13. Just take them to a cam grander, tell them the radius you require and get them to reharden the lifters.

  14. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 9,931


    Dema Elgin.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  15. If the lifter still retains most of it's concave surface you can use some 400 grit wet or dry, but that's according to the "Chevy Power" book.
  16. Oregon Cam Grinding, Inc.
    [FONT=verdana, arial, geneva, sans-serif]5913 NE 127th Avenue #200
    [FONT=verdana, arial, geneva, sans-serif]Vancouver, WA 98682[/FONT]
    [/FONT][FONT=verdana, arial, geneva, sans-serif]Phone: 360-256-7985[/FONT]
    [FONT=verdana, arial, geneva, sans-serif]Fax: 360-256-7465[/FONT]
  17. Thanks everybody! Great info here.
  18. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,764

    from Wa.

    According to the Ford engineering drawings flathead lifters had a 96 inch radius on them from the factory. This ammounts to .0002 from edge to center.
    NO ONE and I mean NO ONE refaces them with a radius these days.
    They are ground with a straight taper. Actually this better matches the taper on the cam lobe.
    I do them and not to brag but I can put a finer finish on them than anyone else's that I have seen. I also ship.
    I manufacture radius lifters for 404 type cams and drill lifters for lightweight racing applications.
    kidcampbell71 and Mike Miller like this.
  19. Thanks, Pete. I'll be checking in with your regarding resurfacing some lilfters..
  20. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 6,607

    from Nicasio Ca

    Wow you're getting the deep discount, or pre-inflation price. They just quoted me $8 a pop!

    Pulled out my old B&D valve grinder. I could make a collet to hold the lifters and give them a slight taper.. Still shopping around for new stuff. V8-60

  21. I like to finish them by lapping on glass (or suitable flat surface) with valve lapping compound curse medium then fine.
  22. After running a bottle hone down the cylinders of that flathead engine [this thread was started in 2009] I found several HUGE cracks in the cylinder walls. It went bye bye. The info is still good stuff though. Thanks
  23. Sorry rocky I didn't notice that someone pulled an old thread up.
  24. Dan from Oakland
    Joined: Jan 16, 2009
    Posts: 14

    Dan from Oakland

    Just to caution everyone reading this. There is ALOT of bad information in this thread. Lifters are not flat and they are not ground on an angle and no you can't recondition them with abrasive cloth. Send them to a shop with a tappet grinder- a tappet grinder is NOT a valve grinder. Just trying to save you guys a lot of grief.
    ted kovacs likes this.
  25. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,764

    from Wa.

    Just a bit of trivia, flathead Ford V8 lifters were FLAT up to about the late 30's. People with access to the drawings will know the exact date.

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