Q: Do I need tall valve covers?

A: Valve covers come in a variety of designs to give your engine the look you want. One important thing you will need to determine is your valve cover height. Valve covers are available in either “stock” or “tall” height. NOTE: Stock valve covers are frequently called “short” valve covers.

Tall Valve Covers vs. Stock

Tall valve covers have added clearance over stock covers.

If you upgrade to a high-lift camshaft, full roller rockers, and/or shaft mount rockers, you will probably need tall covers. Tall covers are also required if you use a stud girdle.

If you have a close-to-stock camshaft and valvetrain, you should be able to use stock height covers.

How do I check?

If you are unsure whether you need tall covers, follow these steps:

  1. Assemble the valvetrain.
  2. Set the valve covers in place.
    • Do not bolt them down.
    • Do not use a gasket.
  3. Hold the cover in place with your hand.
  4. Have a helper rotate the engine.
    • Turn the crank over by hand, or
    • Disconnect the ignition coil(s) and bump the starter.

You will be able to feel if the rocker arms hit the cover. If they do, you will need tall valve covers.

This is another in a series of weekly Q&A Mailbag sessions with Summit Racings tech department, in which there are hundreds more. Click here to see them all.

Share this Article