Valve adjustments for a 289 Studebaker

November 1, 2009 | By Richard Prince


I’m trying to set the valve clearance on a 289 cid Studebaker engine and I can’t find out if the lifters are hydraulic or solid. In the shop manual it says that they are of the “straight barrel” type.

The specs call for .025” to .027” of clearance when the engine is cold and after I tried that I had to wear ear protectors because the noise from the engine’s valves was so loud.

Should I snug them up until they are quiet or should I run them at this setting?


You don’t say what year or particular “model” your Studebaker engine is but in all likelihood it came with solid lifters. Even if it came with solid lifters, however, there’s no guarantee that the engine still has them now.

To determine with certainty what kind of lifters your engine has, remove one and inspect it. The optimum lifter adjustment specification depends upon a number of factors, including the type of lifter, camshaft specifications and engine operating temperature.

Absent any specific information about your engine, the factory specs are a logical starting point. A really good mechanic can fine tune the adjustment by ear but a safer way to do it is with a vacuum gauge. After the engine reaches full operating temperature, adjust each valve until the highest, steady manifold vacuum reading is achieved.