big problems with sticking lifters


yea dude...I rock
Aug 9, 2002
ok the other day i had received a set of t/d 1.65 roller rockers and chrome moly p-rods to top off my valve train for my engine which consists of a roller cam kit sold by south east turbo. i was doing a mock up to see if anything in the system would interfere and bolted up the rockers to the heads and i thought the adjusters were backed out enuff where nothing would bind. well what i didnt catch was that the heads needed to be machined for rockers around the pedistals(my own dumb a$$ fault), and when i bolted them down hand tight, the bottoms of the rockers were gouged and wouldnt move. i took off the rockers, began to use colorfull language and then looked down in the roller lifters to find that two of the push rod cups in the set decided to bottom out and stay bottomed out....this is my concern.

since i hadnt put any heavy pressure on the mounting bolts for the rockers, and consiquently the roller lifters too, im wondering if i have actually damaged them or if they are sticking internaly. ive heard of comp cams having lifter quality issues but i dont know if SE Turbo sells comp cam lifters in their billet roller kit, does anybody know???

another question, and this is about adjusting the roller rockers on hydralic roller lifters. my perception is that the idea behind this whole system is to set the push rod cup in the lifter all the way down to the bottom (this is the term zero correct?), so that the push rod cup in the lifter will over time move up to correct for normal wear in the valve train. if this is so then why does everyone specify to go a half past zero??

sorry if this is hard to understand... im still tring to wrap my mind around how i collapsed two lifters. thanks
Yes, more than likely you have the comp lifters. Look at the lifters with the stuck plungers and flip them over to see if the plunger moves or if it's stuck. I have seen comp lifters with nothing in them but plungers and they would rattle around. If they are truly stuck then soak them in gasoline for a few days and see if they get better. Sometimes it's what they assemble them with that makes them stick. Then if they don't become unstuck send them back to your vendor and they can get a new set.

I have spoken with comp on this issue several times. The last set I sent back they returned a new set back to me that they had personally disassembled and cleaned. They worked perfect but I had to explain to them what kind of junk they are selling.

Pull the lifters out and using compressed air, blow in the small hole in the side of lifter. I have been able to pop some of their defective plungers up. Some stayed, some went right back down.
Zero lash means that the pushrod is just touching the cup. Then 1/2 to 5/8 turn tighter is your correct preload.
DO NOT run the cup all the way to the bottom. Sounds like you need someone with experience with a hyd roller cam to help you adjust your lifter.
Dusty Bradford, would there be any markings on the lifters to identify who makes them? ill try soaking them and see if they wont pop back out.

Lee Thompson, thanks for correcting me on te definition of zero lash, your correct that i dont have alot of experience in hyd.roller lifters but every one has to start somewhere.
It sounds like there are only two roller lifters available no matter who's name is on the package - all the same except for the hi-rev type lifters I have read that Comp Cams sells.

Mine all stuck right out of the box, about 30 hours in mineral spirits and all but 3 lifters were free, but the 3 still felt like they were grinding gravel inside.

Let them sit in oil over night - tiny bit better. Read about another poster that used an ultra sonic cleaner so I took the lifters to a lab and let them go for about an hour in alcohol in the cleaner and it was even better but they still do not feel all the same. If they all felt like the rougher ones it would probably not be noticed, but since 9 of them feel smooth and 3 still feel less smooth - It is troublesome.

As Lee says - do not bottom out the lifters. Once the rockers are bolted in and the arms are free and clear, then start to turn in the adjusters just until the push rods have no play up and down, but just using very light pressure to move the push rods. Do not count any motion that may be caused by depressing the cup in the lifter - you are using to much pressure for the test if you are moving the cup in the lifter. Many people just spin the push rod between fingers while turning in the screw - it is easy, with some practice, to feel just when the screw has removed all the space in the lifter/pushrod/rocker arm assembly.

-->You did get the proper springs, retainers, and locks AND measured the installed height of the springs - right?

No disrespect intended in my post and glad it didn/t offend you. Some times a like experience is invaluable. Best of luck to you.