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x flow tappet checking

Jam Mad

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after an odd little co-incidence of finding in chitchat recently that my mirrors were the coolest of cool, i have just got in touch with the chap i bought my car from.


in passing, he mentioned that i ought to be checking the tappets reasonably regularly.


help ! what exactly do i need to be doing ?


as per usual, pls forgive my ignorance, i'm not even sure what a tappet is, but as you may know, i'm keen to learn. if you know of a book that can tell me that would save you the typing, i'd appreciate any advice.


cheers all,


j smile.gif

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He means your valve clearances, that is, the gaps between the rocker pads and the tip of the valve stem. This clearance is a necessary part of the valve train. The term 'tappet' is a carry over from early side-valve engines where and adjustable cam follower or tappet, tapped immediately on the valve stem.


Checking and setting the valve clearances is fairly easy on a crossflow and involves removing the rocker cover and adjusting the rocker adjusting screws with a feeler gauge of the appropriate size between the rocker pad and the valve stem. A Fiesta Haynes manual ( or indeed any book covering the crossflow) will show you in essence how the job is done, but you will need to know the clearances to set and we will need to know the cam type in order to tell you.




Edited by - oilyhands on 14 Feb 2002 12:24:25

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cool, thanks guys, my pal tony p can lend me the x flow book.. so i'll check in there... i do know roughly what it should all look like.


sounds easy enough ! now.. feeler guages.. my local motor factor LOVES me !!! i'm sure that's the same for a lot of people from this site's local shops though... teeth.gif


see ya',



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Having been caught once, have a spare set of spark plugs handy. This is because you'll need to remove the old ones so that you can turn the engine over by hand, and sod's law states that if you don't have any spares, you'll crack the insulator on one as you take it out!


If you want to be nice to your car, throw the old ones away in any case tongue.gif


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Handy tip, books give gap settings for the car type not the plug, the supplier will give the gap setting when they are sold to you, most plugs are pre set these days but always worth just checking. Resist cleaning modern plugs as the secret to there succes is the special coatings they have and cleaning with wire brushes and grit machines kills them, this is why it will be very hard to find cleaning brushes and grit machines for sale. Biggest cons are split fire plugs, the originals are expensive but the best but loads have tried to copy them and are mostly rubbish. Champion do a nice range of double copper plugs and a range called EON, these run cooler aiding increasing performance and have a smooth seramic so as the plug lead grips well and prevents moister intrusion for better starting.
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Carefull if you use a Fiesta book as the tappet sequence can be different, as the Fiesta used a Valenca type engine as well as the Kent. The rule of nine applies to the Caterham i.e. if number 8 valve is open with the valve spring compressed adjust number 1 rule of nine 9 - 8 = 1

so Number 7 spring compressed adjust 2 [9-7=2]

6 3

5 4

4 5

3 6

2 7

1 8

Number 1,4,5, and 8 are exhaust 2,3,6,7 are inlet.

For the 1700 supersprint adjust inlets at 22 thou

exhausts 24

It does not matter which end you start to count the valves.


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  • 5 years later...

What point of reference do you use to tell which Cylinder you are adjusting)


ie, on my old Beetle, there was a mark on the crank pulley that you lined up with the split in the crankcase fro cylinder 1, adjusted that then turned it 90 degrees to the next cylinder, then set the gaps for that)





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You don't need to know (although cyl 1 is the one at the front of an xflow). All you need to do is number the valves sequentially from 1 to 8. Then follow Len's instructions; compress & open valve 1, adjust valve 8 etc.


To ensure the valve is fully open (i.e. the spring is maximally compressed) you should "rock" the pulley back & fore until it's at it's lowest point. If you're using a spanner on the pulley bolt to do this, watch you don't unwind the bolt!


You can always tell whether the valve you're about to adjust is an exhaust or an inlet, as inlet valves line up with the inlet manifold pipes, and the exhaust valves with the exhaust manifold pipes.


Long live the xflow!


Alex McDonald

A loud 1700 SS

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Rob, as others have said, you use what is called the 'rule of 9' and you simply turn the crank clockwise with a spanner on the front pulley nut so that when:-


valves 1 & 6 are open, you adjust 3 & 8.

When 2 & 4 are open, adjust 5 & 7.

When 3 & 8 are open, adjust 1 & 6

When 5 & 7 are open, adjust 2 & 4


The rule of 9 being, the valve that is open and the one you are adjusting always adds up to 9.


Hope that helps. *thumbup*


Oh and don't forget when you have finished.......ALWAYS REMOVE THE SPANNER FROM THE FRONT PULLEY *eek* *eek* *eek*


Back in the 1960's I put a nice hole in the radiator of my 1650 Anglia by forgetting to remove the spanner and then starting the engine. *cry* 😬






2.3 DURATEC SV Reassuringly Expensive

R 417.39 😬


Edited by - Brent Chiswick on 26 Apr 2007 14:56:30

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On the last Ford Fiesta engine I adjusted tappets on, I stood a long cross-head screwdriver in the hollow adjusting bolt of both valves in question - this gives a good indication of when you are at the right point, as it greatly magnifies the movement, so you can see when it changes direction = turn the engine back and forth at this point until you are the spot when it is about to move again.


I then pushed down on the handle of the screwdriver while checking the gap with the feeler gauge.


Obviously this only works of the bolts are hollow centred !



And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking...


And racing around to come up behind you again. photos

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And another useful tip -

Access to the bolt on the front pulley is NOT GOOD to say the least.

If you have a jack and an assistant available then lift one rear wheel off the floor, put car in gear (4th is o.k.) and use this to turn the engine over.

This has the added advantages of you being able to stand-up and see all the rockers moving whilst the engien is turning over, and having someone to shout at if things aren't quite going according to plan. 😬



X-flow(er) powered

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I have done it in the past by putting the car in top gear and, provided it is on level ground, you can simply push it back or forwards to rotate the crank to the right position. Easier if you remove the spark plugs btw. *thumbup*




2.3 DURATEC SV Reassuringly Expensive

R 417.39 😬

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