How to Adjust a Valve Lash With a Solid Cam


Solid lifter camshafts are synonymous with very high performance engines used in competitive situations. It is important to understand that valve lash adjustments are made to compensate for expansion due to heat. An engine expands as its temperature increases and the valve lash is adjusted to guarantee clearance after the expansion has reached its limit.

Things You'll Need

  • 5/8-inch open and closed end wrench
  • Set of feeler gauges
  • Remote starter switch
  • Read the camshaft box specifications label for the proper valve adjustment amount. If this is not available, call either a speed shop or the camshaft manufacturer for these figures. The intake and exhaust figures will vary with different engines. Check the engine to make sure it is absolutely cold. The valves can't be adjusted warm.

  • Connect the remote starter switch by attaching one lead to the positive terminal on the battery and the second lead to the small wire terminal on the starter solenoid. This terminal is labeled the S terminal.

  • Loosen all the valve adjusters with the 5/8-inch wrench until they have a small amount of freeplay. This method of adjusting rocker arms on a solid lifter cam begins with the closest valve to the radiator on either side of the engine and works rearward on each cylinder head.

  • Push down slightly on the pushrod end of the rocker arm, just enough to keep the rocker arm in contact with the pushrod. Bump the engine over in short increments with the remote starter switch. Every time you depress the remote starter switch, the engine will rotate a small amount. Repetitively depress the button on the switch to rotate the engine while paying attention to the rocker arm. The pushrod side of the rocker arm must rise and begin to drop. Continue to momentarily bump the switch until the pushrod goes all the way down and the next bump results in no movement of the pushrod. The valve lifter should appear on the heal (low side) of the camshaft where it needs to be to adjust the valves. This procedure must be done on each rocker arm prior to adjustment.

  • Insert the appropriate size feeler gauge between the rocker arm and the top of the valve. It may be necessary to loosen the valve adjuster slightly to allow the feeler gauge to slide between the rocker arm and valve. Slowly tighten down on the adjustment nut until there is a slight drag on the feeler gauge when sliding it in and out between the valve and rocker arm. When properly adjusted you should be able to remove and replace the feeler gauge with slight difficulty. Move on to the next valve and repeat this procedure until all the valves have been adjusted.

  • Remove the remote starter switch.

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