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Discussion Starter #1
Just changed out my SE lifters in my 120 with the S&S lifters because I was getting a knocking noise at start up but it would go away after about 30-60 seconds. Figured it was the typical bad lifter thing so I made the switch. Anyway, looking at the SE lifters that I took out 3 of them have some sort of wear grooves around the middle section. One is still smooth. Never noticed this on any lifters before so I am curious as to what caused it so I'll know if there is something else I need to look at. Also the front cylinder exhaust lifter bearing is bad so I think that is the lifter that was causing the noise at startup. I'll know tomorrow if the new lifters solved my issue when I finish putting the tank back on. Had to stop working tonight as the wife had a great dinner ready. I'll also upload some pics tomorrow from the computer because I can't get them to upload from my phone.


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A combination of things. Low grade materials used in the manufacturing process of the import lifters, overkill valve springs in the heads = more seat pressure than needed. Fast ramps on the 255 cams.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
A combination of things. Low grade materials used in the manufacturing process of the import lifters, overkill valve springs in the heads = more seat pressure than needed. Fast ramps on the 255 cams.
I have 259E cams but probably similar ramp profile. I get the fact that is what is causing the light vertical scratches on the shiny parts of the lifter but what made the small grooves that are horizontal in the center of the lifters?
 

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I get the fact that is what is causing the light vertical scratches on the shiny parts of the lifter but what made the small grooves that are horizontal in the center of the lifters?
You mean the very not fresh looking opposite to the direction of travel horizontal grooves in the non wearing recessed area in the middle of the lifter? I'd be inclined to think that it's just a finishing shortcut taken by the manufacturer because precision machining is expensive. I suppose it could be a designed attempt to coax a bit more oil into the oiling ports at the end of the recess ... But personally I wouldn't stress about it unless there is some other critical detail (like it was packed with metal bits during disassembly) missing from the story and photo.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You mean the very not fresh looking opposite to the direction of travel horizontal grooves in the non wearing recessed area in the middle of the lifter? I'd be inclined to think that it's just a finishing shortcut taken by the manufacturer because precision machining is expensive. I suppose it could be a designed attempt to coax a bit more oil into the oiling ports at the end of the recess ... But personally I wouldn't stress about it unless there is some other critical detail (like it was packed with metal bits during disassembly) missing from the story and photo.
Yup.. Just talk to a friend at my local stealership and he said it was just how it was machined. The fact that one was smooth just made me start questioning it. No metal shavings were found at all but... now that I have started the bike the noise is still there so now on to that adventure.
 

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The manufacture just doesn't polish up the part of the lifter that doesn't need polishing.
The new lifters may need to pump up and you can get noise while they are pumping up which is some cases may take a little time. after the lifters pump up the adjustable pushrods (if you're using them) may need to be adjusted again.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
The manufacture just doesn't polish up the part of the lifter that doesn't need polishing.
The new lifters may need to pump up and you can get noise while they are pumping up which is some cases may take a little time. after the lifters pump up the adjustable pushrods (if you're using them) may need to be adjusted again.
Wasn't concerned that they weren't polished just the fact that the grooves looked like something had been digging in all the way around. The one lifter was smooth in that area and the new S&S lifters were all smooth so I was just checking. I did make an effort to pump up the new ones before install and I may not have done the best job and I'll see how it goes when I get out for a ride later on. Didn't do adjustable pushrods because I didn't feel they were worth the $180 bucks at this point. Taking the rocker box off and the rocker out is not that big of a deal to me. The hardest part of the whole thing was getting the tappet cover back screws closest to the fins out. Had to make my own little tool that worked good but it was still slow going.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
So... Turns out that the noise that it was making was something I did (or didn't do) a while back. About 10-12k miles ago I put the UltraCool oil cooler on just before taking a long trip to see my daughter. Evidently in my hast to get it on I forgot to put any thread locker on the threaded adapter so over the course of changing 3-4 filters I loosened it up and the adapter plate was loose. The thing is that it never leaked to the ground until yesterday or today and that's how I found it. So I just took the adapter plate all the way off and cleaned it and all the threads on the bolts. Put loc-tite on all the threads and reassembled everything. Started the bike and WA-LA! Everything sounded great and even better than before. I took a test ride with no helmet so I could listen closely and she is very quiet now with the new S&S standard lifters. At idol I could barely even hear the top-end and I am amazed at the difference. The good thing is that if the adapter plate had not come loose and made the noise I would not have found the 1 lifter with a bad bearing this soon so I may not have caught it in time before it caused bigger problems. This was a big PITA with the limited amount of time that I have had to tinker with the bike but all in all it worked out. I'll feel completely confident in the morning when I start the bike for the first time in the day and I no longer have the noise that it had before. Ride Safe!
 

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Good news.
I'm convinced that lifters are now a maintenance item.
Nope, the Harley lifters are a change out as soon as you can issue. Every one I've had people complain about, one of them or more had unusual marks on the piston in the lifter causing it to hang and not pump up at times. No matter whether hot or cold. Plenty of precise manufacturing issues with Harley's lifters for sure.
 

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The rough tooling marks in the undercut area, below the precision ground OD of that lifter is a result of either a tool becoming dull during that machining process, or material build-up on the cutting edge of that tool.
Has no detrimental affect on the lifter operation whatsoever.
Scott
 
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