Switch to full style
Write ups and tutorials for maintenance and modifications.
Post a reply

[How to] Shimless bucket/lifter conversion

Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:29 pm

There seem to have been a lot of people asking about the shimless lifters recently, and having done the conversion I thought I would offer a little write-up. Please keep in mind that this is the way that I did it. I'm sure there are other measuring methods an all, and you don't have to do it my way. Enjoy!

First off, you might ask 'What is the point of putting in shimless lifters?'

Here's the deal, with stock cams, there is no point going shimless except that it will lighten the valvetrain (shimless are ~35% lighter than shim + lifter).
BUT, when you install an aftermarket cam with a steeper ramp, you run the risk of spitting out a shim. This CAN actually happen, and here's a little illustration to show you how(Sorry, I am lame at photoshop so I drew a picture :P ):


As you can (hopefully) tell from the illustration, a higher lift cam has a larger contact area. So when the lobe comes in contact with the outer portion of the shim, it causes it to pop up, not completely out, but slightly. The shim popping up thing is not a theory or myth for people to consider, I have actually witnessed this firsthand when I installed my 264 cams and rotated them slowly. Now imagine, and forget high RPM's, do you want your shims to be popping up and down like that at ANY rev speed? I certainly don't and here's where the shimless lifters come in.

What you will need:

-micrometer - mine is Harbor Freight, you don't need a $600 one.
-feeler gauge
-10mm socket - for bearing caps
-paper and a pencil
-calculator (or simply an online conversion chart to go from Inch to mm)

First off you will want to make a big chart. It should essentially be the layout of the lifters and their location. You will end up with 16 boxes, be sure to indicate intake and exhaust side + front/back of cylinder head. The chart is mainly so you don't get confused, there will be a lot of numbers flying around :twisted:

Next you will use the feeler gauge to measure all your valve clearances. The clearance is the space between the cam lobe and lifter, with the 'pointy part' of the lobe pointing directly away from the lifter. The measurement you want to use will be the thickest feeler gauge you can slide in between the two, without using any sort of force. As you get each measurement, write it down in the respective box on the chart. We take these measurements first to make sure everything is in spec.
The clearance specs are as follows:

1st & 2nd gen 3S-GTE:
Intake: 0.15 - 0.25mm (0.006 - 0.010in)
Exaust: 0.20 - 0.30mm (0.008 - 0.012in)

(If you have some that are out of the spec range, write down the measurement you do get, and put a star next to it to note it is wrong. Then see my note further down the page)

After you have finished that, we can take out and measure each lifter (one at a time! so you don't get confused). You will write the thickness measurement of each lifter in it's respective box.

Here is how I measured the lifters:

I am picky about this stuff so I took 3 measurements.
1 - Shim + lifter together
2 - shim by itself
3 - lifter by itself

Take your micrometer and be sure to center it on the lifter. It needs to be sitting the same place that the valve stem sits (see pic):


I came up with a measurement of .214 inches for this lifter and shim together, that equals 5.435mm. Go ahead and write your measurement down on your chart.


Now measure the shim and lifter separately. Really the only reason I do this is to be extra sure that my first measurement is correct. Each Shimless lifter cost me $11.50 with a discount, if you measure wrong, you might end up wasting a lot of money!

OK, so I came up with .097" or 2.463mm for my lifter,



and .117" or 2.971mm for my shim. Be sure to measure the shim in the middle and around the edges just in case it has some wear. Go with the middle measurement since that is where you measured your valve clearance from.


Do you have this all written down on your chart? Here is my example just to get an idea of what info each of your boxes should contain (well, including valve clearance which isn't on my example chart):


So if we add up my individual measurements of the lifter and shim, ( 2.463mm + 2.971mm) we come up with a total thickness of 5.434mm. That is only one thousandth off of my initial measurement, so we're pretty good.
Now Toyota doesn't have the shimless lifters measured to the thousandth, only to the hundredth, so we will need to round 5.434mm off. One might assume we will just round it to 5.43mm, but we can't. The reason is because Toyota only sells the shimless lifters in increments of .02mm. SO... we will want to round to the nearest increment of .02mm which is 5.44mm.

Next - Do this 15 more times! I already did all mine so I get away with only doing one :P . Take your time, be patient and be sure to WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. Like I said, there will be a lot of numbers flying around and it is easy to get confused.

Installed pic:


Clearance note
If one or more of the clearances are not in spec:
then you will have to make up for the clearance difference when you order the shimless lifters. Either by adding or subtracting the needed millimeters.

So say you have one or more that is out of spec... Using a shimless lifter with a 5.50mm total thickness in the #1 intake spot, I will give you an example. These are the measurements:
-The valve clearance is .10mm (too tight!)
-The clearance I want is .20mm (a good middle ground)
-The difference I need to make up is .10mm

So I know that if I order a shimless lifter with a 5.50 thickness it will be .10mm too tight. I need a thinner shimless lifter to make up the difference! In this case I need one exactly .10mm thinner, so I will order a 5.40mm lifter for the #1 slot (are you confused yet? I did a lot of standing and staring while trying to figure this out. If you have any questions feel free to PM me!)

Lastly, cuz I'm nice, here are your 1st and 2nd gen part #'s!! :)
There IS a difference between the 1st and 2nd gen lifter sizes so make sure you look at the correct part list.

1st gen 3S-GTE shimless lifter part #'s: (thank you allblackalltrac)

13751-23030 5.12mm
13751-23040 5.14
13751-23050 5.16
13751-23060 5.18
13751-23070 5.20
13751-23080 5.22
13751-23090 5.24
13751-23100 5.26
13751-23110 5.28
13751-23120 5.30
13751-23130 5.32
13751-23140 5.34
13751-23150 5.36
13751-23160 5.38
13751-23170 5.40
13751-23180 5.42
13751-23190 5.44
13751-23200 5.46
13751-23210 5.48
13751-23220 5.50
13751-23230 5.52
13751-23240 5.54
13751-23250 5.56
13751-23260 5.58
13751-23270 5.60
13751-23280 5.62
13751-23290 5.64
13751-23300 5.66
13751-23310 5.68

2nd Gen 3S-GTE shimless lifter part #'s (thank you Ishii from the MR2OC boards)

13751-46030 5.06 mm
13751-46040 5.08
13751-46050 5.10
13751-46060 5.12
13751-46070 5.14
13751-46080 5.16
13751-46090 5.18
13751-46100 5.20
13751-46110 5.22
13751-46120 5.24
13751-46130 5.26
13751-46140 5.28
13751-46150 5.30
13751-46160 5.32
13751-46170 5.34
13751-46180 5.36
13751-46190 5.38
13751-46200 5.40
13751-46210 5.42
13751-46220 5.44
13751-46230 5.46
13751-46240 5.48
13751-46250 5.50
13751-46260 5.52
13751-46270 5.54
13751-46280 5.56
13751-46290 5.58
13751-46300 5.60
13751-46310 5.62
13751-46320 5.64
13751-46330 5.66
13751-46340 5.68
13751-46350 5.70
13751-46360 5.72
13751-46370 5.74

Good luck, and happy measuring!
Members don't see the above ad. Register now
Last edited by Shaggz00 on Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:43 am, edited 8 times in total.

Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:05 pm

What are the other benefits of going shimless for say stock cams?? Can the engine acheive a higher RPM, and is there less valve train noise, or the possibility to develope noise due to stress/wear?

Thanks, nice writeup :)


Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:59 pm

Thanks for the compliments, guys!

Corey Darling wrote:What are the other benefits of going shimless for say stock cams??

As far as other benefits on a stock setup, the only one I can think of would be peace of mind :oops: I'm in no way a pro on this stuff, so if anyone has any other ideas please let us know :D

Can the engine acheive a higher RPM...

I would call this mod more of a stepping-stone to higher RPMs. I'm sure you probably can go higher, but I would go with upgraded springs and retainers while you are at it to be on the safe side. That being said, I still have stock springs/retainers :doh:

...is there less valve train noise, or the possibility to develop noise due to stress/wear?

It's hard for me to say. I am happy to report that I don't hear a single weird noise coming from my top end, although my engine has been completely rebuilt! I imagine that there would be less noise simply because of less moving parts, but your guess is a good as mine :shrug:
Perhaps somebody has done this mod to a non-rebuilt motor and can answer that question better.

Hope I was somewhat helpful

Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:20 pm

You know, this is the first time I actually read the entire thing through.
This is well written and it's nice to have a good quick way to reference Toyota part numbers.
I think I'll be doing mine round-about soon.

Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:31 pm

What would be the optimum Clearance?

Im assuming as close to the low end of the range as possible, that way there is some room to wear down, but how close is too close. would setting it right to the narrow end of the range be pushing it?


Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:08 pm

Wonderful post Shaggz00...thanks a lot!

Fri Feb 22, 2008 5:17 am

Just received my shimless buckets.

They are noticably lighter. The contact surface is far thinner, with the valve stem contact point stretching down to the needed length, matching the original bucket.

There is also a number stamped on the underside by the contact point.

ex "68" which stands for 5.68mm i suppose. pretty cool for keeping track of which is which once they are out of the bags.

I'll take them into the chem lab at school at some point before they go in to get them on a proper scale to see the exact difference.

Happy with them so far :)

Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:07 pm

nice write-up man! most def a time saver!!!

Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:06 pm

thanks..im getting confused but this makes it a whole lot easier

Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:38 am

Something I find odd is when adjusting my shimless set I have found a marked 37 (in fact my engine has 3) yet I cant buy them from toyota?? I have a few friends that work there and they tell me that the part must exist, but numbers will be different. For example they say that when a new toyota comes from the factory they have a different part number on the oil filter then you can actually purchase.

Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:49 am

how much are we talking to do a complete conversion?

Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:50 am

its about $13-14 a bucket full retail so $14x16 = $224ish

Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:33 am

Here's a calculator a Supra guy came up with. They use the same shims/buckets so everything should work out great.

http://www.supraforums.com/forum/showpo ... stcount=36

Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:27 am

RWDragoon wrote:Something I find odd is when adjusting my shimless set I have found a marked 37 (in fact my engine has 3) yet I cant buy them from toyota?? I have a few friends that work there and they tell me that the part must exist, but numbers will be different. For example they say that when a new toyota comes from the factory they have a different part number on the oil filter then you can actually purchase.

That's kind of cool. I bet you could have found those numbers in Japan back in 1990.

Hey Corey, what's going on with your set?
Interested to know how things went?

Re: [How to] Shimless bucket/lifter conversion

Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:24 pm

Thanks for the writeup, I'll start doing that in some weeks when my Gen 4 has arrived.
Post a reply