Valve Adjustment ... With Engine Running or not ?

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Royal Smart Person
Aug 2, 2021
I just did an oil change and I have adjusted the valves both with the engine running and while the engine is shut off but I still have light ticking/tapping that gets louder as I accelerate.

At first I thought maybe the engine was low on oil, or I'm not adjusting the valves correctly, but now I'm stumped and can't figure out why I can't get rid of the tapping/ticking.


Lost in the Labyrinth
Supporting Member
Sep 18, 2009
Queens, NY
Are you using adjustable poly-locks? Or stock stuff? Stock stuff is not adjustable. You tighten things down and that's all you can do. Poly-locks are adjustable and best done while running. You loosen them until they tap, then tighten them until they get quiet and then add a quarter turn. Lock them in place with the lock nuts. If after all that they are still tapping then there is air in the oil system or the lifters are sticking from dirt, or low oil pressure.
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G-Body Guru
Apr 28, 2016
Are you sure its not a faint exhaust leak(exhaust manifold/head), the sound tends to get worse/louder when driving.
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Royal Smart Person
Jan 18, 2018
You can adjust the rockers with the engine off. There are multiple ways to do it. I like to do the exhaust open/ intake closing method, I can do the whole engine in 2 revolutions. If you can’t get rid of the tick, and it is valvetrain related, it can be a bad lifter, worn rocker lock nuts, or a cam lobe going flat.
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Jun 12, 2015
Oil pressure is 20-40 depending if I'm idling or driving.

The ticking has always been an issue.
Are you running headers or manifolds?

As others have said, an exhaust leak can sound like a lifter tick. Made this mistake myself on my truck. Ended up being a donut gasket on the manifold. I went the scorched earth path and installed stainless headers that use a ball and socket flange, so the only gasket in the system is at the heads. Using the right header gasket, Rimflex, and studs with lock nuts, I've had no issues since. Granted that's far more expensive than having a muffler shop throw a $15 donut gasket at it... but I haven't had a problem since.

Definitely have a muffler shop take a look at it, could be an exhaust leak.
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