Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

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woody90gtz
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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby woody90gtz » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:15 am

The hung open valves were just recently when I put in the +.070 pushrods. I haven't been driving it like that. It was quickly apparent that it was not happy.

Ben did say that not having enough preload can limit power. And with the lifters acting "solid" and making noise there is the possibility I was losing some lift to clearance.

I just want the annoying noise gone.


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91 "SS" - WOT 3400/5spd - 13.29@101.6 - World's fastest N/A FWD Beretta
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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby woody90gtz » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:54 pm

Got these babies back from paint and got them mounted. And since by dumb luck the gunmetal matched the top, I two toned them with another red pinstripe. It's a small detail but I like how it ties together.
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I was thinking they would stick out more after my wheel mock up, but the fitment is actually pretty nice. And the footprint at 12psi is huge! (24.5x8.5x15 on 15x7 +35)
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And in other news...the new lifters didn't fix the noisy valvetrain. I measured the preload on every single once with the new lifters and it's great on all of them. So for now...screw it. The exhaust note is clean and it's running fine, so that's how it's gonna stay.
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You can see the old ones didn't spring to the top of the barrel like they should. They wouldn't even disassemble completely. I did disassemble all of the new ones just to be sure they were clean and there were no issues. I really thought that would be it!


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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby Rettax3 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:16 pm

I had a thought on your valvetrain noise. I had concerns over this in the first place, but you handled it so slickly that I dismissed my concerns, and the lifters were an obvious problem, so... Considering how much trouble you have been having and what you have already eliminated as likely causes, could this be causing your issues?:
WdysVTRk1.jpg
On the stock rocker-bolts, the shoulders 'flare out' both to ruduce the stress-riser at the head, also to ensure a snug fit at the rocker.
WdysVTRk2.jpg
With the VW parts used, there is no flare, and the entire length of the stud is threaded, which also slightly reduces true diameter on most parts that are not designed as interference fit.


Even IF the rocker cannot shift back and forth at the top, are you SURE it cannot slide back and forth at the bottom? Have you inspected the studs for any indication of impact from the rocker, either at the top or the BASE of the pedestal? Is it possible that the studs are flexing under the loads? What about the top section of the rocker, with the roller-shaft, could it be pivoting at the top and sliding back and forth on the top of the pedestal? The elongated flare on the shoulder of the stock bolts would also prevent that action, so maybe another reason they were designed that way...

It may simply be time to turn up the volume on the radio and put on a louder muffler... :roll:


1989 SuperCharged 3800 Srs-II (First)Six-Speed GTU
1990 Turbo 3.4 5-Speed T-Type
1990 4.0L 4-Cam 32-Valve V-8 5-Speed Indy GTi (Project)
1990 Stock(!) 3.1 MPFI Auto Indy
1995 LA1/L82 4T60E Z-26
1995 3.4 DOHC Turbo 5-Speed Z-26

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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby woody90gtz » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:12 pm

Yeah, I've been super-skeptical about the step studs since that's the only thing "exotic" about this setup. I've examined them closely every time they've been out and went over them with Ben, too.

There are a few things I'm sure of:
The pedestals do sit flat on the head, so the 10mm lower portion is not affecting the seat of the 8mm pedestals.
There is no visible contact on the threads of the stud, either by the pedestal or the rocker trunnion. (There was on one, where a rocker had loosened, but I caught that the same day and it was a distinctly different sound.)
I cut a conical seat in the nuts on the top side so they will self-center on the stud like the oversize shank on the stock bolts.

A couple things I think:
The diameter of the stud threaded vs non-thread shouldn't really matter, because the pedestal bottoms out on the head and the rocker trunnion bottoms out on the pedestal. There isn't anywhere for it to flex like an old SBC rocker stud would. The 8mm bolts also have a reduced shank for most of the length that is probably similar to the strength of the 8mm threaded stud.
The small variation in preload that I have cylinder to cylinder may be due to mismatched rocker pedestals and arms. Perhaps they are measured and matched at the factory like lifters are. But the small difference is all within spec of what Ben calls good preload.

What I wonder:
If a set of new 10mm rockers would fix the issue somehow. I have no great evidence to say that it would, other than how quiet a stock 3400 valvetrain is compared to mine. But with a more aggressive lobe, more lift and more spring pressure than stock...it just might not be same. I was going to listen to Jon's car at bfest for comparison and forgot. But Jay's stock setup is much quieter.

BTW...can't hear it on a high idle in the cold. I brought the poor thing inside for our 2' of snow that turned out to be like 12" and rainy slush.
https://www.facebook.com/eric.wood.2136 ... 614562797/


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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby Rettax3 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:48 am

I saw the conical cuts you made on the lathe, that was the main reason I had dismissed my worries about the VW studs. But I got thinking (often a problem that generates many more problems), and this is what I am saying about the extended shoulder on the OE bolts:
Rettax3 wrote:Is it possible that the studs are flexing under the loads? What about the top section of the rocker, ["trunnion"], could it be pivoting at the top and sliding back and forth on the top of the pedestal? The elongated flare on the shoulder of the stock bolts would also prevent that action, so maybe another reason they were designed that way...

Woody's Rockers 1000 words.png
1,000 words in about two minutes of "I hurt my back too much to want to move right now" boredom.

My thought is that the 'trunnion' may be pivoting with the slight side-force applied by the pushrod, which could cause impact noise against the stub, plus whatever vibrational noise as the bottom of the trunnion grinds along the top saddle of the pedestal base, and would change effective distance between lifter and rocker arm. Not much, and I really don't see how it could cause an audible noise without visible damage to the threads of the stud, but valvetrain is a finicky thing. The gap (orange) between VW stud and trunnion (purple) could cause movement. The OE bolt would prevent this movement.

Personally, I never liked the 8mm rocker-bolts anyway -too rinky-dink for an aluminum head IMO. As I've said, I have seen them pull out. I don't even know when they switched from the larger bolts, but it might be worth a trip to the junk-yard for beefier parts that offer stock components. :pardon:

As you have said though, with that cam and other upgrades, you may be stuck with what you have, I'm just surprised in that case that Ben wouldn't expect it too -it isn't like your engine's stats are a new or unusual thing for him.

Bottom line I guess, is that hydraulic lifters are supposed to take out any slop generated by imperfect pushrod length (and change-of-length caused by changes in engine temperature, of course), and they tend to be very forgiving. Using MPFI heads on my 3400 LA1 block with stock Ram-Air H.O. cam (nothing special) and OE roller lifters, I was able to mix-n-match pushrods from both engines to fit the 3400 roller-fulcrum rockers I custom installed -I have never had any valvetrain problems with that engine, and I put that together for the '90 Turbo 'Retta about seven years ago... You are already about six stages of sophistication beyond that build, so I cannot imagine you have a preload or pushrod length problem.


1989 SuperCharged 3800 Srs-II (First)Six-Speed GTU
1990 Turbo 3.4 5-Speed T-Type
1990 4.0L 4-Cam 32-Valve V-8 5-Speed Indy GTi (Project)
1990 Stock(!) 3.1 MPFI Auto Indy
1995 LA1/L82 4T60E Z-26
1995 3.4 DOHC Turbo 5-Speed Z-26

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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby woody90gtz » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:52 pm

So you're wondering about the rounded bottom of the roller actually sliding. I just looked through my photos and don't see one that would show yes or no, but I would really doubt it. The amount of force it would take to overcome the friction to twist that clamped section with a lot of surface area has got to be exponentially more than rotating at the fulcrum on needle bearings. I would think.

I do have a set of 10mm rockers from my neighbor's 200k Impala that got junked and they weren't any better. But they also sound "clackier" just shaking them by hand than my lower mileage ones. I can buy a set of brand new replacement 10mm rocker arms for $170, but I may also need new pushrods again. And I'm not going down that road unless I get to Bfest this year and Jon's is noticeably more quiet than mine. Because I just don't know how loud this is compared to "normal" for one of these modified engines.


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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby 3X00-Modified » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:34 pm

Mine is clacky... hell the pistons have .003" of clearance over the stock .0015" spec so that's where some of my noise could be from. I also noticed an increase in noise when I went to heavier springs, and cam... Probably just comes with the territory.

I can't remember but are those SS valves? or Factory 3400 valves in those heads? I know when playing with those during assy, they made a distinctively louder ting when seating.



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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby Rettax3 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:50 pm

3X00-Modified wrote:I can't remember but are those SS valves? or Factory 3400 valves in those heads? I know when playing with those during assy, they made a distinctively louder ting when seating.
Are you thinking Woody's valve noise might be the valves themselves? That would be interesting, I don't think I've ever heard something like that suggested before. Good outside-the-box thinking.
woody90gtz wrote:So you're wondering about the rounded bottom of the roller actually sliding. I just looked through my photos and don't see one that would show yes or no, but I would really doubt it. The amount of force it would take to overcome the friction to twist that clamped section with a lot of surface area has got to be exponentially more than rotating at the fulcrum on needle bearings. I would think.

I am sure it wouldn't rotate as a unit when it could just rotate on the rollers, I agree, but a side-load imposed could cause a pivoting action at the top, near the bolt-head (or nut, in your case). Was just a thought... I would slap-in the extra set you have access to, at least on the front head, before throwing more money at it for a 'maybe' fix -like Jon says, this may just be part of the territory for upgrading the heads -but I have no idea how bad it actually sounds in real life, so...
Woody's Rockers 1000 words.png
More clearly what I mean. Hold the rocker in one hand by the trunnion, and try to hold it 'still' with your finger at the top where the bolt-head should sit, then push sideways on the rocker body -watch the trunnion pivot as the rocker moves side-to-side.


1989 SuperCharged 3800 Srs-II (First)Six-Speed GTU
1990 Turbo 3.4 5-Speed T-Type
1990 4.0L 4-Cam 32-Valve V-8 5-Speed Indy GTi (Project)
1990 Stock(!) 3.1 MPFI Auto Indy
1995 LA1/L82 4T60E Z-26
1995 3.4 DOHC Turbo 5-Speed Z-26

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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby woody90gtz » Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:59 pm

I've tried the high mileage 10mm rockers I have and there was no improvement. That's why I considered a new set.

Valves in those old Stage 2 heads are 3500 valves. And I can't remember the Comp number for the springs, but I think they are only one step up from stock.


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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby Rettax3 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:22 pm

Oh, yes you did say you tried them -sorry, I guess I missed that, I thought you said you could use them. Since I assume you removed the VW studs to try the 10mm rockers, I am pretty much out of ideas then. I'm assuming all the basics are right -good oil-pressure, correct viscosity, no indications of oil-passage obstructions to the lifters... Actually, have you watched the front bank run with the valve-cover off to make sure you have good flow from the lifters up through the pushrods?


1989 SuperCharged 3800 Srs-II (First)Six-Speed GTU
1990 Turbo 3.4 5-Speed T-Type
1990 4.0L 4-Cam 32-Valve V-8 5-Speed Indy GTi (Project)
1990 Stock(!) 3.1 MPFI Auto Indy
1995 LA1/L82 4T60E Z-26
1995 3.4 DOHC Turbo 5-Speed Z-26

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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby woody90gtz » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:26 am

Yeap. I have a video I took off that somewhere. I compared it to Jay's car when we went drag racing. Could see the flow through the oil fill hole. I wondered originally if the too-rich tune with the new injectors had diluted the oil, but a fresh oil change did nothing either.

I'm not going to worry about it for now. I have a different car to finish. Haha


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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby woody90gtz » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:29 pm

Off with the winter wheels and back to work. But I only drove it one day before the cold shitty weather came back. It's definitely an ass ache having "competition" tires that aren't supposed to get below 60 degrees.

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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby woody90gtz » Sat May 18, 2019 11:30 pm

Stumbled upon my actual camera today and it was beautiful out...so I snuck away from the honey do list to record a datalog and check the A/C functionality. It's amazing the quality photos you can get with a real Canon camera!

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My first time charging A/C myself. It's really not hard...just takes a few specialty tools. I already had the gauge set for checking pressures, but the oiler, puncture valve and vacuum pump all came in under $100 total. The r134a and pag oil was less than $50, and the compressor was like $48 and dryer about $10 on Amazon. I can't believe the parts were that cheap...
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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby heavywoody » Wed May 22, 2019 9:18 am

What setup did you get for the vacuum pump and whatnot? I've been looking at some on Amazon to get since I need to deal with my car's lack of AC, and fix the AC in Jen's Z26, and the Alero, and the van...


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Re: Project 91 "SS" 3400/5spd

Postby woody90gtz » Wed May 22, 2019 9:59 pm



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