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  #1  
Old 09-16-2014, 11:39 PM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Default rocker arm shaft assembly

I'm replacing my heads with an Edelbrock set, but I'm keeping my rocker assembly. (for now)

Per the Edelbrock instructions; "The intake valve has been moved away from the bore centerline compared to a 390/428 head. The intake rocker arm may need to be shimmed over .060". A valve spring shim of the proper diameter may be used."

I checked it with my feeler gauge and sure enough, it was off by right at .060". I bought the shims and tried taking the rockers apart. According to my T-bird shop manual the rocker parts should all just slide off once the cotter pin is removed. However the towers are pretty darn tight. Is it OK just to twist and turn them off or is there a better way? I hate to score up the rocker shaft.

thx, Dave J
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2014, 02:48 AM
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You should run your OEM rocker shafts forever. Just make sure they are clean inside, the rockers have oil grooves inside and the shafts are not scored. Replacement rocker arms are available and inexpensive if you need any.

Rocker shafts are so HARD they cannot be drilled. Yes, the "valve rocker arm shaft supports" are tight but they are aluminum. Keep knocking them with a small hammer while the shaft is on a solid surface. They will move. I use a bit of sand paper on the shaft to get any varnish off before knocking the supports off.

Follow my site.

BTW, Edelbrock says their aluminum heads will only fit bored 390's and 427 because they moved the valves. Edelbrock valves hit the cylinder bores on a 352 so their heads will not work.

- Dave
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Last edited by simplyconnected : 09-17-2014 at 03:13 AM.
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  #3  
Old 09-17-2014, 11:18 AM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Thanks Dave!
Mine is a 390 bored .030 over so I'm good to go. I double checked piston to valve clearance too.

They are super clean as it was all rebuilt recently. Have no varnish, and excellent oil flow everywhere on the shafts. I also understand that they have to be reassembled with the oil holes downward for proper oiling of the rockers.

Some people said that they will work OK with the rockers not exactly centered, but I don't like the way it looks - looks like they will wear unevenly too.

Dave J
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Old 09-17-2014, 04:06 PM
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The bottom holes in both your shafts should look like this:


These relief 'slots' were ground into the shafts to accommodate any rocker arm deviation from the center position on the valves.

If you clicked on my site in picture #3, I explained about OEM shafts having a notch at 5:00 O'clock position (next to the cotter pin bottom) and that if you don't assemble the arms and stands correctly, the oil holes will be blocked. Yes, the oil holes should be on the bottom of both shafts. Also check the shaft hole in your rocker arms. Mine had a groove that was washed out, blocking oil flow. - Dave
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Old 09-18-2014, 11:39 AM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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My originals looked like that Dave, but the ones I have are a little different, they're from a 1967 390 car though. Here's what they looked like. The were super oily and super clean, I'll try to catch up with my pictures but these are some that I found online that show what mine look like.

I got the stands off quite easily by tapping it lightly with a plastic mallet. Hopefully I can get the intake back on the car and install everything this weekend.

thx, Dave
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  #6  
Old 09-18-2014, 02:23 PM
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Jonsey, what procedure did you use to measure valve clearance? This is important because I would hate to see these new heads destroyed. Did you advance/retard your cam timing?

Yes, these shafts appear to be aftermarket, which is ok. Many name brand companies make them for millions of Ford engines. The same shafts were used on all Ford, Mercury and truck hydraulic lifter FE engines from 1958-1976.

OEM shafts have the notch. Aftermarket shafts do not, so pay close attention during assembly.

For intake manifold assembly; countless engine builders have a devil of a time with intake gasket leaks. I use hardened washers under the bolt heads so the manifold can slide down more easily. After letting it sit, some of the bolts will need to be re-torqued because they loosen as the intake seats. I do not use the gaskets supplied for the front and rear block areas. They do a good job of preventing the intake from descending all the way down or in other words, those gaskets hold the intake manifold up. I build the front and rear areas up with Permatex Black, all by itself. You can do this in a couple layers if you like, just make sure the surfaces are 'lacquer thinner' clean. I also use my finger to 'work' the sealant in before laying a heavy bead in.

Another 'trick' I use is to leave the head bolts 'snug' until the intake is half way seated, just to ensure everything is square, then I torque the head bolts, then the intake bolts. A few thousandths is not a lot but it makes a difference because all the parts move around. Finally, there should be no water leaks, no vacuum leaks and no oil leaks. - Dave
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:20 PM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Weeeell,,,,,,,I had a friend help me. We did a mock up using some plumbers putty and put the heads on with the rockers etc. and hand turned it twice around. Didn't use the head gaskets so I added .038 to what I had. (That's what Edelbrock states their compressed gasket thickness to be.)

I used a thin metal ruler and it was just over 1/16 of an inch. So with the .038 it should be somewhere just over .100

My friend felt pretty comfortable that we were OK.

What do you think Dave? I know it's not very technical, but I think we're OK.

Dave J
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:28 PM
Yadkin Yadkin is offline
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I used permatex grey not black for the intake manifold front and rear seals. Build up ghd thickness in two layers. After assembly caulk in more from the outside.
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmij View Post
...What do you think Dave? I know it's not very technical, but I think we're OK...
A few thousandths isn't going to make much difference. We do things differently.

I install the heads and torque them. I leave all the plugs out and all the pushrods out except for one cylinder. I pressurize that cylinder and remove the springs. This picture was taken after I was finished but notice, I have an air hose fitting in #1 spark plug hole:


I remove both springs from #1 cylinder, and install both pushrods and tighten the rocker shaft.

There is a 'stack' going on, here. Everything in the valve train between the cam and the piston affect your measurement:
Block deck height (after it's shaved),
Head thickness (after it's shaved),
head gasket thickness,
Lifter height,
Pushrod length,
The oil baffle thickness under your rocker shaft supports,
the shaft support height,
the rocker arm ratio, and finally,
Piston depth (yes, aftermarket pistons have different heights than OEM pistons.)

With all these variables, calculating valve-to-piston clearance is impossible. At the factory, all these dimensions are the same (within tolerance) from engine to engine.

Using valves with no springs on one cylinder, two pushrods and everything else in place, bolted down, I rotate the crank s-l-o-w-l-y. I wrap a small wire around the keeper groves to prevent from dropping a valve. I hold on to the stem and gently oscillate it up and down to feel the piston. At the closest point, I measure between the valve top and the rocker arm tip with a feeler gauge. There is more to this than just that.

This job is much easier if you have solid lifters. Hydraulic lifters can give false readings if you don't have a good feel and an understanding of what's happening at the lifter. I want a measurement in a 'worst case scenario', like when the lifter is pumped up all the way, meaning the plunger is right at the circlip. Most lifters operate about twenty-five thousandths below this lifter preload but I want NO mistakes. It's just a measurement, but it's only taken once and it better be right.

I gingerly let the pushrod down onto the lifter and gently bounce it up and down to get a feel for when the metals meet and when the plunger starts to descend in a 'dry' lifter.

In my case, I do not use adjustable pushrods but that would be a very easy way to compensate for slight variation in a 'stock' build. Instead, I take my measurement and have pushrods made to order.

The last cam I installed was a hydraulic roller with Morel hyd. lifters that over an inch taller because they have a roller at the bottom and links (or dog bones) on top, keeping the roller square to the lobe. That means my original pushrods are over an inch too long. Even the finest adjustable pushrods (or adj. rocker arms) cannot be shortened an inch.

So, what do you do if valve clearance is too tight? They make a cutter that fits into the 3/8" valve guide. It simply cuts the top of the aluminum piston, giving as much valve clearance as you need. If you're a tool maker, an old valve set works with a small ball of steel welded to the outer edge of the valve face, and ground to a cutting edge. The new 'cutting valves' are inserted in the valve guides and turned with a 3/8" drill motor. Adjust the depth by entering the drill motor with a feeler gauge, then tighten the chuck and remove the gauge. - Dave
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:43 PM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Yeah, when I posted that I could just picture you shaking your head Dave. LOL
The part that concerned me the most is the hydraulic lifters. The rest should be fairly solid. I was told even the piston rods (if aluminum) can stretch or expand at high RPMS and temps. Mine aren't aluminum.

The first time I did the intake manifold I used studs to place it, and the distributor to align it. I didn't use end gaskets, just blue RTV, and I did like Steve said and caulked in more after it was bolted. The intake gaskets are Edelbrock. I'm using their installation instructions and will use the stuff they sold me, it's like a contact cement but I can't remember the name.

It all turned out well that time, hopefully this aluminum intake will be a lot easier.

DAve J
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