How To Replace A Ford Valve Lifter

When one of your valve lifters goes bad, many things can go wrong. Your engine's performance will suffer, and related engine parts will wear out faster.

Once you confirm that one of your valve lifters is bad, you want to replace it right away. Doing so will restore your engine's performance and preserve the parts related to the valve lifters (lifters are also sometimes called valve lash adjusters).

If you're somewhat handy, you can replace the valve lifters right at home. It's not a complicated job as long as your engine doesn't have excessive oil buildup. We'll show you how to do this.

Why Replace All The Valve Lifters At Once?

Replace lifters

Image Credit: WildMidwest

Have you determined that only one or a few of your valve lifters are bad? You can replace only these parts and leave the rest alone. That being said, we always recommend replacing all your valve lifters at once anyway.

If your Ford is on the older side, chances are quite high that the rest of the lifters will go bad soon anyway. Replacing all the lifters at once will save you a lot of time and trouble. With a whole set of new valve lifters in your engine, you won't have to worry about lifter failure again for a long time.

Getting Ready For The Job

Before diving into your engine to replace the valve lifter(s), you need to prepare a bit. That involves the following tasks:

1. Ordering OEM Replacement Valve Lifters

This is the first step you want to take. Obviously you can't complete the job without replacement parts. You can grab OEM replacement valve lifters either at a Ford dealership or online.

If you're looking to save a few bucks, you may want to check out the genuine OEM valve lifters we have in stock. It's pretty hard to beat our prices. It's because our OEM valve lifters are available at wholesale pricing.

After you get the new valve lifters, remember to prime them by soaking them in fresh motor oil before installing them.

2. Gathering Together All The Necessary Tools

If you want the replacement job to go smoothly, make sure you have all these tools on hand:

  • Basic ratchet and socket set
  • Screwdriver and other basic tools

The Valve Lifter Replacement Process

OEM lifter

Before we start, we wanted to mention that this is a general overview of the replacement process for the 4.6 and 5.4 V8. If you need more guidance, you can find a model-specific tutorial. There's a great video here for the 4.6L and 5.4L V8.

  1. Clean the engine and engine bay at a car wash before you start to minimize the risk of anything falling into a cylinder head while they are exposed.
  2. Remove the coil covers with an 8mm socket
  3. Remove the coils, and spark plugs.
  4. Remove both valve covers using an 13mm socket. Be careful not to lose any of the seals.
  5. You will need an 18mm socket and ratchet to rotate the engine's crankshaft. As you rotate the crankshaft, the camshafts will also rotate.
  6. Choose a cylinder and valve to start on. Rotate the crankshaft clockwise until there is the least pressure possible on the rocker arm. (These rocker arms have a roller in them.)
  7. Use a screwdriver to pop the rocker arm up and sideways so that it comes free.
  8. Use a pliers to pull the valve lifter straight upwards to remove it.
  9. Install the new lifter.
  10. Replace the rocker arm. Use a screwdriver to pop it into position.
  11. Use a grease pen or masking tape to mark the head adjacent to the lifter you have replaced. (It's easy to lose track of which lifters you've replaced.)
  12. Locate the other lifters that also have minimal tension on them, and replace them next.
  13. Repeat the procedure until you finish replacing lifters.
  14. Re-assemble the valve covers, spark plugs, etc. that you removed earlier.

And you're all set! Got any questions about the replacement process? We're here for you! Just call us, email us, or reach out to us via our contact form.