View Full Version : How often to check/adjust valves?

06-01-2012, 11:43 AM
This question was actually buried in another thread, so it may not have caught anyone's attention.

I'm just wondering what the consensus is on how often -- in general -- to check/adjust the valves. I realize that this has a lot to do with mileage and other conditions, but are there any "general" guidelines?

I have friends who check/adjust their valves on Triumph TR3s about every three or four months. I drive my car about 4000 miles a year, maximum (this is limited by Virginia's rules governing antique plates and my insurance). I have been checking/adjusting my valves once a year.

06-01-2012, 02:13 PM
What's the owners manual suggest ?
TR6 suggest 6000 miles. I'd say that should be sufficient unless there's evidence of recession..

06-01-2012, 02:34 PM
TR3 owners manual just says "no definite interval" :frown:

I generally do it as part of the annual maintenance, which for me is 10-12,000 miles. But I started having trouble with valve seat recession again last year, so now I'm checking the valves every time the idle seems a bit off.

So far, the Redline lead substitute at 1 oz per tankful seems to be working, last check showed them right on the money. But I haven't had a chance to do any sustained high speed runs yet.

Don Elliott
06-01-2012, 03:19 PM
Between 1958 and 1972, I used to check the valve gaps in my TR3A every 5000 miles. Then it sat for 15 years.

In 1990 with my TR restored and the engine re-built (it still had many of the original valves in the head with 80,350 miles on the clock). But after about a further 43,000 miles on lead-free gas, I noticed that I had to re-gap them more frequently until I fould that I had lost most of the 0.010" gap every 500 miles or so. This is how I knew that the dreaded valve seat recession had become a reality. The gaps would close down to 0.004" or closer to 0.002".

So I pulled the head in 2000 and had 8 new valves, 8 new guides and 4 ring inserts for un-leaded gas fitted by an engine shop. The ring inserts were only used for the exhaust valve seats. He ground in the new valves and new seats. I did this in May 2000 and have driven my TR a total of 64,600 miles since then. Because of habit, I still check the gaps every 5000 miles or so but in these past 12 years I have never had to re-gap any valves more than 0.001". A few would be at 0.011" while another might be at 0.009". This was always random and I have no explanation for why up - why down.

I would say that if you have done all the above as I have, you could possibly extend the time to check to about 5 years or more.

But I'll still do mine like I do now.

06-01-2012, 04:11 PM
Very helpful... many thanks. As my engine was recently totally rebuilt, and I only put 4000 miles on it each year, looks like checking/adjusting them once a year sounds reasonable (though perhaps unnecessary). Probably could go longer... but since I service the car thoroughly each early spring, including a check of the valves is no big deal.

Again, thank you very much.

06-01-2012, 09:30 PM
The Haynes manual says 6000/six months.


06-02-2012, 08:10 AM
Hi, Bob,

Perhaps that explains it.... My friends who check their valves often are probably using their cars as "daily drivers." 6000 miles in six months... I am limited by Va DOT rules and insurance to 4000 miles in a year. So once a year check/adjust sounds OK, unless or until I encounter some problem with the engine.

06-02-2012, 04:19 PM
Mine is a part timer too. 260 miles on fresh restore, so I don't have a track record. I'll probably do it once a year.