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Methods for measuring tappet clearance in an engine

Dial Gauge Method: -
In this method the fuel injector is taken out and from the opening a dial gauge is put inside. Then the turning gear is engaged and the engine turned over. The pointer of the dial gauge will move in one direction and then stop and start in opposite direction. The moment the pointer of the dial gauge stops and changes its direction of movement is the TDC of the unit. This method is not normally used in day-to-day practice, but may be used in the calibration of the flywheel if it is not calibrated, or after some repairs

Camshaft Method: -
The camshaft window of the engine can be opened up and the camshaft inspected. The cam of the engine has a base circle, and acceleration and dwell periods. If the roller of the follower is at the base circle, then the particular valve is closed by spring action. When both the exhaust valve and the inlet valve follower are on the base circle, then the unit is also at TDC. It must be remembered that as a four-stroke engine has two rotations of the crankshaft there is one injection TDC where the injection and the combustion take place. The second time the piston is at TDC is when the exhausting of the flue gases takes place. It is very important to identify the combustion TDC, as tappets have to be adjusted at that point.

Cam Profile

Crankcase Method: -
In this method the crankcase doors are opened up and the piston is visually checked whether is going up or down. This is the surest method, but a bit cumbersome. It should be used when you have a strong doubt about the other methods.

Valve Spring Method: -
This is not an independent method but is used in conjunction with the flywheel method. In this method if the flywheel is indicating two units, you can check the springs of both the units. The unit in which the springs are loose is the one at TDC. The caution is that this method is useful for an engine in use. If you have removed the rocker arms during the overhaul and thereafter you want to use this method then it can cause errors.

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