Well guys, as I posted a couple weeks ago I had developed a rattle that sounded like a wrench rattling around in the heads and right side of the bike. This seemed to be just as bad, once warmed up, under load or coasting.
I pulled the heads to check out the rockers. When I had it apart earlier this year I was ignorant of the fact that there may be too much end play on the rocker arms.
Once they were off I checked them with feeler gauges and all four measured about .020 to .023". On the high side but between what the manual said they could be. I felt that the high numbers were too high and needed to try something else.
I found out that the spacer bottoms out on the shoulder of the rocker shave and that shims would have to be used. I looked at the part and determined that most of the end thrust force is on the valve end and not the pushrod end of the rocker. I found some hardened metric shims at work that just fit over the rocker shaft bosses. I put one on each shaft and re-measured the end play. After shimming the end play was down to about .010" to .013". Stands to reason because the shims, although metric in thickness, were about .010" thick.
Someone mentioned that they made new spacers of a thicker dimension but if they bottom out on the rocker boss and not the rocker, I couldn't see how thick spacers would take up any end play.
Next I took out the lifter blocks and after many hours of reading about this and looking through catalogs, I was a bit more knowledgeable on the subject. It appears that when they did the upper end work, pistons with a slight over bore, valve job etc, they also installed a #2 Andrews cam in the ole girl. When they did that I was told they put in solid lifters. What I found out was that the solids were a replacement of the hydraulics in the same lifter assemblies, not new solid lifters.
I found that the replacement inserts had come loose in the lifter assemblies. Now I don't mean that I could just lift them out from the lifter assembly cold, but after I broke them loose with a wrench one popped right out and two more turned out with some effort. The fourth is still nice and tight. I suspect that after the motor warmed up the lifter inserts were loose and screwing with me.
I took the lifter assembly bores and heated them slightly with the heat gun and cleaned the bore out very good. I used brake clean on the bore to get them oil free. I also treated the inserts to the same process. I use bonding heat resistant Loctite and bonded them back into the lifter bores.
After two days to cure I reassembled the bike. I started it up and the motor was very quiet. I took it out for a test run and after about 10 miles returned home with a still
quietly running bike, well as quiet as a 30 year old Shovelhead could be.
I'm not sure which made the most progress against the rattle, the rockers or the lifters, but my money is on the lifters.
I know, I should have replaced them at the time but I just really didn't want to drop another several hundred bucks into to it. Knowing that it's better than when I bought it last July, I'm sure it will get into this winter.
The only oil leak I have is oil seeping from nuts of the crankcase lower dowel pin bolts. I guess the only way to really
fix it is to split the cases and reseal the two halves upon reassembly. I also want to have the original crank balanced with the new pistons just to try and help out on the vibration end of the motor. I'll probably end up with new rockers and rocker shafts too. At that time it's a new compensator sprocket assembly, maybe even one of the new balancer types. If anyone has other ideas about reducing the vibration in the ole girl, let me know.
And thanks to MDHD88 for pm'ing me directly with some suggestions.
Thanks again to all of you great guys. I greatly appreciate the help and information.
'76 FLH Electra Glide Project
'55 Chevy Nomad Gasser 540 ci / 660 hp