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Practical Engine Building: Installing and Removing Valve Springs

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Installing and Removing Valve Springs


00:00 - One of the tasks you're going to need to be able to perform any time you're stripping and reassembling a cylinder head, is removing and reinstalling the valve springs and hence the valves into the head.
00:11 Now at best this is a tricky and fiddly job, and on late model double overhead cam cylinder heads in particular this becomes even more difficult because the amount of room or access we have around the retainer at the top of the valve can be quite limited.
00:28 For this demonstration we're going to be looking at installing and removing a valve from this Toyota 2JZ cylinder head.
00:36 Before we get into that though, it's always a good idea to have an understanding of the components we're working with and how they interact and work together.
00:44 So here I've got one of the Supertech valves that's going into this Toyota 2JZ cylinder head.
00:50 And what we can see is at the end of the valve there is a groove machined into it, and this is the collet groove where the two collets will locate and it's those collets that hold the valve and retainer assembly together.
01:05 Here we've got our valve spring and at the top of the valve spring we have a titanium retainer.
01:10 So it's this retainer that will lock against the collets on the valve and make sure everything holds together.
01:16 It is machined with an internal taper, and this internal taper matches the taper that will be present on the collets.
01:25 Let's just drop that into location.
01:27 Here we've got our two collets, and these are what we're going to be locating onto the groove at the top of the valve.
01:35 Let's just do that now.
01:37 Just put a little bit of assembly lube on these so that they should stay in place, and we'll just locate the second collet now.
01:46 So you can see we've got those two fitted to the valve, they're in the collet groove, and we can see the tapered angle that those present.
01:55 So this matches the taper in the retainer, I'll just slide that retainer into place and if we give that a pull we can see that that actually locks into place so the whole assembly there is actually quite sound, quite solid.
02:09 So now that we know how the components work, we're going to look at installing and removing the valve assembly.
02:16 So we're going to start with our valve seats.
02:20 Now the valve seats sit at the bottom of the assembly, these locate in the cylinder head, and these form two important tasks.
02:28 First of all this is what the valve spring will sit on.
02:32 And this means that the valve spring will not be running directly on the aluminium of the cylinder head which it could quickly wear into.
02:39 The other aspect here is you can see we've actually got two seats this time.
02:44 One's a spring seat and the other is a shim.
02:47 And this is being used to set the installed height of the valve spring.
02:51 This is quite a critical aspect of our valve spring.
02:54 Setting the installed height is based on the manufacturer's recommendations.
02:59 And this ensures we have the correct spring pressure on the seat.
03:03 So what we're going to do is begin by just dropping those into location over the top of the valve stem seal.
03:10 Now it is worth mentioning that in some cylinder heads, in some installations the valve spring seat will need to be fitted prior to installing the valve guide seal.
03:20 So it's always important to check that out and make sure you know which way around these need to be fitted.
03:27 If we get this wrong we could end up needing to remove and waste a complete set of valve guide seals.
03:32 Now with our seat in place I'm just going to fit our valve back into the cylinder head.
03:38 This just needs to be slotted back in from the combustion chamber side.
03:43 And we'll slide that up through the valve guide seal.
03:46 Now the valve guide seal will hold that valve nicely in place.
03:50 Next I'm just going to take our valve spring retainer and fit that to the upper side of our valve spring.
03:57 We'll drop that whole assembly down over the valve.
04:01 Now what we're going to be using for this installation task is an SP Tools valve spring compressor.
04:07 We can see that this particular part here is designed so that we can still get access to the retainer in order to fit the collets into the collet grooves.
04:21 It's also important to make sure that you've got the right adaptor.
04:24 There's a variety of adaptors available for different diameter retainers so we need to make sure that we're using one that is a good match for the retainer that we're using.
04:35 Ok we're just going to locate the valve spring compressor on the head of the valve first.
04:41 And then once it's located correctly on the head of the valve I'm just going to bring the other end down, locate it onto the retainer.
04:48 Once I'm happy with the location at both ends, we can just compress the valve spring down.
04:55 And this will lock into place.
04:59 Now there is the ability to adjust the amount of compression at the end of the valve spring compressor, and we need to adjust this so that the valve spring is being compressed enough so that we can get access to the collet groove and this is going to make it easier for us to install the collets.
05:17 Now we've got our two collets here.
05:20 And a really good trick here is to make sure that we use a small amount of engine assembly lube on these collets.
05:28 And this is going to allow them to stick to the valve stem when we install them.
05:34 And what I'm also going to do, I'm gonna be using a small flat laid jewellers screwdriver here to help me install the collets.
05:42 And I'm going to apply a small amount of the assembly lube to the screwdriver as well.
05:46 And what this will do is allow the collets to also stick to the screwdriver.
05:51 So it's very easy to drop these collets, and just allowing them to stick to the screwdriver makes it a little bit easier to manipulate them into place.
05:59 So we'll grab my first collet now, just going to apply a little bit of assembly lube to the inside of the collet.
06:06 Just going to run the screwdriver through that, and then if we put the screwdriver on the back side of the collet, we can see that this actually holds it quite nicely.
06:16 Now with that in place what I'm going to do is manipulate this into the collet groove.
06:23 And as I've said this can be quite fiddly.
06:26 We need to be very careful while we're doing this and make sure that we do have it correctly located.
06:32 The first one's generally the easiest collet to install.
06:35 The second one, there's a little bit less room for us to work with.
06:39 So generally it's a little bit fiddlier to get in.
06:43 We may also find that for the second collet it's necessary to manipulate the location of our valve spring compressor slightly.
06:52 So let's just get our second collet installed now.
06:55 And I'm using both the screwdriver as well as the tip of my finger to help me guide the collet into place.
07:04 Just get that past the tip of the valve there.
07:08 I'm just going to push that into place.
07:13 And it's just dropped down now quite nicely into that collet groove.
07:17 Once I'm happy with everything, I'm just going to release the tension of the valve spring compressor, it'll come back up.
07:23 I'm just going to watch as I do this and make sure that the retainer slides nicely over those collets and they stay in place.
07:32 Once we've done this as well what we want to do is just inspect and make sure that everything is correctly in place, and it can be helpful here just to use a clean rag, just remove any excess assembly lubricant from the collets so we can view them and make sure that they are correctly in location.
07:51 Once we've done this we can obviously move on and assemble the remaining valves into the cylinder head.
07:58 Now that we've seen how to install the valve spring retainer assembly, we're going to reverse the process and see how we can go about removing it.
08:06 Now in this case we're just going to refit our valve spring compressor.
08:11 And we're going to make sure we're located both on the head of the valve, as well as the retainer, nice and squarely.
08:19 And then we're going to compress the valve spring compressor into location.
08:24 I'll point out here that if you're dealing with a cylinder head that has been in operation, you're likely to find that initially it will take a reasonable amount of force in order to free the retainer from the collet.
08:37 So don't worry if it does take a bit of effort initially.
08:41 With this because we've just installed that valve, it's much easier to remove.
08:45 Now that we've got the valve spring compressed and the retainer's moved back off the collets, what I'm going to do is just use a little magnet here on a stick and I'm just going to use that to remove the collets.
09:01 And we're going to just take these out one at a time, and again it can require us to manipulate the location of the valve spring compressor as we're doing this, just so we have some clearance to work with.
09:12 Once we've got the two collets out, we can again release the tension on the valve spring compressor.
09:20 And remove our components.
09:25 Now I will point out here that this is, as I said at the start, a fiddly task and the demonstration I've just given, actually went quite smoothly.
09:36 It's quite common that when you first start installing the valve springs into a cylinder head, you may find that you struggle quite a lot with your first few.
09:46 What I generally find is that after you've done two or three valves you'll start forming a technique for that particular cylinder head, and you'll find that everything goes a lot more smoothly.
09:56 Once we've completed the entire installation of our valve spring and retainer assemblies, we want to go back over everything and ensure that all of those collets are correctly located, want to be very sure that everything is correct, because any failures here could end up in a catastrophic amount of damage to our engine.
10:15 While I haven't shown the process within this particular example, once all the valve springs are correctly installed, it's advisable to go through and seat the collets into the retainers before installing the head onto an engine.
10:29 This can be done by lightly tapping the valve stem using something like a plastic faced hammer.

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