Adjusting valves on 302 with hydralic lifters

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by sparx, Jul 9, 2011.


  1. sparx

    sparx Member

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    I was planning on having the local mechanic finish building my engine and placing it and the trans back in the car, but scheduling seems to break down all the time.

    How hard is it to adjust the valves on the 302 with hydraulic lifters? My engine is all an new 302 circa 1986 roller cam.

    TIA
    sparx
    #1
  2. BlownFiveLiter

    BlownFiveLiter have car, will race....wait, it doesn't run

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    The valves don't need adjustment with hydraulic roller lifters. Do you mean setting the lash on them? Stock 1986 engine should be pedestal mount rockers. Here's Crane's instructions, on how to set them up. Their instructions are better than what I had typed. Far more detail with theirs.
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  3. sparx

    sparx Member

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    This is new and the adjustment has never been done, not sure what it is called but it needs attention.
    sparx
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  4. PoppyMod

    PoppyMod Member

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    Hi,
    Just so there is no misunderstanding, since you only mention you are using an '86 roller cam. The Crane write-up is very clear in it's explanation for '77 and later engines with pedestal type rockers.
    If however, you're working with an earlier block that has been converted to a roller, using guide plates, screw-in studs, roller rockers etc., the procedure is a little different. The difference; there are no torque reading, as such, only turning the adjustment nut a 1/4 to 1/2 turn to achieve what's called "pre-load" to obtain the .020-.060 reading. Using a 7/16 X 20 stud, one complete turn of the adjustment nut would equal .050". However, the rocker ratio, itself, has an affect, as well. Typically, running 1.6 ratio rockers (most popular), a 1/4 to 1/2 turns,`will achieve the proper pre-load, when starting with a push rod that has "zero" slack (can be argued, for sure) between it and the rocker.
    As far as terminology goes, I've always associated the word "lash" with adjusting solid style lifters, wherein, a specified thickness gauge is used. When adjusting hydraulic lifters, the term "pre-load" is typically used. Crane mentions this term, as well.
    Hope this helps and doesn't add to any confusion.
    #4
  5. rbohm

    rbohm Founding Member

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    sparx, the procedure is actually quite simple, but time consuming. what you need to do is have the mechanic leave the intake off the engine when he installs it back into your car. then what you do is rotate the crank until the lifters for the number one cylinder are on the base circle of the cam. you can tell when this happens because the tops of both lifters, assuming flat tappet lifters, will be flush with the top of the lifter bore. at this point you crank down on the rocker arm adjusting nut until you have no vertical movement of the push rod. i like this method better than spinning the push rod as you get a more accurate adjustment imo. at this point turn the adjusting nut 1/2 turn further, and move on to the next rocker arm. you can do this with each cylinder, or you can look for each lifter that is on the base circle of the cam, and adjust all of them, then turn the crank one full circle, and adjust the rest.

    now all the above goes out the window if you have non adjustable rocker arm studs. if you do, and you can tell because the stud threads are smaller than the base of the stud, then you just turn the rocker arm bolt down until it stops on the stud and your valve adjustment is done.
    #5
  6. sparx

    sparx Member

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    Ok.
    My engine is a built up engine, from a ford virgin 302 roller cam block. It has an Edelbrock mild cam and Edlebrock heads with hydraulic lifters. I had the short block put together by a machine shop.

    There is no other mechanic at this time, just myself. The machinist told me that you begin at TDC and you can adjust two valves at a time. Then move the crank and adjust two more until the process is completed. He is always very busy and that is about all he had time to explain. I do have the Small Block Ford Engines book by: Monroe so that is my reference.

    I do know that hydraulic lifters are easier to adjust than mechanical.

    I posted here because the more I read the better off I am, most of the time.
    :D

    Sorry I do not know what flat tappets are...

    sparx
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  7. jlangholzj

    jlangholzj Well-Known Member

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    roller lifters......your slipping in your old age :D


    out of curiosity whenever i adjust flat tappets as outlined above ^ I'll usually skip the extra 1/2 turn and then just listen to the valves with a tube to get my lash set. Even though they're rollers could you still do that? I'm assuming no because there's all sorts of reasons why a roller is in fact a roller setup and so forth....jsut trying to expand my horizons :D



    and to the OP....just follow the crane procedure that somebody linked. Doesn't matter if its a ford motor or if jim bob built it or if its got a VooDoo cam in it instead of a crane...procedures the same
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  8. Max Power

    Max Power New Member

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  9. sparx

    sparx Member

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    I think I got it now.

    Thanks for all the input, I think I got it now.

    New Issue

    Being that I am a rookie never having done this before I need this concern about firing order put to rest. My engine right now is a block, and heads. So no intake, valve covers, pan or timing cover.

    I have been reading and came across this in the "How to rebuild the small block Ford'', by George Reid.

    My block was a virgin 302 roller cam block. I do not think it is high output, just a 302. I believe the firing order is: 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8.

    I do not think it is the 351W order of: 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8.

    I know how to find TDC for cylinder #1. So, how do I verify the firing order and put my concerns to rest. I know I am a worry wart but again, I have never done this before.

    Thanks for the info provided above on adjusting the rockers.

    sparx
    <center>
    This is my engine now.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. 65ShelbyClone

    65ShelbyClone Founding Member

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    Firing order will be available from the camshaft manufacturer or on the cam card if you have it. You keep mentioning the roller-compatible block, but not whether or not you actually have a roller cam. Roller block castings superseded the flat tappet casting for all 302/5.0L engines and the non-HO 5.0 had a flat tappet cam in a roller block...so the engine block and firing order are unrelated.

    Stud-mounted rockers get adjusted the same way whether the hydraulic lifters are flat or roller.
    #10
  11. sparx

    sparx Member

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    OK 65
    I have the Edelbrock 3722 cam, and I just looked up the spec and it states: firing order (1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8). Now I am more confused... :(

    I thought the crank determined the firing order, well I did say I was a beginner.

    sparx
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  12. sparx

    sparx Member

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    After thinking on this for a while what I need to know is if the cam and the crank are proper for each other.

    I got the block and crank together, and I assume my machinist knows what is what. I did ask him before he started if the crank was proper and he confirmed it. Now at least I do know the firing order along with the timing.

    So I need to find out how to verify whether the crank is the proper one... being curious in my opinion is paying off.

    God I will never do this again!

    Hey I was an electrical contractor, cut me some slack.

    sparx
    #12
  13. jlangholzj

    jlangholzj Well-Known Member

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    alright....so i think a few questions need to be answered here....the big one that pops to my mind is that who ordered the parts for this and why is there so much confusion about it all?

    cam will determine firing order, it opens the valves in a sequential order in a series of intake and exhaust strokes. Yes the crank has something to do with it...kind of. The reason why i say this is that you take away the fuel and spark and all the crank does is rotate. So...as long as the cam is opening the valves in a proper sequence you should be fine.

    I think you've got no reason to be worried about compatibility as long as when the parts were ordered it was all for the correct block set. even if they weren't there's a pretty good chance your okay yet because ford maintained a pretty similar design throughout the years. much like why you can fit 351W heads on a 289 and why a AOD transmission from a 91 F150 bolted right up to my circa 68 block.


    and I'm an EE....so there's hope yet. Its all a learning curve and you'll never learn anything untill you jump in ;)
    #13
  14. sparx

    sparx Member

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    I purchased the block and crank from a private party, and was told it was a roller cam 302, which it is.

    I brought them to my machinist. After he magnafluxed (sp?) them I ordered the parts thru Summit with his approval of the parts. Machinist provided the complete heads, pistons (and related parts) and the lifters as well as timing set. I provided the block, crank and the cam. He built up the short block, I am now trying to complete the engine and get it back into the car.

    I have (obviously) have not done this before. When I do not understand something I ask questions and need to prove to myself that all is as it should be before I proceed to the next step. I don't see any point on completing the engine to find out later I have a cam/ crank incompatibility.

    I doubt the machinist would overlook an improper cam / crank match, he is not a beginner, that would be me. Nevertheless many times I have found that if I have a doubt or concern it is worth the time and effort to resolve these issues. I build M1 Garand rifles, never had a problem with one, but before I built the first one I was sure to be in total understanding of what I was doing. ;)

    I got to tell you it was easier to build our two homes than this fricking engine!

    My machinist is very brief on the phone, reason I ask a lot of questions here; it is just his nature, so I don't call him often. It really is not his job to lead me by the hand, and understand this.

    One thing, if I retain my sanity and get this thing running I will have gained some knowledge, and that is always a plus. :nice:

    sparx
    #14
  15. horseballz

    horseballz Member

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    sparx,
    To put your mind at ease, let's think together about how a 4-cycle engine works.
    #1-Intake/piston goes down-intake valve is open
    #2-Compression/piston goes up-all valves are closed
    #3-Power/piston goes down-all valves are closed
    #4-Exhaust/piston goes up-exhaust valve is open
    Note that the piston goes up to TOP DEAD CENTER twice throughout the 4-cycles. With the way the crank is laid out, #3 & #5 are at TOP DEAD CENTER at the same time, also true for #4 & #7, #2 & #8, and #1 & #6. In theory and depending on the cam design, there could be several options for firing order in this engine. It's simply a matter of choice (chosen by the cam/engine designer) of which of the 2 pistons that are AT TOP DEAD CENTER, at the same time, are at the top of the compression stroke or at the top of the exhaust stroke. Luckily, small block Ford engines only use one of the 2 choices you listed and the only big issue is making sure that your ignition (spark plug wires) is set up for your particular firing order. What the reason is behind the 2 different firing orders is a mystery to me, but other folks here, smarter than me, might be able to explain. Relax, you are good to go.
    HTH,
    Gene
    #15
  16. 65ShelbyClone

    65ShelbyClone Founding Member

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    1.) Okay, good, you have a roller cam with the 351W/5.0 firing order of 1-3-7-etc.

    2.) It would if Ford had cast smallblock crankshafts with the rod journals in different positions. Fortunately they did not. The only two functional differences between the first 302 crank and the last 5.0 crank is the rear main seal type and balance factor and neither affects the cam. The balance factor will come into play when the time comes to pick a flywheel or flexplate and a harmonic damper.

    I have heard two recurring explanations and I don't buy either of them. :rolleyes:
    #16
  17. PoppyMod

    PoppyMod Member

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    Hi,
    Perhaps my rendition will help. After reading through all of the comments and recommendations, all good suggestions, I get the feeling you need step by step guidance.
    Here's what I think we know.
    Looking at your engine, it was converted to a roller by via adding the spider assembly (locating mechanism in the valley) and those lifter links (some call them bones)between the lifters. I've done this and it all work fine. You ask about the firing order. As someone mentioned, firing order is determined by the cam, not the crank, within itself. It appears based on the cam info, you are running the later 302 HO firing order of 1,3,7, etc. So far so good. I'm not sure where you are in the engine assembly, but as someone mentioned, it wll be easier to adjust the lifter "pre-load" with the intake off and seeing the lifter sequences, especially, with this being new to you. I'm not going to go through the nuts and bolts of turning the crank, while watching the lifters etc, because I think you have a set of instructions on this aspect. I will offer, always start the TDC at "0" as referenced by the timing pointer and the lifters for cyl # 1 are fully within their bores. It might be a good idea, being "green" at this, to simply rotate the crank while applying a little pressure on each of the lifters, to get an idea of the range of motion and to see at what point the lifter stops lifting or traveling back into it's bore.
    Hope this helps and good luck.
    #17
  18. woodsnake

    woodsnake Active Member

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    I don't want to add any gas to the fire, but with the bigger cam, you will want to ensure you have the right length of push rods.....Or did the machine shop guy take care of that part for you?
    That is a good looking short block, what rocker arms are you using?
    #18
  19. PoppyMod

    PoppyMod Member

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    Hi,

    You do raise a good question. I'm thinking, if the shop didn't adjust the pre-load, then, moste likely, didn'y check the P/R geometry. I agree, the block and assembly looks too good to not continue on the right path.
    Again, without the intake, this is the best time too check the P/R geo.
    #19
  20. sparx

    sparx Member

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    Ok let me see if I can list all that has been done and what is planned.

    Note that the piston goes up to TOP DEAD CENTER twice throughout the 4-cycles. With the way the crank is laid out, #3 & #5 are at TOP DEAD CENTER at the same time, also true for #4 & #7, #2 & #8, and #1 & #6. In theory and depending on the cam design, there could be several options for firing order in this engine. It's simply a matter of choice (chosen by the cam/engine designer) of which of the 2 pistons that are AT TOP DEAD CENTER, at the same time, are at the top of the compression stroke or at the top of the exhaust stroke. Luckily, small block Ford engines only use one of the 2 choices you listed and the only big issue is making sure that your ignition (spark plug wires) is set up for your particular firing order. What the reason is behind the 2 different firing orders is a mystery to me, but other folks here, smarter than me, might be able to explain. Relax, you are good to go.

    Quoting Horseballz above because this is what I was thinking but did not know how to express it, so I think I am good with the cam I have and the firing order of 1 3 7 ...

    The machinist got the push rods, I purchased the Roller Rocker arms from Summit. They are: Hi Tech Pro magnum Ultra Pro Magnum Roller Rocker Arms.
    Summit part number: CCA 1331-16. (1.6 3/8)

    My engine is an external balanced type. The machine shop balanced it, I provided the new flex plate and harmonic balancer, both new.

    The block does have the "spider" on top (under intake manifold).

    sparx
    #20

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