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How do I Adjust 318 Hydraulic Lifters?

by Michelle Schaefer

The 318 LA series V-8 engines were extremely durable designs that became the mainstays of the Chrysler lineup for decades. The 318 LA engine was introduced in 1967, and it quickly became the choice engine for taxi cabs, light trucks and police cars. The engine is fitted with a hydraulic camshaft that uses maintenance-free, self-adjusting hydraulic valve lifters. Properly lifter adjustment ensures quiet operation by maintaining a zero valve clearance. Adjusting the lifters is relatively easy, and once it is done there is no further maintenance required for the life of the engine.

Unscrew the center nut on the air cleaner housing lid and lift the air cleaner off the engine. Some 318 models employ the "Lean Burn" system and have a number of vacuum hoses and electrical connectors attached. Mark the vacuum hoses and connectors carefully to make sure they are replaced in exactly the same location later.

Remove the valve cover hold-down bolts using a socket set, and lift the valve covers off the engine. Remove all leftover gasket material from the engine cylinder head using a scraper or putty knife. Clean the gasket mating surface with shop rags and make sure none of the gasket material has fallen around the exposed valves and rocker arms.

Mark the spark plug wires and remove them from the spark plugs. Remove the spark plugs using a spark plug wrench and set them aside.

Rotate the engine clockwise until the Number One cylinder exhaust lifter starts to move up. The Number One cylinder is on the left side of the engine closest to the radiator as you are sitting in the driver seat. Loosen the adjuster nut on the rocker arm using a combination wrench. Turn the adjuster screw counterclockwise until there is a slight up and down movement between the rocker arm and the valve tip. Turn the adjusting screw clockwise slowly until the point were there is no play between the rocker arm and the valve stem. Turn the adjusting screw 1/4-turn clockwise for the final adjustment. Tighten the adjusting screw lock-nut.

Rotate the engine until the intake lifter on the Number One cylinder reaches its bottom point. Adjust exhaust lifter as described in the above step. Repeat the adjustment procedure described in Steps Four and Five for each of the other seven cylinders. You can adjust the cylinders in number sequence from one to eight, or by following the firing order of "1", "8", "5", "3", "6", "2", "7" and "4".

Replace the spark plugs and spark plug wires. Install the valve covers using new gaskets. Replace the air cleaner making sure that all vacuum hoses and electrical connectors are reinstalled in their original locations. Start the engine and check for oil leaks at the valve covers. Properly adjusted hydraulic valve lifters on a 318 should be silent when the engine is running.

Warning

  • Be sure to clearly label all vacuum hoses prior to removal to ensure they can be returned to their original locations. Installing a vacuum hose in the wrong location or removing a vacuum hose completely may lead to reduced power and vehicle operation problems.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

Michelle Schaefer began writing in 1998 for "The Pennsylvania Homeschooler" with advice for parents educating their handicapped children at home. She earned a bachelor's degree in education from Kutztown University in 1991.

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