Excessive valvetrain chatter, oiling issues, and the occasional bent valve from over-revving the engine can all be attributed to improper valvetrain setup. Setting up the valvetrain on your mill doesn’t have to be difficult. Taking your time and being aware of what you are doing will keep your engine strong, healthy, and out of the machine shop from a broken rocker or pushrod. A bit of knowledge and labor on your part can go a long way when positioning the valvetrain for long-term durability.
When it comes to piecing together a mill for your project vehicle, penny-pinching is what it’s all about. Performing any job yourself not only saves you money but gives an overall sense of achievementit’s what this game is all about. We recently took on our 396-inch big-block, which just had its iron heads assembled. All it needed was the new roller rockers to complete the valvetrain so we could get the car back on the street. Luckily, it’s a hydraulic setup, which means no constant checking of the rocker arm lash once it’s set. Do it right the first time and you can forget about it.
Whether it’s sustained high rpm or short bursts of the throttle, the valvetrain is designed to take a lot of abuse and punishment. If set up properly, it should outlast everything in the engine and be the last thing you ever replace. With a set of COMP 1.7:1 roller rockers in hand, we were ready to complete the valvetrain on the 396. Follow along as we illustrate the process and include quick reminders that will make your next valvetrain assembly that much simpler.