I was adjusting the pushrods(w/stock hydraulic lifters) on my shovel the other day. I'm 21 and this is my 1st big twin so I have never adjusted the rods/lifters before. I heard a lot of racket coming from the engine after I got off the highway(not pinging-more like beating 10 frying pans together)and figured it was pushrod noise. Problem is the manual is very unclear on the correct method. I tried adjusting the first one without checking timing(I know i'm dumb). When I realized I had to check the timing first I pushed the bike back and forth to center the vertical timing mark(i don't have a kicker) and bent the front cyl front rod. Apparently you have to wait a while for oil to drain out of the lifter or this will happen(why was this not stated in the manual?). I broke the lifter also so I decided that I will switch to solid lifters instead. Is it a bad idea to remove all pushrods before adjustment with the solid lifters? If not I think I will do this to prevent my previous woes. When I do adjust with my solid kit, what is the proper method of checking the timing(you center the vertical timing line for front cyl intake rod but what about the other 3?) and adjusting the rods(I heard that you should slightly be able to turn them with your fingers)? Thanks for any help.
Whenever you are adjusting pushrods, you MUST insure that the lifter for the particular pushrod that you are adjusting is all the way down. The easiest way to do this is to collapse all of your pushrod tubes and hold them up and away from the lifters by using 4 clothespins, each one clipped onto each pushrod, under the pushrod tube.
Now whenever a lifter/pushrod is at the top of it's travel, the opposing one for the opposite cylinder is at it's bottom or base circle. Rear exhaust is all the way up-front exhaust is all the way down. rear intake is all the way up- front intake is all the way down. Front intake is all the way up- rear intake is all the way down get it?
OK, now on solid lifters, you have to spin the pushrod with your thumb and index finger like you are spinning a child's toy top on a table. only not fast. Do this when you get the adjuster turned out untill the pushrod is almost under valve spring tension, you can feel this happen when the pushrod gets stiffer to twirl in your fingertips. Now run the locknut on the lifter adjuster almost all the way down onto the lifter (lock position) but don't lock the adjuster yet. this will make locking the final setting much easier.
Ok, now mark an up and down stripe on the pushrod with a marker or crayon, you can even make a little scratch on the pushrod if you have to but that will be hard to watch during the next step. Ok now remove the clothspin from the pushrod you are adjusting and hold the pushrod tube up with one hand making damm sure it is not going to drag on the pushrod. With your other hand spin the pushrod like you are spinning that child's top and it's going to spin a long, long time. Watch the mark you made on the pushrod while you do this. the pushrod should only turn 1 1/2 to 2 turns around.
After you get this result lock down the locknut but do not let the adjuster turn, or it will screw up your setting. Double check your setting by spinning the pushrod again. You will see that the adjustment tightened up when you locked down the locknut. It is the law of physics. (Damm Newton!) Carefully loosen the damm thing up and adjust it little tiny bit looser then lock it down again.(usually 1/2 to 1 flat in the adjuster bolt) Do it untill you only get 1 1/2 to 2 rotations on the pushrod when the locknut is tight. Are you sick of reading all of this yet? Has the adjustment taken you 4 or 5 times to get it right? Good! Practice makes perfect so now look at the lifter on the opposite cylinder for the one you are going to adjust next. make damm sure the opposite cylinder's lifter is all the way up so the lifter you are working on is all the way down. start over on your adjusting.
BTW, hydraulic lifters on shovels can take a couple of minuits up to 10 minuits to bleed down. You must be able to twirl the pushrod you just adjusted in your fingertips before you can roll the engine over to adjust the next pushrod.
Solids bleed down immediately : )~ Also, I have seen way too many stripped adjuster bolts and cracked locknuts due to over tightening. A FIRM snug is all it takes to lock, don't lock it down with a kung-fu death grip and you will get years of service out of your solids.
Why do we drive on parkways and park in driveways?
Nice job dls8. I personally like my pushrods just a hair tighter on my Shovel but what works for one bike may be slightly different on another.
One other peice of advice I have is make sure your motor is completly COLD. Metal expands with heat. I can't tell you how many times I would get in a hurry and not let the bike cool down all the way and try to set my lifters only to have to do it again the next day.
Lots of luck. You'll get it.