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Post Hydraulic Vs. Solid Lifters?

So the question is whether to run hydraulic or solid lifters in a performance motor. I plan to run around 2.2L and not overrev the poor thing that much.

I currently run a hydraulic cam in my stock motor and have raced that thing (turning 5 grand all day) with great results. By the way, can I just say how great not adjusting valves is.

BUT, I noticed Jake Raby (chime in here Jake) doesn't offer hydraulic lifters in his "magic" 2270 engine. Is this solely to allow higher R's, or are we being a little purist?

Thanks,

Sean
Old 10-23-2001, 08:10 PM
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I'm by no means a purist. Wild and crazy are my traits.

I really dislike Hydros because they promote neglect, and hide problems that would normally be FOUND during a valve adjustment.

I have seen more dropped seats, snapped valves with Hyrdos than with every solid lift combined.

The oil in a hydro engine must be kept clean, or those lifters (that have.0010 tolerance) will suffer the consequences, explode, spit a pushrod, pop a retainer and destroy an engine..

After I noticed 75% of ALL the cams I see that are HYDRO are worn, I made policy not to use them. The lifters are in constant contact with the lobes, and tracing of the "Heel" is all too common.

In our videotape, we disassembled a hydro engine, the cam was wasted and there are some good close ups too.

I have seen an al orginal, 321,000 mile cam in better shape than 90% of the hydros we see, with 40K miles.

I turn down atleast 2 jobs/month because I stick with my policy, I have not used a single hydro cam in 4 years!

If you decide to do it, make sure you use a web cam, and lifters..



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Old 10-23-2001, 08:52 PM
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Thanks a lot for the reply Jake!

I have already used a hydraulic on my stock motor (mostly built for smog reasons).

The next motor may or may not get a hyrdo. I have to say, you make a convicing argument for solid. The two reasons I may still go hydro is that I keep my oil VERY new and I don't expect this motor to live much longer than 30-40K. By that time I hope to be upgrading to a 914/6.

I'll need to think about this!

Sean
Old 10-24-2001, 07:19 AM
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Right after purchasing my second 914 a couple of months ago, I set about tuning it up and setting the valves. Much to my suprise, they felt squichy when I was adjustin gthem. Something I read here made me stop and ask, "how the hell do I know if these are hydraulic?' I looked up the clearance for the hydraulic lifters, and found that all matched what I had, before I screwed with the one. SO i set it back where it was, and assumed I had hydraulics. Now I know why this little 1.8 runs sooo much quieter than my 2.0. What a noise difference! and yes, not crawling under it every month is nice.
I think Jake's argument is so true that it scares me. Yes, there will probably be some problem in the valve train eventually that I won't catch because I am not seeing or hearing a dang thing in there.
Old 10-24-2001, 03:10 PM
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I believe the argument Jake makes against installing hydraulic valvetrain is valid. Sure, the bus T-IV's may have had them, but you're looking at a whole different application and operating environment.

I suppose the 914 2.0L engine could've been (originally) designed/introduced with hydraulics, but in comparison to the 914/6 powerplant it was to replace, the engineers took into consideration the performance aspect of solids and went that route. As much as hydraulics supposedly (see Jake's comments) would save in periodic adjustments, the loss in horsepower wasn't acceptable (a step backwards?).

A close friend has a 914 2.0L FI w/hydraulics, and Holy Crap! the clatter it makes during warm-up if it sits for any length of time; them suckers drain out awfully soon, ya think?. I have to turn my head and chuckle, thinking "This eliminates the hassle of valve adjustments?"

If you're going to punch it out to 2.2L+, than solids is the best bet for power AND longevity. Besides, if you're only keeping it 30-40K, why spend the extra money for hydraulics in the first place? A "solid" 914 engine is worth more than a "hydraulic" one.



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Old 10-24-2001, 04:04 PM
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Hyd. only HURTS performance, esp. at upper RPMs, and only has downsides, most of which are mentioned above. The engine simply was not engineered to take hyd cams, like a bus engine is. Sure, you can slap a bunch of hyd parts in a 914 engine, and it will run, but its a kludge system, not a factory designed system.

Hyd. only has ONE upside, you don't need to adjust the valves anymore. As set forth above, that may not necessarily be an upside.

But, if adjusting 8 valves every 6000 miles is too burdensome a task for you, then a 914 is probably not the right car for you.
Old 10-24-2001, 05:40 PM
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I got a couple comments here.

1) Manufacturers designing engines... So you really think they look at how to get the most performance from an engine when designing it? No, they have way too many other things to look at. Typically in this order; Cost (this includes being used in other applications), Environment, Life Span, Noise, Less Mean Time to Repair, Fuel Mileage, HP Performance, and finally Weight. This means that no engine you ever get will match exactly what you want it to do, be the best performance engine it can be, or even the best gas mileage.

2) Hydro vs. Solid... I guess if you really like adjusting your valves, more power to you. I only put 4-5k miles on my Porsche a year, and that means I adjust my valves 3 times a year. Each time I hate it more and more. That's one of the biggest reasons I'm doing an engine swap to a 2.2L Kcar engine.

3) Jake has a point, in a way. However, ALL current engines running Hydro valves will out last any VW solid valve engine.

4) The part about finding drive line problems sooner with solid valves. If you can do that, sweet. Unfortunatly, I am not skillful enough to pick out little noises here and there and determin what is wrong. I do know that a lot of people are, but then again a lot of people are not.

5) Rouser, you said "As much as hydraulics supposedly (see Jake's comments) would save in periodic adjustments, the loss in horsepower wasn't acceptable (a step backwards?)." We are talking about a 95hp at best motor. Don't you think that they could have thought of something a little better then the one they threw in? The reason they didn't put a differant engine in is because of cost. They already had the design, the place to manufacture it, and the block basically just sitting there. I don't think they wanted to spend the money to design a better engine.

Anyway, I personally wouldn't spend any money on an engine I plan on dumping within the next year or two.
Old 10-24-2001, 06:56 PM
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If you do not like adjusting your valves how about installing 911 adjusters. The wear on the valve will be reduced. I have not had to adjust my valves the last two times I checked the clearance, it was still right on.Steve
Old 10-25-2001, 06:10 AM
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When I built my 2.0 liter, I was all set to go hydraulic. Adjusting the valves were a pita, and don't get the valve cover gasket right just once.......grrrrr. No one could talk me out of hydraulics because the only consistant, adamant argument against them was the loss in power. I'm an Aerospace engineer, and I wanted numbers, or to talk to someone that had actually tried them. If the loss was 5hp, or a 500rpm lower redline, so what? Then I talked to Dave at GRP. He had actually tried hydraulics in his car before it was a six. He hated it. His biggest problem was the awfull noise at startup. He made it sound like it was no small thing. Adjusting valves is still a pita, but i figure when I convert to a six, I'll use a 911 engine with hydrualics. Adjusting 12 valves must be a major pita. By the way, what was the first hydraulic 911 engine. The 3.2?
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Old 10-25-2001, 07:15 AM
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Thanks everybody for your replys...here's my take on it.

Hydraulic lifters are supposed to produce far less cam wear. I know this goes against everything Jake said in his post but that is what I hear. I have talked to several reputale engine builders in the area who all insist that hydraulics wear better than solids. That being said, type IV engines (solid and hydro) do seem to have higher cam wear than other engines. I should also say that hydraulic is the choice of todays engineers for sound/wear/ease. The exception to this is very high reving motors which will always run solid.

To answer a few of the other points...my stock engine (hydraulic) pulls very hard for a silly little 1.8L and doesn't make ANY noise at startup unless it sits for a long time a then it goes away as soon as the engine builds pressure. When it does make noise it is minor, equivalent to a misadjusted valve. This motor was done hydro because I don't like doingh valves, not because I can't! I did manage to build the motor! (and about 30 others, various kinds) BTW, anyone who ENJOYS adjusting valves is a masochist. Plus the cost of the lifters was not a huge issue. Like so many other people on this board I suffer from having more money than time. It was easier to by the hydro cam/lifters than to find time o adjust valves all the damn time.

That said, I take all of your points on performance engines. Were a street engine may be the place for hydro's a track engine may not (especially if spun to 6 or 7000).

I hadn't heard that the 911 adjusters reduce valve adjustments. I will certainly look into that, and it may be the way to go.

End result...the jury is still out. I need to deide what I am using this engine for. Or, maybe I will get fed up with the whole damn argument and upgrade to the 6 now! Incidentally, if anyone has a '73 3L SC (or earlier with side shift) and want to sell it, get in touch with me!

Great discussion guys....

Sean

Old 10-25-2001, 09:37 AM
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If you think that you are ever going to convert to a six, stop spending money on the four rebuild now! When you total all of your receipts, consider the time building and installing and tuning the four, and then test drive a six conversion, you WILL kick yourself. Ask me how I know. If you are commited to the four, DO NOT drive a six. Just my $0.02 worth. Actually, that advise is worth about $10k.
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Old 10-25-2001, 11:29 AM
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Engineers design things...They do not tear them apart after realtime tests.

They are not able to put their designs into test that will duplicate the time that will be spent on the road, or on jackstands with the engine out.

The fact that newer engines have Hydros, and work without problems are in my opinion, Irrelevant. This is mstly due to the fact of the oil system, and the wat the lifters and cam are lubricated. I make ALOT of rod modifications to help the cam lube beetter, this did not even help with the hydros, but on the solids, I have noticed a tremendous difference in 3/4 of the engines that we keep constant checks on......

NO MATTER WHAT, no hydro engines pass through the ddoors of my shop!
Old 10-25-2001, 07:05 PM
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Hey Cap'n. I had nothing to do with that. At least he did not use the word "dumb"
Very respectfully and humbly.....
Bee Jay
I may be in Santa Maria today, so I'll stop by and hose down any flames.

OOPS. My bad. That wasn't Cap'n John Larson, that was Jake. Your on your own Jake.

[This message has been edited by Bee Jay (edited 10-26-2001).]
Old 10-26-2001, 08:26 AM
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I second the comments about how much testing engineers do. I don't know Jake Raby and it seems like he puts together great engines, but he was way off the mark on what happens inside of auto companies and their suppliers. I know... I am a halfshaft engineer. We extensively test the products in the lab and the field: our own vehicles, the customer's, taxi fleets, dealer returns for warranty, etc. In a way, your own information shoots down your remarks... wasn't it the VW engineers who put the solid lifters in the 914 engines in the first place? The hydraulic lifters are for the Bus engine.
Old 10-26-2001, 08:54 AM
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Boy,

This is almost as emotional as when I asked why not to buy parts from AA.

I'm an engineer too and I'm also German, and everybody knows German engineers like to take impossible ideas and make them work.

Mine's solid.
Old 10-26-2001, 10:08 AM
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If engineers tested engines after 30 years of experiments, and redesign work, the TIV engine would just now have been released..

The thing that engineers cannot duplicate is that the biggest enemy that the engine will have is a misinformed mechanic...I doubt very seriously that they will have someone lug the engine over a mountain, run crappy gas in it, run 59 cent/quart oil in it or all of the above REAL TIME effects of an engines life..

I like to make things bulletproof, enough that the engine can be neglected, "Ran hard and put up wet" and never make someone walk..

To all the engineers out there:

I did not atteeempt to make a direct hit on you, or your profession. My engineering degree came from laying on my back on cold concrete floors when I screwed up.....Over 25% of my customers are engineers, they design things, we make them work! Once again, no flames intended, but I'm not afraid of the heat...LOL
Old 10-26-2001, 09:25 PM
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I agree, hyd lifters suck. If you want them buy a bus. Once had a guy try to talk me into them.....told him that if he did, would he double the warranty?

He would not do it, so I passed. Saw another engine with them installed....the engine took a dump within 2500 miles.
Old 10-27-2001, 02:16 PM
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Engineers and testing... I live in Michigan. I can't tell you what Porsche engineers do, but GM, Ford, DC engineers all do real tests like that. That's what the proving grounds are for. GM will put 200,000+ miles on a car in 6 months, tear it down to individual pieces, measure everything, put it back togeather and run it some more. I kid you not, they have robots to drive the cars so that they can run 24 hours. They also run crappy oil in it, design parts so that they can't be installed backwards, and do a billion other tests to all of their autos.

So, yes the cars are tested in the most real life environment. That's what it's all about.
Old 10-29-2001, 01:16 PM
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I disagree. 200k in 6 months is not real life either. I Let one of our engineers read these arguments today. He said that any machine that has variables of it's "cycle" (how it is used) and it's operater can really never be real life tested unless it is real time. Case and point. I just got to dump 900.00 bucks into my 5.7l (350) GMC pickup. They (GM) threaded an aluminum hose fitting into a cast iron manifold. That combined with antifreeze and TIME caused some sort of chemical reaction that caused the pipe fitting to burst - inside the stupid manifold. It had nothing to do with mileage or lack of maintenance. There is no way they could have known this was going to happen unless they had tested this for years. They are showing a 90% failure rate after 5 years.
The most talented engineer on the planet can not forsee everything that bone heads like me can do to a car on any particular day, on a dirt road, in a snow storm, riding the clutch, in low gear, with a dead bird blocking the tranny cooler and half of a big wheel melted to the oil pan, etc, etc...
Whoops, just spilled a slurpee on the fuse box, think I'll clean it off with this coarse steel wool pad!!!

Show me a dozen hydro motors with 150k and no major internal problems - from Colorado - and I'll put one in my car...

My slurpee drinkin, big wheel smashin, $.02
Old 10-29-2001, 03:44 PM
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Ok...not that my opinion means anything but dog dung to anyone but me...here goes.

I started my 914 experience with a dog tired 1.7l with a dropped valve seat. Changed the motor to a 2.0 with normal lifters but the eye on the top of the oil pick up had been broken off and the case also had been screwed up so the sump plate wouldn't totally seal. Took that engine out and rebuilt the 2.0 with a different case...and used hydraulic lifters.


I really want to slap myself for doing that, but I don't have the time right now to replace the cam and lifters, etc.

My car makes horrible noise if it sits for a couple of days without being run.
I saw the cams that came out of engines with hydraulic lifters at Jake Raby's workshop. I know that what happened to those is happening to my engine, I just hope the cam is good enough quality to last a while.

This next part makes sense to me...but is my opinion
What happens to the cam is that there is pressure on it at all times from the lifter. The way hydraulic valves are set is that the adjuster is screwed down two full turns after it makes contact with the valve. This causes there to be some pressure on the bottom of the lobe on the cam, whereas solid lifters have relatively no pressure at this point(some because of when the engine heats up, the slack is supposed to be taken out). When the lobe is pushing on the lifter to open the valve, there is the combined force of the spring and the lifter.

More force causes faster wear.

Another thing with hydraulic lifters is that they remind you that you need to change your oil. They like really CLEAN oil, so you get to change after around 3000 miles. In these engines, that is what I would do anyways, but it is almost a necessity with hydraulic lifters.

If I had to adjust the lifters every oil change, I would possibly sell the car and get a newer one much sooner. I love the car, but having to tinker with it can be annoying. This car is my daily driver, so I have made it fairly reliable for now.

Again, my opinion is just that...not based on real mechanical knowledge. I am a chemist, not an engineer.
Old 10-29-2001, 04:31 PM
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