Trouble Shooting: Valve Adjustment

Most industrial engines still require regular valve adjustments (although more and more engines are fitted with self-adjusting hydraulic lifters). Here is a typical scenario relating to neglect of adjusting adjustable valves:

An industrial engine has been working hard and reliably for a long time until one day, after shutting it down for only ¼ hour, it would not restart again. A mechanic arrived 2 hours later and the engine started immediately and ran well without fail until the next time when the engine was shut down for ¼ hour again.


The valve clearance was too small (never been adjusted). Once the engine had been stopped for ¼ hour, all heat was rising to the top of the engine and the valves (especially & typically the exhaust valves) opened in the closed position and dramatically reduced the compression. After 2 hours of waiting, the engine cooled down enough to allow the valves to close again and ensure enough compression to start and run the engine.


Carry out regular valve adjustment maintenance as per the owner’s manual.

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