How To Adjust Solid Lifters Without Cam Card


One essential part of maintaining an efficient and smoothly running engine is ensuring proper adjustment of solid lifters. These small components play a crucial role in the engine’s valve train system, helping to open and close the valves at the appropriate times. Over time, solid lifters may require adjusting to compensate for wear and tear. While some might rely on a cam card for guidance, this article will guide you through the process of adjusting solid lifters without a cam card, using easy-to-understand language.

Gather the Required Tools and Materials

Before diving into the process, it is important to ensure you have all the necessary tools and materials. For adjusting solid lifters without a cam card, you will need:

1. Feeler gauges: These tools help measure the gap between the rocker arm and the valve stem.
2. Metric wrench set: Ensure you have the appropriate wrench sizes to access the rocker arm adjusting nuts.
3. Flathead screwdriver: This will be used to hold the adjusting screw in place while you secure the adjusting nut.
4. Ratchet and socket set: Necessary for removing any required components to access the rocker arms.
5. Clean rags: Have some clean rags nearby to wipe away any excess oil or debris.

Locate the Rocker Arm Assembly

Begin by locating the rocker arm assembly. This assembly is typically found on the cylinder head and consists of rocker arms, pushrods, and solid lifters. It’s important to note that the exact location may vary depending on the engine type and configuration.

Identify the Type of Adjustment

To proceed with adjusting the solid lifters, you need to determine whether your engine requires a Hot or Cold adjustment. The terminology is based on the engine’s operating temperature when adjusting the valves. Hot adjustments are performed on a warm engine, while cold adjustments are made on a cool engine. The specific requirements for your engine can be found in the manufacturer’s manual or by consulting an engine specialist.

Begin the Adjustment Process

Once you have gathered the necessary tools, located the rocker arm assembly, and determined the type of adjustment needed, follow these steps to adjust the solid lifters:

1. Prepare the engine: Start by turning off the ignition and allowing the engine to cool down if a cold adjustment is required. If performing a hot adjustment, ensure the engine is warmed up to operating temperature according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

2. Remove any necessary components: In some cases, you may need to remove other components, such as valve covers or other parts obstructing access to the rocker arm assembly. Use your ratchet and socket set to remove these parts safely.

3. Identify the valve’s adjusting nut: Locate the adjusting nut on the rocker arm, which is threaded and tightens against the rocker arm’s adjusting screw. This adjusting nut controls the clearance or gap between the rocker arm and the valve stem.

4. Secure the adjusting screw: Use a flathead screwdriver to hold the adjusting screw in place while you loosen or tighten the adjusting nut. This prevents any unintentional movement of the adjusting screw during the adjustment process.

5. Measure the valve clearance: Select the appropriate feeler gauge from your set and slide it between the rocker arm and the valve stem. Gently move the feeler gauge until there is a slight resistance, but it still easily slides. Remember the gauge’s size that fits accurately in this space.

6. Adjust the clearance: With the feeler gauge in place, carefully tighten or loosen the adjusting nut as needed to achieve the desired clearance. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s specified clearance measurement for your engine.

7. Verify the clearance: After adjusting the nut, recheck the clearance using the feeler gauge. It’s essential to ensure the gap remains within the required specifications.

8. Repeat for all valves: This process needs to be repeated for each valve in the engine, making sure to follow the correct adjustment sequence as specified by the manufacturer.

Reassemble and Test the Engine

Once you have adjusted all the solid lifters, securely tighten all the other components you had previously removed. Ensure everything is properly reassembled, and there are no loose parts. Start the engine and monitor its performance. If you notice any abnormalities, such as tapping noises or irregular running, you may need to revisit the adjustment process and double-check your work.


Adjusting solid lifters without a cam card can be achieved by carefully following the steps outlined above. Regularly inspecting and adjusting your engine’s solid lifters is essential for optimal performance and longevity. Remember to consult your manufacturer’s manual or seek assistance from a qualified professional if you encounter any difficulties or require additional guidance. Properly adjusted solid lifters ensure your engine operates smoothly, providing you with a reliable and efficient performance.

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