'78 318 rocker arm and pushrod issues

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by cadjak, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. cadjak

    cadjak Guest

    I have a 78 Dodge B200 van, 318, 4 bbl, with 352,000 miles on it. The
    engine was rebuilt at 155K and seems to be running solid. Timing chain
    was done about 20,000 miles ago. I've always run Castrol 20/50 with
    changes, including Napa Gold filter, every 3k. I just switched to
    Castrol "high milage" 20/50 this last oil change. (100mi ago)

    My friend who works as a mechanic and has lots of years under his belt
    does what work I need, as I need it. This last time he said he heard a
    tapping under the valve cover on the driver's side. He figured rocker
    arm and push rod (probably just one). Since he does the work for me
    after hours in the shop, I have always done the part locating.

    My questions are these, does anyone make an adjustable pushrod for my
    application? Is it okay to replace just the "bad" rocker and pushrod?
    Which valve cover gasket has the best leak resistance over time,
    rubber or cork? Are there any special pitfalls to watch for in doing
    this repair? What if I just leave it alone, what can happen? Is there
    a SAFE way to clean crud from the lifters, if that is all that might
    be causing the problem?

    Thanks for whatever help you can offer!

    cadjak, Feb 29, 2004
  2. cadjak

    Dodgem440 Guest

    Mopar performance used to sells an adjustable pushrod. Small block
    pushrods and rockers wear a lot due to the poor geometery. And yes you
    and replace just the offending rockers and push rods. a whole set of
    pushrods is only $30 at and a whole set of standard rockers is onlt $80
    at http://www.manciniracing.com/

    These stock items can be bought at your local dealer or parts store also.

    You may want to check your rocker shafts for wear also. Replace the
    shafts if needed, the rockers and pushrods and your tick shopuld
    disappear. If it don't it may need a lifter.
    Dodgem440, Mar 2, 2004
  3. cadjak

    Steve Guest

    If it were MY engine (and I have a 430,000 mile 318 myself :) I'd
    spring the $79.95 for a set of OEM-style but heavier stamped rocker arms
    from Mopar Performance, and a set of new pushrods and lifters while I
    was at it. No sense in being penny-wise and pound-foolish with an engine
    that only has 100k miles on it since its last rebuild. If you decide to
    replace the lifters, the job gets a little more complicated because the
    intake has to come off (not enough room to 'fish' the lifters out
    through the rocker covers like there is on a big-block Chrysler). But it
    still is a pretty simple job.

    As for valve cover gaskets, the Fel-Pro rubber-coated-fiber gaskets are
    quite good. But I've had the best luck using Permatex "The Right Stuff"
    gasket maker and *no* gasket at all. The older Chrysler engines have a
    rough cast gasket surface on the head, and the permatex seems to seal it
    the best. Fiber or worse yet cork gaskets always wind up leaking even if
    you use a gasket sealant on them. One of the few true hard-part
    "improvements" to these engines when they went to the Magnum-style heads
    in '92 was valve cover sealing because they have a machined gasket
    surface instead of rough cast.
    Steve, Mar 2, 2004
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