350 Chevy - do I have to soak the lifters in oil over night before installing?

Discussion in 'Gas Engines' started by mikealston2428, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. mikealston2428
    Joined: Jul 2011
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    mikealston2428 Senior Member

    Hi All,

    I'm about to install roller rockers/rods/hydraulic lifters.
    My question is, do I have to soak the lifters in oil over night before installing ?

    I have been told both yes and no ?

  2. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member

    Depends on the lifters. That should be information listed with your rebuild kit.

    This is from memory, but if I remember right, hydraulic lifters should be soaked, and watchamacallthem solid lifters are not.

    But, Crane says not to soak their ford windsor hydraulic lifters and rhoads says to soak theirs ....

    Ahhh ... back to that silly instruction sheet ....

    But, it seems most small block chevy guys prefer to 'pre-soak' in oil.

    Don't you love it? :cool:
  3. mreoe4sure
    Joined: Jul 2009
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    mreoe4sure who me

    It is one of those old wifes tales to soak them in oil. They are easier to adjust if dry. Install with assembly lube to keep the lifters from galling on the initial fire up till oil pressure comes up. The bottoms of the lifters. If you put the lifter on the heel of the cam install the pushrod and rocker arm. Tighten the rocker nut until you have contact between the lifter,pushrod, and rocker. I usually spin the pushrod with my fingers until I start to feel friction as they come together. The pushrod will be seated in the lifter but not depressing the cylinder (plunger) of the lifter. There is a spring in the lifter that keeps the cylinder at the top, if you shake the lifter before installing you can hear the cylinder rattle as it depresses the spring. When you seat but not depress the cylinder in the lifter you are at zero lash, It is the same if the motor was running and you loosen the nut till it clatters and then tighten till it is quiet. AT this point you tighten the nut the 3/4 of a turn. You can now install the rocker covers ( valve covers). There is no need to adjust them after the motor is running. It is much cleaner no oil sprayed everywhere. The lifters will rattle for about 30 seconds till they fill on the initial fire. This is the way I was taught when I went to Automotive school. Hope this helps . Steve
  4. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    I agree, assembly lube should cover everything, lifter bore, bottom of lifter, cam, oil pump shaft, fuel pump rod, timing gears, bearings, etc. But first, make sure that there are no machining fines in any passages (use a gun brush to clean all oil passages). After initial start, run until oil is hot and lube is melted, and then drain and change fliters and check the pan.
  5. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    as well as the oil every where thing during assembly I always coated every wearing surface with a smear of moly grease, if the motors sits for long time before the final assembly bits are on and in place can even use a big electric drill and wind the motor over as fast as the drill would go to get everything flowing but no petrol or spark then connect up the gas and turn the key and would fire up as easy and as quiet like it had been running just minutes before !

    My father and I used to build race motors and would run for a couple of hours with a big electric motor before the initial fire up with gas and electrics ! :)
  6. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    My local engineering shop uses a milky colored assembly paste spread with a paint brush.

    I believe this assembly lube is a part number. Check your workshop manuel
  7. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    I once worked for a fully sponsored professional racing team, all the race engines were put together with assembly lube on all the parts. Than before start up we would spin the dry sump oil pump (external belt driven) until we saw oil coming out around the cam shaft (the highest point on the engine). than slip the pump belt back on and fire up the engine.

    You can do something similar by grounding your coil wire and cranking the engine until the oil pressure gauge comes up off the peg. I always do this on first start of any engine.

    I have never done a dry start on an engine with hydraulic lifters, but it seems to me with assembly lube on everything, and than cranking the engine until you get oil pressure, all of the lifters should be pressured up good enough for the first start.
  8. powerabout
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    powerabout Senior Member

    you can prime a chev with a battery drill and a home made shaft when you remove the distributor.
    I assume your cam manufacturer has mentioned which engine oil to use assuming we are talking flat tappet lifters, modern oils do not work with old cams

  9. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Most that build engines will have an old distributor, which has it's shaft altered to fit a drill. This is used to spin up the oil pump, before cold start up on a fresh build. Most of the initial wear on the bearings, seals and other pieces will be during this start, until pressure builds. This may seem insignificant, being only a second or two, but you can get a lot of damage and wear in this time. I always soak the lifters, so they don't have to "pump up" in the first few seconds of start up.
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