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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the correct way to adjust rocker arms on a '65 289 with hydraulic lifters? Should I pop off the covers, start the engine, then back off each rocker one at a time until it starts to clatter then give a half turn or so? Or, should I leave the engine off, turn the harmonic to TDC and adjust them this way? If the latter, can someone give me specific instructions?

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I took some old covers and made a big long hole in the
top so I could get to each rocker arm. I put them on
for the adj. and then put the regular ones back on.
I do a lot of small block Fords so I use them a lot.
I start the car, let it warm up, back em out till
they tap and go in 1/2 turn. My wife did hers on her
'61 Ranchero. I should of got a picture.
If you do it without a cover on it will make a BIG mess.

1,188 Posts
thats a really good idea, now i finally have a use for at least two of about a dozen of the blue POWERED BY FORD valve covers stacked in my cellar

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Crane's recomendation;
Hand rotate the engine in it's normal direction and watch the EXHAUST VALVE on that particular cylinder. When the EXHAUST VALVE begins to open, (rocker arm moves half way down) stop and adjust that cylinders INTAKE rocker arm.

Back off the intake rocker arm adjuster and remove any tension from the pushrod. Wait a minute or two for that hydraulic lifter to return to it's neutral position. The spring inside the lifter will move the pushrod seat up aganst the retaining lock if you give it time to do so.

Spin the intake pushrod with your fingers while tightening down the rocker arm adjusting nut. When you feel slight resistance to turning the pushrod, you are at "zero lash". Turn the adjusting nut down one half to one full turn from that point. Lock down the nut, the intake is now properly adjusted.

Continue to hand rotate the engine, watching the same intake. It will go full open and then begin to close. When it is almost closed, (rocker goes halfway up), stop and adjust the exhaust rocker arm on that cylinder. Loosen the exhaust rocker arm and follow the same procedure described before to adjust this rocker arm.

(I think 1/2 to one full turn may be a bit much, I think maybe 1/3 to 1/2 would be sufficient)

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