Customers often ask what the exactly procedure is for adjusting the valve lash on their engines. It seems that anyone they ask provides a different procedure. The information and step-by-step procedure listed below should make it easy for just about everyone reading this post to understand---from the knowledgeable mechanic or racer to the do-it-yourselfer attempting it for the very an initial time.

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Please read this entire write-up to understand correct valve adjustment measures for most engines.

Introduction come Adjusting Solid and also Hydraulic Lifters:

The simplest method to change a hydraulic or solid lifter camshaft, even if it is it is a level tappet or roller cam, is defined below. However, the first step is come forget every the old info we have collected from various other individuals, books, and what shop manuals have taught us in the past.
Interpreting the information listed below incorrectly, or do the efforts to merge the measures I current to you below with old knowledge could create an ext trouble and also confusion for you. Next, consider those things that can affect your valve lash, because you will need some basic common sense knowledge of state and function before we gain into this.
Before you start to readjust your valves, other considerations have to be addressed. Just putting a wrench top top something and attempting to follow the cam card, shop manual, or the advice of some friend or loved one is not enough. The basics of just how the valetrain functions is wherein we begin, after answering a few important questions.
What type of cam are you running? (Hydraulic, Solid, Hydraulic Roller, hard Roller, Mushroom Tappet)
Are we using aluminum heads?Do we have actually the correct valvetrain components in use?Are all of our valvetrain components in appropriate working condition?Are our valve springs the exactly size and tension for the camshaft and operating RPM?What kind of steering (or racing) are we going come be making use of the engine for?Do we have the ideal tools and basic knowledge forced to adjust our very own valves?
The last one over is quite important. If after reading through this and you are still a bit confused, please ask for aid or have someone else execute it. In the an extremely least you have the right to have someone that is much more knowledgeable to walk you v the process we describe here come make sure you understand the procedure. If you space wondering what deserve to go wrong, right here is a quick describing what deserve to occur:
Poor to run engine and low performanceFailed smog test (if this is a smog-legal street driven vehicle)Burnt exhaust valve(s)Broken valvetrain contents (springs, pushrods, lifters, camshaft)Limited or reduced lifespan the valvetrain componentsExcessive valve guide and also valve chair wearBlown up engineLose an important Race!Empty, or placed a substantial dent in your bank account
The above list, though quite basic to understand, have to scare us! that takes just a few thousandths of an inch (0.001") of mediate error come cause any kind of one or an ext of the problems listed above.
For those that us with Ford, GM LS-Series, and other engines that utilize "Non-Adjustable" valvetrain ... WE need to verify that our machinist go their project correctly when setup the valve stem heights, and also then us MUST likewise verify suitable plunger depth once using Hydraulic Lifters. If we switch come solid lifters it is mandatory the we transform to an adjustable valvetrain (I would likewise say the converting to adjustable valvetrain is causing obligation in every racing applications as well as any application whereby we desire to have accurate regulate of ours valve lash setting). Not doing for this reason is questioning for significant problems!


I have written this article somewhat backwards, and I have actually a very great reason because that doing so. I want to reveal you to the procedure and also then explain how it works and also why the works. Endure with our customers has actually taught me that while I have asked you, the leader of this article, come forget what you may have been taught, such grand requests top top my part rarely occur. Because that some, the entirety experience of adjusting one engine"s valvetrain is confound enough.

Instead, i will disclose the reader to the procedure to generate thought around how this works.

Please read through ENTIRE short article before you start to change your valves!

ENGINE off Valve mediate Procedure - The Quick and also Accurate Way:

First, check out this basic chart below for little and big Block Chevy Engines. Perform you know what it describes? A much more detailed explanation follows below the chart. For other engines friend will usage the shooting order the matches your engine to create a comparable chart. This chart is based top top "opposite" cylinders of your firing order. (see below)
with #1 cylinder entry Valve at complete valve lift .... Adjust #6 entry Valvewith #8 cylinder intake Valve at complete valve lift .... Change #5 entry Valvewith #4 cylinder input Valve at full valve elevator .... Change #7 input Valvewith #3 cylinder input Valve at complete valve background .... Readjust #2 entry Valvewith #6 cylinder input Valve at full valve elevator .... Change #1 intake Valvewith #5 cylinder intake Valve at complete valve background .... Change #8 input Valvewith #7 cylinder intake Valve at full valve background .... Change #4 entry Valvewith #2 cylinder entry Valve at complete valve elevator .... Readjust #3 input Valve
You will notification that this is the very same procedure and sequence as the intake valves noted above. Only now you space adjusting only the exhaust valves the exact same way.
with #1 cylinder Exhaust Valve at complete valve elevator .... Change #6 Exhaust Valvewith #8 cylinder Exhaust Valve at full valve lift .... Change #5 Exhaust Valvewith #4 cylinder Exhaust Valve at full valve elevator .... Change #7 Exhaust Valvewith #3 cylinder Exhaust Valve at full valve elevator .... Readjust #2 Exhaust Valvewith #6 cylinder Exhaust Valve at full valve lift .... Readjust #1 Exhaust Valvewith #5 cylinder Exhaust Valve at complete valve elevator .... Change #8 Exhaust Valvewith #7 cylinder Exhaust Valve at full valve elevator .... Change #4 Exhaust Valvewith #2 cylinder Exhaust Valve at complete valve elevator .... Readjust #3 Exhaust Valve



TDC - optimal Dead Center, or where the piston is in ~ the height of the cylinder and also both (all) valves for that cylinder are closed.
Zero Lash - No clearance, rocker is snug to the lifter. Top top a hydrualic lifer, the plunger is in the uppermost neutral position (not compressed)
In the chart above we check out that adjustments space being made on "opposite" valves ~ above the engine rotation cycle. Tiny and large block Chevrolet engines use a firing stimulate of 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2. What you room going to perform is separate the order into the two sides the the shooting order. These room "exact" opposites that placed the opposing valve at the correct place for adjustment, an interpretation the ago side (base circle, or heell) of the electronic came lobe (see photo at left).
Using the chart below (common Chevy V8 shooting order described above) you will see that #1 is the opposite #6, and vice-verse top top the others cylinders in sequence v the firing order. This holds true because that both intake and also exhaust valves.
This procedure functions on most V8 and also V6 engines. The little chart listed below is reflecting you the opposite cylinders because that a small or huge block Chevy V8 engine with the above firing order. What this is mirroring you is a straightforward version of the above "opposite" list.

For various other engines, right here are some typical firing orders and their opposites. PLEASE VERIFY your engine"s shooting order. Do not count on the listed below list.
AMC (most) V81-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 (same as instance above)
Buick V8 (most)1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 (same as example above)
Chrysler big Block & hem V81-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 (same as instance above)
Chrysler tiny Block V81-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 (same as instance above)
Oldsmobile (1967-later) V81-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 (same as example above)
Pontiac (1955-1981) V81-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 (same as instance above)
Ford 5.0L HO, 351W, 351C, 351M, 400 V81-3-7-2-6-5-4-81 & 6; 3 & 5; 7 & 4; 2 & 8
Ford (most other) V81-5-4-2-6-3-7-81 & 6; 5 & 3; 4 & 7; 2 & 8

Importance that Lifter Position

If the place of the lifter top top the camshaft lobe is almost everywhere other than on the heel (note image above) wherein there is NO ramp contact when do adjustments, the lash setting will be incorrect. This place is forced for each valve before you effort to carry out adjustments. The chart and procedure above ensures the the lifter is ~ above the backside of the video camer lobe because that each valve.

In the past we were frequently instructed through the auto shop teacher or business manual to place each cylinder in ~ TDC (piston at height Dead Center), and then adjust both valves for the cylinder. However, us often uncover that this is no the exactly procedure to acquire the appropriate lash setting, especially on contemporary engines or agressive camshaft profiles. The image at right mirrors the compelled position of the camer lobe relationship to the lifter the ensures exactly valve lash adjustment.


Ensuring that the lifter is positioned on the hoe of the camer lobe will certainly guarantee that the valve you are adjusting is totally closed. Any kind of other position and also adjustments will NOT be accurate.
It is time to describe the yes, really wrench turning. How plenty of of us read or were taught that v a hydraulic lifter camshaft, us must readjust it under to where there is slim pushrod resistance (zero lash) and also then rotate it under 3/4 or a complete turn? ns was originally taught the wrong means too, both through instructors and by following inaccurate measures in assorted shop manuals. Once we followed these methods, our adjustment likely opened the valves slightly, avoiding the valves indigenous closing all the way! Our valves to be not collection correctly!
The typical hydraulic lifter calls for an adjustment that is roughly fifty percent the accessible travel that the plunger. If an typical hydraulic lifter plunger has actually a range of 0.060" (sixty thousands of an inch) of travel from completely compressed come its static height where the pushrod seat is up versus the retaining ring, fifty percent of that distance will certainly be +/- 0.030" (thirty hundreds of an inch). This means that we must readjust the valves to fall between the depth the the plunger in the lifter drops. If changed too tight (the plunger completely compressed) the valves stay open slightly, and also do no close every the way. This clears the important cooling time (lash) that removes heat native the valve stem.
If the convey is too loose, the valvetrain will certainly be loud, and also damage may take place to the valve reminder (top the the valve stem), rocker arm, press rod, pushrod seat, the lifter, and camshaft lobes.
How do we accomplish a 0.030" or centered plunger depth? On recently assembled engines I will actually use a dial indicator and also measure the street of take trip on the brand-new lifter. On an finish engine, specifically one currently in the vehicle this is harder come do.
I have actually two actions that I use to adjust hydraulic lifters. One offers the "clean" an approach with the engine turn off, and also the various other is the messy method with the engine running and also squirting oil everywhere. I choose a "clean" adjustment, and also only usage the messy way as a critical resort.
For the messy an approach I fabricate practice cut-up provided valve covers, oil deflectors, and other approaches in an attempt to save the oil in the engine. Staying clear of oil from splashing anywhere the engine compartment and off the ground deserve to be an intense chore that takes consideration and also planning!
If the engine is complete and installed in the vehicle, warm up the engine by running it until it gets to operation temperature (15-minutes or so). "Cold" adjustments should only be used on new engines on together a preliminary convey on the engine stand. As soon as a new engine has actually been started and intial break-in procedures complete, readjusting the valves "hot" is recommended.
Have all vital tools ready and then quickly remove the valve cover(s) while the engine is at operation temperature.Begin the convey procedure by using the chart above, or one to enhance your shooting order and opposites.With the #1 input valve at complete LIFT --- This means that you rotate the engine by hand until the intake valve ~ above the #1 cylinder is totally open (watch the rocker arm press down ~ above the height of the valve stem, compressing the valve spring until it stops relocating downward) --- and change the entry valve top top "opposite in shoot order" cylinder. Always remember, the contrary valve engine firing order dependent. Understand your engine"s shoot order!Go come ths the opposite cylinder. This technical post uses the common firing stimulate for tiny and huge block Chevy engines as the example, therefore this would be the #6 cylinder.Loosen the rocker nut (if making use of roller rockers there is commonly a Jam Nut the you must first loosen v an Allen wrench) on the #6 intake valve.Take 2 fingers and spin the pushrod ago and forth in between them to feel for resistance.Carefully snug the adjustment nut and also STOP when you feeling resistance in the pushrod as it uses pressure to the socket in the rocker arm and lifter, this is taken into consideration "zero lash."Turn the wrench 1/8 come 1/4 turn (see below) because that performance, racing, or high RPM applications. Revolve the wrench 1/4 come 1/2 turn for share or soft street applications. Because that applications the regularly operate at constant high RPM, use the slightly lighter setup of (1/8 turn).If your valvetrain offers poly-locks, remember come reset (snug) the Allen screwThe adjustment for this valve is now complete!Turn the engine by hand progressively to the next cylinder / valve in the firing order.Repeat the over steps, starting at #3 with #10, yet use the next cylinder in the sequence. In ours Chevy V8 example this is the input valve because that the #8 cylinderContinue through all the intake valves and also then start the procedure over for the exhaust.
This is another area that has been teach wrong in auto shop class and really expensive business manuals since the 1950"s. Imagine the hands on a clock. You have the obvious 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 o"clock positions as well as the numbers in-between those points. Start with your wrench at the 12:00 position and turn it clockwise come the 6:00 place you have actually just make 1/2 turn. Going indigenous 12:00 to the 3:00 position would it is in 1/4 turn. Numerous manuals speak to adjust the valves 3 quarters to one full turn ... THIS IS INCORRECT!!!!
Perform this procedure the same method for all the input valves, then readjust the exhaust valves the very same way.
PRECAUTION: when working on larger high purpose of use engines or those that use poor quality lifters you may experience a condition where the lifters bleed off push (drain the oil out of the lifter body), leading to inaccurate valve adjustment. Oil must remain in the hydraulic lifter in order to achieve specific valve lash setting. If recurring attempts to change the valves using the "cold adjustment" procedure fails, lifters bleeding off may be the cause. Two alternatives exist to solve this issue. ONE: replace the lifters or TWO: change the valves utilizing the "HOT" running an approach described below.
TIP: One way to phone call if this is emerging (bleeding turn off or no oil) is by the town hall the rocker arm while using the 1/8 come 1/2 revolve of the wrench. If the rocker pushes the valve stem down rather of the pushrod, you space opening the valve instead of adjusting the lifter!
So friend really like oily messes? This needs to be one of the many miserable maintenance procedures if you execute not properly arrangement ahead.
Adjust only one side of the engine in ~ a time.Use oil restrictors (deflectors) top top the rocker arms, or far better yet a butchered up old valve covering that has actually an access cut into the height of it come facilitate adjustment access AND oil deflectorsStay calm ... Girlfriend WILL acquire burnt, you will make a mess and also you will certainly not look front to law this again, especially if girlfriend screw up the first time.Using a mechanic"s stethoscope deserve to substantially do this procedure easier, specifically if the engine is loud or you have hearing issues.
Adjusting hydraulic lifters v the engine to run is not one of my favorite activities (as you have the right to tell by how countless times I cite my distaste because that it). V the above considerations addressed you are ready to go:
Start the engine and allow it to warm up.Turn turn off the engineRemove one valve cover and install her deflector clips, tradition valve cover, or whatever apparatus you room using to save the oil splash come a minimum.Start the engine back up.Begin to loosen one of the rocker arm adjusting nuts. You need to hear the valvetrain just start come "clatter".Slowly tighten the rocker nut down simply until the larger "clatter" stopsTurn the wrench secondary 1/8 - 1/2 turn to collection the plunger depth (lifter preload).Continue (repeat) this procedure on every of the staying the valves.Turn off the engineRemove her oil splash apparatus and re-install the valve coverRepeat these steps on the various other side of her engine (if a V8)
If girlfriend hear excessive noises or the engine operation rough and poorly you will be doing the procedure again. As declared above, if girlfriend have access to a mechanic"s stethoscope, friend can set the finish at the top of the rocker stud to hear to the noise a loose adjustment makes, which help finding "zero" lash easier.
IMPORTANT WARNING: If you make a mess, PLEASE use environmentally mindful methods come clean up any type of oil spills and then examine your oil level. You would certainly be surprised at just how quickly, and also how lot oil deserve to spill once performing valve adjustments through the engine running if you are not maybe to store the oil in the engine!
The actions for heavy lifter mediate are similar to hydraulic lifter adjustments. However, instead of transforming a wrench 1/8 to 1/2 turn we will be using a feeler gauge to verify the lash setting.
First, heat the engine to operation temperature (about 15-minutes) and also then quickly remove both the the valve covers. Follow the adjustment chart above. V the #1 entry valve at full LIFT. This way that you rotate the engine by hand until the intake valve ~ above the #1 cylinder is completely open (watch the rocker arm push down on the peak of the valve stem, compressing the valve spring till it stops moving downward). You have the right to now change the intake valve top top "opposite in shooting order" cylinder (see the above chart). Remember, opposing is engine firing order dependent. In this write-up I am making use of the small and huge block Chevy engines together the example, for this reason this would certainly be the #6 cylinder. Loosen the rocker slighly (if making use of roller rockers over there is typically a Jam Nut that you must first loosen with an Allen Wrench).
Based top top your electronic came card (cam specifications listed by the camshaft manufacturer) friend should recognize what the valve lash setting should it is in in thousandths of an inch for both the exhaust and intake valves. For some camshafts these clearances will certainly be the exact same (intake and also exhaust), and also others may display a value higher (more lash) for the hotter exhaust valve.
For example, a cam card proposal a valve lash setup of .022". Gain out the .022" feeler gauge and place it between the top of the valve stem and also the rocker arm tip. Snug under the rocker "just" until you start to fell resistance. You should be sliding the feeler gauge back and forth gently on stock layout slotted rocker arms, or tenderness side-to-side if making use of roller pointer rockers. The valve lash setup should no be chop --- the feeling must be around the very same as putting a table knife v a stick of cold butter. Not also hard, not too soft. It is valuable to usage "positive-lock" style rocker eight retention fasteners rather of the basic pinched rocker nuts or Nylox. If utilizing rocker nuts your job is done, go to the next valve. If using positive-locks, host the human body of the lock in place with a box finish or open end wrench (there room special tools easily accessible to simply this procedure if you want to invest the $$$ ~ above them) and also then very closely tighten the Allen set screw in the facility of the posi-lock.
When installation a new camshaft, the engine will obviously be cold. The difficulty is that the provided lash specifications space for an engine that has actually been running long sufficient to be at typical operating temperatures. What can we execute in this situation? there is a standard correction factor that can be offered to get us close to the compelled settings. We must now think about the material alloys of the various engine parts, due to the fact that the thermal growth of this components influence the valve lash in various ways. Thus the correction aspect used because that our lash setup will depend upon whether the cylinder heads and also block are made out of actors iron or aluminum.
Take the "hot" setting detailed to in the electronic came manufacturer"s magazine or indigenous the camer card the came v the camshaft. Usage the figures listed below to transform the original lash specifications to acquire a "cold" lash setting.
Using steel block and iron heads, add .002"Using iron block and aluminum heads, subtract .006"Using both aluminum block and also heads, subtract .012"
WARNING: This mediate adjustment is just an approximation, and also is only meant to gain the valve lash "close" because that the initial new engine begin up. After properly warming up the engine to regular operating temperatures, go earlier and readjust all the valves to the stated "hot" valve lash settings.
This is a small extra tip frequently unknown to many engine builders and tuners. Most civilization do no realize the you have the right to make subtle performance renovations by contempt reducing or boosting the recommended lash settings. NOTE: This is because that SOLID LIFTER camshafts just (tappet or roller)!
The intake and exhaust valves cannot move until every the to run clearance (valve lash) has actually been take away up. Therefore, the amount of valve lash you usage affects the engine"s performance. For example, by reducing the amount of (hot) valve lash, the valve will open slightly sooner, administer slightly more lift (valve opening), and also will close contempt later. This makes the camshaft look at bigger to the engine, because of this slight boost of duration and lift. Increasing the amount of (hot) lash opposing occurs. The valve will open up later, provide slightly background less, and also close slightly sooner. Currently the engine watch a smaller electronic came with slightly much less actual duration and lift. BE mindful - ns am saying you start with only 0.001 - 0.003" of readjust in lash. Crazy testing can damage your engine!

Use this tuning an approach to experiment, recognize what the engine responds to, then keep the setting that works the best. Simply remember, the much more lash friend run, the noisier the valve train will be, and damage may happen if you space not careful. If the clearance is too much it can be harsh or damaging to other valve train components as well. Therefore, an extensive running of the engine is no recommend to boost the lot of lash by an ext than +0.004" native the encourage setting. No one is reduce the lash by more than -0.008" recommended.
Reducing the lash will rise top end (upper RPM power) horsepowerIncreasing the lash have the right to improve low finish torque and also acceleration.
As discussed above, the strength band can change slightly on one engine utilizing a hard lifter camshaft by varying valve lash settings. A looser lash setting increases the low-end strength of the engine where a tighter lash boosts top-end power. Cautious consideration is vital for these tweaks since the valve lash is the "Cooling Time" the the valve demands on each cycle. If you have actually too little, or no lash, you take it a opportunity of burning the valves.Using roller rocker arms considerably increases valve guide life, rises horsepower and likewise maintains much better valve lash settings. Usage them whenver friend can! Shaft format rockers are ideal (less deflection). Stainless stole rockers provide less "over the valve weight", i m sorry is GOOD. Aluminum, though less expensive will certainly deflect more and rise the actual load over the valve stem. The added weight might not seem critical to you, yet this is considered reciprocal weight, which slows under all the materials related to it.Additionally, too loose a valve lash setting can damage the valve stem and increase opportunity of premature failure of the roller rocker tips. If using OEM style, stamped steel rocker arms, you can fracture the rocker arm or bile the fulcrum.Engine materials, engine operating RPM, and valvetrain deflection add to differing valve lash settings. The greater the RPM, the cheaper the parts you use, and the performance and reliability distinctions between species of materials contribute to more frequent valve lash adjustments. (By the way, when you are in there v the valve consists off, make the effort to test her valve spring pressures. There room tools easily accessible for installed trial and error of spring pressures).There is cost-free horsepower when using a Roller Cam. If you deserve to afford it, carry out it! Plus, as soon as using a roller cam, you can readjust camshafts there is no the require to change lifters or the go through forced lifter break-in procedures, i beg your pardon is mandatory v Hydraulic or solid "tappet" camshafts.

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