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Lifter problems

This is a discussion on Lifter problems within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Hi guys, and gals, I'm new here and I hate my first post to be asking for help but I ...

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    Lifter problems

    Hi guys, and gals, I'm new here and I hate my first post to be asking for help but I bought my first LS powered truck, its a 2000 Chevy k1500 silverado with 862 heads and vin engine code T if that helps anyone further, and it needed head gaskets so I tore it down and did them and its all back together and it acted like it had no compression. I pulled the #1 plug out and checked and sure enough it had none I pulled the valve covers off and rockers, checked all the push rods to make sure they weren't bent, and put it back together again torquing the rocker bolts to 22ft lbs and same thing. I don't know what I'm doing wrong but as soon as the rocker bolts are hand tight and I hang the torque wrench on they start pushing the valve springs down. I even got it to TDC on compression and adjusted the valves the way shopkey says and still the same thing happened. Has anyone else ran into this problem ever? What could be wrong? I have the rocker rail in under the rockers and everything. This is the first LS I've ever had to put head gaskets on or I may have a better idea myself but unfortunately I haven't an I don't have a clue. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

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    you will push the valve springs down some. It's the 22 ft lbs that's important to get to. Sounds like you are doing it right.

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    I think I'm doing it right but I can't be. I drove it in the shop and it ran and now spins like I have no heads on at all. There is no spacers or anything that go under the rocker rail or anything I could have potentially lost or dropped is there? Like the rocker rail goes on the head then the rockers go on those then the rockers get bolted down right? Is there a chance the push rods aren't in right? Those just slide down the holes onto the lifters correct? Thanks again for any help.

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    Sorry. I meant rocker problems but maybe it is the lifters. Is it possible the rocker bar is too worn down? The motor has 250,000 miles but was super clean inside and I could still see the hone marks in the cylinders so I believe it was well taken care of. It was a fleet truck and was used for plowing. The Trans was replaced 30,000 miles ago as well. Thanks again guys.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    unless you somehow miss the lifter (can't see how) the push rods they should be all relatively even. Can you post a pic?


    You'll need to use photobucket or something like it to post the link.

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    Not sure what is going on... stock style replacement head gasket?

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    I don't have any pics but the push rods have the plastic guides so they almost have to be in right, right? Yes. Stock motor, stock gaskets, stock everything. Just a regular truck for working, pulling trailer, and plowing. I'm pretty sure the motor was stock with nothing ever done except routine things, plugs, wires, a coil here and there etc etc. I'm pretty sure it never needed gaskets before because 4 manifold bolts were broken that I had to drill out while I had the heads off as well.

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    Take the rockers and pushrods back off the engine. This will close the valves. Crank it over and see if it has compression. If it does not...then your problem is worse then a rockers. Although I can't see any possible way to screw that up.
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    Yeah but the thing is I drove the truck in the shop. I actually did take it back apart to set the rockers the way shopkey said and with my 3' 1/2 ratchet had trouble spinning it over. Not like the motor was bad but because it had that much compression. Also, that's how I found TDC. Spun the motor over with my finger over #1 cyl plug hole. It has compression. As long as I don't run the rocker bolts tight. It almost has to be the push rods aren't sitting on the lifters right though I can't see how that can possibly be. As much as I hate to do it its looking like I have to pull the intake back off and lower intake plate and see that everything from the lifters to rockers is sitting correctly then set the valves up and do intake very last.

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    You can't see the lifters in the intake valley. You have to look down the pushrod hole in the head or remove the heads to see the lifters.

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    Seriously...? Like I said. This is the first LS motor I'm working on but have built plenty of old Chevys. So it's not like an old motor? Pull the intake and the lifters are right there to see and even remove? I'm assuming the heads would have to be removed to take the pushrod "guides" out then use a magnet to pull the lifters out? I don't know what to do next. I've taken the rockers off and tried torquing them down 4 times now and every time get the same disappointing result...

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    Yep. Heads off to remove the lifters and guides. There really isn't any adjustment or way to screw up rocker install. Just bolt them down. So I don't know what to tell you. Maybe the lifters are pumping up and not bleeding down. That could hang the valves open.

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    Are the rockers all the same and pushrods? Like if some jerk mixed them up would it matter? I know they SHOULD go back where they came from but what if someone else at the shop kicked them off the lift and mixed everything up and put it back like I had it sitting there? Could that be the problem? Though you would think at least 1 cyl would be good!

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    You think that would happen to all 16 lifters at once? Anyway to test that? Anyway to get them back down? Thanks for your help.

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    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    I don't think it's likely that all 16 lifters are pumped up. I have had problems with lifters getting coolant in them and not pumping up.
    All the lifters and pushrods are the same on this engine I believe.

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    ^^^meant all the rockers and pushrods are the same I believe.

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    Well that's definitely a possibility in this motor. There was plenty of coolant in the oil but then they wouldn't pump up, not stay pumped would you think?

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    Yes. Lifters with coolant in them usually collapse and the valve train gets noisey and clatters. Getting the engine warmed up and changing the oil several times can clear up that issue.
    I just had another thought though. It the lifters are sludged up, they could pump up and not bled down fast enough with the engine running.

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    I never got to run it since I did the head gaskets. I literally put it all back together and hit the key and spun over like the heads were off yet. I even covered the pushrod guides with tape when I sprayed the copper gasket stuff on the block so nothing got down into the lifters I'm sure and I changed the oil in the truck and ran it about 5 min before doing the head gaskets to clean things out and wash some of the stuff down from the heads and rockers.

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    Well if it hasn't run since the head gasket repair the the lifters could be pumped up, because the tension was off of them. I've had that happen on different engines before. You just gotta keep cranking it over, try different throttle positions , and get it to run. Eventually it should run and the lifters will begin to work.

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