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Old 01-30-2008, 07:46 PM
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best way of adjusting valves SBC ???

today I did a big mess adjusting valves on a 350 I just rebuilt, it squirted hot oil not only over me but the fenders and the floor, I hate adjusting hydraulic valves in chevy motors, must be a better way of doing so.

according to the books it can be performed with the motor off, but have never been able to do it, my problem is that when I turn the adjusting nuts to eliminate lash I can't feel for sure where the zero lash point is, it worries me that I'm going too tigth because the lifters are dry and empty, also the pushrod seems to turn even when pretty tigth (leaving the valves open).

how can I find for sure where zero lash is?

if I keep tigthtening the nut until the pushrod definitelly stops rotating with my fingers, haven't I opened the valve already?

I always prime the motor BEFORE I (try to) adjust the valves in an attempt to fill the lifters, is this correct?

is it better 1 turn or 1/2 turn after zero?

is there a way to know for sure if the valves are corectly adjusted?

I want to start next week, a SBC I'm building, the motor is beautifully detailed and full of chrome, I don't want to start it and stain with hot oil the wires, paint, chrome etc.

thanks.

Augusto.

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Old 01-30-2008, 09:25 PM
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There are a number of different ways to adjust them. I do it on the engine stand. After finding TDC on the balancer, adjust both #1 valves. Rotate the engine 45 degrees and adjust #8 valves. Continue rotating 45 degrees at a time through the remaining firing order.

I use the "spin the push rod" with your fingers method. As soon as the push rod sticks in your fingers you should be a zero lash. Some people tighten the nuts 1/4 turn, 1/2 turn, 3/4 or 1 turn. I go 1/2 turn. I feel it's better to be a little loose than too tight.
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:05 AM
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I have posted this before and feel it will help you. Please read the part about the correct "feel" to get '0' lash.

Adjusting Hydraulic Lifters On Small Block Chevrolet

This method is with the engine OFF and spark plugs removed for easier rotation.

Install all the hydraulic lifters and pushrods.

NOTE: New lifters do not have to be pre-lubed. Assembly lube should be put on the cam and the mating face of the lifters.

Install all the rockers and the adjusting nuts leaving them loose. Do not tighten the adjusting nuts before adjusting the valves. Make sure the pushrod is in the lifter and the rocker arm seat when making the adjustments.

Adjust one valve at a time.

Rotate the engine in the normal direction of rotation (clockwise looking from the front of the engine) until the exhaust lifter on the cylinder that you are adjusting just begins to move up. At this point adjust the intake valve on that cylinder to ‘0’ lash with no pre-load. Then tighten the adjusting nut ¼ to ½ additional turns.

Rotate the engine over again until the intake lifter has come to the full lift and then is almost all the way back down. At this point adjust the exhaust valve to ‘0’ lash and then tighten an additional ¼ to ½ turns.

Continue the above for each cylinder until all the valves have been adjusted.

NOTE: Rather than spinning the pushrod and attempting to get the correct ‘feel’, I suggest holding the pushrod between two fingers and lifting the pushrod up and down while slowly tightening the adjusting nut. When you reach the point where there is no up and down movement you will be at ‘0’ lash.

The problem with spinning the pushrod and attempting to get the correct ‘feel’ is that you can and will still be able to spin the pushrod even if you bottom out the lifter. This can cause you to over tighten the adjustment and can lead to bent and / or broken pushrods and valves.

Priming the oil system before starting the engine will fill the hydraulic lifters.

Last edited by Frisco; 01-31-2008 at 08:59 AM. Reason: added that the engine is OFF when adjusting
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:13 AM
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There are little clips you can buy that attach to the rocker arm and plug the oil hole above the pushrod. This will keep the oil from spraying at you, I made a custom set of valve covers that have the top cut out of them and have a hinge with a flap on top. It works great for setting the rockers between the two I practically don't spill a drop.
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:20 AM
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Here are some photos of what I am talking about
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:45 AM
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Here is another way to adjust the lifters that is somewhat faster because you don't have to rotate the engine as much.

I found this method doing a search on this site.

I have used this method on occasion. The first method is more acurate; however this works well also.

Valve Adjustment The Quick Way:

With the engine OFF and spark plugs removed so that you can rotate the engine with less effort.

1. Get #1 piston to compression TDC, Cam gear at 12 o'clock crank gear at 12 o'clock.

2. Adjust the intake valves on cylinders 1, 2, 5, & 7 by loosening the rocker nut until play is in the pushrod then just take the up and down play in the pushrod and tighten the rocker nut 90 degrees

3. Adjust the exhaust valves on 1, 3, 4, & 8 in the same manner.

4. Rotate crank 360 degrees to get cylinder #6 to compression TDC, Cam gear at 6 o'clock and crank gear at 12 o'clock.

5. Adjust the intake valves on 3, 4, 6, & 8 in mentioned manner

6. Adjust the exhaust valves on 2, 5, 6, & 7

Getting the '0' lash is the same as I posted originally. Use the "up and down" rather than "spinning" the pushrod. You will find it to be much more accurate.

Last edited by Frisco; 01-31-2008 at 08:56 AM. Reason: removed some info for clarity
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double_v23
There are little clips you can buy that attach to the rocker arm and plug the oil hole above the pushrod. This will keep the oil from spraying at you, I made a custom set of valve covers that have the top cut out of them and have a hinge with a flap on top. It works great for setting the rockers between the two I practically don't spill a drop.
This method works very well for a running engine.

Loosen the adjusting nut of one valve until you hear it "clicking". Slowly re-tighten the adjusting nut until the clicking stops. Tighten an additional 1/4 to 1/2 turn. Repeat this procedure for the remaining valves.

This procedure is done with the engine idling. If you rev the engine up you will get quite a mess, even with the clips and the modified valve cover.
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double_v23
Here are some photos of what I am talking about
I made a pair of covers like that, but just cut 3 sides of the rectangle.........leaving the bottom part attached. Then bent the piece up, that makes a shield for the squirting oil to hit and run back down into the engine.
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poncho62
I made a pair of covers like that, but just cut 3 sides of the rectangle.........leaving the bottom part attached. Then bent the piece up, that makes a shield for the squirting oil to hit and run back down into the engine.

These work well if you have the oil stoppers, I welded a hinge on mine where you left the metal standing, that way I can close the top if I want and run the motor.
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Old 01-31-2008, 11:09 AM
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Double,

Maybe you should patent and market that.


Good old ingenuity...priceless.
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Old 01-31-2008, 11:49 AM
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I have adjusted them all my life with the engine running, but I don't like it mainly because the cam manufacturers say to run the motor at about 2.000 rpm or so to break in the cam, well that is not possible if you must adjust the valves and ignition timing upon startup.

then comes the big mess of oil that I want to avoid, I have a pair of valve covers with windows cut and a set of clips to stop the oil, but can't stop completelly the spillage.

as for doing it on the bench, I already have the motor primed, so this means I can not adjust the valves now?

second, how can I know for sure that I had them done rigth?

should I break up the motor then pull the covers and readjust the valves with the motor running?

don't forget to answer the cam break in issue.

thanks

Augusto.
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Old 01-31-2008, 01:09 PM
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There is an easy way to check that you haven't over tightened a rocker arm way too much when presetting the valve lash. Using a long J bar on the crank, spin the crank over while holding your thumb over the each spark plug hole. You will feel very stong compression when each piston comes up on the compression stroke.
If you find a cylinder that does not have force full compression or seems questionable, then the valve lash may be too tight on that cylinder causing one of the valves to remain open killing the cylinder compression.
Using the "up down" pushrod feel method combined with the exhaust opens, set that intake /intake closes, set that exhaust valve method to find the point of just 0 lash on the base circle of the cam lobes when pre-adjust the valves usually avoids any problems in the first place.
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:04 PM
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long J bar ??? I use the starter motor to check for compression.

back to my earlier post:

I have adjusted them all my life with the engine running, but I don't like it mainly because the cam manufacturers say to run the motor at about 2.000 rpm or so to break in the cam, well that is not possible if you must adjust the valves and ignition timing upon startup.


as for doing it on the bench, I already have the motor primed, so this means I can not adjust the valves now?


don't forget to answer the cam break in issue


thanks

Augusto.
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Old 02-01-2008, 12:03 AM
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Augusto-

I tried to refer you to a thread that covered this topic in depth with many different methods of valve adjustment. They all work, you just need to pick the one that makes the best sense and go with it. I couldn't find a thread older than 2006 on this subject, meaning I couldn't find that thread.

Here's my method:


STEP 1
Turn the crank in normal operating direction (clockwise facing it SB Chevy), until cyl number 1 is at TDC compression stroke. This is easy to check if you're on the right phase by turning the crank a little both ways of the TDC mark on the damper while observing that there is no valve train movement on cyl number 1. Once you have found TDC compression you are ready to begin.


STEP 2
With both valves closed (TDC cyl #1) Hold the pushrod between your fingers and jiggle the pushrod up and down while slowly tightening the rocker nut until no slack (or up and down movement) is felt. This is zero lash.


STEP 3
Next you can apply the amount of preload you desire on the lifter by further tightening the rocker nut (I usually do a half turn unless otherwise recommended). Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the next valve on that cylinder.


STEP 4
Turn the crank in normal operating direction a quarter turn (90 degrees) and proceed to the next cyl in the firing order (cyl number 8 in your case).

STEP 5
Repeat steps 2 and 3 on that cylinder.



You will follow the firing order while using steps 2 through 5 listed above for each cylinder.

NOTES:
By the time you are on the fifth cylinder (cylinder #6 in your case), the timing mark on the damper should be in the '0' or TDC mark again.

You can forget to turn the crank once and it will be okay.

This method works for all motors and the amount of turning the crank between steps is easily found using the following method.

Take the number of cylinders in the engine, divide by 2 and place a 1 over the sum. Example: 6 cylinders divided by 2=3, place the 1 on top and you get 1/3, or one third turn.

This method WORKS and is very easy with no mess or particular sequence to remember other than the firing order which is easily found (usually cast into the intake manifold).

This method will allow you to break in a new cam without the worry of causing damage while attempting adjustment with the engine running.



All the methods mentioned work well and have for years. This is just the method that I've found that works and makes the best sense for me.

Last edited by BstMech; 02-01-2008 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 02-01-2008, 01:02 AM
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SBC already primed. Get #1 at compression and adjust the valves in #6 to 1/4 lash, next bring #8 to compression and adjust the valves in #5 1/4 lash, next bring #4 to compression and adjust the valves in #7 1/4 lash, next bring #3 to compression and adjust the valves in #2 1/4 lash, next bring #6 to compression and adjust valves in #1 1/4 lash, next bring #5 to compression and adjust the valves in #8 1/4 lash, next bring #7 to compression and adjust the valves in #2 1/4 lash.

This procedure has worked perfectly for me for years. I wish everyone would try it.

The procedure is to adjust the valves in the cylinder opposite the cylinder in the firing order. ie 4 cylinder 1-3-4-2. Opposite #1 is #4, #3 is #2, #4 is #1, #2 is #3. This works for all firing orders.
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