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Old 07-01-2015   #1
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Valve clearances

Hi Folks,

My 2012 1.2 8v panda Lounge is soon to be 3 years old and its already on 37k. In the handbook it says at 36k the valve clearances are to be checked. I would usually have a go at this sort of stuff by myself but I haven't had the time recently. Anyway I’ve had them checked by the local fiat dealer (Clemo) and they have come back as follows:

Inlet valves
2 - 0.3mm 4 – 0.3mm 5 – 0.3mm 7 – 0.3mm

Exhaust valves
1 - 0.4mm 3 - 0.4mm 6 - 0.415mm 8 – 0.43mm

According to the information Clemo gave me the inlet should be 0.3mm +/- .01mm and the exhaust valves 0.4mm +/- .01mm. However, I also have a Haynes manual and that says inlet valves should 0.35 +/- 0.05mm and exhaust 0.45mm +/- 0.05mm.

I've have had a spot of bother before with clearances being tight (being told by a garage they are fine!) and valves burning. I’m keen to avoid the same happening again.

I feel there is reluctance by garages to check them, even though they are essential to engine life and correct functioning.

What I would like to know is, are the above figures okay?

Will they be fine for another 36k till the next check?

Which figures are correct, the ones Fiat have given me or the Haynes manual?

Also, in future, should I tackle the job by myself, how hard is it to get the shims out and what tools do I require?

Many thanks,
Adam
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Old 07-01-2015   #2
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Re: Valve clearances

The Check is easy. Replacing the shims is not. One would expect a garage to tout for business not decline it.
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Old 22-01-2015   #3
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Re: Valve clearances

Although the Haynes Manuals occasionally do have errors, in this instance I am sure they are correct.
0.01mm is smaller than the absolute accuracy of a digital caliper, this is far too small.

Only if the valve clearance is well out of tolerance should they be adjusted, and if they need much adjustment then there is an underlying problem that needs attention.

I must have done at least 80,000 miles in 1.2 8v Puntos and have never checked the valve clearances, best to leave them alone. My 99,000 miles MJ has never had the valve clearances checked, just regular oil changes with a Fiat filter and full synthetic oil.
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Old 27-01-2015   #4
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Re: Valve clearances

My 127 1050 went 50k and needed no adjustment whatsoever.
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Old 29-01-2015   #5
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Re: Valve clearances

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ID:	149053 I've managed to purchase the tool from Fiat, I will now be able to do the job in the future by myself
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Old 09-03-2019   #6
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Re: Valve clearances

Are we talking bucket and shims here? Having to remove the camshafts to get to them.

What exactly is that Fiat tool for then??
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Old 10-03-2019   #7
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Re: Valve clearances

Quote Originally Posted by earthman View Post
Are we talking bucket and shims here? Having to remove the camshafts to get to them.

What exactly is that Fiat tool for then??
It lets you do the shims without removing the cam! The curved end of the tool slips under the cam and bears upon the very edge of the follower - bucket as you call it - (not on the shim) then you push down on the handle which forces the curved end in under the cam and it depresses the cam follower against it's spring opening up a gap between the cam (which, of course, you have rotated until the lobe is pointing up - away from the follower) and follower. Now you can winkle out the shim and replace it with the one you need. Simples!

I've only used one once, years ago on a 128. I seem to remember it worked very well and saved loads of time but the edge of the tool which bears on the thin edge of the "bucket" looked quite worn - I borrowed it from a friend who worked in a Fiat garage so it probably saw a lot of action. I must say though that I've never had to adjust any of the several Fiats we've had in the family (mind you I do oil changes religiously and use top quality oil) and don't hear any tap, tap, tapping away as others go past in the street. Our 1.2 Panda, at 63,000 miles and my boy's 1.4 8 valve Punto, with just over 50,000 miles on it are whisper quiet in this respect. They do "rattle" for a couple of seconds though if left without starting for a few days. This, I'm sure, will be due to the oil supply just taking these few seconds to flood back over the cam and followers from the small spray holes in the cam cover. If used every day neither car does this.
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Old 10-03-2019   #8
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Re: Valve clearances

Shimmed valve engines do keep their clearances for a long time, hydraulic are good but I've heard of them "pumping" up if the engines are neglected. There were a few engines around over the years with shimmed OHC valves, even the Imp had this set up, snag is they needed head gaskets more often than a valve clearance check.
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Old 10-03-2019   #9
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Re: Valve clearances

Quote Originally Posted by Pugglt Auld Jock View Post
It lets you do the shims without removing the cam! The curved end of the tool slips under the cam and bears upon the very edge of the follower - bucket as you call it - (not on the shim) then you push down on the handle which forces the curved end in under the cam and it depresses the cam follower against it's spring opening up a gap between the cam (which, of course, you have rotated until the lobe is pointing up - away from the follower) and follower. Now you can winkle out the shim and replace it with the one you need. Simples!

I've only used one once, years ago on a 128. I seem to remember it worked very well and saved loads of time but the edge of the tool which bears on the thin edge of the "bucket" looked quite worn - I borrowed it from a friend who worked in a Fiat garage so it probably saw a lot of action. I must say though that I've never had to adjust any of the several Fiats we've had in the family (mind you I do oil changes religiously and use top quality oil) and don't hear any tap, tap, tapping away as others go past in the street. Our 1.2 Panda, at 63,000 miles and my boy's 1.4 8 valve Punto, with just over 50,000 miles on it are whisper quiet in this respect. They do "rattle" for a couple of seconds though if left without starting for a few days. This, I'm sure, will be due to the oil supply just taking these few seconds to flood back over the cam and followers from the small spray holes in the cam cover. If used every day neither car does this.
Many thanks, understood, I assumed that the shim were contained within/under the bucket as such,.....my motorcycle engine is like that so the camshafts will have to be removed sadly.

I wonder how much Fiat want for that tool.
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Old 10-03-2019   #10
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Re: Valve clearances

Quote Originally Posted by murphyv310 View Post
Shimmed valve engines do keep their clearances for a long time
Yes, I've heard that too but what's the theory behind it, do you know?
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Old 11-03-2019   #11
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Re: Valve clearances

Quote Originally Posted by earthman View Post
Yes, I've heard that too but what's the theory behind it, do you know?
OHV engines had pushrods and adjustable rockers that had their own shaft, all wear points that changes clearances. There is little that can wear on shimmed OHC engines so long as oil and filter changes are done in a timely manner. No doubt why they stay well within spec for many miles.
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Old 11-03-2019   #12
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Re: Valve clearances

Quote Originally Posted by earthman View Post
I assumed that the shim were contained within/under the bucket as such,.....my motorcycle engine is like that so the camshafts will have to be removed sadly.

I wonder how much Fiat want for that tool.
Yup, probably a more common way of doing it. The old "O" and "E" series BL engines were like that. Used to "stick" them in place on the cam follower with a little dab of Vaseline to stop them falling out during assembly. Borg Warner used to advise using Vaseline when building up their auto boxes because when it gets hot the Vaseline will melt and become emulsified into the gearbox oil so no danger of blocking any oilways/servo's etc (as grease would do).

No idea what the tool costs, but if you are careful it can be done with the side of a screwdriver.

If you are going to do this yourself measure the clearance with feelers and write them all down as you go. Unless you are very unlucky they won't all be outside tolerance. For an everyday road going engine within tolerance is quite good enough. Don't make life hard by chasing that last "smidgeon" of clearance! Now work out how much the "wrong uns" need to be added to or, less likely, subtracted from to get the right gap. If you have a clearance that has closed up it may be due to valve seat erosion. You'll need to firstly check for leakage past the seat (cylinder leak test) and if you get a poor reading the head will need to come off. Now winkle out the existing shim, turn it over and the thickness should be etched/written on it. Felicity had 2 with nothing written on them! Luckily I had a micrometer so could measure what they were - a good quality vernier caliper would do as well. So now you know the thickness of your existing shim and how much you need to change it by to get the recommended gap - a wee working out on paper will give you the shim size needed. Write it down on a piece of paper, you'll forget it if you don't. Now you've got to get hold of the thickness of shim you need. The main agent may have them if you're lucky. Often specialist independents will keep old ones for future use so are always worth a try but you may have to order them and wait for them to come. When I was younger and doing a lot of BL stuff I used to source some parts from breakers and would always have my eyes open for little "extras" as I wandered about (part stripped heads, which would be of little commercial value, were always good for shims etc - but always offer to pay for them if you intend to return to the yard later. After all not to do so is stealing and these guys need to make a living too).

Availability, or non availability, of shims was often a problem in the garages I worked in. Unless there was a really thorough storesman in charge often the shim box would be handed back to the stores but no attempt made to reorder the shims used. After some time you would find a shim box with several of one size and none of another. It was mostly BL stuff I found I had this problem with (working in BL dealerships) so I got a machine shop to make me a wee shim holder - just a length of round bar with a recession machined in the end to hold the shim - now I could find a shim slightly larger than I needed (if the one I needed wasn't in the box) and gently "kiss" it down to size on the side of a grinding wheel, then assemble it rough, ground, side to the follower. Worked a treat and cost me a fiver if I remember. My work bay was never clogged up with unfinished work so I could always make good bonus!

Finally, when you've got it all back together before you button it up and put the cam cover back on squirt a little oil over the followers and lobes, take the plugs out and spin the engine over for a few seconds. This will settle the shims into the followers. I have found, just sometimes, a shim needs this to settle properly into it's running position. if you do a final clearance check before giving it a spin, just occasionally, you'll think you've done a clearance wrong when all it actually needs is a settling down spin!
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Old 11-03-2019   #13
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Re: Valve clearances

Quote Originally Posted by Pugglt Auld Jock View Post
Yup, probably a more common way of doing it. The old "O" and "E" series BL engines were like that. Used to "stick" them in place on the cam follower with a little dab of Vaseline to stop them falling out during assembly. Borg Warner used to advise using Vaseline when building up their auto boxes because when it gets hot the Vaseline will melt and become emulsified into the gearbox oil so no danger of blocking any oilways/servo's etc (as grease would do).

No idea what the tool costs, but if you are careful it can be done with the side of a screwdriver.

If you are going to do this yourself measure the clearance with feelers and write them all down as you go. Unless you are very unlucky they won't all be outside tolerance. For an everyday road going engine within tolerance is quite good enough. Don't make life hard by chasing that last "smidgeon" of clearance! Now work out how much the "wrong uns" need to be added to or, less likely, subtracted from to get the right gap. If you have a clearance that has closed up it may be due to valve seat erosion. You'll need to firstly check for leakage past the seat (cylinder leak test) and if you get a poor reading the head will need to come off. Now winkle out the existing shim, turn it over and the thickness should be etched/written on it. Felicity had 2 with nothing written on them! Luckily I had a micrometer so could measure what they were - a good quality vernier caliper would do as well. So now you know the thickness of your existing shim and how much you need to change it by to get the recommended gap - a wee working out on paper will give you the shim size needed. Write it down on a piece of paper, you'll forget it if you don't. Now you've got to get hold of the thickness of shim you need. The main agent may have them if you're lucky. Often specialist independents will keep old ones for future use so are always worth a try but you may have to order them and wait for them to come. When I was younger and doing a lot of BL stuff I used to source some parts from breakers and would always have my eyes open for little "extras" as I wandered about (part stripped heads, which would be of little commercial value, were always good for shims etc - but always offer to pay for them if you intend to return to the yard later. After all not to do so is stealing and these guys need to make a living too).

Availability, or non availability, of shims was often a problem in the garages I worked in. Unless there was a really thorough storesman in charge often the shim box would be handed back to the stores but no attempt made to reorder the shims used. After some time you would find a shim box with several of one size and none of another. It was mostly BL stuff I found I had this problem with (working in BL dealerships) so I got a machine shop to make me a wee shim holder - just a length of round bar with a recession machined in the end to hold the shim - now I could find a shim slightly larger than I needed (if the one I needed wasn't in the box) and gently "kiss" it down to size on the side of a grinding wheel, then assemble it rough, ground, side to the follower. Worked a treat and cost me a fiver if I remember. My work bay was never clogged up with unfinished work so I could always make good bonus!

Finally, when you've got it all back together before you button it up and put the cam cover back on squirt a little oil over the followers and lobes, take the plugs out and spin the engine over for a few seconds. This will settle the shims into the followers. I have found, just sometimes, a shim needs this to settle properly into it's running position. if you do a final clearance check before giving it a spin, just occasionally, you'll think you've done a clearance wrong when all it actually needs is a settling down spin!
Thanks, lots of great advice there.

I'm not looking forward to doing the shims on the motorcycle, I'd like to complete the job in the same day or at least over a weekend because it's my transport to work basically.
I've been looking at buying a box of shims, still no guarantee that there will be enough, all the valves could need the exact same size. Lol

So far I've only found this supplier, cost and the shipping makes it an expensive kit though.

http://www.hotcamsinc.com/productinfo.aspx?cat_id=9
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Old 11-03-2019   #14
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Re: Valve clearances

Quote Originally Posted by earthman View Post
Thanks, lots of great advice there.

I'm not looking forward to doing the shims on the motorcycle, I'd like to complete the job in the same day or at least over a weekend because it's my transport to work basically.
I've been looking at buying a box of shims, still no guarantee that there will be enough, all the valves could need the exact same size. Lol

So far I've only found this supplier, cost and the shipping makes it an expensive kit though.

http://www.hotcamsinc.com/productinfo.aspx?cat_id=9
If you're doing a whole head - like after grinding in all the valves, so all the old shims will be "wrong" - You'll often find that several of the "old" shims can now be relocated to other valves where they will now be the required size! I used to find that this, together with my "baccy" tin of scrap yard shims and occasional use of the grinding wheel with my special shim holding tool would usually see me through.

Several of us kept "baccy" tins and, every now and again, we would do an exchange of sizes during a tea or lunch break. The system worked well.
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Old 11-03-2019   #15
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Re: Valve clearances

Quote Originally Posted by earthman View Post
So far I've only found this supplier, cost and the shipping makes it an expensive kit though.
Why not try asking at your machine's main agent? They may know an easy and cheap source of supply? - and maybe not, but worth a try. If you can talk to a mechanic/technician even better. Most mechanics mess about at home with "stuff" and he may either have what you want or know of a supply source.
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