I inherited a '79 F-350 along with its half-rebuilt 400ci. The push rods, rocker arms and lifters are (somewhat) neatly placed in a labeled box, but I'm at a loss as to what the fellow meant with his labels:

enter image description here enter image description here

Right/left is ambiguous, depending on which way you're facing. Which label is the driver side and which is the passenger side (in America)?

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 19:44
  • I would be concerned as if you stand facing the right-hand bank it is R>L ie front to rear, then if you face the left-hand bank it would be Rear to front... Which just seems odd. I would personally consider a new camshaft, followers or lifters and pushrods anyway as good value in the rebuild...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 20:10
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 ~ Welcome Thanks, looks like a good place to be :-)
    – InteXX
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 22:39
  • @SolarMike ~ I would personally consider a new ... Yes, normally I would agree. These will go in a different truck, though, just to get it back on the road for now.
    – InteXX
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 22:41

3 Answers 3


We cannot not tell you what the author of the notes was thinking exactly, but typically, you look at right and left as though you're sitting from the driver's seat. It would have been much better had they marked it as 1-8 for the cylinders, but with that being said, I'd just go with what is typical for R and L from a mechanic's standpoint, as I've already detailed. I'd also suggest where the writing is would be for the front of the engine. Looking at the images again, I'd feel confident in both of these assessments as it makes sense. If you align the writing from the front of the engine with the arrows pointing towards the rear, the R and L line up.

  • I follow you on the first part (driver seat view), but you lost me on the second part (arrows). R→L line up?
    – InteXX
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 22:42
  • We cannot not tell you what the author of the notes was thinking exactly ... Really! I was hoping you could read his mind ;-)
    – InteXX
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 23:11
  • @InteXX - I was talking about the big "R" and "L", not the little ones. Really, I'm pretty sure this matches as I described it ... makes a lot of sense, though numbers would have made more sense, lol. Without the author's knowledge, I think this is the best you have to go with. Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 0:49

"Right" and "Left" bank is usually considered from the perspective of the driver's seat. It get's less clear when the engine is mounted transversely... front and back are obvious, but "left" would refer to the bank that would be on the driver's left IF the engine were installed longitudinally. Cadillac Northstar, for instance.

Frankly, if you don't want to buy new, just measure and mic everything to see if there is anything out of spec. I don't think those parts have any "handedness", and keep in mind you'll have to adjust valve clearance anyway. It's very likely all the intake and exhaust pushrods and rockers and lifters are identical - with the possible exception of wear.

Buy new. 351C/400 parts are dirt cheap. You can probably get an entire valvetrain kit from a place like Summit or Jegs, and maybe avail yourself the opportunity to buy new performance cams suitable for your purpose as well.

To answer your actual question: I have no idea. Even if I knew, how would you identify which rockers are paired with which pushrods? How can you be sure the whoever removed the parts followed the convention?

If it was me, and I knew I was going to reuse the components and cared, I would have put each set in a ziplock bag and labeled them by cylinder number. I doubt I would be that concerned, since there's no way I would put the engine back together without checking and adjusting valve clearance. I realize this is little help to you now.

  • 1
    i think I'm just going to sell everything I own and move to the mountains.
    – InteXX
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 5:49
  • @InteXX I hear you, brother. You can come to my compound anytime. I'm reloading 12ga for Zombie Apocolypse (Or Andrew Cuomo getting re-elected). BUT YOU STILL GONNA NEED A PICKEMUP TRUCK . . . Semper Fi
    – SteveRacer
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 6:01
  • Cool. Compound. Good word, that :-)
    – InteXX
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 6:23
  • Just a silly thought - could you call the guy and ask him??
    – SteveRacer
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 2:03
  • It was six years ago. But I did call a mechanic who knows him—he told me it doesn't matter.
    – InteXX
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 7:28

Not sure if this agrees or contradicts the other answers, but I would have thought that the guy doing the disassembly would initially be stood in front of the car looking at the engine. The cylinder head on his left would have been ‘L’ and the one on his right would have been ‘R’.

Then when he moved to each side of the car to disassemble each head, again, the cylinder on his left would be ‘L’ and the one on his right would be ‘R’.

  • Exactly! Which makes the answer "who knows?" Is he a mechanic that followed accepted convention, or just a guy standing in front of an engine? If he was a good mechanic, I suspect he would have done a better job of separating the parts and labeling - but in his defense, maybe he assumed he would be putting it back together, and he would understand his labels better.
    – SteveRacer
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 2:03
  • @SteveRacer ~ Supposedly he's a machinist. And I'd probably go with your latter theory—that he was expecting to finish it himself. As it was, the whole thing sat half-done for twenty years until it landed in my lap. And that was six years ago.
    – InteXX
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 7:31

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