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unusual solid flat tappet lifter wear ..Any Thoughts?

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Paul Kane
nascar429
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Post  nascar429 May 26th 2021, 12:26 pm

Hi there


built a 521ci several years ago for a good friend not alot of run time about 600 street miles..we are changing to a solid roller now, pulled the solid flat tappet cam out and noticed all the passenger side lifters are concave right around the EDM (hole .019") the drivers side lifters all appear to have a virtually perfect dome to me anyway.

the cam was run in on the dyno with a light single spring around 210-220lbs from memory i can check later. about 1.850" installed height 150lbs seat 380lbs open.. single bee hive spring ( light weight setup spring retainer & locks 110g) intake valve 144g exhaust 108g  first gen ford motorsport CJ A429 heads. camshaft 264 270 @ .050" .643" 629" Net Lift after lash,  L/C 108  ..lash was still perfect after dyno session.

I thought he would drive this a lot so my thinking was not to restrict the top end no restrictor in crossover in valley or to the cam bearings, mellings M84BHV oil pump engine revved clean to 6600rpm on the dyno. i'm here to learn from my mistakes any idea's what's possibly wrong with my setup or what to look for ? i'll see if i can post some pictures..

the camshaft has no pitting or obvious wear that i can see.

Any thoughts?
first pic is the worst one on the passenger side bank and next pic is passenger side also..last pic is driver side bank they are all like this.  

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Post  Paul Kane May 28th 2021, 12:19 pm

Many moons ago, I was sternly warned against running EDM’d flat tappet lifters by a cam grinder who is currently in his 4th decade of grinding camshafts. He said that while the flank of a flat tappet lobe has taper in order to rotate the lifter, the peak of the lobe is still dead flat across its nose.  And so, when the peak of the lobe traverses the EDM’d hole (which is at the peak of the lifer face’s radius), there isn’t adequate oil film strength to prevent metal-to-metal contact at that exact point (ie, nowhere near the film strength that would prevail if there were no hole).  The result?  Over time, the nose of the lobe chews away at the lifter face at the corner of the EDM hole/the EDM hole’s corner shaves away at the lobe’s peak.   He said, “a properly faced lifter has a better chance of surviving than that stupid-ass EDM idea.”

I’m just the messenger passing on this information because I believe it to be insightful and helpful—ie, set the flat tappet cam up correctly, with correctly made non-EDM lifters, of the correct material, proper oil, etc, and it should all work as well as it has for the last one hundred years.   Incidentally this is also a good argument for notched lifters over EDM’d lifters.  I cannot say for sure if what you are experiencing is an example of what he was talking about, but it sure looks like the first signs of it to me.
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Post  rmcomprandy May 28th 2021, 1:16 pm

The taper amount is on the grinding wheel of the cam grinder wheel and the same taper is ground on the "entire" lobe.

The nose wears flat, faster.

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Post  Paul Kane May 28th 2021, 2:03 pm

rmcomprandy wrote:The taper amount is on the grinding wheel of the cam grinder wheel and the same taper is ground on the "entire" lobe.

The nose wears flat, faster.
Oops, yes, that's correct.  The grinding wheel gets kicked over 1-1/2* +/- (wherever the person sets it).

And yes, if one has ever inspected a flat tappet camshaft that was run for as little as just an hour, the ramp shows far less wear at the taper on the flank (lower spring pressure) than the developing wear at the peak (higher spring pressure) which eventually gets shiny almost all the way across.
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Post  rmcomprandy May 28th 2021, 3:12 pm

Paul Kane wrote:
rmcomprandy wrote:The taper amount is on the grinding wheel of the cam grinder wheel and the same taper is ground on the "entire" lobe.

The nose wears flat, faster.
Oops, yes, that's correct.  The grinding wheel gets kicked over 1-1/2* +/- (wherever the person sets it).

And yes, if one has ever inspected a flat tappet camshaft that was run for as little as just an hour, the ramp shows far less wear at the taper on the flank (lower spring pressure) than the developing wear at the peak (higher spring pressure) which eventually gets shiny almost all the way across.

On my 253 Van Norman cam grinder, the wheel angularity never moves ... the operator sharpens the stone wheel face at whatever angle is appropriate.

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Post  Paul Kane May 28th 2021, 3:42 pm

rmcomprandy wrote:
Paul Kane wrote:
rmcomprandy wrote:The taper amount is on the grinding wheel of the cam grinder wheel and the same taper is ground on the "entire" lobe.

The nose wears flat, faster.
Oops, yes, that's correct.  The grinding wheel gets kicked over 1-1/2* +/- (wherever the person sets it).

And yes, if one has ever inspected a flat tappet camshaft that was run for as little as just an hour, the ramp shows far less wear at the taper on the flank (lower spring pressure) than the developing wear at the peak (higher spring pressure) which eventually gets shiny almost all the way across.

On my 253 Van Norman cam grinder, the wheel angularity never moves ... the operator sharpens the stone wheel face at whatever angle is appropriate.
That's true hand-operated equipment. Cool
The Berco RAC1500 is selectable within the machine, taper left or taper right.
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Post  nascar429 May 30th 2021, 8:16 am

Paul Kane wrote:Many moons ago, I was sternly warned against running EDM’d flat tappet lifters by a cam grinder who is currently in his 4th decade of grinding camshafts. He said that while the flank of a flat tappet lobe has taper in order to rotate the lifter, the peak of the lobe is still dead flat across its nose.  And so, when the peak of the lobe traverses the EDM’d hole (which is at the peak of the lifer face’s radius), there isn’t adequate oil film strength to prevent metal-to-metal contact at that exact point (ie, nowhere near the film strength that would prevail if there were no hole).  The result?  Over time, the nose of the lobe chews away at the lifter face at the corner of the EDM hole/the EDM hole’s corner shaves away at the lobe’s peak.   He said, “a properly faced lifter has a better chance of surviving than that stupid-ass EDM idea.”

I’m just the messenger passing on this information because I believe it to be insightful and helpful—ie, set the flat tappet cam up correctly, with correctly made non-EDM lifters, of the correct material, proper oil, etc, and it should all work as well as it has for the last one hundred years.   Incidentally this is also a good argument for notched lifters over EDM’d lifters.  I cannot say for sure if what you are experiencing is an example of what he was talking about, but it sure looks like the first signs of it to me.

Thanks Paul for the lengthy reply i think your cam grinder friend opinion could very possibly be true..I've used traditional solid lifters in a few previous builds with fairly aggressive profiles and had no problem when run in correctly and the valve train setup properly well to the best of my skill set anyway..

I'm just glad we court it before it started raining lots of metal through the engine it can be a humbling experience inspecting an engine during a freshen up ( my worst result yet) i found one other problem that i was worried about during assembly i'm not a pro engine builder by any means but do my best with what i have to work with.

I pulled a lifter apart and the lifter face is .200" thou thick from the lowest point of the EDM (internal tapered hole) to the lifter face so i'm thinking that's not a problem.    
I did some research on the notched lifters and i'll try them on my next build (my own engine).. do you have an opinion on a few consistent quality brands of solid lifters to look at using in the future.?  

Thanks.

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Post  tbirdmike June 7th 2021, 4:27 pm

This leads me to think it was a cleanliness issue.  Not your doing.  But the lifters internally.  
Probably happened at 1st start up.

I have a set on a milder 282s comp cam.
After inspection I found some holes didnt go thru.   When I disassembled them to edm drill them at work I found them to be dirty with edm residue.  Which is microscopic metal.   I took them all apart and found them dirty also.   Pretty sure they where edm drilled while assembled.  

My .02

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Post  rmcomprandy June 7th 2021, 6:44 pm

tbirdmike wrote:This leads me to think it was a cleanliness issue.  Not your doing.  But the lifters internally.  
Probably happened at 1st start up.

I have a set on a milder 282s comp cam.
After inspection I found some holes didnt go thru.   When I disassembled them to edm drill them at work I found them to be dirty with edm residue.  Which is microscopic metal.   I took them all apart and found them dirty also.   Pretty sure they where edm drilled while assembled.  

My .02

Could certainly be the reason.

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Post  DaveMcLain September 7th 2021, 12:19 pm

The lobes in a 429 or 460 are all ground the the taper going the same direction, other Fords are not this way and are ground high to the right on one side and high to the left on the other side. A lot of cam grinders don't know this and they think that they are the same as the FE.

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Post  gt350hr September 7th 2021, 3:45 pm

Dave that makes NO sense! When you have a thrust plate , the idea is to "neutral" the thrust as the thrust plate retains the cam unlike Chevy engines that MUST have thrust to the rear with a flat lifter cam.

BTW Randy will probably remember this from his days at Ford. In '68 , Ford had Johnson Lifter Co make solid lifters with an EDM'd hole in them. If it was such a great idea then why didn't EVERY company do it? Simple , it didn't work as anticipated. Ford's solution was to go to "mushroom" that was "not legal" but didn't fail.

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Post  DaveMcLain September 7th 2021, 5:05 pm

gt350hr wrote:    Dave that makes NO sense! When you have a thrust plate , the idea is to "neutral" the thrust as the thrust plate retains the cam unlike Chevy engines that MUST have thrust to the rear with a flat lifter cam.

   BTW Randy will probably remember this from his days at Ford. In '68 , Ford had Johnson Lifter Co make solid lifters with an EDM'd hole in them. If it was such a great idea then why didn't EVERY company do it? Simple , it didn't work as anticipated. Ford's solution was to go to "mushroom" that was "not legal" but didn't fail.

Steve Demos and I were just talking about this the other day, about how the 460 Ford is different than all other Ford engines that's how it is for whatever reason. A lot of people get that taper stuff wrong when they grind cams. Buick V6 is another weird one where there is ONE lobe on each bank that's different than all the rest on that bank.



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Post  DaveMcLain September 8th 2021, 10:43 am

I just asked Steve Demos again; on the Ford 460 all lobes are supposed to be ground with taper that's high to the right. When the camshaft is in the grinding machine with the front of the cam to the left the taper is supposed to be sloped from the back of the engine to the front. If the cam isn't totally killed this could be checked by putting it in a lathe and with an indicator check from one edge of the lobe to the other to see how much it tapers and in which direction.

This might be worth checking.

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Post  rmcomprandy September 8th 2021, 3:07 pm

DaveMcLain wrote:
gt350hr wrote:    Dave that makes NO sense! When you have a thrust plate , the idea is to "neutral" the thrust as the thrust plate retains the cam unlike Chevy engines that MUST have thrust to the rear with a flat lifter cam.

   BTW Randy will probably remember this from his days at Ford. In '68 , Ford had Johnson Lifter Co make solid lifters with an EDM'd hole in them. If it was such a great idea then why didn't EVERY company do it? Simple , it didn't work as anticipated. Ford's solution was to go to "mushroom" that was "not legal" but didn't fail.

Steve Demos and I were just talking about this the other day, about how the 460 Ford is different than all other Ford engines that's how it is for whatever reason.  A lot of people get that taper stuff wrong when they grind cams.  Buick V6 is another weird one where there is ONE lobe on each bank that's different than all the rest on that bank.  



Factory Buick V6 cams are ground with left lobe taper on one side of the engine and right lobe taper on the other side.
Some aftermarket Buick V6 cams have all the intakes ground one way and all the exhausts ground the other.

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Post  DaveMcLain September 8th 2021, 5:45 pm

rmcomprandy wrote:
DaveMcLain wrote:
gt350hr wrote:    Dave that makes NO sense! When you have a thrust plate , the idea is to "neutral" the thrust as the thrust plate retains the cam unlike Chevy engines that MUST have thrust to the rear with a flat lifter cam.

   BTW Randy will probably remember this from his days at Ford. In '68 , Ford had Johnson Lifter Co make solid lifters with an EDM'd hole in them. If it was such a great idea then why didn't EVERY company do it? Simple , it didn't work as anticipated. Ford's solution was to go to "mushroom" that was "not legal" but didn't fail.

Steve Demos and I were just talking about this the other day, about how the 460 Ford is different than all other Ford engines that's how it is for whatever reason.  A lot of people get that taper stuff wrong when they grind cams.  Buick V6 is another weird one where there is ONE lobe on each bank that's different than all the rest on that bank.  



Factory Buick V6 cams are ground with left lobe taper on one side of the engine and right lobe taper on the other side.
Some aftermarket Buick V6 cams have all the intakes ground one way and all the exhausts ground the other.

That's what a lot of people think but it has one that's different and that's why one exhaust was a problem.

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Post  Paul Kane September 8th 2021, 7:58 pm

gt350hr wrote:    Dave that makes NO sense! When you have a thrust plate , the idea is to "neutral" the thrust as the thrust plate retains the cam unlike Chevy engines that MUST have thrust to the rear with a flat lifter cam.
It is certainly true that in the other Ford engines the taper-left/taper-right grinding of the camshaft's lobes serves to "neutralize" any forward or aft camshaft movement while the cam retainer plate acts as a "steady."  But for whatever reason, the 385 Series engines have cam lobes that are all ground taper-left.  Yea, it makes no sense. Smile

In a related story, the very same camshaft grinder I mentioned above found this exact situation so bizarre that, after studying the lifter arrangment in a 385 Series block, he purposely ground a flat tappet cam for a 460 in the taper-left/taper-right format relative to his observations of the lobe/lifter arrangement in the block.  Guess what? That cam did not go flat and is still in the engine and running fine to this day. Basketball
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Post  DaveMcLain September 9th 2021, 9:53 am

There's plenty of odd stuff like that in engine designs. Demos said that they discovered the Buick V6 weirdness at Reed Cams when they were grinding a bunch of cams for Kennie Bell.

They thought it was because the one lifter bore is moved over to allow more clearance for the oil feed hole to the head and this puts it on the other side of the lobe.

Why the big Ford is the way will probably remain a mystery. It doesn't make any difference as long as the cam is ground correctly.


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Post  gt350hr September 9th 2021, 12:45 pm

When I was at Erson's in the '70s the only Ford cams we ground with single taper were the early ( flanged) FEs. This was because those engines did not have the thrust plate like the '63 and later engines.

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Post  DaveMcLain September 9th 2021, 7:04 pm

gt350hr wrote:   When I was at Erson's in the '70s the only Ford cams we ground with single taper were the early ( flanged) FEs. This was because those engines did not have the thrust plate like the '63 and later engines.

And that means that you were grinding the 460 cams incorrectly.

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