View Full Version : valve Adjustment

05-23-2005, 09:56 PM
I'm new to Studebakers. The V8 , 1959 , 259 engine is mechanical valves????
Hot or cold Adjustment? I see some specs cold and some hot. What is best hot or cold, in your opinion?[?]

05-23-2005, 11:01 PM
Yes, it has mechanical lifters. The factory recommended hot adjustment. Many adjust cold and just allow for the metal expansion with heat. I prefer hot, but you will probably get answers for both - hot and cold.

05-24-2005, 12:48 AM
I'm stayin' out'a this one.....[B)]:D


Mike Van Veghten
05-24-2005, 10:25 AM
Not a big deal, they both work if done right.

If done hot....you do one side, start the engine to rewarm....do the other side.

I do it cold, much easier, no burns. The .0005 difference that "may" show up between valves....will show up if you're not very, super carefull anyway. And thats .0005 (not .005!) isn't anything that will do any harm.
The Stude manual lists both methods and the clearences for both.
Funny though.....how did Studebaker do it for it's "first" startup? And you can bet they didn't take the time to redo/check it!

Running....as Sonny said, I'm not getting into that one!

05-24-2005, 01:32 PM
Do them cold - add .002 to what the manual calls out as you adjust them and drive it. It's that simple.:D And by the way - a little valve noise in a Stude is a good thing.;) If you try for absolutely silent, you're flirting with trouble.

Miscreant at large.

05-24-2005, 01:50 PM
iwas wondering if i could do a cold valve adjustment to my 63 lark. i never read anything about a cold adjustment just hot. so would that .002 simply be added to the .024 hot?

05-25-2005, 01:04 PM
It should work, just fine.:D

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05-25-2005, 02:24 PM
I do like my valve train absolutely silent. I rebuild my engines with hydraulic lifters. Set lash once, never adjust again. I weld oil drain tubes to the back of valve covers and route to the valley cover because of the extra oil...

05-25-2005, 02:34 PM
quote:Originally posted by Mr.Biggs

It should work, just fine.:D

Miscreant at large.

Well, you know I love ya like a brother Bob, But.... I said I was staying out'a this one because I was hoping that others would follow suit. [}:)] However, I'm thinkin' you've made a mistake on this one, I wouldn't add the .002 to the hot setting. In fact, that's the problem with some of our, "That's how I do it.", advice, the confusion it generates.

I have to say, with something technical like this, I feel strongly that saying "Do it by the book" is the best advice.

For cosmo... Setting valve lash has more of an impact than some would have you believe. Valve lash directly impacts engine timing, and if you want to have a good, solid base for getting the tuning and performance right, those valves have to be set correctly. There's just too many variables in valve train geometry to just say, "Set 'em at ___ over what the factory wants and run 'em."

Trust me, if the valve train doesn't have excessive mechanical wear, and if they're set right, they're not noisy, your car will have good pickup, you won't have to keep dicking with the timing and carb, plus you won't have that constant, random popping out of the exhaust.

Yes, it's true, if you can't get them set right, it's better if they clatter, (instead of being held open at the wrong time and getting burned), but that's more suited for a tractor. Also, when they're set to clatter, each individual valve system is bouncing the valves open and closed. That alone stresses and wears the system, but who knows how much? If you've ever tried to get a lifter with a mushroomed end out of their bore, you can really appreciate it when someone has had them set correctly.

If you simply take your time, setting them hot is VERY easy! Like Mike says, warm it up, shut it down, set the valves on one side, then repeat for the other side. The cold settings in the manual are for initial start after major work, rebuild, etc., and to break in a new cam and make initial adjustments.

Setting lash isn't something that a fella should take lightly or hurry through. Sure, it DOES take time, like a good tune up, but the rewards are worth the longevity, health, and good solid running of the engine. In fact, if the valves are set correctly, if you have other problems with the performance/tuning, it's easier to get help because you've already established a solid base to start with.

You're gonna hear everything from, "Set 'em during the summer solstice, at midnight, with the moon over your right shoulder.", all the way to "Set what?" But I think that it's much better for a fella to take his time and do it right


05-25-2005, 03:00 PM
The "book' did list a cold setting until the very late shop manual and it's the only way I've done it for maybe 40 years or so. I even set them a little tight for the added lift and never had a problem even at the drag strip.

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05-25-2005, 10:04 PM
Get engine hot, shut down engine, adjust one bank. Rewarm engine , shut down engine ,adjust second bank. In my Studebaker Book it seems to talk about adjusting valves hot with engine running. What is this engine running adjustment?[?][?] Sound like a difficule and perhaps dangerous , with fan belts running etc.

05-25-2005, 10:43 PM
Since about 1960, I have always set the valves hot and running. To each his own. Do as you like, it is your engine. I've owned more than 50 Studebaker V8s and worked on many more. I have never experienced a valve problem, except on engines that I bought with an existing valve problem.

05-25-2005, 11:51 PM
quote:Originally posted by curt

Get engine hot, shut down engine, adjust one bank. Rewarm engine , shut down engine ,adjust second bank. In my Studebaker Book it seems to talk about adjusting valves hot with engine running. What is this engine running adjustment?[?][?] Sound like a difficule and perhaps dangerous , with fan belts running etc.

Yes, it is an engine running setting. I, like Gary, have set many, many valves with the engine running, (not just Studebakers), and if you set the idle down, put a piece of cardboard under the valve springs, (to catch what little oil spritzes out), and take care around the moving parts, it's actually the fastest and easiest way to set 'em. However, if you'd feel safer with the engine off, just make sure the car is up to operating temp., (and stays pretty close to it because remember, you have to turn the engine over to open/close each set of valves to set 'em), you can get away with it that way. Your call....


05-26-2005, 01:59 AM
Sonny, I DID say set them cold with .002 factored in - and I meant .002 factored in with respect to what the "hot" clearances are.
But really folks - do it any way you like. I like easy - been likin' easy in the "adjust the valves dept." for 32 years. Never had a problem with performance or a burnt valve. And actualy, while I said a bit of noise is not a problem, my method usually yields very quiet running[8] or 6

I was just offering what works for me. If someone wants to do it "by the book", then they need to "buy the book".[}:)] Actualy, I can quote the book here:
"The clearance for both intake and exhaust valves with the engine hot and running, is .023" to .025" The clearance for both intake and exhaust valves, if setting clearance with the engine cold, is .025" to .027"."
Subsequent paragraphs go on with detail for adjusting them in either fashion. - Hot - engine running at slow idle with the temp stabilized.
Cold - Engine must be room temp. (optimum 70 F) and use a timing lite to sense when the points just break contact to determine the proper point in engine rotation to get optimum valve lash.

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05-26-2005, 09:42 AM
OK I got to add my 2 cents. I agree with those on hot clearance, here is why. Most of us when we rebuild an engine use new production valves which many are made of Stainless steel. Every different alloy expands at a different rate.Since Stude V-8 used various different valve materials it was a safe bet that a cold setting wouldn't always be correct. With them hot you are guaranteed of the getting the factory clearance and valve timing. One way to tell if you have set your valves correctly is to attach a vacuum gauge after your done. If you read in the book it says, if you get a pulsing reading it can be a valve-timing problem, amoung other things. It means that the valve is opening just a bit late, which causes a slight pulse in the vacuum. This is because the piston is farther down on the intake stroke before the valve opens, plus the valve opens more abruptly since the little ramp doesn't take the lash out before the main ramp opens the valve. If done correctly you shouldn't have to adjust them very often anyway. Many don't realize that most high-end luxury car engines today use mechanical lifters since they are more durable and actually allow better valve control which means lower emissions. Maybe Stude knew something after all.:D

Restore it, don't replace it.Keep the Studebaker reproduction industry going

05-26-2005, 10:21 PM
I never have adjusred valves with the engine running. How do you know when the valve is adjusted, it seems to me the opening and closeing of the valve would pinch the feeler gauge. Tell me more about how to adj Hot and Running. Sounds interesting.[8D]

05-27-2005, 01:25 AM
quote:Originally posted by curt

I never have adjusred valves with the engine running. How do you know when the valve is adjusted, it seems to me the opening and closeing of the valve would pinch the feeler gauge. Tell me more about how to adj Hot and Running. Sounds interesting.[8D]

For some reason fellas have this picture of an engine running at about 2500 rpm while they're doing a valve lash adjustment, never ceases to tickle me. :)

First question, have you ever had a valve cover off a running engine? If not, warm your car up, pull the valve cover off and check it out. (Hint: turn the curb idle down to about 450 rpm before you pull that valve cover.;))

Second question, have you ever set valve lash? If not, it's just plain ol', "practice man, practice". :) You should have a good understanding of how to use feeler gauges. Usually, when you have the clearance right, (say .024), a .025 feeler gauge will not go into where you just had the .024 feeler gauge. OR, it's been said that if you have the clearance right, you should feel a slight "drag" on the feeler gauge as you insert/retract it from the space being measured.

Bottom line, it's exactly the same feeler gauge operation while setting them running or not. Just make sure that you set that idle way down, put a piece of cardboard under the valve springs, (all of them and inside the bottom lip on the head), so if any oil spritzes out the cardboard will catch and drain it back into the head.

I use feeler gauges made especially for setting valve lash. They're a longer length and have about a 45 degree bend in them about a quarter of the way from the free end. Remembering that the valves should be close already, (you set them to the cold settings already, right?), if the car is running, the proper feeler gauge will slide in with a slight drag. Do NOT try to force the feeler gauge in between the valve tip and the rocker and the gauges will never get damaged. It doesn't matter which valve you start with, but I'd recommend starting in the back on either side, then working to the front, (it can get hot as hell while you're setting 'em running). Oh! Remove only the valve cover that you're working on, leave the other cover on.

Some considerations.... If you pull a valve cover and it's "sludge city" under there, I'd forget adjusting anything until I got some diesel fuel and cleaned up everything under the covers spotlessly, (especially the return holes). Get yourself some of those round wire brushes and little brass wire brushes to get into all the holes, nooks and crannies. Try to not let anything but that diesel fuel get into the engine, I guarantee that you'll see all of those little hard chunks that you let get inside your engine again. [:I]

After a diesel fuel douche, you can flush it clean enough by pouring about a quart per side, of the cheapest, clean oil you that can find, all over the valve train. But, leave the plug out of the oil pan as you're pouring that cheap oil in and hopefully it will wash out any chunks that may have found their way into the pan. After I've had to clean 'em like that, and back together and running again, I put in cheap oil, run it for a very short time, (mebbe 50 miles), then change it to a good brand diesel oil, (it'll finish the internal clean up).

Also, now would be a good time to inspect the stem seals, (you can see 'em through the valve springs). In fact take a small, flat screw driver and poke 'em. If they're hard as chicken lips or a chunk falls off, or there's already chunks missing, replace 'em before you mess with the lash. (It's hard to believe that rotten valve stem seal pieces can clog the oil pump screen but TRUST me, they can! [:I]) Look for damaged springs, broken or missing locks, damaged retainers, hammered valve tips, chipped or broken rocker tips, etc.. Oh, how's those valve cover gaske