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Valve gap setting when engine is REALLY cold?

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  • Engine: Valve gap setting when engine is REALLY cold?

    Hi! Assuming I get my distributor to drop in my freshly rebuilt '57 GHawk 289 (yes, just read some posts with suggestions....) I'm going to finally set the valves... Reading the shop manual, "cold" is .025-.027", where "cold" is defined at "70 degrees". SO, since in Minnesota is 30F this afternoon and DROPPING fast, and my shop is only heated when I'm out there (ie: block is going to be ambient temp...), should I add a thousandth or two and shoot for like .028 max ? The "hot" spec is only a couple thousands LESS than the "cold" setting, and a lot more temperature differential (assuming a 'hot' engine is thermostat temp of 170F or so).
    Guessing stick with the .025-.027" but thought I'd ask; never noticed the reference to 'cold' being an actual temp (70F) before.

  • #2
    Why not just spend a few Bucks and reset the Thermostat to warm up the Garage with the Car in it overnight and then adjust them?
    I know there may be reasons why you can't do that, but it is a thought.

    Car doesn't fit.
    Garage too Large to heat to 60 to 70F
    Wife might have a heart attack when she sees the Electric or Gas Bill!
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner


    • #3
      :-) good idea, except I have only a kerosene torpedo heater; not only fire risk but would be empty in a few hours. (and 100 degrees? :-)


      • #4
        I set the exhausts around .030", and intakes around .026", that way the adjustment lasts a few thousand miles longer. The .030" will initially give a light tic, but it goes away in a few thousand miles. So you can adjust yours anywhere you want in the 30 degree weather, probably .026" .028 would be good. It's not an exact science, kinda like an old farm implement of the same era.


        • #5
          If you are adjusting the valves when it is 30 degrees, you are a true Minnesotan.
          RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

          17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
          10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
          10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
          4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
          5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
          56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
          60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible


          • #6
            Not gonna hurt a thing.
            Set them in your finger numbing 30°, run the engine/cam in as a normal initial start.
            You'll need to do a valve gap double check after the initial run in anyway. Plus, if this is the cold for the winter, this is the driving condition.

            In any case, I seriously doubt that things would change much more than .0005" going from 30° to 70°. Cast iron doesn't start growing much at till after about 120° or more anyway.



            • #7
              Thanks guys. Unfortunately this is as WARM as it is going to be for awhile; going to be 5F tomorrow night; what happened to Fall? :-( Winter has begun. Fortunately I have a good insulated shop; she's just a chassis yet, put the starter in last weekend, and don't dare try THAT until I snug up the valves, since I loosened them all up 4 years ago upon rebuilding it (to avoid sitting compressed). Has to be done anyway, so going all the way and getting distributor in and SETTING valves, vs just snugging up to avoid one falling out of a lifter (I REALLY backed off on some of them, no reason to do it "same amount" just to release compression on springs).

              After this, still have to rebuild my Saginaw power steering (only in the photo because I had it mounted while running the new fuel and brake lines), paint the radiator frame and air-cleaner housing, and she should be ready to fire up. (well, once I figure out how much HAS to be rigged up for wiring in order to actually run, as a 'chassis-only' :-) )
              THAT will probably be next Spring; getting too cold to do any priming & painting for the front clip stuff now. Or the steering pump... Maybe by her 10th anniversary here, I can say it actually starts & runs, and the Flightomatic I rebuilt actually spins the wheels? :-)


              • #8
                Glad to here you are actively wrenching! Looks like a really big project. My Clipper is nearing completion if its component parts EVER arrive! I've sworn off projects---for the third time now.