How to Remove Valve Springs Without Removing the Head

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Within every automotive engine are several valve springs. The valve springs hold the valves in their closed position until the valves are opened by the engine's camshaft. Over time and with mileage, the strength of valve springs diminishes. A weakened valve spring usually causes backfiring. Valve springs are typically removed after the cylinder head has been taken off of the engine to prevent the valve from dropping into the cylinder. However, with the assistance of compressed air and a sparkplug air hose kit, the springs can be removed without removing the head.

Things You'll Need

  • Sparkplug wrench
  • Socket wrench
  • Sparkplug air hose kit
  • Air hose
  • Air compressor
  • Valve spring compressor tool
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Remove the engine's sparkplugs with a sparkplug wrench.

  • Remove the valve cover by removing each of the valve cover's retaining bolts with a socket wrench and lifting the valve cover off the cylinder head to expose the rocker arms.

  • Screw the tip of a sparkplug air hose kit into the spark plug opening that corresponds to the valve spring that will be removed.

  • Connect an air hose attached to an air compressor to the opposite end of the air hose kit.

  • Turn the air compressor on and allow the cylinder to fill with air.

  • Remove the adjusting nut in the center of a rocker arm with a socket wrench, then lift the rocker arm off its mounting stud.

  • Position a valve spring compressor tool onto the rocker arm stud, then secure the tool in place by tightening the rocker arm's adjusting nut onto the stud.

  • Compress the valve spring with the valve spring compressor tool to expose the tip of the valve.

  • Pull the two valve keepers off the tip of the valve with needle-nose pliers while compressing the spring.

  • Release the valve spring gradually with the compressor tool.

  • Lift the valve spring off the cylinder head.

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References

  • "Hot Rod" Magazine; Weekend Work-Ups: Slick Tips & Simple Tricks; John Baechtel; July 1988
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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