Adjusting the valves on a Ford 351W engine with hydraulic roller lifters is an essential maintenance task that requires careful attention to detail. Unlike solid lifters that necessitate periodic adjustment, hydraulic lifters are generally “self-adjusting,” but initial setup is crucial for optimum performance and longevity. Below is a comprehensive guide to setting the valves on a Ford 351W engine equipped with hydraulic roller lifters.
- Engine Off: Ensure the engine is off and cooled down.
- Safety: Disconnect the battery and put on safety goggles and gloves.
- Workspace: Make sure you have adequate light and access to the engine compartment.
- Tools: Prepare the tools you’ll need, such as a feeler gauge, a wrench set, a torque wrench, and a flat-head screwdriver.
Remove the Valve Covers:
- Use a wrench to remove the bolts securing the valve covers.
- Take off the valve covers to expose the rocker arms and valves.
Bring the Engine to Top Dead Center (TDC):
- Remove the spark plug from cylinder #1.
- Insert a long screwdriver into the spark plug hole.
- Manually rotate the crankshaft using a wrench until the piston reaches its highest point, which is TDC.
Adjust the Rocker Arms:
- Loosen the Rockers: Loosen all the rocker arm adjusting nuts so that you can easily spin the pushrods with your fingers.
- Cylinder 1 Intake and Exhaust: Starting with cylinder #1, slowly tighten down the adjusting nut on the rocker arm until there’s zero lash. Zero lash means no up-and-down play between the rocker arm and the valve stem and pushrod. You should not be able to spin the pushrod freely at this point.
- Preload Setting: Once you’ve eliminated all lash, turn the adjusting nut an additional 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn to set the hydraulic lifter preload. This compresses the hydraulic piston inside the lifter slightly, allowing it to accommodate for thermal expansion and contraction when the engine is running.
- Repeat: Perform these adjustments for both the intake and exhaust valves on cylinder #1.
- Rotate the crankshaft to bring the next cylinder to TDC and repeat the process. Continue this for all cylinders.
Reinstall the Valve Covers:
- Once all the valves are set, replace the valve covers and tighten them down with the appropriate torque specification.
- Reconnect the battery and start the engine. Listen carefully for any noises that might indicate incorrect valve adjustment. If all sounds good, let the engine run until it reaches its normal operating temperature. After this, a final valve train inspection is advisable.
Setting the valves on a Ford 351W with hydraulic rollers isn’t overly complex, but it does require precision and attention to detail. Incorrectly adjusted valves can lead to poor performance, increased wear, or even engine damage. Always adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines and consider consulting a professional if you’re unsure.
This comprehensive guide should provide you with the steps and considerations needed to accurately set the valves on a Ford 351W with hydraulic roller lifters.