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Valve Adjustment


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3 replies to this topic

#1 Meadowbrook

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Posted June 1, 2010 at 08:02 pm

Hi.

I understand that the 230 Dodge engine needs its valves adjusted periodically and that it is to be done hot.

That sounds literally like a very painful and inaccurate method. I mean by the time you shut the engine off, open the access covers and burn your hands on the exhaust manifold, wouldn't the engine be cooler than its operating temperature?

Also, it seems like a very awkward reach.

I cut my automotive teeth on the old air cooled VW's and in those cars, the valve lash is to be adjusted with the engine cold. Isn't there some way to determine what the cold (room) temperature valve lash should be and adjust the valves to this?

#2 Bob Lincoln

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Posted June 1, 2010 at 08:24 pm

Hi.

I understand that the 230 Dodge engine needs its valves adjusted periodically and that it is to be done hot.

That sounds literally like a very painful and inaccurate method. I mean by the time you shut the engine off, open the access covers and burn your hands on the exhaust manifold, wouldn't the engine be cooler than its operating temperature?

Also, it seems like a very awkward reach.

I cut my automotive teeth on the old air cooled VW's and in those cars, the valve lash is to be adjusted with the engine cold. Isn't there some way to determine what the cold (room) temperature valve lash should be and adjust the valves to this?

I can't comment on that engine, but the slant-6 also has to be adjusted while hot and running at idle. Yes, you get a few splash burns from the oil, and also tennis elbow from the vibration of the rockers. However, it's the only way to do it.

I had the concerns you did, plus the rocker adjustment screws were so tight, I didn't think I could do them with a 3/8" box wrench, and I didn't want a socket coming loose and falling in there. So I did it with the engine off. BIG MISTAKE.

I got the adjustment too tight, so it would not start. So I cranked them all out about 1 1/2 turns, which was my estimate of how I adjusted it. BIG MISTAKE. It started and roared to 3000 RPM, and would not idle below 1500. Compression went from 125 to 180 psi. I almost blew the head gasket.

I could not get it right at that point, so I paid to have it towed and adjusted. In the meantime, I wanted some measure of success, so I adjusted the alternator belt and broke the lockdown bolt off. Their fix was to jam a door chock between the block and alternator to hold tension. When I got home, I found that there is another threaded bolt hole in the alternator that lined up with a new bolt, once the alternator was pivoted lower and away from the engine.

That day is indelibly printed in my memory.

Adjust it hot and running. Before you do, take off the valve cover and turn each screw exactly the same amount one way, then the other, to free it up, so it's not as hard to turn with it running. And get the measurement exact with feeler gauges.

#3 dana44

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Posted June 2, 2010 at 12:56 am

Everything is expanded as much as necessary and the oil itself is not too thick to make things adjust improperly. As long as the engine was run at least 15minutes, it will remain warm enough to allow adjustments, equal temperature overall is a finer adjustment than cold.

#4 68RT

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Posted June 2, 2010 at 09:24 am

One of the great challenges of your life!. It takes much more than 15 minutes to get a flathead up to operating temp for a a valve adjust (try 30 if idling is the way you are warming it up) but the best way was to remove the right tire and inner fender splash shield and remove one cover at a time. Low idle speed is a big help along with having fairly long thin wrenches as it does not take much movement to change the clearance. OH! having a lift to get the car up high so you aren't cramped is a really big help and a reason that most people left it up to a pro in those days to do. Sitting under the fender without being able to straightening up is miserable.


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