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lifter noise

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  • lifter noise

    On my 1963 259. Since I have owned it, I have noticed a very prominent ticking coming from under the drivers side valve cover. I removed the cover, checked the clearance, about .024. Some were tighter than others, so I adjusted them to where they were more evened out. All of the lifters on that bank make noise, but today I found out that so do the ones on the passenger side. However, the ones on that side are not very loud. The ones on the drivers side are loud enough to hear while driving, even at high speeds. When I placing the feeler gauge into the gap, the rocker arm in question would go silent, until I removed it. Is this normal? Should I be worried? I did a search and found a thread similar to this, but it did not answer the questions that I seek in detail that I would like to know. There is plenty of oil flow (as my soaking garage floor can attest) so I am pretty confident that lubrication is not the problem.


    1963 Lark, waiting for spring...

  • #2
    ......I hope the thread you read mentioned not to tighten the lifters too tight. They are solid, and need some clearance or damage will occur. Sometimes the rocker head can get worn so as to prevent a good clearance reading (i.e. poor alignment) and you cannot adjust it without removing and re-grinding the offending part(s). If this is the case (worn surface), it will eventually worsen but will unlikely affect performance much. I have quieted down these lifters (with this problem) by adding STP.....but honestly, once you hear it, it doesn't really go away....


    • #3
      Nathan, you'll get several opinions on this, so be prepared.

      First, all the valves should not be adjusted to the same clearance. The exhaust valves (the two on the ends and the two in the middle on each side) should be set to .025" hot and running. The intake valves should be set to .023" hot and running.

      Set to those clearances, you will hear some valve clicking. If one or more seem unusually noisy, you could tighten them down another .001, but that's it.

      If they are still noisy, one or more cam lobes or rocker arms may be worn, causing the noise. But that is rare on a Studebaker V-8; very rare.

      A slight valve train "click" due to having solid lifters is one charm of a Studebaker V-8. Loud clattering is not, but it's about impossible to make a call on something verbal by long distance. BP
      We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

      G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.


      • #4

        You should be very cautious about making the lash TOO tight. A proper adjustment is made with the engine at operating temperature and running while you do the adjustment. This is a pretty messy way to do it, but it's the shop manual specific mode.

        Many of us cold set the valves to .027/026 and put up with tappet chatter (it is the tappets making the noise, not the lifters). A slight bit of chatter is peace of mind, knowing the lash isn't too tight which can lead to burned valves.

        Another thing is the measuring device. Are you using a metal page from a flat feeler gauge or a wire gauge. The wire would be more precise, as the width of the flat gauge can mask differences.
        One of the best means of lash adjustment is using a dial indicator mounted on a steel bar above the tappet. I have one and can definitely say that you can get the engine as quiet as a mouse.... but I'd rather hear the slight ticking noise.. It's a Studebaker thing...

        Bob Johnstone

        64 GT Hawk
        55 President State Sedan
        70 Avanti (R3)
        64 GT Hawk (K7)
        1970 Avanti (R3)


        • #5
          I feel for you, when I first built my motor the tappets were so loaud I did not like the set up. What I did not know was the tappets were set at Studebaker spec's. My machinist made me a cam for my motor. after we started the motor we set the tappets at the spec's for that cam. The motor quieted down totally. I thought it was at zero so I rechecked it. I have great power and semi smoothe idle. I might want to pull he rocker assembly and have it measured. I found that a couple of my rockers were very worn and a couple of push rods were bent. There is alot of things that can change in there[]good luck and stay with it. you will fine out what's wrong. These Studebakers take alot of trial and error repair

          Studebakers forever!
          Studebakers forever!


          • #6
            I would use a three foot piece of garden hose from my ear to each rocker to isolate the loudest rockers and reset them to sound like the rest.


            • #7
              For my two should "NEVER" adjust a solid lifter with the engine running...!

              People claim to be able to do it properly...but I haven't had it proven to me "anyone".
              From your note, it sounds like you are doing this.

              I prefer to do the adjusting cold myself.
              It can be done hot just fine, but must be done with precautions.

              Eliminate one big variable, shut the engine off, recheck.