How to Adjust the Lifters on a Ford 302


The lifters on the Ford 302 engines move the valves up and down. Working together with the pistons and the camshaft, the lifters push out exhaust and pull in fuel to the combustion chamber. The valve lifters are a part of the valve train, which also consists of rocker arms that move up and down with the movement of the lifters. When the engine is cranked, the pistons begin the up-and-down movement along with the movement of the camshaft and lifters.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2-inch drive ratchet
  • 1/2-inch drive deep-well socket set
  • Clean rags
  • Blue or red RTV silicone
  • New valve cover gasket
  • Park the vehicle and open the hood. Wait for the 302 engine to completely cool down for an hour or two.

  • Locate the valve covers on both front sides of the engine. Starting on the driver-side valve cover, remove the top three bolts and the bottom three bolts from the valve cover with a ratchet, extension and a socket. Turn the bolts counterclockwise to loosen and remove them.

  • Pull the valve cover straight up off the engine block. This will expose the valve train. Place the valve cover in a safe area along with the bolts and crank the engine.

  • Locate the adjustment nut on the top center of the front rocker arm. Turn the nut in a counterclockwise direction with a ratchet and a deep-well socket until the rocker arm begins to make a tapping sound. As soon as the rocker arm begins making the tapping sound, turn the nut in a clockwise direction until the tapping stops. Stop turning the nut as soon as the rocker arm stops tapping.

  • Turn the nut clockwise one-half of a turn more to finish the adjustment process. Move to the other rocker arms on the same valve train and repeat the same process as explained above to properly adjust the lifters under the driver-side valve cover.

  • Turn the engine off. Remove the gasket from the bottom of the valve cover. Wipe down the bottom of the bottom of the valve cover with a clean rag until it is completely clean. Apply a thin bead of RTV silicone onto the bottom gasket area of the valve cover. Apply the new gasket to the silicone and to the bottom of the valve cover.

  • Place the valve cover back over the top of the valve train. Match the top three bolts holes up and the bottom three bolts holes up. Screw the six valve cover bolts back into the valve cover and tighten with the ratchet, extension and socket. Torque the valve cover bolts down to 10 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and a socket.

  • Move to the passenger-side valve cover on the 302 engine and repeat the same process as outlined in the preceding steps to properly adjust the lifters.

Tips & Warnings

  • The RTV silicone and the valve cover gaskets can be bought at most auto-parts store.
  • Do not over-tighten the valve covers or they will break.
  • Never work around a hot engine. This can result ins serious burns to the skin.

Related Searches


  • " New Ford Engine Overhaul Haynes Techbook"; John Haynes; 2002
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