So I pulled off the valve covers on the Spyder today and set her up close as I could to TDC on #1 to check the valve lash, understanding the "loose zero" means the pushrod should spin more or less freely but there should be no gap between the rocker arm and valve stem. Seems easy!

But, reaching down with my nitrile-gloved fingers to spin the pushrods, I couldn't at first rightly tell if I was spinning them or not.

Then I was pretty sure I was.

Then, reaching to the #2 cylinder bank, and later on the other non-set-up valves, it seemed I could spin any pushrod at any time—even those that were pressing pretty hard on compressed valve springs!

Made me a little paranoid about the whole process. Feeler gauges I get; used to do Bridget's stock aluminum pushrod/valve lash jobs in half an hour. This seemed harder, in terms of knowing if I got it right.

Can anyone advise me?

Original Post

Believe me, when the lifter is pushing the pushrod and the valve is off the seat you won't be able to turn the pushrod.

If the adjuster is too tight, you can't turn it either. The only exception would be pushrods of the wrong(too short) length and bottomed adjuster screws. Or maybe a tired or broken valve spring?

When I tighten the locknuts on my rockers, it loosens the adjuster a scosche, so I set mine until they spin with a bit of effort, then lock the nut and recheck for a nice, easy no-play spin.

I usually just adjust them ICE COLD(usually the next day after it's been run) and with unprotected fingers. They do have this thing called soap........

I do understand not wanting to touch that cancer-causing used petroleum product.

Also, I turn the motor until the valve I want to adjust has the valve fully open on the opposite side of the engine. I draw a chart on my dry erase board so I don't miss any. It's what you have to do without a distributor OR easy access to the crank pulley markings.

Your post is funny because I did it for the first time last weekend. I tried with gloves first and had to dump the gloves. 

I, too was very unsure about whether it was right until I got to a valve that wasn't. I found that, even with the oil empty, I still had to wipe off some residual oil with my fingers to ensure it was actually spinning........ Even with, I still took multiple attempts at each pushrod as a sanity check.

You learn "the feel" after a while, and then it gets to be very quick to do.  My last several times I only had to adjust one or two valves.  Cleaning the valve cover and putting in a new cork gasket took longer than the actual adjustments.

No gloves. Ice cold. Wipe the pushrod with a paper towel to get the oil off. You want to be able to turn it pretty freely. You want it to feel the same after you tighten the jam nut (that's the only hard part about it).

It's one of those things that seem mysterious until you do it a few times, then you wonder why everybody acts like it's such a big deal.

"Feeler gauges I get; used to do Bridget's stock aluminum pushrod/valve lash jobs in half an hour."

OK, then...    If you feel more comfortable with a feeler gauge strip, then simply set them to .002" with a feeler and button it up.  What's gonna happen?  Nothing, other than it will be a little louder but with Chromoly rods it's gonna be loud anyway.  At least you'll have piece of mind that they're not too tight.  

After you get them set with a strip, go back and use the suggestions above to see how the pushrods feel.  They should feel loose.  You can then play with the adjusters, if you wish, to walk them in to that described above.  

BTW:  I haven't spun a rod to test them in a long while.  I just grab the adjuster end of the rocker arm and push it in and out against the valve stem.  If it gently "clicks" it's fine.  If it "clunks" it has too much clearance and I run it in til it clicks.  Measurement shows that to be around .001" clearance.  Been doing it like that for decades but as Lane says, it takes a while to feel comfortable with it.

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Thanks everyone.

I re-checked them this a.m., starting by loosening the adjuster on the 1 exhaust valve. I felt the rod spin and ended up putting it right back where it was. Man it's impossible to get two fingers on that one. I went nuts trying to position myself such that I could twist my wrist in such a way as to get a thumb and forefinger on it or any one of them, just to make sure...

Finally I said **** it. I backed off each screw and then adjusted them so the rocker feet were just touching the valve stem, and spun each pushrod in turn with the one finger I could reach it with. They all went back with the screw slots within a couple of degrees of where they started. 

—Which is about what I expected, given that I got this engine from Carey Hines three years ago and it has not been run since (save to set the idle screws on the carbs). 

Wish I'd thought to do this before installing it though. As Pip suggests, it's irritating as hell to have to turn it by hand when you can't see the front pulley or any marks thereon, and have to find "TDC" by the rotor position.

These cars are stupid.

I have found that sometimes it's really difficult to get the adjustment where you want it because the lock nut seems to have a happy place that it always goes to on that final "lock down" tightening position. I have found that removing the lock nut and flipping it over finds a new sweet spot for locking down your adjustment in the desired clearance.............Bruce

edsnova posted:

 

Wish I'd thought to do this before installing it though. As Pip suggests, it's irritating as hell to have to turn it by hand when you can't see the front pulley or any marks thereon, and have to find "TDC" by the rotor position.

These cars are stupid.

Speedster owners will never know the pain of not being able to time the car easily with that crank pulley and distributor staring you in the face.

But us Spyder guys have a real easy time with valve and carb adjustments. So there's that.

My pulley is marked for TDC. Verified with a mirror. Leaned how to effectively use a mirror in prison......... Uh.....eh, I mean Boy Scouts

Try it with that big 911 fan and a dry sump tank in your way. I don't worry about it anyway, I just adjust the timing on my laptop LOL!

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