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Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 46
fred c Offline OP
46 Chevy 1/2 Ton 1929 Model A Phaeton
I'm working on a 57 235 engine and I want to disassembly, check and clean the hydraulic lifters while the motor is our of the truck. Right off the bat, the first lifter I'm working on, I can not get the inner lifter barrel out of the lifter housing. Any one know of any procedure or trick to get it out? I thought about putting it in the freezer (I've done this with bearing races, etc...) but I don't know if it will work on lifters.

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 24,752
Kettle Custodian (pot stirrer)
You probably know this already, but only disassemble ONE lifter at a time. The fit is so close that swapping parts from one lifter to another will probably result in never getting them back together. I'd suggest collapsing the lifter a little with firm, steady pressure (maybe with a vise) and polish the area where the snap ring fits to remove any burrs or carbon deposits that might have formed over the years. If you're VERY careful with a Dremel tool and a Cratex rubberized polishing nib it will make the polishing go faster than using sandpaper on a dowel rod.

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Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 46
fred c Offline OP
46 Chevy 1/2 Ton 1929 Model A Phaeton
yes, I know about 1 at a time (keeping the parts together for each lifter) I'll give the polishing nib a try. To get the snap ring out easier I used a 1/4 " x 1" brass bolt, rounded the end of the bolt so it fit better in the concave lifter, and used a C clamp to collapse the lifter. Worked pretty good.

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 5,225
I use a heavy duty snap-ring plier that expands inside the plunger to pull it out.

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Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 46
fred c Offline OP
46 Chevy 1/2 Ton 1929 Model A Phaeton
Update. I could not find a rubber nib for my Dremel tool. Went to Lowes and hardware store. I have a pretty good snap ring plier but still could not get it out. So I used a 6 inch piece of 1/2 solid round steel rod and drilled a hole diagonal through the rod about 1/2 inched from the end. I then tapped the hole with a 6/32 tap. I then ground the threads of the end of a 6/32 machine screw, screwed the machine screw through the rod and left the ground down end stick out of the rod about 1/16 inch. I then cut and ground the other end of the machine screw off the rod. I ended up with a round 1/2 rod with a little nub of the machine screw sticking about 1/2 inch from the end of the rod. I inserted the rod into the lifter so that the nub penetrated the oil weep hole in the inner lifter barrel and pulled. It came right out. Hope this helps some one that encounters what I did.

Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,520
Fred, Pic would help.


'37 GMC T-18 w/ DD 4-53T, RTO-610, 6231 aux., '95 GMC running gear, full disc brakes, power steering, 22.5 wheels and tires.
'47 GMC 1 ton w/ 302, NP-540, 4wd, full width Blazer front axle.
'54 GMC 630 w/ 503 gasser, 5 speed, ex fire truck, shortened WB 4', install 8' bed.
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Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 46
fred c Offline OP
46 Chevy 1/2 Ton 1929 Model A Phaeton
1 pic shows the nub of the 6/32 screw. The other show how I ground the other end of the 6/32 screw flush with the rod

Attached Images
Tool1.jpg (33.55 KB, 98 downloads)
Tool2.jpg (38.47 KB, 98 downloads)
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 92
Fit a 2" or 3" piece of 1/4" diameter copper or steel tubing to your blow-gun. Slide a short piece of vacuum hose ( approx 1" long ) over the end of the tubing. Slide the blow-gun end into the lifter plunger. The goal is to get a good seal between the OD of the hose and the ID of lifter plunger. You may have to try different size hoses until you get one that fits snug into the lifter plunger. You can even build it up with electrical tape if necessary. Lubing the hose OD with grease or engine oil may also help get a good seal.

Set your shop air pressure to around 50 psi, connect the blowgun, and hit the lever. The air pressure should push the plunger out of the lifter body.

Have used this technique dozens of times. Always worked.

Best Regards....

Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 1,719
Fred c There used to be a carburetor spray that really cut that gum,I first noticed that when you went to unbolt a carburetor if the nuts were hard to turn just spray em and spin off by hand,it worked on those lifters using the snap-ring pliers like someone said. Im sure they took out that 'good' solvent by now ! On the other hand maybe that is what is wrong with us that bathed in it for years!!!

Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 46
fred c Offline OP
46 Chevy 1/2 Ton 1929 Model A Phaeton
thanks everybody for all the help

Moderated by  Phak1, Woogeroo 

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