The Chevy 350 engine has sixteen valves that close and open at detailed intervals. If these valves are not correctly adjusted, they could lead to poor engine idling, low power or fuel efficiency. The good news is that adjusting 350 valves is straightforward. However, how do you know the valves are not properly aligned? The first thing that gives away poorly adjusted valves is the valvetrain noise. The noise means the valves are not correctly aligned, impacting the engine’s performance. A Chevy 350 engine has a hydraulic lifter, sometimes called a cam follower or tappet. The best thing about a hydraulic lifter is that it has been designed to house valvetrain clearance variations to maintain zero lashes. It works by filling and draining the lifter with oil from the engine.
The best thing about the valve filter of the 350 engine is that it requires less valve maintenance. It also has a longer cam life, and the valve control smoothens engine operation. Here, we will give you a DIY on how to adjust Chevy 350 valves. We will also give you three significant signs that tell you the valves need an adjustment. This information and procedure should make it easy to understand how to adjust valves on a 350 Chevy.
Signs Your Chevy 350 Valves Need Adjustment
Nowadays, the topic of valve problems is uncommon because Chevy engines have fewer components to cause issues. However, you may deal with the situation at some point if your car is in use. The problem is that most people who own a Chevy 350 don’t recognize when the valves have an issue, which immediately presents a big problem. The next time you see these signs, know your 350 needs valve adjustment.
A Clatter Sound
The first sign that your Chevy 350 valves need adjustment is a clattering sound from the engine. As the motor accelerates, you might hear the noises becoming faster and louder. The sound means that the valve components are either misaligned or worn out. It might also mean your engine has inadequate lubrication. The hydraulic filters require lubrication and balanced pressure. Failure to do that means excess movement in the valves.
Low Engine Power
The Chevy 350 engine has eight intake valves and eight exhaust valves. The valves open at particular intervals to support the engine power. Every valve has been designed to fit in its position. Once their seals and guides start leaking, the oil from the valves accumulates on top, and the valves shift from their position. The gap between the valves results in compression problems that cause power loss and poor combustion.
Combustion problems in the 350 engine mean you might deal with burnt valves that result in power problems. One big issue with burnt valves is that they lose materials, creating large holes that leak gases. Once you ignore the leaks in the seals and guides, you will only deal with poor combustion, leading to engine power loss.
The blue smoke from your 350 engine is something you should never ignore. Even though the smoke does not indicate a problem with the valves, it may mean that the clattering noise accompanies it. As mentioned, worn-out seals and guides allow oil to pass through the valves to the combustion section. Nonetheless, the blue smoke is slight, and you might not notice it. However, if the blue smoke from the tailpipe is in large amounts, that is a severe problem that you should be worried about. It could mean the piston rings are damaged. So, consider checking the engine.
The Process of Adjusting Your Chevy 350 Valves
Before fixing the issues discussed, the first and most important thing is to understand that the valves are consumables. That means they are prone to wear and tear. Many people who own a Chevy with a 350-engine attempt to rebuild their engines by recycling lock nuts, pushrods, rocker arms, and other components. However, assessing every piece in the valves is advisable to ensure you adjust them appropriately. If one of the valves is too loose, it could mean a rocker arm has worn out or the pushrod is bent.
Remember, the valve can also feel too tight, which means depreciation might be happening. In that case, you need to solve the issue immediately since most engines get ruined because of the failure of the valves. Therefore, study every part as you remove the engine to know its exact location. It will help you replace each component where it came from. Here is a DIY process on how to adjust Chevy 350 valves.
- You can set the engine cold or hot depending on what you like. Usually, you can work with a cold engine to prevent inaccurate adjustments to the lifters. Ensure you provide proper lubrication, especially if the engine is fresh.
- You will need to remove the valve covers and spark plugs so that you can turn the engine over. You can loosen the rocker arms before beginning if you want to set the valves on the cylinders. This will make it easy to return the lifter to its initial position.
- Use a tool like a ratchet or a bar to overturn the engine. Make sure you do this in a clockwise direction. Start with the first cylinder and turn on the machine until you see the pushrod moving up.
- The 350 engine has 16 valves, meaning it has 16 rocker arms. Every rocker arm has a nut in the middle. So, you will need to tighten or loosen the nut based on the condition of the valve.
- You will need to check the condition of the nuts. So, start the engine and let it idle. Loosen a nut in one rocker arm until you hear a clattering noise. Tighten the nut again until you can no longer hear the noise. It is essential to ensure you have tightened all 16 nuts to complete the process.
- Replace the valve covers once you are done with the nuts. The engine has two valve covers that prevent oil from leaking into the engine. If the gaskets are worn out, you will need to replace them. Ensure the cover is on the cylinder head and tighten it using the bolts. At this point, you have completed the adjustment process.
Why You Need Valve Adjustment
If you have noticed the signs mentioned above, it is good that you adjust your valves. It will help:
- Eliminate the clattering sound
- Improve fuel efficiency
- Increase engine power by making it more responsive
Adjusting the valves on a Chevy 350 engine may feel overwhelming. However, it is worth preventing issues like noise, low engine power, low fuel efficiency, poor drivability, etc. Valve issues are not something you can ignore since they can translate into more severe and expensive problems. Such include a burnt exhaust, blown-up engine, reduced lifespan of the components in the valvetrain, or even broken components like camshaft, pushrods, and springs. The great thing is that adjusting the valves on your Chevy 350 engine is easy. So, remove the valve covers and start the process. Ensure the camshaft is in the correct position and each valve is closed before you go to the next. Remember, checking for valve adjustment may not be as easy as changing the engine oil. Therefore, make the necessary preparations before you begin.
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