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Thread: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

  1. #1
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    How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    I have been reading through numerous how-to's on setting the valves in my '56 Chevy Smallblock. I have never done this on an engine before and haven't gotten it right. Half the trouble is that everyone seems to have a different way of doing it. If anyone on here can give me a link to a good set of instructions it would be helpful. Also if anyone nearby wants to show me how to do it for a case of beer I would be happy to learn. Thanks.
    Last edited by CaptainMorgan; 06-29-2009 at 08:06 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    The right way to do it
    http://www.classiccarauto.com/impala...t_valves.shtml

    The way i do it, maybe not as exact but easier and it works for me
    1. Start at 0 deg TDC...make sure #1 piston is at TDC. You can put your finger over the spark plug hole as you turn the engine and feel the pressure. Just loosen the rocker nut and then retighten until the pushrod just starts to have resistance to spinning it. The another 1/4 to 1/2 turn

    2. Adjust the following:
    #1 Exhaust
    #1 Intake
    #3 Exhaust
    #5 Intake
    #7 Intake
    #2 Intake
    #4 Exhaust
    #8 Exhaust

    3. Rotate engine 360 degrees. Mark will be back at TDC, but this will be where #6 fires

    4. Adjust the following:
    #3 Intake
    #5 Exhaust
    #7 Exhaust
    #2 Exhaust
    #4 Intake
    #6 Exhaust
    #6 Intake
    #8 Intake

    Make sure you prime the system either by running it if it runs or using a primer tool and drill in the distributor
    Last edited by rockreadyyj07; 06-29-2009 at 08:25 PM. Reason: added stuff

  3. #3
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    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    That gets you in the ballpark.

    Then when you get it started, you fine tune it, backing each one off until it clatters, then tighten it back down 1/2 turn past quiet. It can get kinda messy.

    Is that the different way of doing it you've read?

    I've always used both methods.

  4. #4
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    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    to keep the mess down you can get little covers that go over the rockers and keep the oil from splashing around while you fine tune it while it's running. i haven't worked on a v-8 in 20 years so not sure where to get them, but they are little sheet metal tabs with a springy clip that fits over the rocker arm... have no idea what they are called but maybe someone can chime in and give a better explanation.
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  5. #5
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    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    Quote Originally Posted by rockreadyyj07 View Post
    The right way to do it
    http://www.classiccarauto.com/impala...t_valves.shtml

    The way i do it, maybe not as exact but easier and it works for me
    1. Start at 0 deg TDC...make sure #1 piston is at TDC. You can put your finger over the spark plug hole as you turn the engine and feel the pressure. Just loosen the rocker nut and then retighten until the pushrod just starts to have resistance to spinning it. The another 1/4 to 1/2 turn

    2. Adjust the following:
    #1 Exhaust
    #1 Intake
    #3 Exhaust
    #5 Intake
    #7 Intake
    #2 Intake
    #4 Exhaust
    #8 Exhaust

    3. Rotate engine 360 degrees. Mark will be back at TDC, but this will be where #6 fires

    4. Adjust the following:
    #3 Intake
    #5 Exhaust
    #7 Exhaust
    #2 Exhaust
    #4 Intake
    #6 Exhaust
    #6 Intake
    #8 Intake

    Make sure you prime the system either by running it if it runs or using a primer tool and drill in the distributor


    x2
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  6. #6
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    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc in AZ View Post
    to keep the mess down you can get little covers that go over the rockers and keep the oil from splashing around while you fine tune it while it's running. i haven't worked on a v-8 in 20 years so not sure where to get them, but they are little sheet metal tabs with a springy clip that fits over the rocker arm... have no idea what they are called but maybe someone can chime in and give a better explanation.
    i use an old set of valve covers i cut in half to keep the oil in
    MPGs? Real trucks go by GPM...

  7. #7
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    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    solid or hydro?
    -Jim
    93yj, full cage, steel flares, sliders, bumpers, 35's

  8. #8
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    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    hydraulic, I'm not a Chevy guy so I'm not sure and some of the 283's used solid lifters, but I think mine is a lo-perf hydraulic set-up. It is a stock '56 265c.i.

  9. #9
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    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    I have a set of later model 305 valve covers I can cut to set them while the engine is on. If I use those, is all I have to do adjust each rocker until it is just loose enough not to chatter? If so, that sounds like the easiest thing to do since I have a set of valve covers to cut up.

  10. #10
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    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    just make sure they arent solids. solids have a very different set up procedure.
    -Jim
    93yj, full cage, steel flares, sliders, bumpers, 35's

  11. #11
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    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    Quote Originally Posted by shaggy914 View Post
    just make sure they arent solids. solids have a very different set up procedure.
    From what I understand, had the engine had solid lifters, I would have already f'd it all up. But good advise, I'm 99.9% sure its hydro. If it's not I think there is a '64 283 for $60 in the for sale section!

  12. #12
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    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    if you set up a solid like that youd prolly burn a valve in short order.
    -Jim
    93yj, full cage, steel flares, sliders, bumpers, 35's

  13. #13
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    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    X3 on the valve cover. I have done several of these and caught a couple motors on fire from the oil.

    73' cj5 35'' mtr's locked, front and rear 383 cid, auto trans, dana 300 tc, full cage, tube fenders, soa, shackle reversle, still waiting for paint

  14. #14
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    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    i have a set of the clips that keeps the oil in place if you need them and a awsome book that tells all you need to know to duild a chevy motor like making a 307 to a 350 or 383 and so on pm me tomorrow after 5:00 or call 602 403 3351 around 11o am thats my lunch.
    350 howell inj dana 44 front with arb and cromos 9in in rear with a spool dana 300 tera low 4:1 sm420 with 456 gears and 39.5s swampers 4 linked all around.oh yeh it was a cj7.it was a jeepthing but all that s**t broke http://www.alloffroadaz.com/index.php

  15. #15
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    Re: How to set valves on Chevy Smallblock?

    283 should be hydraulic
    350 howell inj dana 44 front with arb and cromos 9in in rear with a spool dana 300 tera low 4:1 sm420 with 456 gears and 39.5s swampers 4 linked all around.oh yeh it was a cj7.it was a jeepthing but all that s**t broke http://www.alloffroadaz.com/index.php

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