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How to Adjust the Valves on a 1968 Ford 302

by John Stevens J.D.

Ford's 302 V8 engine first appeared in the middle of the 1968 production year. Like all V8 engines, the 302 is equipped with two cylinder heads, each covering four cylinders. Within each cylinder head are eight valves. Over time, the valves may fall out of adjustment, resulting in a gradual reduction of power and fuel economy. For this reason, you should adjust the valves periodically to ensure optimal engine performance.

Step 1

Remove the six bolts that secure the valve cover to the top of the cylinder head with a socket wrench and a socket extension. Three bolts are located at the upper edge of the cover, and three bolts are located on the bottom edge of the cover.

Step 2

Lift the valve cover off the cylinder head to expose the rocker arms.

Step 3

Start the engine.

Step 4

Turn the nut in the center of any one rocker arm in a counterclockwise direction with a deep-set socket wrench until the rocker arm produces a tapping sound.

Step 5

Turn the rocker arm's nut in a clockwise direction just until the tapping sound stops.

Step 6

Turn the rocker arm's nut in a clockwise direction one-half of one turn in a clockwise direction to finalize the adjustment process.

Step 7

Repeat the process for the remaining rocker arms on that cylinder head.

Step 8

Turn the engine off.

Step 9

Remove the gasket from the underside of the valve cover.

Step 10

Apply engine assembly sealant to a new valve cover gasket.

Step 11

Insert the gasket into the lip that surrounds the edge of the valve cover.

Step 12

Lower the valve cover over the rocker arms.

Step 13

Install and tighten the six bolts that secure the valve cover to the engine with a socket wrench and a socket extension.

Repeat steps 1 through 13 to adjust the valves under the other cylinder head.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench
  • Socket extension
  • Deep-set socket wrench
  • Engine assembly sealant
  • Valve cover gaskets

About the Author

John Stevens has been a writer for various websites since 2008. He holds an Associate of Science in administration of justice from Riverside Community College, a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School. Stevens is a lawyer and licensed real-estate broker.

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