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I have a “C” code 289 that’s a little warmed up with your common mods (headers, intake, ignition, 4bbl carb, ect). I’m not sure if the cam is stock, but the lifters are hydraulic and the rocker arms are defiantly stock.

How do you adjust them? Set the valve lash and then tighten 1/2 turn, 3/4 turn??
 

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valve lash is when you use a mach. cam and there is a space between the rocker arm and valve stem. lifter proload is differnt and is the setting for hydro cams. If you got stock heads then you torque them to 16-18 ftlbs when the valve is closed.
 

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If you have hydraulic lifters and you have the older style heads then you need to adjust them while the motor is running. The later model heads have pedestals and they are the ones you would torque down because you have a positive stop. The early model heads just have studs with no positive stop.

With the car running I loosen the rocker arm until it starts to tick and then tighten it until the tic goes away then go another 90 degrees. If you tighten to much you will hear it in the motor by the way it is running. Of course you need to have a starting point. Try to prime the motor with oil before presetting the lifters. You can do this by removing the dizzy and turning the oil pump shaft. Once the motor is primed you than make sure the valve is in the closed postion. Make sure the cam lobe is not trying to open the valve. Then just tighten the rocker arm down so there is very little movement in the push rod. Make sure you can still twist the push rod. You're better off a little loose at this point than to tight.
 

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I second RTM's method above. Back off until they chatter, tighten slowly till they stop chattering and then 1/4 turn more.

It is messy! I took an old valve cover, cut a 1" slot down the middle of it and bolted it on. Keeps the oil in the engine, not on it!

Frank
 

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Just to clarify, loosen each lifter while the engine is running until it just begins to tick...
tighten the lifter 1/4 turn at a time slowly, until the tick disappears,
turn 1/4 turn more...and your done!
 

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You only need to turn a 1/4 of a turn more when the ticking stops. This will give you the correct preload. You can tighten the lifter at any rate you want until the ticking stops.

You will soon develope the feel and the ear for whats going on. It's just one of those things you have to do and once you do it, it will become very simple to you. Just messy.

I too have a valve cover with the top cut out of it.

One more thing, make sure the engine is warmed up if it will run that good for you. If not you may have to reset them again once the motor warms up.
 
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