Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1973 -> Kerry's Restoration -> Part 22
With the bottom end done, it was time to do the valve seal. A couple of weeks ago, I sent an email message asking how to compress the valve springs. DUH! Getting old is a bitch. Senior moment...I did this when I built the 440 for my 57 Imperial and had the valve spring compressor already.
This is what it looks like. Not the legs are different length so they will match the spiral of the spring.
This is the other tool you will need. One end goes into the spark plug hole and the other hooks to your air compressor. If you don't do this your valve can fall down and may not be retrievable without pulling the head. There are some other ways such as making sure the piston you are working on is at top dead center (TDC). Some people shove a rope in the cylinder so if you drop the valve the rope will keep it up. You will need all the valve stem you can get so I suggest the compressed air. You probably don't want to do this job without air tools anyway.
Put the tool on the spring and "Screw" it down as far as you can. Tightened it up a couple turns and take a large screwdriver and hammer and sharply rap the top of the spring. This will break the spring loose from the keepers but not allow them to fly out. It may take a couple licks. You will know when it moves. Then tighten it up until the spring is fully compressed. Needle nose plyers are good for removing the keepers. Keep your fingers below the spring. You WILL drop a keeper sooner or later. They are a pain to find.
Just to keep things clean and to keep the keepers from possibly falling into the engine, stuff rags into the pushrod hole.
This slightly fuzzy photo show the old seals on the right, keepers in the center, and new seals on the left. The old seals were cracked, shattered, and were in pieces. No wonder it smoked with started. I did not have any seals that sealed.
The seals are different. The longer ones go on the intake valves. You can tell which one is an intake because the exhaust valves are directly above the exhaust port. Obviously, I had the exhaust manifolds off because of the crack in mine. It is not necessary to replace the seals.
Because the new seals can be damaged when you push them over the groves in the valve stem, they come with this nifty plastic sleeve that slides over the groves. Put some assembly lube on it and the seal and push it down the shaft.
This entire job took about 3 hours given where I was with the teardown. Starting from scratch and having to deal with trying to remove the plugs and insert the air tool in the plug holes, it would probably take the better part of the day. At the least you would need to be above and below the car a bunch. If I didn't have lift, I put it on jack stands and build a platform so I could step up and get above the car while still allowing access to the bottom.
My lift raises the car 6 feet. I'm 6'2" or so. My head is full of cuts and dents so I wear this bump had to keep my noggin in tack. It's like a light duty hard hat.
From time to time, I had to take a break and stretch so I spent a few minutes cleaning and painting the parts I took off. After painting, I set them in the sun to dry. Of course, as soon as I did, the sun went behind a cloud. Oh well.
Kerry's '73 Restoration Saga Main...
This page was last updated on 08/22/2001. Please email me any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
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