What do the "experts" recommend? Every 3,000 miles? 5,000 miles? Whenever you change the oil? Whenever you notice "something" amiss? When? Is it a mistake to base your adjustment upon the old adage "If it ain't broken, don't fix it?"  Can anyone out there in "Speedster Country" answer this question?

Original Post

Aluminum or chrome molly rods ?  

Aluminum every 3000 miles to 006

Chrome molly  check them at each oil service to confirm they are still at 0 aka just being able to spin the rod with you thumb and finger.

Last edited by Alan Merklin

Every 2- 3,000 miles is good. If you're changing the oil every 2-3,000 miles then do them together. And if you're doing the work yourself I recommend keeping a journal on what valves need adjustment at each service; if you see a pattern of 1 valve moving consistently more than the others you'll know something is wrong and have to make plans to check that head out. The valve stem could be stretching or the seat may be getting pounded into the head- both rare, but they do happen. Exhaust valves especially (because they get sooo hot!) depend on the proper amount of time sitting on the seat for cooling and survival so too tight is not good (the exhaust valve face and even the seat can corrode/burn), but if the adjustment is too loose (exhaust or intake) then the engine doesn't make the power it was designed to.

"Whenever you notice something amiss" is too late- valve adjustments are preventative maintenance, and yes, "if it ain't broke don't fix it" has no place here. A new/rebuilt engine or one that has had headwork done will require several valve adjustments in the first 2,000 or so miles, as parts are wearing into each other. On new engines some guys will adjust valves 3, 4 or even 5 times in the first 500-1,000 miles- after cam break-in (20 minutes running above 2,000 rpm, shut it off and let it cool), after the first 30-50 miles, at 300 and then 1,000 miles. If you're super paranoid throw a couple more in the mix. And if you're super, SUPER paranoid- change the oil every time as well.

Hope this helps. Al

PS- Alan means aluminum or chromoly pushrods

 

Last edited by ALB

So from experience - when an exhaust stretches and then breaks off.  It bounces off the piston and head a few times, poking a hole in the top of the piston before embedding in the head mashing the spark plug in.  As if matters can't get worse, it can, liitle hunks of alloy/steel enter crank case oil so it can damage bearings.  Total engine rebuild -- caused by an $8 exhaust valve.

ALB posted:

Every 2- 3,000 miles is good. If you're changing the oil every 2-3,000 miles then do them together. And if you're doing the work yourself I recommend keeping a journal on what valves need adjustment at each service; if you see a pattern of 1 valve moving consistently more than the others you'll know something is wrong and have to make plans to check that head out. The valve stem could be stretching or the seat may be getting pounded into the head- both rare, but they do happen. Exhaust valves especially (because they get sooo hot!) depend on the proper amount of time sitting on the seat for cooling and survival so too tight is not good (the exhaust valve face and even the seat can corrode/burn), but if the adjustment is too loose (exhaust or intake) then the engine doesn't make the power it was designed to.

"Whenever you notice something amiss" is too late- valve adjustments are preventative maintenance, and yes, "if it ain't broke don't fix it" has no place here. A new/rebuilt engine or one that has had headwork done will require several valve adjustments in the first 2,000 or so miles, as parts are wearing into each other. On new engines some guys will adjust valves 3, 4 or even 5 times in the first 500-1,000 miles- after cam break-in (20 minutes running above 2,000 rpm, shut it off and let it cool), after the first 30-50 miles, at 300 and then 1,000 miles. If you're super paranoid throw a couple more in the mix. And if you're super, SUPER paranoid- change the oil every time as well.

Hope this helps. Al

PS- Alan means aluminum or chromoly pushrods

 

My "1915" is 10 years old and has only 19,000 miles on it. I just put on 850 two weeks ago on the SLO West Coast Cruise and it never missed a beat....even with 330 of those miles averaging 3200 rpm's (~70 mph) with the outside temp @ 106 degrees. I "burned" more than the engine! I just wanted to get a feel for what others are doing, 'cause it's in today for a 4,000 mile oil change and minor tuneup. My mechanic will check the valve gaps and if they NEED adjustment - the way it's running, I doubt it - he'll do so. As far as I'm concerned, whoever built this engine for Kirk in 2009 sure did a good job!

I took Pearl over for her yearly DMV inspection today, and with the new procedure the tech keeps her idling all the time he’s doing the inspection, maybe 15 minutes in just about 90° heat.  Then he pulled her out to the side of the building and left her running while I paid (She PASSED!!) and then walked out to her to hear all 8 lifters clicking away. The temp gauge was getting close to my self-imposed “red zone” (210° - 215°) and the valve gap was really (for my hearing) opening up as the engine got real hot and expanded.

Hopped in, blasted the heck out of there and took a slightly longer route home, letting her cool off a bit and when I got home she sounded back to normal.

Aircooled engines are strange little beasts.......   

@Napa Paul wrote- "My mechanic will check the valve gaps and if they NEED adjustment - the way it's running, I doubt it - he'll do so. As far as I'm concerned, whoever built this engine for Kirk in 2009 sure did a good job!"

Glad to hear your engine runs well! Regular maintenance goes a long way with our little antique wonders.

You'll probably find that generally they don't move much and only the odd gap needs minor tweaking. That said- I wouldn't stray too far from the factory maintenance recommendations (which is to adjust the valves every 3,000 miles) if only for peace of mind. A regular valve adjustment gives you a window into the health of the valve train- minor adjustments are normal and tell you everything is wearing acceptably, where as a sudden large gap will warn you of  parts wearing much quicker than normal, and what to look out for. I'm thinking  a pushrod tip pounding into the pushrod, the tip itself wearing unnecessarily (neither are anywhere near common but do rear their ugly head occasionally),  or if it's 1 loose on each side (along with some silvery slur in the oil) a lifter/cam lobe may be grinding itself into oblivion. Adjustments tightening up more than normal are also a warning, as Greg and I mentioned above.

The point is- regular valve adjustments will catch these things before they become a problem that wipes out most of the engine. They'll still cost money and time to fix, but you won't be buying everything but the carbs, manifolds, header, distributor, engine sheet metal and fuel pump. You can't rely on just your ear to tell you when it's valve adjustment time- a lot of things have to get surprisingly bad before you can hear them.

I built that cannon with my friend, Ron.  His Dad was recently admitted to a rehab facility after falling and breaking his leg at the ripe old age of 96.  We’ve been visiting frequently (maybe why I’ve been slower on here and email, lately) and he’s as sharp as a tack, sharing stories of when six of us used to hang out at his house with a bunch of different rides from a Dune Buggy to an SS 396 that was great on the track (and local street racing) to about 80mph when it was all done.  It sucks getting old, but this guy is taking it in stride, telling me that his “tank is running out of gas” but he’s still making the best of it. ( And checking out the rehab staff, to be sure. )

The cannon (Just Remember, the Fourth of July is coming up):  We used a piece of narrow well casing, black iron pipe the same ID that would just accept a foam coffee cup stuffed into it.  On one end, we pipe threaded it and screwed on an end cap, drilled and tapped for a spark plug, and the cap was then welded to the pipe after threading it on (just to be safe).  We built a rudimentary mount for it that has been altered over the years by subsequent owners- Ours was made of wood.  The spark plug was wired to a neon sign transformer giving us a continuous spark once the switch was thrown.

We tried propane, at first, and that gave a wimpy, muted “Woof”.

I mean, C’Mon, really?  So then we tried stuffing a partially filled beer can (OK, so it was a Pepsi can, alright?  We were in high school, for crying out........)  into a styrofoam cup and cramming it down the pipe after flooding the pipe inside with Propane.  THAT gave us a much bigger “WOOF!” and sent the can to the far end of Ron’s lot just to the tree line.

But........  the Piese de Resistance was when we switched to an Oxy-Acetylene mix instead of wimpy Propane.  Light the torch, get a good welding flame going, pop it out with too much Oxygen (the flame goes out but the gas keeps flowing) cram the torch head down the pipe, count to five (or ten, if you are adventurous), quickly remove the torch and, as quickly, cram the half-filled beer can/styrofoam cup down the pipe, capturing the gas way down there under a little pressure, then..........Hit the switch and.....

BOOM!

I mean, Howitzer-Sized friggin boom.  Blow your hearing to smitherinies, style boom.  Like “You ain’t gonna hear nothing but a zillion different chimes, continuously, forever, for the rest of your life” boom.  Like “send that friggin beer can into Orbit”, Boom.

It was friggin AWESOME.

And it now resides at the Leicester, Massachusetts, Rod and Gun Club to kick off their major events.  They fuel now it with wimpy Propane because, let’s face it.....They are all wimps.  They also wear earmuffs when they fire it off.   WIMPS!

I heard just yesterday that Ron’s brother, Dennis, also suffers from hearing loss in one ear, like me, but that certainly can’t be in any way related to our cannon......Can it?

Subsequent calculations (Ron eventually got his Engineering Degree from Wentworth College) told us that we could potentially shoot an average Large Idaho Potato approximately a mile without even breaking a sweat.   Imagine what we could do with some real fuel......

Just’ Sayin’.

MY machine shop guy Randy in St Thomas PA built a 3/4 scale  exact replica of a Civil War cannon . He has made the cannon balls from melted down metal shavings which the supply is endless.  I saw this cannon fire once  ( with explosive ball) from up on a hill some 140 yards a direct hit to a  clapped out Olds station wagon. It stoved in a the rear door a good 16" and turned the wagon on it's side .  Randy has made specific arrangements for when he passes. There Is a  $100 bill that is to be utilized in the purchase of a keg of beer . By invitation all friends are to consume  the  contents followed by inserting a custom machined explosive cylinder into the barrel of the cannon . This projectile  shall carry Randy's ashes out of the cannon and over the countryside  below....There is a yellow warning label that reads:  ( CAUTIION : DO NOT FIRE INTO THE WIND :~)  

When I was a kid I had a much smaller Carbide Cannon.  There was a water chamber inside and when Bangsite granules were dropped into the water it generated acetylene.   It was ignited with a spark from a flint.  While invented in the early 20th century, they are still available.  Maybe I should try to get another before July 4th.

Carbide Cannon Cutaway

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Bulova made radios?  Who knew?

There is a Zenith Transoceanic portable radio in my late brother’s shop that still works.  It was THE beach radio in the 1960’s.  

Now, I just use my Bluetooth ear buds....... 

Gordon Nichols posted:

Bulova made radios?  Who knew?

There is a Zenith Transoceanic portable radio in my late brother’s shop that still works.  It was THE beach radio in the 1960’s.  

Now, I just use my Bluetooth ear buds....... 

Oh yeah I remember the quality goes in before the name goes on .

And to think...this thread started with my asking about checking for valve adjustments?!  Did I make a wrong turn somewhere? 

"When you come to a fork in the road, ...pick it up." *

*I didn't want to steal Yogi's quote 

Gordon Nichols posted:

Yeah, and my ears ain’t all that good since the day we fired off that home-made Oxy-Acetylene fueled cannon one 4’th of July when I was a kid.  

Here's the culprit that caused the thread drift …….it's that Gordon guy !

Last edited by Alan Merklin
Alan Merklin posted:
Gordon Nichols posted:

Yeah, and my ears ain’t all that good since the day we fired off that home-made Oxy-Acetylene fueled cannon one 4’th of July when I was a kid.  

Here's the culprit that caused the thread drift …….it's that Gordon guy !

Well you have to make a right hand turn to get to MA...

Napa Paul posted:
ALB posted:

Every 2- 3,000 miles is good. If you're changing the oil every 2-3,000 miles then do them together. And if you're doing the work yourself I recommend keeping a journal on what valves need adjustment at each service; if you see a pattern of 1 valve moving consistently more than the others you'll know something is wrong and have to make plans to check that head out. The valve stem could be stretching or the seat may be getting pounded into the head- both rare, but they do happen. Exhaust valves especially (because they get sooo hot!) depend on the proper amount of time sitting on the seat for cooling and survival so too tight is not good (the exhaust valve face and even the seat can corrode/burn), but if the adjustment is too loose (exhaust or intake) then the engine doesn't make the power it was designed to.

"Whenever you notice something amiss" is too late- valve adjustments are preventative maintenance, and yes, "if it ain't broke don't fix it" has no place here. A new/rebuilt engine or one that has had headwork done will require several valve adjustments in the first 2,000 or so miles, as parts are wearing into each other. On new engines some guys will adjust valves 3, 4 or even 5 times in the first 500-1,000 miles- after cam break-in (20 minutes running above 2,000 rpm, shut it off and let it cool), after the first 30-50 miles, at 300 and then 1,000 miles. If you're super paranoid throw a couple more in the mix. And if you're super, SUPER paranoid- change the oil every time as well.

Hope this helps. Al

PS- Alan means aluminum or chromoly pushrods

 

My "1915" is 10 years old and has only 19,000 miles on it. I just put on 850 two weeks ago on the SLO West Coast Cruise and it never missed a beat....even with 330 of those miles averaging 3200 rpm's (~70 mph) with the outside temp @ 106 degrees. I "burned" more than the engine! I just wanted to get a feel for what others are doing, 'cause it's in today for a 4,000 mile oil change and minor tuneup. My mechanic will check the valve gaps and if they NEED adjustment - the way it's running, I doubt it - he'll do so. As far as I'm concerned, whoever built this engine for Kirk in 2009 sure did a good job!

There was an engine builder that provided for Kirk with his motors named Roland Rascon and he was fairly well known. Not sure from when to when he built motors for Kirk.

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