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Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild
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stwesty
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:07 pm    Post subject: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

I've got my engine in after a partial rebuild and have successfully gotten the oil pressure up by turning the engine over.

I now want to do a rough adjustment of my valves before starting but all of the instructions for hydraulic lifters mention running the engine before to pump up the lifters.

How do I go about adjusting them without first running the engine? Or do I skip this and just start it up without adjusting first?

I primed the lifters when I was putting them back in but that was weeks ago so I can't be sure they've pumped up just from turning the engine over for 45 seconds.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

Suck the lifters back out with a telescoping magnet. Re-prime and re-install in their same locations. Make valve adjustment.

See Ratwell article:

http://www.ratwell.com/technical/HydraulicLifters.html
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:04 am    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

If the adjustment screws are nice and clean (meaning they rotate very freely in the rocker arms), then you can tighten them to the point that they just begin to resist any further tightening and call that your starting point for the 2 additional turns, then tighten the locknut. Even if your lifters are full of air, there's a small spring in them that will provide the resistance you need to "feel" when all the slack has been taken out. If the adjusting screws in your rocker arms are dirty and crusty, where they won't turn easily by hand, then you will have to bench bleed the lifters (as the previous poster described) to get the air out, before you can feel the starting point in the final adjustment.

It's a good idea to remove the adjusting screws completely from the rocker arms and clean the threads thoroughly, because there's an oil hole that goes from the pivot point of the rocker arm shaft out to the threaded area of the rocker arm adjustment screw. the threads of the adjustment screws have just enough clearance so that engine oil pressure can force a little oil through them to lubricate the top of the valve stem. That's why they should be a nice loose fit, until they're locked in place with the locknut. If they're all varnished up with crud and don't turn freely, then not only are they difficult to adjust, but you're starving a critical area of the valve train of lubrication.....
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:41 am    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

Thanks, I'll clean them and give that a try before attempting to re-prime the lifters.

The lifter priming instructions in Bentley are incorrect, at least for my lifters, so I'm not sure they'll add a lot to my confidence in making the adjustments.

I'm doing the valve adjustments in order to do the timing. More research led me to this thread where another person with hydraulic lifters has run into similar issues and has some good tips:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=691411
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:43 am    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

As other said it is not necessary that the lifters be fully pumped up to adjust them, however if you initially set the adjustment so that you have a very slight amount of lash (~0.006), the lifters will typically pump up very fast. You can then go back and adjust them, adjust one side at a time and then run the engine a bit to allow them to self adjust before doing the other side, as if the lifters are fully pumped up and you adjust them all at once the engine may not be willing to start.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

Wildthings wrote:
As other said it is not necessary that the lifters be fully pumped up to adjust them, however if you initially set the adjustment so that you have a very slight amount of lash (~0.006), the lifters will typically pump up very fast. You can then go back and adjust them, adjust one side at a time and then run the engine a bit to allow them to self adjust before doing the other side, as if the lifters are fully pumped up and you adjust them all at once the engine may not be willing to start.


There is a good article on this from Boston bob... and of course many opinions that go with it...

I found a compromise was to run them from 3/4- 1 1/4 turns last lash, pumped them up quick, and helped with bleed down
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

stwesty wrote:
The lifter priming instructions in Bentley are incorrect, at least for my lifters, so I'm not sure they'll add a lot to my confidence in making the adjustments.


I can't recall where it was, but someone else said that the Bay Window Bentley bleeding instructions were a bit awkward to follow, as they require the use of a press while the lifter is submerged in oil.

They suggested to follow the Vanagon WBX procedure instead, which instructs you to use a simple bench vise, a scribe and something to push the lifter with (valve guide/sawn-off pushrod/hardwood dowel?):

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


What I found out by looking at some different hydraulic lifters is that while they might look the same from the outside, the parts inside do vary in how they are constructed and assembled. That might make the instructions for bleeding the OEM ones either not apply directly.

The Febi lifters from ratwell's hydro page for instance look quite different to mine when I took them apart (I don't know who manufactured the OEM ones, though). Interestingly, the instructions for the Febi 07762 lifters describe only the in-vehicle bleeding procedure:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I cannot find the pictures of my lifters right now, but I'll add them later if I do.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:11 am    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

I found the pictures of my OEM lifters and I just added some part descriptions:

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Do yours looke like this one?

Note the slight differences in the plunger construction comparing them to ratwell's aftermarket hydro lifters in his excellent article. That initially confused me a bit when trying to understand the Bentley bleeding instructions before I took one of the lifters apart and finally saw that they matched the Bentley diagram.

And here's a picture from Samba member gil in the Vanagon forum, which shows the differences in plunger construction from different makes. It shows the check valve taken apart too, which is nice, but I didn't feel the need to disassemble it myself.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


More examples of different hydro lifter internals on this 914 world forum post. I'm mentioning all this as the manual bleeding procedure might vary between them.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:03 am    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

Its not so much that tbe manual bleeding "method" will or should vary.....its,that the effectiveness of it can vary from make to make on hydraulic lifters from brand to brand.

This is NOT so much due to some strange or large difference in design between the lifters....(a check valve and a spring...... is a check valve and a spring).....the big differences in how one pumps up over another.....is the tolerances of the parts in the assembly. How big is the orifice under the check ball? Whats the spring pressure on the check ball? Whats the tolerance between plunger body and lifter body? Whats the orifice size for oil inlet from the lifter galley?

Its hydraulic. Tolerances dictate pressure and pressure is everything.

This is just like saying that one brand of 24mm oil pump is just like any other brand of 24mm oil pump....simply because they have the same form and are both 24mm. When in reality we all know the REAL differences are in fit and internal tolerance.
Ray
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:47 am    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

Im also experiencing a similar concern with an engine parked for winter storage. Is there any possibility that the oil flow the the lifters on one side of the engine, is not sufficient to pump them up quickly as the engine is started up? My concern is in only one head (#1 & #2)
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:42 am    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

CrRusty wrote:
Im also experiencing a similar concern with an engine parked for winter storage. Is there any possibility that the oil flow the the lifters on one side of the engine, is not sufficient to pump them up quickly as the engine is started up? My concern is in only one head (#1 & #2)


If they won't pump up then back the adjusting screw off to zero preload, plus an additional 1/8 turn (~0.006" lash) and then run the engine until the lifters quiet. Usually this happens very quickly. Now go back and reset your preload and add some Marvel Mystery Oil to your motor oil.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:13 am    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

raygreenwood wrote:
Its not so much that tbe manual bleeding "method" will or should vary.....its,that the effectiveness of it can vary from make to make on hydraulic lifters from brand to brand.

This is NOT so much due to some strange or large difference in design between the lifters....(a check valve and a spring...... is a check valve and a spring).....the big differences in how one pumps up over another.....is the tolerances of the parts in the assembly. How big is the orifice under the check ball? Whats the spring pressure on the check ball? Whats the tolerance between plunger body and lifter body? Whats the orifice size for oil inlet from the lifter galley?

Its hydraulic. Tolerances dictate pressure and pressure is everything.

This is just like saying that one brand of 24mm oil pump is just like any other brand of 24mm oil pump....simply because they have the same form and are both 24mm. When in reality we all know the REAL differences are in fit and internal tolerance.
Ray


Oh, I'm not making any statements on quality or tolerances between brands. I don't have an accumulated experience with different types of hydro lifters to give any advice on that.

As the OP stated that the bench bleeding instructions on Bentley were incorrect for his lifters, I was simply making an observation that the socket/plunge assembly design does seem to vary between makes. That's something that puzzled me at first too, and it could have been the reason why the instructions didn't work for him.

For instance, on the Vanagon forum they describe an alternative procedure that relies on aligning the oil feed holes of the body and plunger to hold them down with a drift punch.
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=331065

I had tried it on my lifters back then, and noticed that that procedure could have never worked. The socket and plunger are separate on mine, and the oil refill is not done through a hole in the plunger, but through the four metering grooves in the socket. Thus there were no holes to align.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:04 am    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

furgo wrote:
raygreenwood wrote:
Its not so much that tbe manual bleeding "method" will or should vary.....its,that the effectiveness of it can vary from make to make on hydraulic lifters from brand to brand.

This is NOT so much due to some strange or large difference in design between the lifters....(a check valve and a spring...... is a check valve and a spring).....the big differences in how one pumps up over another.....is the tolerances of the parts in the assembly. How big is the orifice under the check ball? Whats the spring pressure on the check ball? Whats the tolerance between plunger body and lifter body? Whats the orifice size for oil inlet from the lifter galley?

Its hydraulic. Tolerances dictate pressure and pressure is everything.

This is just like saying that one brand of 24mm oil pump is just like any other brand of 24mm oil pump....simply because they have the same form and are both 24mm. When in reality we all know the REAL differences are in fit and internal tolerance.
Ray


I'm not making any statements on quality or tolerances between brands. I don't have an accumulated experience with different types of hydro lifters to give any advice at all on that.

As the OP stated that the bench bleeding instructions on Bentley were incorrect for his lifters, I was simply making an observation that the socket/plunge assembly design does seem to vary between makes. That's something that puzzled me at first too, and it could have been the reason why the instructions didn't work for him.

For instance, on the Vanagon forum they describe an alternative procedure that relies on aligning the oil feed holes of the body and plunger to hold them down with a drift punch.
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=331065

I had tried it on my lifters back then, and noticed that that procedure could have never worked. The socket and plunger are separate on mine, and the oil refill is not done through a hole in the plunger, but through the four metering grooves in the socket. Thus there were no holes to align.


Yep...I get what you were getting at...and I was not implying anything Very Happy

Kind of just as a reinforcement for your observation....I was just getting at the fact this just another one of those things regarding hydraulic lifters.

There seem to be a thousand threads regarding the definitive/proper way to to adjust and/or bleed them or pump them up....and not many of them really take into account that there are a lot of differences between brands, make, era and just plain quality of machine tolerances....that change everything from lifter to lifter....not even getting into oil film strength and viscosity...or temperature expansion etc.

I still just roll my eyes at almost all of them....for while I definitely see the benefit to the self adjusting hydraulic cam follower "buckets" used in overheard cam systems....I see no usefulness at all for them on the horizontal VW engine. More of a pain in the ass than anything else.

Their main function that I see....is that when VW installed them...it instantly took about 6 hours minimum and 8.5 hours maximum out of their required "FREE" maintenance time investment for any vehicle that had say even a 25,000 mile warranty period.....with valve adjusting and checking coming at 3k miles oil change intervals.

Ray
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:44 am    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

raygreenwood wrote:


Their main function that I see....is that when VW installed them...it instantly took about 6 hours minimum and 8.5 hours maximum out of their required "FREE" maintenance time investment for any vehicle that had say even a 25,000 mile warranty period.....with valve adjusting and checking coming at 3k miles oil change intervals.

Ray


Vanagon engines using the exact same lifters make it the life of the engine without ever having to reset the lifter preload. With modern synthetic oils it should be possible to do the same with an aircooled Type 4 engine. People with hydraulic lifters just need to get away from the idiocy of running 20w50 oil as their one and only oil choice.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

Wildthings wrote:
raygreenwood wrote:


Their main function that I see....is that when VW installed them...it instantly took about 6 hours minimum and 8.5 hours maximum out of their required "FREE" maintenance time investment for any vehicle that had say even a 25,000 mile warranty period.....with valve adjusting and checking coming at 3k miles oil change intervals.

Ray


Vanagon engines using the exact same lifters make it the life of the engine without ever having to reset the lifter preload. With modern synthetic oils it should be possible to do the same with an aircooled Type 4 engine. People with hydraulic lifters just need to get away from the idiocy of running 20w50 oil as their one and only oil choice.


you should come live in California's central valley when it is 105F - 110F outside and make a 45 minute long climb from sea level to 6,000' or more. We'll make a convert of you. Also the late solid and hydraulic GD, and all GE cases recirculate the oil thru the pump over and over before it gets to the oil cooler. That also affects things. Why VW did that I have no clue. only thing I can thing is that oil to the bearings and lifters is cooler while the sump gets hotter. Or maybe they wanted ultra clean oil...

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

SGKent wrote:
Wildthings wrote:
raygreenwood wrote:


Their main function that I see....is that when VW installed them...it instantly took about 6 hours minimum and 8.5 hours maximum out of their required "FREE" maintenance time investment for any vehicle that had say even a 25,000 mile warranty period.....with valve adjusting and checking coming at 3k miles oil change intervals.

Ray


Vanagon engines using the exact same lifters make it the life of the engine without ever having to reset the lifter preload. With modern synthetic oils it should be possible to do the same with an aircooled Type 4 engine. People with hydraulic lifters just need to get away from the idiocy of running 20w50 oil as their one and only oil choice.


you should come live in California's central valley when it is 105F - 110F outside and make a 45 minute long climb from sea level to 6,000' or more. We'll make a convert of you. Also the late solid and hydraulic GD, and all GE cases recirculate the oil thru the pump over and over before it gets to the oil cooler. That also affects things. Why VW did that I have no clue. only thing I can thing is that oil to the bearings and lifters is cooler while the sump gets hotter. Or maybe they wanted ultra clean oil...

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Yes when you run oil that is too thick the pressures will increase and more oil will bypass the cooler and more will spill from the galley's, and thus your bearings and your oil in general will get less cooling. Not a desirable situation at all in my book and thus a thinner oil is called for.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

SGKent wrote:
Wildthings wrote:
raygreenwood wrote:


Their main function that I see....is that when VW installed them...it instantly took about 6 hours minimum and 8.5 hours maximum out of their required "FREE" maintenance time investment for any vehicle that had say even a 25,000 mile warranty period.....with valve adjusting and checking coming at 3k miles oil change intervals.

Ray


Vanagon engines using the exact same lifters make it the life of the engine without ever having to reset the lifter preload. With modern synthetic oils it should be possible to do the same with an aircooled Type 4 engine. People with hydraulic lifters just need to get away from the idiocy of running 20w50 oil as their one and only oil choice.


you should come live in California's central valley when it is 105F - 110F outside and make a 45 minute long climb from sea level to 6,000' or more. We'll make a convert of you. Also the late solid and hydraulic GD, and all GE cases recirculate the oil thru the pump over and over before it gets to the oil cooler. That also affects things. Why VW did that I have no clue. only thing I can thing is that oil to the bearings and lifters is cooler while the sump gets hotter. Or maybe they wanted ultra clean oil...

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Yep...I agree....that with synthetic oils ...and even before synthetic oils (but definitely better with it)...the hydraulic lifter can stay tuned for the life of the engine. Even my mk 1-ish 1990 cabrio with 1.8L and hydraulic bucket style, hydraulic valve adjusters went to close to 200k miles before needing adjusting....and in reality...it was cylinder head wear and not the lifters that wore out. A oil pressure issue.

The biggest problem flat ACVW have with hydraulic lifters (well aside from the owners using 20/50 needlessly like Wildthings mentioned and never changing their oil enough)...is drain down. The horizontal placement is an easy 50% of the issue. Keeping them clean enough is another issue for every car that runs them. Not just grit or dirt...but varnish.

I am betting you are right that the late bay recirculation mod was more to keep re-filtering the oil than anything else. From what everyone seems to say......as the bus technology progressed from basic bay through Vanagon...reliability ...meaning not needing to be tinkered with or pumped up....improved.

Its never really been a wear issue with age with hydraulic lifters in ACVW...but synthetic oil WILL keep varnish down. But synthetic oils are not what would really make hydraulic lifters be a lifetime reliable feature in ACVW....because it still cannot prevent drain down after extended time.

However....a galley pressure lock/check valve would do this. The problem with pre-vanagon type 4 ACVW engines and hydraulic lifters...aside from the late bay recirculation feature...is that they were not DESIGNED to run hydraulic lifters and the oil galley and oil drain back features are not really perfect for hydraulic lifters.

The kind of features required to make sure that drain back does not allow oil to totally drain out of hydraulic cam followers are in virtually every modern vehicle.
In fact....that damn two pole VDO oil pressure switch ...was actually designed for mk-1 and mk-2 water cooled cars (an a few other Euro cars with the same issue)...that didn't yet have the oil drain back protections needed for the changes from solid lifter to hydro...and had major problems because of it. It was part of the low oil pressure warning system for the cylinder head hydro lifter oil circuit. But until the mk-3...they did not have their stuff together/...totally...on the bits and pieces required to to run hydros without drainback or fail...for the life of the vehicle.

As for moderate to high altitude, hot weather and long steep climbs with a bus....been there...with solids....no problems. I do not see the advantage...any for that matter...with hydros in hot weather or for long torturous climbs.
110* weather is common where I have live most of my life. Ray
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

Go argue with VW. Here is the 1979 manual. That is hydraulic isn't it?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

FWIW, my Vanagon engine will easily sit for months on end in a hot climate. (summer highs above 120 and have no leak down of the lifters. What causes leak down is starting a cold engine and then shutting it down before the oil gets sufficiently hot, somehow this affects the ability of the lifters to seal and they will go all the way flat in just a few minutes sometimes.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Adjusting hydraulic lifters after a rebuild Reply with quote

I live in TX and have always run thick oils, because of the heat and because the oils that have ZDDP in sufficient quantities for flat lifter cams are usually a thicker racing oil. Or, you have to add a thick ZDDP additive to conventional oils. My hydraulic lifters would often bleed down with this stuff (sometimes just overnight), but they always pump back up within seconds after restarting.

I recently switched over to straight Shell Rotella T6 5W-40, with no extra ZDDP additives, and my lifters don't bleed down anymore. I've only got about 1000 miles experience with it now, so I'm not gonna say 100% that it's completely because of the oil, but it's promising.

I fully disassembled my lifters, cleaned, and refilled them with the Rotella T6 oil, during the bench bleed process, so I guess it's also possible they were just dirty before, and that's what caused them to bleed down.

Even if the Hydro's do bleed down occasionally, they eliminate the need to do periodic valve adjustments. Enough said.
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