Board index Flathead Power-Technical Questions, Answers, and Suggestions 45 Flatties K cylinders on a WL engine

K cylinders on a WL engine

Post Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:20 pm

Posts: 42
Location: seattle, washington
I need some information on this K cylinder to WL cases conversion, i tried to go back through and read all the posts. We mocked up the WL cases with WR angled tappet guides {set of 4} and the K model cylinders with part number ending in 52, the valves seem to line up good with the tappets, my question after reading all the old posts was it seems the cams will be my problem, and if that is correct what type cams will i need or do i get cams built etc, also what manifold will i use, and is it true K model use no head gasket, are they sold aftermarket?? my idea to run these is based on the nice looking valve/head relifs and porting done. any helpful info or reference to back posts or information would be appreciated.

Post Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:55 am

Posts: 575
Location: devon,england
hi handshifter. try this link ,info and pictures.
regards jib.
Dude, check out that jibhead, he's crazy. Hasn't been sober for 40 years

Post Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:38 pm

Posts: 575
Location: devon,england
Dude, check out that jibhead, he's crazy. Hasn't been sober for 40 years

Post Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:36 pm

Posts: 2399
Location: atascadero cal usa
yes or get ahold of enigma on this site he got a k top end from me yrs ago and i'm pretty sure he put it on a 45 lower end
he seems to be a damn good wrench and very knowledgable too

Post Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:57 am

Posts: 976
Location: Markt Einersheim, Germany


I will AMEN that about Vince..

Piet Jan knows about them too.


Post Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:32 pm

Posts: 1676
Location: Interlaken, NY USA

Handshifter, here's another version of the K top WL bottom motor.
It's actually a KH top end, using KHK cams. As you've discovered, the valves line up very closely. I used WR exhaust, WL intake tappet blocks. Machined my own tappet covers using the K upper covers. And yes, the K top ends just used a coating of aluminum paint on the head joint. This motor has been up and running for 15 years now, although the mileage is fairly low, not more than 15-20k or so. I didn't know about all the slight variances in tappet, cam and valve alignments when I built it, but recent inspection doesn't show any unusual wear patterns on any of the valve train components. I used the KH manifold, by the way.
you can always go to my website for more info on this bike, look for "Frankenstein", (the bike's name):

Post Sat Nov 08, 2008 4:16 am

Posts: 591
Location: Crewe, Great Britain

The best??? A WR with a KR top end!!!


And before resto, as raced in the 60's, even better in me eyes...

Photos won't upload, see it in his "current projects"


Post Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:05 am

Posts: 976
Location: Markt Einersheim, Germany

OK Fellas...

What am I missing here......

WL bottom
K KH top

Why is it that you can only use the WR tappet blocks,(and even they don't align up perfectly with the valves), when using WL roller tappets??

Why can't one use the K KH KHK tappet blocks and use roller tappets from a WL or use K KH KHK tappets??

Would they not be perfect for this application??


Post Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:25 am

Posts: 131
Location: BRANFORD, CT

Hi George,
All K tappet blocks are straight (bores concentric with the OD).
WR has the only tappet block in which the bores are at an angle to the OD.
Also stock WR tappet blocks will not work with rollers without modification as they were made for flat tappets which were wider than the rollers.
There are several people including myself that make angled WR tappet blocks which take standard WL roller tappets.

Bruce Argetsinger
AHRMA Dirt Track # 67J

Post Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:39 pm

As Bruce said - the shoe slot in the WR tappet block is much wider than the tappet roller, and the roller doesn't self-center as well as I would like. For a brief period (and with tight lash!!) it's probably OK, but any extended mileage will allow the roller to rattle back and forth until something gives up. If it gets loose enough not to self-center, the roller will not spin but drag across the lobe - kiss the cam goodbye.
You can probably close up the sides of the shoe slot with brass since the side-thrust isn't high (as long as there's only a little room) to avoid too much heat in the iron guide (I understand silver solder has been used to repair guides?), but expect some warpage - tight spots in the bore, flange not flat etc.
It's a lot of work to do right, plus what are the blocks worth now?

Post Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:03 am

Posts: 1654
So... Will WR cams fit a WL motor and if so, what cam followers and tappets are required or feasible?
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...

Post Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:33 am

Posts: 131
Location: BRANFORD, CT

Hi Guys,

This is something I wrote up a couple of years ago.

In the last month I have received a bunch of phone calls about the parts I make and how they are used to put K or KH top ends on WL cases.
I thought that for each call I received there are many others out there who were wondering about what is involved.
So , here it is.
I know that there are many ways to do this in addition to what I have listed and think it might be helpful for others to let us know what they have done.
Also, many thanks to those that have previously posted on this subject or had discussions with me, including Dr. Dick, Panic, Patrick, and others too numerous to list.



The biggest problem is that the cylinder stud by the exhaust valve is in the wrong location! This is the only machining operation involved other than for replacing cam lobes.
Use a 3/8-16 threaded aluminum rod or bolt to plug the existing hole, use red locktite and tighten. Cut off and file or machine flush. Drill and re-tap using a K model base gasket for location.

The K cylinders have the valves at an angle tipped toward the cylinder bore. The angles on the intakes and exhaust are different and are also slightly different than what is used on the WR. The WL valves are in a plane that is parallel to the bore.

This was accomplished by grinding the cams at an angle and having the tappet guides at the same angle.

The best solution is the use WR cam angles with WR tappet guides While some builders have run K/KR cams with WR guides, the angle difference places a strain on the rollers and the may fail prematurely.

The positioning of the tappet adjusters to the valve centerlines is negligible on the intakes, while the exhaust are off about .045”. In actual usage this does not appear to cause any problems other than accelerated wear on the top of the adjusters.

The angles are as follows.
Intake exhaust
WL 0º 0º
WR 1.033º 3.533º
K models 1.0º 3.0º

WL cams are for bushings while WR cams have ball bearings, and will not fit in WL cases without machining them. Engineering tests have proven that a well lubricated bushing has less friction than ball bearings. Also the WR had a problem with breaking the turned down shaft on the #4 cam shaft.

The WR cam profiles are for flat tappets and will not work with roller tappets!
Also the WR tappet guides are made for the flat tappets which are wider than the roller tappets, the standard WR guides must be welded and remachined.

I recommend that for street use the hottest cam to use is the KHK profile. It is actually a hotter profile than was available in the flat tappet WR.

WR valve spring covers must also be used as the WR style tappet guides are not threaded. These use a o’ring seal and retaining screw on the guide and a rubber band seal on the slip joint.


Cam profiles with the correct WR angles for roller tappets *

WR angled tappet guides for roller tappets *

WL or K model roller tappets with adjusters (standard re-pop items)
KH cylinders require longer adjusters *

WR valve spring covers, longer covers for use with KH cylinders are also available *

Stronger valve springs for more aggressive KR profile cams *

Light weight valve spring retainers * (these use the stock keepers)

Stainless steel KR valves *, These have 45º angles, can be reground to 30º for racing applications, valve guides need to be honed

*these parts manufactured by Enfield Racing

Good luck and have fun,
Bruce Argetsinger
AHRMA Dirt Track # 67J

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