Tappet adjustment on shovelhead - Harley Davidson Forums: Harley Davidson Motorcycle Forum
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Tappet adjustment on shovelhead

On an old shovelhead (1973), when tightening the pushrod to adjust the valves, do you compress the hydraulic lifter spring all the way or should it not be compressed at all? I know that the oil has to be out of the lifter so the hydralic part is all the way down in the tappet, but how far do you compress the spring?
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You set the cam on the lowest part of the lobe, then adjust the pushrod to zero lash, then usually go 21-27 flats, or about 2.5-3.5 turns on the pushrod adjuster, depending on what lifters your using and what threads your pushrods have.

The lifter will start to compress but it'll stop due to the oil inside, and start compressing the valve spring. Let it sit for 15 minutes, or until you can turn the pushrod with your fingers, before moving turning the engine over, or you'll bend a valve. The lifter usually takes about 15 minutes to bleed down, then go on to the next pushrod.
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Do you mean that the spring on the hydraulic lift is fully compressed or just partially compressed? I have the lifters bled down as this engine hasn't run yet.
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmac851 View Post
Do you mean that the spring on the hydraulic lift is fully compressed or just partially compressed? I have the lifters bled down as this engine hasn't run yet.
If the lifters are dry , no oil in 'em , then turn the adjusters down until you "feel" contact ... gets a little harder to turn against the spring ... then turn in the number of turns like Dave said . There's a go - no go gauge that can be used too but ain't really needed . Just make sure the lifter being adjusted is on the heel of the cam lobe . Also with dry lifters you ain't gotta wait 15 minutes between adjustments cause they ain't gotta bleed down .
To find the heel of the cam lobe roll the engine over with the rear tire and the bike lifted up . Rock the tire back and forth and watch the push rods go up and down , when the pushrod goes down all the way it's at the heel .
When you're done adjusting roll the engine over by hand several times to make sure nothing's binding . Sometimes this procedure takes several tries man !
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