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Old 07-12-2006, 08:50 PM
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390 Edelbrock Head Problems

Does anyone have any experience installing Edelbrock heads on a 390? 1969 390 GT motor, edelbrock heads and intake, msd distributor, holley 750, bored .030". It's my dads car and he's telling me that it sounds like the valves aren't closing all the way. He's spoke with a couple of guys and they are telling him to check the clearance with the rocker arm assembly and the deck of the head. He suspects that the pushrods may be too long. Any ideas? Thanks.

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Old 07-12-2006, 09:14 PM
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If he is running the stock valve train, they are non-adjustable. The lifter preload needs set whenever a change like that is performed. There are 2 ways to do it. The preferable way, for me, is a set of adjustable rockers and corresponding pushrods. The second is to check the lifter preload and get the correct length pushrods from Ford or Ford supplier. They come in shorter lengths because of the non-adjustable rockers. The second is cheaper, but more time consuming and if you ever have a need for it again (milling heads, grinding valves,etc.) you have to go through the same procedure again. With the adjustable valvetrain it is as easy as turning the adjustment bolt.
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Old 07-12-2006, 09:40 PM
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What's the best way to check the lifter preload in order to get an accurate measurement for the correct length pushrod?
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Old 07-13-2006, 01:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myersc

What's the best way to check the lifter preload in order to get an accurate measurement for the correct length pushrod?
The easiest and only correct method is outlined in the appropriate period shop manual. It entails collapsing the lifter with a special service tool used on the rocker arm. The resulting air gap is then measured. The appropriate pushrod is then inserted to achieve desired air gap.

Now the above is done only after correct valvetrain geometry is established. And this must also be performed before adding adjustable rocker arms.

There is no such thing as bolt on. One must verify the finished product is within engineering (or modified) specs.
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Old 08-02-2006, 06:42 PM
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The heads are installed and we've tried shorter push rods and things seem to be working better. However the engine seems to be extremely loud out the back of the exhaust when you give it gas. It idles like it used to but it's incredibly loud beyond idle. These heads have larger valves than the original heads, as well, the ports are bigger too. Will this make the engine louder? Is there something else we should be checking, re: camshaft, or ? Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2006, 06:58 PM
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When You took the rocker shafts and rocker arms off the original 390 heads did you do it correctly. If you didn't, then the rocker shaft can bend and no amount of adjusting the rockers will correct your problem. On a Ford FE engine the rockers shaft retaining bolts have to be backed down in a certain sequence at a certain amount of torque. The same applies when reinstalling the rocker shafts and rocker arms. If you do not do this correctly, your rocker shafts are toast.
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Old 08-02-2006, 07:29 PM
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What's the proper way to remove and re-install the rocker arm assembly? What kind of symptoms would be experienced with rocker arm shafts that are warped/bent? Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2006, 07:54 PM
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I don't have the sequence on hand, but any good manual on Ford FE big block engines will tell you how to do it. If you just bolted the rocker arms and shafts down on those eddy heads, I guarantee that the rocker shafts are bent. The spring pressure from the eddy heads are alot more than a stock 390 head and that is what did it. I know Fords can be a pain in the ***** but FE's are about the worst of the bunch . Ford FE's are very temperamental and easy to mess up. If you don't have much experience with them, I would recommend finding the best manual on Ford FE's you can get. I would also recommend replacing the wimpy cast aluminum rocker shaft stands with something more beefy. I also wouldn't be surprised if Edelbrock recommend better rocker shafts for those heads.
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Old 08-02-2006, 10:22 PM
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So what kind of symptoms will the engine be experiencing if a rocker shaft did get bent?
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Old 08-03-2006, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myersc
So what kind of symptoms will the engine be experiencing if a rocker shaft did get bent?
Sore ***, possible bleeding from sensitive areas, morning sickness, ... oh, wait.
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Old 08-03-2006, 01:06 AM
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...sigh...

-Determing Correct Rocker Arm Geometry On A FORD FE-

Listen,

You are going to first have to establish correct rocker arm geometry on this engine. You cannot just throw parts at it and hope everything is going to come out all right. This same basic method is used on most all FORD hydraulic engines with and without adjustable rocker arms.

There is also a special service tool used to collapse the lifter. You have to have it. Period.

To check if the rocker arm shafts are bent, they need to be disassembled and checked for straightness. If bent will cause rocker arm binding.

COMPETITION CAMS has an excellent TECH ARTICLE on thier site that describes arriving at correct valvetrain geometry. Find it and read it.

Otherwise, you are just pissin' in the wind.
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Old 08-03-2006, 06:04 AM
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I think the bending of the rocker arm shaft was a little exaggerated. If you release the bolts evenly, an little at a time, until they are all loose that shouldn't be a concern. I've never had one bend from removal.
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Old 08-03-2006, 07:48 AM
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Yes the shafts can bend, if you just loosen one bolt up all the way and take it out with pressure on the other rockers. I did this myself along time ago on a old 68 4 barrel 390 engine. Am I exaggerating, no, does the shaft bend at 90 degrees, no. Is is visible to the naked eye, maybe, but most likely not. Can a rocker shaft with a couple of hundred thousand miles on it being bolted down wrong on new heads with stronger springs bend, yes. Would your engine not run right, most likely. I wouldn't say Ford would have certain removal and install procedures on FE rocker shafts for no reason at all.
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Old 08-03-2006, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodz428

I think the bending of the rocker arm shaft was a little exaggerated. If you release the bolts evenly, an little at a time, until they are all loose that shouldn't be a concern. I've never had one bend from removal.


...I guess no one has read my offered TECH ARTICLE...


Quote:
Rocker Shaft Unload and Pre-load.

It is very important that the rocker-shaft be properly unloaded and reloaded to insure proper lifter pre-load and prevent damage to valve-train components
.

Bring up number one cylinder on the compression stroke to TDC (top dead center), and turn the engine another forty-five degrees beyond to the "XX" mark as shown on the damper. Loosen the passenger side bank rocker-shaft bolts from rear to front two turns at a time until loose. On the drivers side loosen the bolts from front to rear two turns at a time. In my opinion, a couple of 1/2 turn passes in sequence after breaking torque would make the operation a little less traumatic to the components, but it isn?t absolutely necessary.

To reload the rocker-shaft, and in the process pre-load the lifters, bring the damper back to number one cylinder TDC, and reverse the procedure specific to each bank. Turn the rocker-shaft support bolts down two turns at time until you reach the specified torque value. As when unloading the shaft, when you get close to full torque, 1/2 turn passes in sequence until full torque is reached would be recommended but not absolutely necessary. Refer to your shop manual for all engine torque specifications, and diagrams if you are unsure of any of these procedures.


Valve Clearance Testing and Adjustment

To check the valve clearance, run the engine to operating temperature, shut off, and bring the crank to number one cylinder TDC compression. Check cylinder 1,3,7,8 intakes and 1,4,5,8 exhausts by pressing down the rocker arm until the lifter bleeds completely down. Clearance between the rocker tip and valve should be between .100 to .200 for all FE?s but the '65 to '67 352. The 352 specification is .050 to .150. If there is more slack than is recommended, then a longer push rod is necessary to bring it into specification.

Make sure that the lifter is capable of holding good pressure, and if you are turning the engine hard enough to cause high-rpm pump-up that you're using anti-pump-up lifters. If a certain lifter collapses a lot easier when you compress it, then it will need to be replaced. If you have to replace one, use an engine hoist to handle that lovely triple-A hernia inducing intake manifold. It?s about 80 lbs. without the carburetor. I intend to write an article soon on the installation of an FE intake manifold, so keep in touch.

To check the remaining valves, turn the engine 360 degrees (one full revolution) and bring up number six to TDC and check cylinder 2,4,5,6 intakes and 2,3,6,7 exhausts in the same way and to the same specifications.
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Old 08-05-2006, 10:06 AM
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KULTULZ - I did read the tech article - thanks! I'll be trying it this week and I will let you know the outcome. Thanks for everyone's help!
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