Recent 454 cam swap!

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Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by Bruisr on Sat Feb 13, 2016 9:46 am

In December I swapped heads on my 454 from peanut port heads to 049 oval port heads. After doing this the valves weren't adjusted properly and flattened the #3 intake lobe. I have since replaced the cam with a much bigger cam from Howard's Cam and used a set of their direct lube hydraulic lifters. I successfully broke in the cam and lifters, and I'm now ready to do the final valve lash adjustment. My question is: When adjusting the valves while engine is running I loosen the adjustment nut until the valve just starts to clatter, when retightening the adjustment nut how many turns past the no clatter sound do I go? I've been told 1/2 turn to 1 full turn from different people. It seems to me at 1/2 a turn the valves are noisier than before. I was running an Isky hydraulic cam before and the valves weren't this noisy. I'm afraid of my memory not being correct in going to 1 full turn after clatter sound stops, might be to tight and wipe out another cam. Sorry for being long winded, just got off work and still buzzing from Red Bull drink. Thanks.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by Joe73 on Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:00 am

I usually go a 1/2 turn.
I'm a big fan of howards cams and their direct lube lifters. I went with crower cam saver lifters this time around.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by Oldschool454 on Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:15 am

I adjusted mine while the engine was running. I did 1/2 a turn also. Never had any problems.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by ant7377 on Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:55 am

Just stay aware and work slowly. You have to start the 1/2 turn just when the clacking stops. I wish i could grasp the spinning it in your fingers method and not make a mess. Always seems its too loose when I try the spinning method.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by 73ss on Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:04 pm

I like to adjust with the engine off. spin the pushrod, slowly tighten until it stops, then 1/2 turn or whatever. Time consuming but it works. What does howard's recommend for preload? I'm using the Comp pro-mag lifters. They only recommend .002-.004" preload which equals about 1/8 turn down. Now thats on the pro-mag line only. Are the howard's lifters a "hi rev" design? I did a head swap last year myself and cam&lifters looked great after 4yrs..http://www.summitracing.com/parts/cca-858-16/applications
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by bracketchev1221 on Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:55 pm

Do it with the engine off its much cleaner. Rotate the engine by hand and go through the firing order. Do all the intakes and then rotate it one time and do the exhausts. Also, use the up and down method instead of spinning. Spinning can give false indications but you can always feel when all the slack is out of the valve train if you go up and down. Then what I like to do is go 1/2 turn. Then put a paint mark at 12:00 on the adjuster. Then anytime you want to see if any moved, you can pull the valve over and look. Also if you choose to go another 1/4 turn later, you can do all of them looking at the paint dot only.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by Joe73 on Sat Feb 13, 2016 7:22 pm

I cant agree more with bracketchev. He is right on the money.
Also, before your put the intake on the motor, did you rotate the crank to make sure all the lifters are rotating in their bore ?
That way you can address a problem before you button it up.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by ant7377 on Sat Feb 13, 2016 7:24 pm

bracketchev1221 wrote:Do it with the engine off its much cleaner.  Rotate the engine by hand and go  through the firing order.  Do all the intakes and then rotate it one time and do the exhausts.  Also, use the up and down method instead of spinning.  Spinning can give false indications but you can always feel when all the slack is out of the valve train if you go up and down.  Then what I like to do is go 1/2 turn.  Then put a paint mark at 12:00 on the adjuster.  Then anytime you want to see if any moved, you can pull the valve over and look.  Also if you choose to go another 1/4 turn later, you can do all of them looking at the paint dot only.  


Should the lifers have oil in them? Ive heard contradiction some say yes some no.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by Joe73 on Sat Feb 13, 2016 7:29 pm

I used to do the spinning thing years ago but read about the up and down and found it to be the better way to go. No oil in the lifters. The spring inside keeps the plunger up. Your just taking "slack" out of the pushrod and then going the additional 1/2 turn.
Years ago it was recommended to fill the lifters with oil prior to installation. I've read that its not recommended anymore.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by bracketchev1221 on Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:56 pm

As far as oil in the lifters, I still put them in a container of oil and let them sit. I don't pump them up, just let them vent and put them in. Right or wrong it's always worked for me.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by 73ss on Sat Feb 13, 2016 9:15 pm

I should mention on the spinning method, I take one hand, spin the pushrod, and with my other hand tighten the nut with my fingers. The moment I can't turn the nut with my fingers, or start to feel some resistance, I know I'm at dead zero lash. this is with roller rockers & poly-locks. Can't do that with the stock rocker nuts.

Ditto on soaking the lifters. Always worked for me.

looking back at original post, If he is still getting clatter after a half-turn he most likely has some other issues.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by pila on Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:20 pm

I know that the factory and after market manuals tell us to rotate the push rods like mentioned. That, like said here, just doesn't get it right. The up/down method is all I've ever used. Actually, the plunger travel in the lifter is like over .060", so the oil pressure takes up the slack anywhere beyond the initial zero on the rocker, if a bit more happens to be adjusted in there.
Rotating the push rod to check clearance might work if it's dry on both ends, but who would do that ? Rolling Eyes

Only trap I see, is that the oil in the lifter cup, and on the ends of the push rods, can make like it's tight, when a bit of the slack is still there from the oil cushion.

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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by Bruisr on Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:33 pm

The clatter goes away with 1/2 turn, but when the engine is all buttoned up and running it seems noisy to me to hear the valves working. Its not loud but my closest example would be it sounds like a solid lifter cam. I went from stock rockers to roller rockers with the cam change. No backfire or popping thru exhaust, fast and easy revving, maybe I'm just being overly paranoid. I did the spinning of the pushrods before initial fire up, then went back to verify proper adjustment while running.
Howards said to do 1 full turn using the spinning method, and that's all if I recall correctly. Can't do the spinning method anymore, can't get fingers to grab intake pushrod with the intake manifold already bolted down.
One final question: I have an old set of Cal Custom valve cover I'd like to use, but can't with poly locks. A friend suggested having a machine shop shave off the bottom of poly locks to bring the height down enough to use short valve covers, any thoughts? I know about the double up on valve cover gaskets, or the 1 in. tall valve cover spacers. But not liking the idea of a potential oil leak having to use 2 gaskets per cover.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by Bruisr on Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:33 pm

The clatter goes away with 1/2 turn, but when the engine is all buttoned up and running it seems noisy to me to hear the valves working. Its not loud but my closest example would be it sounds like a solid lifter cam. I went from stock rockers to roller rockers with the cam change. No backfire or popping thru exhaust, fast and easy revving, maybe I'm just being overly paranoid. I did the spinning of the pushrods before initial fire up, then went back to verify proper adjustment while running.
Howards said to do 1 full turn using the spinning method, and that's all if I recall correctly. Can't do the spinning method anymore, can't get fingers to grab intake pushrod with the intake manifold already bolted down.
One final question: I have an old set of Cal Custom valve cover I'd like to use, but can't with poly locks. A friend suggested having a machine shop shave off the bottom of poly locks to bring the height down enough to use short valve covers, any thoughts? I know about the double up on valve cover gaskets, or the 1 in. tall valve cover spacers. But not liking the idea of a potential oil leak having to use 2 gaskets per cover.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by Bruisr on Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:37 pm

Sorry about the double post! I just remembered something I'm really concerned with: If the engine sits for a few days without running, when I start the engine it sounds like several lifters have bled down, and after a few seconds when proper oil pressure is achieved the noise goes away. This situation is not the noise I was asking about in the previous post. This is only after sitting for a few days or more!
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by Joe73 on Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:29 am

I'd call howards cams and ask them about that since its their lifters. And are you running their recommended oil AND weight ??
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by bracketchev1221 on Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:05 pm

I had the morel roller lifters in my small block and they were noisy at startup. Even with 3/4 turn on them. They did quiet down after they got warm though.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by chevellelaguna on Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:12 pm

I'm running Rhoads variable duration lifters. I called their tech dept and they reconvened no more than 1/8 turn..till there's resistance on the pushrod. They're noisy, until they warm up, just their nature. Always best to check with the manufacturers tech for specs.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by pila on Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:35 am

I have the Rhoads lifters in the 408 in my Malibu. I used them for a bit more vacuum for brakes etc. And they do help. Cam is a 280M Comp Cams, and it runs with the usual ticking associated with those lifters.

I've been asked a couple of times if I have solids in there Very Happy

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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by 73ss on Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:32 pm

Some of these "modern" cam profiles will produce noise. Comp XE, Lunati voodoo. Comp even states on their website it "may" make noise. In other words they got tired of telephone calls.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by Bruisr on Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:57 pm

Called Howard's Cam: Very nice guy!  Their cam card suggested running 10w30 oil, zero lash adjustment using the rolling between fingers method until zero lash then, .020-.025.  Now they determine how many quarter turns are needed based on the thread pitch of your adjuster nut. 7/16x20 for mine.   Divide 1 inch by 20 adjuster nut will move .050. Next divide .050 by 4 equals .0125   Cast Iron block and heads they want .020-.025, so multiply .0125 x's 2 and you get .250.  So they want 1/2 turn!
  After talking to Howards Cam tech. dept.  he said this:  Lifters bleeding down after engine not running for a few days, because of the direct lube design of the lifters and it being an older big block, its not uncommon for this to happen and to be cautious about revving engine until oil pressure is achieved.  Next: Valve train noise, using roller rockers, and a hi volume oil pump, he suggested maybe going from 1/2 turn to no more than 1 full turn on the adjuster nut.    My plan is to readjust the rockers to about 3/4 of a turn and see if that makes a difference, I plan to go no more than 3/4 turn to 1/2 turn or between depending on the sound of the individual valve.  I told him I was using 15w40 oil he suggested at the next oil change to try 10w30 as that may help quiet down some of the valve train noise.
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by Joe73 on Mon Feb 15, 2016 5:44 pm

I think 15w40 is too thick unless the engine was built "loose".
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

Post by 2fat2fly on Wed Feb 17, 2016 12:04 am

For me I'm running a comp. 288/292 duration 575 lift (mild) in a 540 and all is set at zero lash cold, never have I had any problems, just remember there is always a + or - to these adjustments' the less clearance the more bottom end the more preload is more top end, I would go with the zero lash cold and see how that works for you.
for me my motor has been wheel dynoed at 5500 rpm at 950 hp and torque being at 1140 hp, without the meth hooked up, Looking to go mechanical roller. Most aftermarket cams are to be adjusted at zero lash !
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Re: Recent 454 cam swap!

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