Tim's Trucks homepage | 1954 Documents

Adjustment of mechanical/solid-lifter valve lash on
216/235/261 Chevrolet truck engines

(for stock cams)

1. Make sure that each rocker arm surface that mates with the top of the valve stem is smooth.  Grind smooth and polish, if necessary.

2. Warm up engine to a stable temperature and then run the engine for 30 minutes (this is important) .

3. Stop the engine.



- the exhaust valves are on the ends of the head (look at the intake and exhaust manifold)

- use a flat feeler-gauge

- the settings below are in inches

- the settings below might be different for different years' engines

- the settings and instructions are for standard 216/235/261 cams and rocker-arm assemblie

- if the engine has been rebuilt and/or the rocker-arm assembly has been removed/replaced, the clearance settings will have to be set "cold" and 0.005" should be added to the clearance settings given below  


Valve Lash - Clearance settings
- see links to GM document at the bottom of this page
- different Chevrolet documents often give different settings even in the same year

216 cubic inch engines

Intake: .006" to 008"; .010" for heavy duty operation

Exhaust: .013" to .015"; .020" for heavy duty operation


235 cubic inch engines

Intake: .006"       

Exhaust: .016" or .018"       


261 cubic inch engines

Intake: .006"

Exhaust: .018" (up to 1 ton trucks); .020" for 1 ton and larger trucks   


4. Set the motor to fire on #1 cylinder. If the following valves are not fully closed, rotate the engine one full revolution (the crankshaft moves two revolutions to fire all 6 cylinders; the camshaft moves one full revolution for every two revolutions of the crankshaft).


Set the lash on:

1 Exhaust

1 Intake

2 Intake

3 Exhaust

4 Intake

5 Exhaust


Then, rotate the crankshaft one full revolution.

#6 cylinder should be in firing position (the following valves should be fully closed).


Set lash on:

6 Exhaust

6 Intake

5 Intake

4 Exhaust

3 Intake

2 Exhaust



The following information are links to material kindly provided on the Internet by Keith Hardy (thank you, Keith)


Note that the following clearance settings "specifications" are often given as different values in different GM manuals during the same year.


1942 truck valve clearance settings (hot)

1948 truck valve clearance settings (hot)

1953 truck valve clearance settings (hot)

1954 truck valve clearance settings (hot)

1957 truck valve clearance settings (hot)

1960 truck valve clearance settings (hot)


The following procedure is similar for almost all years of 41-63 Stovebolt Six engines

1953 truck Operator's Manual Valve Tappet Adjustment Procedure



Tim's Trucks homepage | 1954 Documents

Tim Lederman (lederman@siena.edu)
26 May 2001 (last revised on 14 July 2009 - links to Shop Manuals were added)