hydraulic lifter disassembly

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    Before the parts go flying, anyone have any helpful hints for disassembling a lifter plunger to replace the check valve? My car is a ’35 845 but I believe I have the second design lifter with the exposed spring on top that I think was introduced in the later ’35’s.

    Most of the articles for repairing the lifters in the PASB’s relate mainly to the first design, and say to replace the second design plungers design with later Cadillac units from Egge. The later design for Cadillac is clearly different in detail than this one, though perhaps it is interchangeable.

    Has anyone removed the pin and ball from one of these? The Cadillac design cross-section in Motors manual don’t appear to have a spring on the ball, but they also are not identical in design to this Pierce unit.

    I wouldn’t take it apart except it does leak some air past the ball, as detailed in the instructions for the first design.

    Thanks for any tips, Jim


    Replace it, you won’t be able to repair it, so I am told. The ball and seat are ground to match, rust pits cause it to bleed down. Thus there is no repair.


    I have removed the pin in the early design lifter. I ground the end of the peened-over pin, drove it out with a very small pin-punch.

    The check ball was very rust-pitted. I replaced it with a correct sized ball bearing.

    The ball’s seat had some corrosion as well, I made a round ended pin that I chucked in a drill, and with valve-lapping compound ground a better seat for the new ball.

    The lifter was repaired and reused. But it was a lot of work.

    If you can find replacement lifters, that probably would be the best route.

    Greg Long


    Tonight I did drive the pin out. There is no spring, and the ball actually is in pretty good shape, no corrosion but some microscopic scratches. Replacing it with a new ball bearing doesn’t stop leaking with air only, but the leakage seems minimal. It is very difficult to get light and magnifier down to look at the seat, but it is just cut into the plunger. It looks like it has some rough spots but I am not certain it is actually from wear or that it just wasn’t that well cut in the first place. It is a question whether it is actually good as new more or less and whether it is worth messing with all of them.

    I will probably do as you did and find something to lap the seat with. I understand the Cadillac plungers need to have a new cap machined to get the height correct – seems like more work than polishing seats. Thanks, Jim


    I believe that the lifters on my ’41 Cadillac are the same dimensions as Pierce used in 1936 except for length. I recall being told years ago that use of a small shim (washer?)could be used to put them in a Pierce. I obtained the ’41 Cadillac lifters from a company in Texas in the late 1990’s.

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