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i made a stupid mistake. best course of action?

Dan76spit

Senior Member
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hi guys,
oh boy did i f-up. while adjusting my valves today my feeler gauge set fell apart and the very small nut that held it together fell off and rolled down the where the push rods come up. it fell into the middle opening where valve 4 and 5 are. i can not see it so i assume it fell down further than i can see. its a very small nut. on a good note the small washer did not fall anywhere but on the head. i found that just sitting there looking at me and laughing. i am going to try to find a small magnetic pick up tool tomorrow and see if i can try to get anything that way.
just wondering what should be my best course of action here. i had all the valve adjusted and was just running through them again to make sure they were all ok as it was the first time i had adjusted valves.
thanks for any advice you guys have.
 

JImEgan

Senior Member
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Try the magnetic tool first. If you get nothing, I think you can loosen the intake and exhaust rocker screws on 4 and 5 to be able to remove pushrods to check in cavities in tappets where the pushrods seat, otherwise you may have to remove the shaft.
 

poolboy

Yoda
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If you think it's in the oil pan and want to get it out, get a powerful magnet and run it along the bottom of the pan, ending up near the drain plug hole.
Drain and strain the oil. If it's not there, keep fishing.
Are you sure it's not in one of the tappet cups ?
 

TR3driver

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
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In case it's not obvious, DONT START THE ENGINE.

IMO, odds are good that it's laying in a tappet. Personally, I'd go ahead and pull the rocker shaft, and pushrods, then try fishing through the hole with a magnetic pickup. If you snag something that moves, but seems heavier than just a nut, don't pull it up until you stick something else down the hole to keep the tappet from coming out of its bore.

PS, pulling the tappet up is also a hazard when removing the pushrods, as they tend to cling by suction. Sometimes they'll let go if you spin the pushrod with your fingers. If you do pull a tappet out of its bore, things get interesting :smile:
 
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Dan76spit

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no im not sure if its in the tappet cups. i do not see it in there i'm hoping if i can find a small enough pick up tool i can poke it down in there and see. i do have a magnetic drain plug in the oil pan. so i will try with the pick up tool and if i get nothing i will move toward a magnet on the drain pan.
i still cant believe i did this. i feel like crap over this its just starting to get warmer here and was going to go out for a drive this weekend.
 

JImEgan

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TR3driver said:
If you do pull a tappet out of its bore, things get interesting :smile:

I thought "interesting" was one of the reasons we bought LBC's?
 

poolboy

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I fear I'll do something like that every time I R & R the Rocker Assembly.
A washer did slip out of my fingers once but landed within reach.
 
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Dan76spit

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ill tell ya i've already had an 'interesting' winter with what i've found in my spit, most caused by the po, i don't need any more, especially one that i caused! :hammer:
thanks so far...
 

TR3driver

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hondo402000

Darth Vader
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well just hope the nut is not stainless steel which is non magnetic

I wouldnt pull anything at first and see if you can snag it with the mag on the stick, otherwise if you start pulling pushrods and hit the nut you could knock it further down the engine, and if it doenst come out with the oil you might have to pull the head or the oil pan

get a really bright light too

good luck
 

PeterK

Yoda
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Last year I purchased a borescope inspection camera. It has a small 9mm tip on a flexible 3 foot cable, 3.5" lcd display screen. Great for looking inside walls, behind things, inside plug holes, etc. This one also has a SD slot for recording images or video.

But maybe best of all it has a magnetic tip and hook for retrieving stuff like this.

I used an online coupon and paid around $150 from JCWhitney as they had the best price at the time. HF also sells similar with less features for less $.

It's a cool tool indeed. https://www.jcwhitney.com/wireless-inspection-camera/p2024005.jcwx?filterid=j1

Mine is the $199 one that has recording capability.
 

DrEntropy

Great Pumpkin
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Wow, Peter! You could even use it as a periscope to push up thru the pile of snow at the front door, to see if it's spring yet! :jester:
 

Brosky

Great Pumpkin
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I can't tell you the things that I've dropped into the "wrong" places when I was turning wrenches for a living as well as long after that.

I usually look at a job now and remember what can go wrong and fill that area with a shop towel or even an old bed sheet (if pulling carbs or working on the intake) just to catch things that will end up way down inside the suspension.

My wife never throws any sheets or towels away, as I have a use for them in the garage.
 

DrEntropy

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I think it's one of Newton's Unwritten Laws: "A dropped bit will seek the smallest, most awkward opening available."

...and a corollary: "Any part/tool dropped onto a floor will seek the very center underneath an immoblized vehicle."
 

CJD

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Try your best to get it out, but I do not personally think a little nut is going to destroy the motor. It can't really hurt the rotating assembly (crank, rods and pistons). It won't hurt the tappets, and won't fit between the tappets and cam. It will eventually drop into the pan and get stuck there, as it won't fit through the screen and into the pump.

The only thing I could imagine it hurting is the chain and sprocket...but that would be a long shot to say the least. There is no direct, and few indirect , route for it to get to the front of the motor, and even if it did, I am sure a hardened chain and sprocket would win out over a cheap Chinese unhardened nut.

I have seen much worse debris live in motors for years and not cause damage, only to be found laying intact in the sludge when the pan is removed. If it was my car, I would go as far as disassembling the valve train to find it...but would stop at more dissassembly than that.

I know this will not be the popular opinion...but it comes from years of my screwing up with things worse than this!

John
 

DrEntropy

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:lol:

You're likely correct, John. But I'd use "due dillegence" and attempt to fish it out. And NOT remove the pushrods doin' it.

As for F.O.D. in sump sludge, it seems EVERY Alfa engine I've rebuilt has had at least one chain tensioner wedge bedded in th' muck.
 

TR3driver

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Yeah, most times it doesn't hurt. But it can. One place it could cause problems is if it gets wedged between a pushrod and the side of the tappet. The pushrod wobbles back and forth as the engine runs, so the nut keeps working against the side of the pushrod until it weakens it enough to bend. Makes a mess.

Another possibility is getting caught between a rod cap and the crank cheek. Haven't had that one happen, though.

Dunno if it's true of 1500s or not, but on the TRactor motor, it's not unusual to have the pickup screen break and allow FOD into the pump. I had a con rod lock tab break off once and wind up locking the pump. Fortunately I noticed the increased noise before anything bad happened.

IMO a good oil won't leave enough sludge in the sump to capture things. If it leaves sludge in the sump, it is also leaving it in the rocker shaft, where it will eventually interfere with oil to the valve train. The sludge seems to be mostly broken-down oil additives anyway, which can't be good either IMO.
 
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Dan76spit

Senior Member
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well i used a bright light and a small magnetic pick up tool and i do not see it by the push rods or tappets. i drained the oil after sweeping a power full magnet along the underside of the pan to try to draw it to the magnetic drain plug. found nothing in the drained oil so i swept around with the magnetic pick up tool in the oil pan through the drain hole to see if i could get anything but to no avail. i think tomorrow i am going to put the oil back in mainly through the area where it fell in and then drain it again trying to flush it out.
after that i'm not sure what im going to do... i dont really want to remove the pushrods or the head. i dont want to drop the pan either. i'll keep you guys posted tomorrow after i work on it a bit.
thanks for all the suggestions so far.
 
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