Car Information:
Year: 1965
Engine Size:396 Big Block

Issue / Question:
I took the Chevelle to Howard’s Rod shop to make some changes, (replace pan, transmission and drive shaft, and cam and lifters). All went pretty smooth, I did most of the engine disassembly and reassembly but Howard and his crew pulled the drive train and reinstalled it. He was supposed to do all of the final adjustments etc. The problem is the valve lifters; they apparently don’t want to adjust. The cam and kit were new and came from competition cams. When I set them on the engine stand, I took them to zero lash when the cam was at the bottom and turned them a half turn extra. Howard says that when he started the engine, the valves clattered a lot and when he tried to turn them tighter the engine stalls. I have rebuilt several engines and Howard has done 1000. He wants me to come over tomorrow and be prepared to buy a new set of lifters and a new manifold gasket. Howard wanted the lifters soaked in oil before installation (they are hydraulics). Do you have any ideas?

Answer: doubt it is 16 bad hydraulic lifters from Competition Cam’s! If the lifters wont quite down their most likely not getting enough oil pressure. What could we have done to lessen the oil pressure to the lifters while changing the cam shaft? We may have knocked a cam bearing out of its bore and now we have a massive oil volume and pressure loss in the lifter galley! Since you were going to pull the intake, go ahead and pull the timing cover again but before you pull the cam shaft back out remove one of the oil galley plugs and blow compressed air into it. Normal leakage will be expected but if it blows out around one of the cam bearing areas unrestricted that means the motor is coming out and apart to install new cam bearings. I hope I’m wrong but I can’t think of anything else you could have done. Good luck! and give me an update.


For professional Orlando Auto Repair you can call our shop today at 407-629-2661.


Magic Mechanic
1432 Lee Road OrlandoFL32804 USA 
 • (407) 298-7447