Every cast engine block is slightly different, so proper minor adjustments might sometimes be needed to get the proper pushrod clearance and valve tip alignment. In this video, August Cederstrand shows us exactly how to adjust your pushrod guide plates on your small block Chevy. This video is a part of the extremely useful tech tips videos you can find on the Edelbrock YouTube channel.
So to kick this adjustment off, you’ll need to find top dead center. You’ll do this by rotating the crank on the compression stroke for the cylinder you are adjusting. Once you’ve set it to top dead center (TDC), you will loosen the guideplates just enough so they can move, but not so much that they can be removed. Then, install the rocker arms onto the studs.
Next, move the guideplates from side to side with your fingers, or tap them with a screwdriver to get the proper clearance between the pushrod and the guideplate — this means you have .005” minimum clearance between the pushrod, and the wall of the pushrod hole in the cylinder head.
Once this is done, you can go ahead and remove the rocker arms, then tighten the guideplate studs with a ratchet, making sure the guideplate does not move — torque down the stud to 45 ft/lbs of torque using a torque wrench. Install the rocker arms onto the studs, and verify that the rocker tip is centered on top of the valve stem. Once you’ve done all this, check the clearance and valvetrain alignment one more time before moving on to your next piston. Once you’re through the first one, it’s just a matter of rinsing and repeating seven more times.
This process won’t take long, and it’s a very important part of building a solid top end. Taking the few extra minutes to check and adjust guideplate alignment will save you headache on down the road, so don’t rush through it.