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How To Adjust Hydraulic Lifters On A Big Block Chevy – [Exclusive Ideas]

The trickiest component of a car is its engine. Any type of engine is problematic to take care of. When you use a large engine like the Block Chevy, it’s hard to perform maintenance on it yourself.

Attempting to adjust the hydraulic lifters of Big Block Chevy for the first time will feel like you have entered a maze. So, how to adjust hydraulic lifters on a big block chevy?

Adjusting hydraulic lifters is a little complicated but not impossible. You need a few tools, some basic ideas, and some patience. It’s fine if you are unfamiliar with the basics, we’ll start from the very beginning.

How To Adjust Hydraulic Lifters On A Big Block Chevy

Basic Ideas

There are multiple kinds of hydraulic lifters. Camshaft Hydraulic lifters are commonly used on Chevrolet engines. No matter what type of lifter you use, all types work similarly, so there are no major differences between them. For hydraulic lifters to work properly, you need to know two things. A pushrod is one, and a rocker arm is another. It’s okay to skip the basics if you know them already.

  • Pushrods: You will notice that some rods are moving in the engine, known as Pushrods. In any combustion engine, it causes the valves to go up and down. You don’t have to be familiar with the technical aspects. For now, we only need to recognize Pushrods.
  • Rocker Arm: Pushrods have a Rocker Arm at the top. Whenever the engine runs, it moves. The rocker arm is topped with a rocker ball. Jam nuts need to attach all of these pieces. Jam nuts have a cone-shaped surface. You need to set that down.

To do it, you don’t need many tools. All you need is a Ratchet Socket Wrench. Also, safety gear to ensure your security.

How Do You Do It

How Do You Do It


You should first prepare a safe and secure location for the engine. You will have to give time for the heat to reach its average level. Afterward, wear safety equipment.


You now need to move one pushrod with your hand. In cases where the pushrods move easily, the jam nut on top of the rocker arm needs to be tightened. You can tighten the jam nut with your hands or a Ratchet Socket Wrench. We think it would be more efficient to use a Ratchet Socket Wrench instead.

Rotate the jam nut from left to right until the lash is zero. When the Ratchet Socket is no longer able to move, it will stop. Make sure the jam nut is not too tight. It is also important to check each pushrod that needs to be tightened individually. Skip a pushrod if it does not move.


You will need to turn the hole motor a bit when you get Zero Lash on all Rocker Arms and Pushrods. You should rotate the motor a quarter or 45 degrees to the right. You can grab a wrench to handle so. It is not mandatory to turn it exactly 45 degrees. Even if it is a little sideways, there is no problem.

It will cause some pushrods of the engine to begin moving again as the motor moves. Make sure that the pushrods are again okay. Fix the pushrods that you will have problems with as before.


In the beginning, we mentioned it takes lots of patience to do this. The logic for telling you these facts is that you need to fix the Jam Nut repeatedly. It takes a longer duration to accomplish this task. You must therefore be patient enough.

Once you rotated a quarter or 45 degrees. You must rotate that again. Repeat that process at least eight times. After rotating the motor 45 degrees, that means that every pushrod needs to be checked and fixed. Then rotate the motor 45 degrees again. This process has to be repeated 8 times in total. It takes patience to get through it.


Following the eighth time of bringing the Pushrods and Rocker Arm to Zero Lash, there is no need to turn the motor again. Ensure they are all in Zero Lash in the final check.

We will do the preloading. You will now apply Jam Nut in its final form. Therefore, use the Ratchet Socket Wrench. Then you will have to customize it following the type of performance you expect. Using a Ratchet Socket Wrench, you can rotate the Jam Nut at 90 degrees, half rotation, or three quarters or 135 degrees.

Our recommendation would be to use three quarters. Hydraulic lifters of your Big Block Chevy hydraulic lifters almost adjust to going. Lastly, turn all of the jam nuts one by one at 135 degrees.

You can rotate some jam nuts very easily. Turning some of them requires significant force. We have told you that 135 degrees are suitable, so keeping it at that exact number is not necessary. It won’t mean much if it’s a little less.


Normally, the Rocker Arm requires grease because it moves. Most people take lubricant before fixing hydraulic lifters and then fix pushrods. In any case, you can use lubricant after fixing Push Rods and Rocker Arms. But don’t forget that lubricants are necessary.

Additional Tips

Several people suggest adjusting the engine lifter while it’s running. According to our understanding, that is an incorrect suggestion as it is unfeasible to adjust the lifter when the engine is running. Although skilled mechanics can accomplish this, those who are just learning how to maintain an engine will never be able to. Adjusting bolts of rocker armors while an engine is operating can be potentially dangerous.

Importance Of Adjusting Hydraulic Lifters

Importance Of Adjusting Hydraulic Lifters

Usually, hydraulic lifters do not require much adjustment. Some engines have never had to adjust their hydraulic valves since they were manufactured. Even then, adjusting is very important. Hydraulic lifters play a major role in the combustion process of an engine.

A faulty hydraulic lifter can cause the rocker arm to break or open. If you want the car to function at its optimum, you have to make adjustments.


I hope now you know about how to adjust hydraulic lifters on a big block chevy.

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