Cam follower problem

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May 21, 2003
Started my '71 750 last week after a month without use and had an immediate loud clacking from the right hand cylinder head region. Thinking that it was due to it not being used for a while, I idled it for a minute or so with no change. To cut a long story short, It turns out that the right hand exhaust cam follower had lost the stellite pad into the crank case, which meant a complete strip down to find it broken in 3 pieces. Has any one heard of this happening before and could there be reason for it happening?
dumb question, maybe. Whats a Stellite Pad? I have my motor apart on the bench at the moment, and all I have is the followers.....mounted into the bottom of the cylinder barrels. Is this an after market item, or should I go deep sea diving into the oil at the bottom of the crankcase before I button up the engine again? Thanks.....

The bottom of the cam follower is made of stellite. Occasionally this "pad" breaks free of the follower and wreaks havoc in the crankcase. Always check the cam mating surface of your followers when you have the barrels off. Without the stellite, the followers will wear very quickly.

Stellite is a cobalt-based alloy that has excellent wear characteristics. The pad that Ron mentions is about 1/8” thick, or less, and is “stuck” to the bottom of the lifter where it contacts the camshaft. I’m not sure how the pad is attached to the lifter but, evidently, it can separate while in service. Fortunately, I think this is a rare phenomenon.

Now, if you put on your flip-flops and look closely at the bottom of the lifter, you should be able to see a faint seam where the stellite pad interfaces with the lifter. If all your lifters have this seam, you’re good to go.


Thanks for the they say...something new every day.

Will take a look at mine but think they are ok. Still waiting for the second set of rings I had to order because I broke one of the commpression rings last week on the set I had just bought......costly failure to read "Top" on the ring.....broke while turning it around to correct mistake....but the the barrels are still off and I will take a look at the followers. They aren't worn...that much I noticed...or the cam lobes. Must be a good idea to change oil at short intervals...the cams still look perfect...and they must have a good 120,000 on them. If Debbie say she has 140 pounds commpression on her machine, and I had 110 on mine....I'm interested what my bike will feel like when I get the rings done.....a valve job last fall, made drastic improvements....and the rings will change things a bit I think too. That bike used to be a rocket years ago and maybe I will get some of that!
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