valve spring compressors - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 21st, 02, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Has anyone here had the opportunity to use a valve spring compessor that allows you to keep the head on the car, using compressed air to keep the valve from dropping into the cylinder? And if so, how big of a pain is it?Thanks, Terry
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 22nd, 02, 02:05 AM
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I would use the type that compresses the spring by turning a knob at the end rather then the pry bar type, You attach the compressor, wind it up, pull the keepers out, pull the spring off with the compressor, install new umbrella seal, reinstall the spring, install new valve seal on valve stem, install keepers, wind off the compressor.
Befor you go into a big job like this check the valve guides, with Rocker covers off, valbve closed, gently push valve spring in towards the motor, if you have a lot of movement more than 1/16 inch, seals are not going to help.
The valve seal on a GM motor is designed only to keep oil from running down the valve stem into the cylinder, It does not seal the valve stem.
Where in Ontario are you from?
Could you also describe your car.
Thanks Rob ( Port Hope - Butternut yellow 68)
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 22nd, 02, 02:59 AM
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I like what Rob said and would only add that the allowable valve guide clearance is much less than that, probably in the thousanths of an inch. Perhaps Bill K. will comment as he is the local guru on the subject.

Back in the old days before people had compressors at home we used to feed a length of clothes line into the spark plug hole and push the piston all the way up to hold the valves in place while the spring was removed. I have the pry bar type and the giant C-clamp (off the engine type) but the screw down model Rob mentioned is on my Christmas list.

-Mark.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 22nd, 02, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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The engine & heads are fresh, I was just hoping to avoid a teardown, but I've never used one of these tools before. Checking them out, the lever type seems to require two sets of hands, and looks like a total pain to use. I'll go with the other type, thanks. I'm in Ontario, California, Is Canada abbreviated as Ca.? The car is an all orig. 69 hugger orange SS396\325 4spd , that I try to use as an every day driver, in between repairs. Thanks for all your help guys, Terry
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 22nd, 02, 05:21 PM
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It's not that bad, just takes a long time leaning over the fenders.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 23rd, 02, 08:44 AM
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The valve spring compressor I like even better than the screw type is made by Lisle. Unfortunately I don't have a part number because I lost the little paper insert out of the package years ago. It has 2 hooked legs that hook under the lowest coil on the spring and then you squeeze the handle and that compresses the spring. I love it...it works great with the heads on or off the vehicle. I think I gave $50 for it about 5-6 years ago and it has more than paid for itself. It takes me less than 2 hours to change all the springs, locks, retainers, and seals on an installed V-8.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 23rd, 02, 01:37 PM
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Me and a buddy fed a rope into the spark plug holes. Then manually spun the pulley until you tugged on the rope and it was taut.

Took maybe 2 hours for the whole process. It wasn't bad at all. Well worth the effort!

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 30th, 02, 05:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone, The knob type worked great, used the rope also, went smoother than anticipated. I'm not sure why the valve springs are breaking, this is the second one since the rebuild. Stock cam, orig. springs ,pushrods, & rockers. They both broke under normal driving conditions, Is this a common problem on older big blocks? The person I got the car from said they had overheated it pretty bad (engine was already out of the car when i got it) when the water pump blew apart on them after 15 yrs. of sitting in storage. Could this be metal fatigue from that? Thanks again, Terry
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old May 1st, 02, 02:54 PM
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If the valve springs are original, they're dying from old age (fatigue); I'd replace all of them with new stock springs.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old May 1st, 02, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks John, I'll do that. Preventative maintenance is always easier and less costly than breakdowns! Terry
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old May 1st, 02, 05:38 PM
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I am new at taking off the heads off a sbc, but have used both types. Of course with the heads off. The type with the large and small U clamp and a turn handle are tough to use because they tend to slip on the retainer while you compress the spring.On the other hand the clamp type that look like a big C with a clamp at one end worked great for me I did the work in half the time Hope this helps and good luck

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