Engine Tech: How To Check Piston To Valve Clearance Two Different Ways – Using Clay or Using A Dial Indicator


Engine Tech: How To Check Piston To Valve Clearance Two Different Ways – Using Clay or Using A Dial Indicator

It’s kind of funny. Lots of our lives are spent in a rush, right? Trying to make time for the stuff we want to do after finishing the stuff we have to do. If there is one thing we know that’s really annoying is trying to complete a project or make progress on it while keeping all of the other plates in life spinning. Building an engine, especially one you are investing your hard earned money into isn’t about speed, it’s about accuracy and taking the time to make sure certain important and basic things are correct. Case in point? Piston to valve clearance.

Making sure there is enough clearance to prevent the valves from running into the pistons at RPM is a critical step to keeping your investment happy and healthy and making solid horsepower as well. Like many things in the hot rodding world, there are multiple ways to handle this process and in this video by the Horsepower Monster YouTube channel, we see both.

For starters you can place clay on the top of the piston bolt the head on and rotate the engine, squashing the clay with the valve and measuring the thickness to make certain there is enough. This is a very commonly used method. If you want to really go whole hog and get the maximum accuracy you can complete this procedure with a dial indicator and some other specific tools. This second method provides the most accurate measurements and takes a little more time.

No matter which method you choose, after watching this video you’ll understand both and be able to employ them to keep your pistons and valves at a safe distance whether you are on the dyno, the street, or the track!

Press play to see this awesome video about measuring piston to valve clearance


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