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Assembly lube for rockers - is it worth it?


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Hi folks,


I'm getting ready to refit my GT6 Mk3 cylinder head and rocker assembly, freshly back from Ivor Searle's ministrations. Does anybody have a view on whether I should bother using "assembly lube" on the rocker assembly or if it will be adequate just to drench the rockers/shaft with standard engine oil? The top end will be starved of oil the first time I start the engine and I don't want to undo the work of the engine remanufacturers in the first few seconds!





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Just plenty of engine oil.


If you want to get oil around the engine without starting it, you can take the dizzy and drive dig out, and use a metal rod with a flat in it (think big screwdriver with no handle) in a battery drill. In reverse. That will pump oil around the engine (actually not sure about the rockers as they are fed by tiny pulses off the cam)


Double check the starting/running in procedure. New cams usually need 2000+rpm for the first few minutes of use (no idling) which can be scary on a brand new build.

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How much is a tub of assembly lube?  less than £10?

How much did you spend on the engine work?



Oops!  Sorry!  You only had head work?  Chambers?   Fancy rockers??  Extra strong springs???  And you will use the old followers that are already broken into the cams?

No need really.   You can't get assembly lube into the rocker bearings anyway.


The point of assembly lube is to protect areas that's see VERY high contact pressures, mainly because of their small surface area,  like the cam follower faces when they are new.

But no harm in using it.  

Another product is "Graphogen", graphite suspended in a thick oil.   I smear it on bearings on assembly, but still use a high zinc assembly lube on followers.

You could use either on the rocker tips where they bear on the valve stems.




PS Clive,

"use a metal rod with a flat in it (think big screwdriver with no handle)"  

Agree with your intention, but it's the drive shaft on the oil pump that looks like a screwdriver.   To drive it with a drill, you need a tool that has a 'dog', a slot, a female end on the tool for it to take the 'blade' of the screwdriver end.   J.

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Rather than post a picture of the oil pump drive shaft, and because this is a better picture, here's the dizzie drive shaft.

It's shown upside down - the slotted end drives the oil pump:   the other end the dizzie.

Model your drill tool on the first.




A 'screwdriver' end would probably work, but at risk of damaging the bore of the shaft drilling.



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May I suggest keeping the rocker cover off during your initial turning over and start up; contrary to incorrect belief oil does not get thrown everywhere with the cover missing unless you are revving at 8K - which I'm sure you are not !!


You will be able to look at the rockers working correctly and you can also dribble oil up and down the rocker assembly as and when you feel it needs it. Once the engine is up & running and you are certain the oil pressure system is feeding your rocker assembly you can then replace the cover at the appropriate time.


I have done the above on a number of rebuilds and all has been fine. 


Good luck.



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Bear in mind all these are made to buy aftermarket products cast a look back at the engine line at most manufactures of the day, a new build on the engine assy plant would have had a squirt with an oil can on assembly, followed by perhaps an hour or two on a test bed running on town gas , not petrol engines were often run back to back so one turned the other , without it actually running

It would with luck be drained of test bed oil and refilled on the line , this would drown the rockes and run down the pushrod tubes to lube the rockers and cam

without a testbed plan theres only conjecture on just what rpm the engine was run through or even if the oil was anything 'special' all this lack of whatever and they have lasted 40 years or more


It was a common fault that the gas backfired and this collapsed the copper carb float to a flat pack


just a perspective view on all these notions



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