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Technical Area > Engine Related Items

Noisy Tappets


Hi John, we have never met. Brian Woodhams, a good friend kindly shared your email address.

I have watched many of your video’s with interest – well done on sharing so much. 

More recently I was fortunate to acquire a 1980 MGB with very low millage (50,000 km), but I seem to be struggling with the tappets which in my opinion seem quite noisy.

In your videon tappet setting, TD/TF example, you seem to refer that on the later model cars a variation of method is required, but I have not been able to find any further information.

I would really appreciate your insights on the method you would use on the 18V series engine.

As part of my quest to make improvements I have fitted a new rocker shaft and checked that the “stress” shims were in place.  I have not checked anything lower down on basis that the mileage is very low, but still 39 years young.

Roger Lewis
Cape Town

Roger,  Torque the head first to 55#.  Loosen one nut at a time, back it off several turns, oil it, and pull it down to torque.  Follow the spiral noted in the workshop manual.  Then adjust the valves.

I’ve always used the factory setting of 0.013” hot.  Now it doesn’t matter if the engine is hot or not as the expansion of the pushrod is only 1/10,000 or something – but I always adjust them hot.  Once you’ve made the adjustments, and I have a good YouTube video on that, then start up the engine with the valve cover off.  Use a 0.010” feeler and move down the line, inserting the feeler between the valve stem and rocker at each valve.  If there is a noisy valve (or more), that tick will cease with the feeler in place. 

You then have the option of rechecking that lash or accepting that the cam and lifters need replacement, which is often the case with a noisy valve.

John Twist
University Motors Online


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