Windstar 2003 3.8 V6 Valve Rocker Arm Adjustment

I’m currently replacing my cylinder heads on my ford windstar 2003 3.8 v6 engine with re-manufactured heads. I’ve got the cylinder heads installed. Now I need to put the push rods and rocker arms back on. In my Haynes manual it says I have to set the rocker arms to TDC for each cylinder but my mechanic friend said that I don’t have to adjust anything on the valves, push rods, and rocker arms as its hydraulic and should adjust it self.

My question is after installing my cylinder heads do I need to do any adjustments to the push rods/rocker arms/valve settings on a windstar 2003 3.8 V6? I’ve heard valve lashing and other processes like the TDC for each cylinder/pushrod but i’m unsure. I don’t want to destroy my new heads and I can’t find concert information on Google about my specific car. If anyone has information or can even point me in the right direction I would be grateful. Thanks,

“In my Haynes manual it says I have to set the rocker arms to TDC for each cylinder”

Is that all it says? I don’t understand what it’s telling you to do. Does it mean to install the rocker arms for each cylinder when that piston is at TDC?

You don’t have to adjust anything as it does have hydraulic lash adjusters. But you do have to correctly torque the rocker arms. If you go register at autozone’s web site (free), plug in the '03 Windstar, and go to the “Repair Help” section it gives you the procedure.

@texases Sorry for the lack of information. yes the Haynes manual basically says to torque the rocker arms when each piston is at TDC in a more detailed manner then I am describing.

So I reviewed the autozone description and there is no adjustment needed to valve lash but I do have to torque the rocker arm retaining bolt with the following procedure:

Rotate the crankshaft until the lifter for the rocker arm being installed, is on the base circle (heel) of the cam lobe.

Is this the same thing my Haynes manual is telling me to do when I have to have each piston at its TDC before tightening that pistons rocker arm?

Yep, same thing. Both want you to torque each lifter when the associated valve is not being lifted by the cam. They Haynes technique might be a little more time consuming, but it’ll let you do it in a very systematic manner.

The rocker arm adjustment is as follows.

*Install the bolts hand tight.

*Tighten the bolts in two stages.

*First stage 44 in/lbs.

*Second stage 24 ft/lbs.


If this is a floating type rocker like the ones used on the Chevy small block, that is the nut does not push the rocker down on a flat portion of the stud, then you have to torque each nut when the piston is TDC on the compression stroke or you will ruin your camshaft and lifters. The studs will be threaded all the way to the head surface or close to it.

What you are doing in this type of arrangement is not so much torquing the nut but setting the preload on the spring inside the lifter. If the lifter is up on the cam lobe when you torque it down, then it wont have any preload on the spring when the engine is rotated and the lifter is off the lobe. Then it will clatter.

In many engines, you can actually do several valves at TDC for compression on the #1 and the rest when the engine is at TDC for the exhaust stroke of #1. The book should show you which valves, but baring that, you have to find the TDC for each piston and that can be time consuming. I believe there is a trick for it though.

If your studs have shelf on them, then you just torque the rockers down, but even then you will be actuating the valves so the valve springs will cause the torque to be inaccurate. Just rotate the engine and check them all again.