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Hot Rods Rhoads Lifters On Solid Lifter Cam - Setting Valve Lash

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by enigma57, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. enigma57
    Joined: Apr 12, 2007
    Posts: 246


    Have a lash adjustment question regarding Rhoads lifters when running them on a solid lifter cam. I spoke with Jack at Rhoads and they have a V-Max lifter that can be run on a solid lifter cam. So I ordered a set for my 292 Chevy inline 6 and they should be here next week.

    He said lash adjustments are made using a feeler gauge much like you would with a regular solid lifter. With dry lifter (not pumped up and not having been soaked in oil beforehand) on heel of cam and feeler gauge in place between valve tip and rocker, carefully tighten lash to depress spring loaded plunger in lifter until it 'just' bottoms but does not lift valve off seat. Then tighten poly-lock and proceed to next lifter.

    I am thinking that when setting lash, I should 'stack' tolerances. In other words...... Take the recommended hot lash for the solid lifter cam...... Add .002" for initial cold lash setting (iron head and block)...... Then add the amount I want to use for delaying complete pump-up of the fast bleed down Rhoads lifter. He cautioned not to exceed 0.035" in all and the way I have it figured, I should 'just' be within that parameter...... 0.026" lash for intake and 0.028" for exhaust. Does that sound right to you guys?

    Any assistance much appreciated,

  2. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 1,992

    oldiron 440

    I haven't used Rhoads lifters since the eighties and pulled them out after only six weeks and installed oem lifters.
    I guess I would wonder why you would need them, why not just use the solids?
  3. chicken
    Joined: Aug 15, 2004
    Posts: 164

    from Kansas

    Are you just trying to eliminate the solid lifter noise? Because the way you're adjusting the Rhoads lifters isn't going to achieve what most guys are trying to do which is "calm down" a hot cam at lower engine speeds. If you do set the lifters as you're suggesting, make sure you have good springs because if you float the valves the lifters may pump up and the valves may meet the pistons. Good problem.
    I've never liked those lifters. Give me a properly adjusted set of solids any day.

    Montana1 likes this.
  4. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,019

    Joe H

    You have to think of the cam as a hydraulic and not worry about the hot or cold. The cam is no longer a solid lifter cam, the lash is now gone since the hydraulic lifter is taking care of it. If the cam is really big and you need vacuum, run more clearance, I would start around .015" and see how it idled.

    I just installed a set in a Pontiac 455 last week, here is how I did it.
    I set mine with a fresh out of the box set, no oil in them, just cam lube on the camshaft and lifter face.
    I wanted .012" on both Intake & exhaust.
    I used new studs and poly-locks so I could turn them down by hand.
    With lifter on the base circle, run the nut down till the lifters INNER plunger bottoms out while you have the desired feeler gauge between the valve stem and rocker arm. If you go past bottoming out, the valve starts to open.
    Lock the set screw, and you are done, move to the next set.

    After my engine ran on a test stand for break-in, I went back in to check adjustment since all parts were new.
    I started on #1 TDC, lifters on base circle. This is where you either need a good feel on the wrench, or a dial indicator. I set up an indicator on the valve spring retainer so I could see when the valve started opening. Since the lifters now have oil in them, when rechecking, you need to bleed the oil out. I put the feeler gauge back between the stem and rocker arm, them bottomed out the plunger while watching the dial indicator. You could see the valve open, then close back as the oil bleed out. Once the oil was out, the valve stayed open and I could back off the adjustment till the valve just closed. Lock the set screw on the poly locks, and move on to the next set.

    My dad runs the V-max in his heavy race car, when going from .020" clearance down to .008" clearance, his car picked up 2 tenths and 1.5 mph in the quarter mile. Remember, the tighter you run them, the bigger the cam looks to the engine below 3000 rpm or so ( bleed off zone ). Above 3000, they pump up and work just like any other lifter, solid or hydraulic. Also, the looser they are, the noisier they are.

    One big benefit to this lifter is you can fine tune the camshaft, more or less for exhaust, or more or less for the intake, both don't have to match. You can vary from .035" down to about practically zero clearance. The less clearance, the less vacuum, if the cam is big.


  5. If the Rhoades lifters are hyd.,,,,?,,,,won’t any clearance,,,lash,,,,cause the snap ring to come out just like a normal hyd. Lifter ?
    Wouldn’t the lifters still be set at zero lash ?

  6. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,019

    Joe H

    I didn't know snap rings come out all that often? They have special designed oil passageways that bleed off oil below a certain pressure or rpm. The adjustment is more or less how much they bleed off reducing the duration and lift. The more clearance you give them, the small the cam appears to be while in bleed-off. Once they pump up, they go almost solid. As far as I know, they don't have more or less effect on floating valves or coming apart then any other lifter made. Dad I have been running them since the early '80s with no failures. Dad race wagon has over 2000 1/4 mile runs on it!
  7. Sorry,,,didn’t know they were used for solids as well.
    If you use clearance and they bleed down,,,would the lash be very loud ?
    I can understand .002 clearance,,,I have heard of that,,,,but not much more.
    Oh well,,,it will work I guess.

  8. Tickety Boo
    Joined: Feb 2, 2015
    Posts: 1,326

    Tickety Boo
    from Wisconsin

    Never had a set of Rhoades lifters but wouldn't you set them like any other hydraulic lifter? :rolleyes:
    Desoto291Hemi likes this.
  9. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,019

    Joe H

    Standard Rhoads lifter set like all others, V-max lets you tune the amount of clearance so you can vary the duration and lift below the bleed off level. Heavy cars can run bigger cams with out the low rpm lag.
    Tickety Boo likes this.
  10. This should be fun when the pump up. :eek:
  11. 427 sleeper
    Joined: Mar 8, 2017
    Posts: 1,176

    427 sleeper

    Wouldn't one be better off getting a cam ground to their specific needs rather than putting hydraulic lifters on a solid cam? Or am I looking at this wrong? :confused:
    Johnny Gee likes this.
  12. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,019

    Joe H

    Not if you already have a cam.
  13. enigma57
    Joined: Apr 12, 2007
    Posts: 246


    Thanks, Joe! Appreciate your insight on setting lash. This is my first experience with these V-Max lifters and I want to get it right.

    :) I can understand why y'all are curious as to why I am doing this.

    Reckon I'm just one of those people who, when most folks say "Why?"...... I say "Why not?"

    Seriously though...... I look at Rhoads lifters as old school VVT (variable valve timing)...... Only without computers and the extra valvetrain parts used in modern engines to accomplish the same thing.

    I have a '57 Chevy sedan that I would like to pull a boat trailer with up in the Texas hill country. Need plenty of low end grunt, so I'm building a 292 Chevy inline 6 engine for it. Most of these engines were used in trucks. Mine came out of a combine. That (and the siamesed intake ports) are why I call it 'the tractor engine'. Backed up with 4.27 gears in a Dana 44 rearend (from '51 Merc) and a Borg Warner T-85N 3-speed transmission with 2.97 1st gear and .70 overdrive (from '65 Ford truck). OD solenoid wired through switch on shifter so I can split 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears like a 2-speed rearend if needed.

    I cammed it to give as broad and flat a powerband from off idle to 5,300 RPMs as possible. Should be a real stump puller. Curious to see if I can expand on that even more.

    I recall some local circle track guys running Rhoads lifters on solid lifter cams. Just thought I'd experiment with some to see if I can increase low end and mid-range whilst broadening the power band a bit more, as well.

    Best regards to all,


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