Valve Adjustment


    Checking and adjusting your valves is crucial for your engine to have a long, happy life.  An added benefit if checking/adjusting your own valves is that you can tell when your heads are beginning to get tired and possibly head off disaster before it happens!!  In your maintenance record, write down which valves were tight when you check them.  If you see a pattern of repeated tightness over 2-3 valve adjustments on the same valve, that it a sign that the valve stem is stretching.  Valve stems will stretch just prior to breaking so if there's a pattern on consecutive valve adjustments, get the head(s) fixed.  You've been warned!!


1 - 13mm box-end wrench.

1 - 4" Straight-tipped screwdriver

1 - Feeler gauge set (with at least a .006" or 0.15mm blade)





1.  Ensure the engine is dead cold.  If it's still warm, let it sit for 3+ hours before checking the valves.  The engine must be cool to the touch for accurate measurement.

2.  Remove the valve covers.

3.  Position the #1 cylinder into firing position.  To do this, watch the intake valve in the #1 cylinder as you turn the engine by hand.  Once this valve closes, look back at the crank pulley and see where the TDC mark is.  Continue to turn the crankshaft until the TDC mark is at the top and right on the seam in the case halves.  You can also look at your distributor rotor.  It should be pointing to the over your right shoulder when looking at it.

TDC.jpg (37621 bytes)

3.  Start with the INTAKE valve (pictured below).  Use your thumb to press on the bottom of the rocker arm while you  insert your .006" feeler gauge between the tappet and the valve stem.  If it won't go in, the valve it tight.  If it goes in loosely, the valve is loose.  If it goes in and you can feel slight resistance as it's drawn through, no adjustment is required.

checking-clearance.jpg (44740 bytes)

4.  To adjust the valve, loosen the 13mm jam nut with your wrench.

   4a.  While holding the jam nut with the wrench, turn the adjustment screw with the screwdriver the proper direction to achieve .006" 

    4b.  While holding the adjustment screw steady, tighten jam nut.

5.  Re-check with the feeler gauge.  If it's still not right repeat step 4 until it is.

6.  Repeat steps 3 - 5 for the #1 EXHAUST valve.

7.  Turn the crankshaft 180 degrees COUNTER-CLOCKWISE and repeat steps 3 - 7 on cylinder #2, then #3 and finally #4.  You MUST always remember to turn the crankshaft 180 degrees counter-clockwise whenever moving to the next cylinder.

BDC.jpg (38775 bytes)

   You remembered to write down the tight valves in your maintenance record, didn't you??  You DO have a maintenance record, right??  I thought so. . .


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Revised: December 08, 2001 .