Question about 2003 Harley Davidson FLHTC Electra Glide Classic
This is common. Usually it's not all the pushrods but at least one. The problem is not with the pushrods or the hydraulic units in the tappets. The problem is with the heads.
When Harley designed the Shovelhead engine, the gasoline that we burned had lead in it to lubricate the valves. This was back in 1966. Over the years, the lead has been taken out of the gasoline but Harley never updated the valves nor the valves seats to the "hardened valves and seats" because they knew they were going to introduce the Evolution engine. Therefore, all Shovelhead engines came from the factory with the "soft" valves and seats.
Being this is the case, the valve and valve seats wear quickly. When the valves and seats wear, the valves are pulled up higher into the seats make the valve stems sit higher in the rocker box. When you're trying to get the pushrods out, you shorten the pushrod as much as possible but the rocker arm is still too close to the end of the valve stem to allow the pushrod to come up high enough to clear the cup of the hydraulic unit in the tappets. I've had to use a small screwdriver wedged between the lower ball of the pushrod and the cup of the hydraulic unit to put enough pressure on the hydraulic unit to make it bleed down as much as possible.
The only remedy is have a valve job done on the heads by a machinist that is knowlegable of Harley heads. He should install hardened seats and valves and set the "stem height" to the correct dimension. With that done, the pushrods will go into and out of the hydraulic unit as they were originally designed to do.
I've seen an Ironhead Sportster that the valves and seats were worn so badly that the spring keeper on top of the spring was hitting the bottom side of the rocker arm. It was a wonder that the split locks had not jumped out resulting in the a valve being "dropped". If you have anymore questions, contact me directly at wd4ity @ bellsouth.net
Posted on Jun 06, 2010
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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