Throwback Thursday: How To Set And Adjust Valve Lash Like A Pro

Here it is once again, the week is nearing completion and Thursday has landed squarely on our doorsteps. If you’re like me, weekend garage plans have already made. If your plans for enjoying some garage time with your project include some engine maintenance, we can help with that. How to properly set valve lash is a question I get asked often, so I thought it would be a great topic for this week’s Throwback Thursday. To make sure you get the right information, we even got some professional opinions to help you do the job correctly. You my friend, need to check out: How To Set And Adjust Valve Lash Like A Pro

Valve lash

Setting valve lash on hydraulic lifters does not require a feeler gauge. The process is the same whether using stamped-steel rockers (like the ones pictured) or roller-tip rocker arms.

In this Throwback Thursday, we’re taking a leap back to July 2010. That’s when we reached out to Scott Shafiroff, Pat Musi, David Reher, and Ashley Newman (of Comp Cams). We wanted to know everything there was about setting valve lash, and we knew the people we queried could give us solid answers. The combined experience of our professionals is nearly 120 years, and their resumes read like lifetime achievement members in the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame. These long-time engine builders are well known for their experience and engine knowledge, so we stacked the deck on this one to come up with the ultimate guide to setting valve lash.

valve lash

David Reher says that a broken lifter is the most destructive component failure, short of a broken connecting rod. Checking valve lash will let you know that there is a problem before it causes disaster.

In the original article, Scott Shafiroff started our conversation by saying, “your cam card isn’t the number where your car will run the best, that’s just a starting place. Some cam companies publish a number on the cam card that is the minimum lash number, because if you run them any tighter than that, there’s no ramp or they run too rough. If you run them too loose though, it’s harder on the valve train. So there’s always a trade off between durability and power.”

The proper valve lash is crucial to ensure the longevity of valvetrain parts. According to David Reher, “a broken lifter is the most destructive component failure short of a broken connecting rod. Every time we overhaul an engine, we examine the used roller lifters very carefully. A simple act of preventive maintenance, like routinely checking valve lash, can save a racer a lot of money.”

valve lash

There is a lot of information in the original article that can help you do the job a effectively. In fact, regardless of what you’ve heard, there’s no mystery to setting valve lash on flat-tappet cams. Whether you’re dealing with hydraulic or mechanical flat-tappet cam, the original article will guide you through the procedure that will make this very important task as smooth as butter.

Keep in mind, valve lash is not something that should be ignored after the initial setting is achieved. It’s a maintenance task that needs to be periodically checked. For that reason, I felt, How To Set And Adjust Valve Lash Like A Pro, would be a great editorial piece to check out once again.

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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