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How to Adjust the Valves on a Ford Mustang 289

by John Stevens J.D.

The Ford 289 V8 engine was equipped with a total of 16 valves. Each valve is actuated by a single rocker arm that moves in conjunction with a pushrod. Adjusting the valves actually adjusts the distance between the pushrod and the valve's rocker arm. Fortunately, the process to adjust the 289's valves is fairly straightforward and requires no major engine disassembly.

Step 1

Remove the two valve covers with a socket wrench to access the rocker arms. Each valve cover is secured to the top of the cylinder head with six bolts. Remove the bolts with the socket wrench, and lift the valve covers off the cylinder head.

Step 2

Turn the engine on and let it idle.

Step 3

Loosen the adjusting nut on any one rocker arm with a socket wrench until an audible taping is heard. The adjusting nut is located in the center of the top of the rocker arm. Turn the adjusting nut in a counterclockwise direction to loosen it.

Step 4

Tighten the rocker arm's adjusting nut by turning the nut in a clockwise direction with the socket wrench just until the tapping sound stops.

Step 5

Turn the rocker arm's adjusting nut an additional 1/4 turn with the socket wrench to complete the adjustment process for that rocker arm.

Step 6

Repeat Steps 1 through 5 for the remaining 15 rocker arms while allowing the engine to idle.

Step 7

Turn the engine off.

Step 8

Apply engine sealing compound to a pair of new valve cover gaskets, then position the gaskets onto their respective valve covers.

Lower the valve covers onto the cylinder heads, then tighten each cover's six retaining bolts with a socket wrench.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench
  • Engine sealing compound
  • Valve cover gaskets

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