351 Windsor lifter Change

The number 1 rule of engine work is to be as clean as possible. So the first thing you want to do is clean the engine as well as you can. It can't fall into the motor if it's not there in the first place.

So first, degrease your motor as well as you can, using a shop vac, then an engine degreaser, like Gunk. Finish it off by wiping everything down with WD-40 and a rag.

While you are doing this, you should drain the radiator into a bucket or large pan.

Then you can start the disassembly by removing the air cleaner and valve covers. Set the valve covers gasket down in mineral spirits, that will help with the gasket removal.

Remove the number 1 spark plug, {front, right or passenger side} and put your thumb over the spark plug hole while you click the engine over by jumping the solenoid or having a helper tick the engine over a click at a time.
When you feel the pressure escaping from your thumb, stop and turn the engine by hand until the pointer on the harmonic balance points to 0 TDC. {Top Dead Center}

Note the position of the vacuum advance canister on the distributor, and remove the distributor. Stuff a rag in the distributor hole.

Remove the carb and intake manifold.

Stuff rags in the oil drainback holes in the lifter valley, and the intake ports of the heads.

Carefully clean the lifter valley, using a gasket scraper or putty knife, then carb cleaner razor blade and rags.

Begin removing the rocker arms nuts, rocker arms and pushrods. Keep them in order, because they need to return to the original locations because parts 'wear into each other' and if you mix and match, you will accelerate wear.

Clean each part in the mineral spirits or solvent and inspect for wear. Look for cracks on the undersides of the rocker arm nuts, and excessive wear on the rocker arms and fulcrums. Roll the pushrods on a flat surface to check for straightness. Look through the holes of the push rods to make sure they are clean inside.

Replace any questionable parts.

Begin removing the lifters by hooking the inside groove with your fingernail, or by using a strong magnet, and pulling them out. If you have any that give you resistance, it is probably because they have built up a deposit of varnish at their bases. Push them back down and squirt carb cleaner down the sides and work them up and down and they will come out.

Clean the lifter bores with a lint free rag soaked in carb cleaner.

Lube the bottom and sides of the lifter with STP oil treatment, or equivalent cam/lifter lube and install in the lifter bores. Lube both ends of the pushrods, both ends of the rocker arm and the rocker fulcrum with Lubriplate or equivalent.

Run the rocker arm nuts down, but do not tighten just yet.

Once you are finished installing all the hardware, you are ready to adjust the valves.

351 Windsors use positive stop rocker arm studs, so all you need to do is torque the rocker arm nuts to 17-23 ft/lbs when the lifter is on the cams base circle.

You accomplish that by following this sequence;

Number 1 intake and exhaust,
Number 4 intake,
Number 3 exhaust,
Number 8 intake,
Number 7 exhaust.

Now rotate the motor clockwise {as viewed from the front} 180 degrees {one half turn} and torque down the following;

Number 3 intake,
Number 2 exhaust,
Number 7 intake,
Number 6 exhaust.

Finally, rotate the engine 270 degrees {three quarter turn} clockwise, and torque down the following;

Number 2 intake,
Number 4 exhaust,
Number 5 intake and exhaust,
Number 6 intake,
Number 8 exhaust.

As you torque down each rocker arm nut, watch to see if the pushrod compresses the plunger about 1/8"/0.125" in each respective lifter. If there is still lash, {lack of preload} when that cam lobe is on the base circle, that will be a ticking lifter. To correct this, you can get longer pushrods, {0.060" longer} or you need to replace the rocker and fulcrum assembly or both to correct the wear.

Clean the underneath of the intake manifold, and razor blade the intake gasket mating surface. Clean with rag soaked in mineral spirits, carb cleaner, or lacquer thinner.

Place the intake gaskets {look gaskets over carefully to see if there is a 'front' marked} on the heads {I recommend Fel-Pro gaskets. They are the best, period} and discard the end gaskets supplied in the gasket set. Instead, run a 1/4" x 1/4" bead of form-a-gasket or equivalent on the front and rear rail from intake gasket to intake gasket. Allow to 'skin' for 15-20 minutes.

Carefully drop the intake manifold straight down, as to not disturb the gaskets or smear the form-a-gasket. Using studs at each corner prevents the intake gaskets from slipping.

Torque down the intake manifold to 23-25 ft/lbs, using the following sequence;

Once you initially run the motor and let it cool, retighten the bolts using the same sequence.

Once you are finished, clean the valve covers and straighten the valve cover bolt holds on the covers by hammering down the raised areas from the bottom of the valve covers while holding them against the edge of your bench. {this assumes you have stamped steel covers}

Use a spray gasket sealant such as Permatex, and reinstall the valve covers.

Reinstall the carb.

Crank the motor as before, and as you feel compression build up at the number one spark plug hole, tick the timing mark to TDC.

Install the distributor, lining it up with the oil pump driveshaft and the rotor pointing to the number 1 spark plug terminal. This may take you a few attempts. Be patient. Rotate the distributor and place the vacuum canister where it was before. Make sure rotor is pointing exactly at the number 1 spark plug terminal. Replace number 1 spark plug.

Refill radiator.

Change oil and filter.

Ground coil wire to engine, and crank motor over in several 15 second bursts to build oil pressure.

Start motor and allow to run at fast idle, 2000-2,500 rpms or so for about 30 minutes. Your new lifters are burnishing into your cam lobes right now, and you need this speed to splash up oil from the rod journals onto the lobes for cooling and lubrication.

Lower the idle, set your timing and check for leaks, and you're done.

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Revised 9/29/01