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Removing valve springs without pulling head?

Discussion in 'XJ Technical Chat' started by XJPilot, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. XJPilot

    XJPilot Member

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    I'm trying to replace the valve stem seals on my 550 Maxim and the valve spring compressor I have is too big to fit into the hole that the valve spring sits in. I've read that you can replace the the stem seals without pulling the head but haven't found a definitive guide to do so. If anyone has any insight that would be great! Thanks!
     
  2. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Bourbon. Moderator Premium Member

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    You will need cotton cording/rope that is of small enough a diameter to fit through the spark plug hole without binding.
    For each cylinder in turn:

    Remove the spark plug
    Turn the crankshaft so the cylinder you are working on is about halfway up towards coming to TCD
    Insert the rope until there is enough that it will fill the diameter of the cylinder when near TDC, but not be overfull. Remember to leave enough hanging out so you can remove the rope.
    Turn the crank to bring the piston up far enough to compress the rope against the valves and top of the combustion chamber. You want it just tight enough to support the valves.
    Proceed to replace he vlave guide seals on that cylinder.
    Rotate the crank backwards just enough to allow removal of the rope.
    Repeat for the remaining cylinders.
     
  3. XJPilot

    XJPilot Member

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    I know the process, but I'm having trouble actually removing the valve springs to expose the seals...
     
  4. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Bourbon. Moderator Premium Member

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    You'll need a valve keeper remover, or a modified 16mm socket (the modification is to cut the socket so it has a good fit, and has slots so you can out the keepers back in).

    You use the tool to press down on the top of the spring so the keepers can fall out (a wack with a hammer works well, but be very careful to not miss). Getting the keepers back in can be tricky without being able to use a proper valve spring compressor, so it's best to have help if you haven't done the job before.
     
  5. Timbox

    Timbox Well-Known Member

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    k-moe is right, it is a pain in the butt until you get the hang of it. Make sure you also put down some cloth or a drop tarp in case one of the keepers going flying (never happened to me). The wack method for getting them off works nice, but with out the compression tool, take some finesse.
     
  6. XJPilot

    XJPilot Member

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    Thanks for the help! Managed to get them done with a fair bit of cursing. Ended up cutting the side out of an old spark plug socket and using a length of 1x2 lumber to pry against the top tube of the frame to get the springs compressed. The seals were another story. Pretty crusty and stuck on there pretty good. I modified a pair of needle nose pliers with some sheet metal on the tips to grab under the seals and pull them off. I'll throw the cams back on in the morning and hopefully it'll be good for another 40 years haha.
     
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  7. Colin 85 700

    Colin 85 700 Active Member

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    Just to note, another trick for valve spring removal...
    Take an old spark plug and smash all the ceramic out so it has a hole thru it.
    Weld in a nipple so you can put a hose on it.

    Set crank at TDC and lock it there with the wrench your turning with (Tape to frame? Buddy holds it? Improvise)
    Put your little tool in the plug hole and attach hose to an air gun on a compressor n tape the trigger open.
    The air pressure will hold the valves in place.

    Advantages, no rope fragments in cylinder, quicker than feeding a stupid string in once you get the hang of it, you can never accidentally bend a rod from leftover rope parts or turning it too hard with rope in.
     
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  8. Colin 85 700

    Colin 85 700 Active Member

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    Another real bad drawing of a tool ive used to do this on car motors.
    Dont know if anyone makes a mini for bikes.
    image.png
     
  9. Colin 85 700

    Colin 85 700 Active Member

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    I could get a pic of the actual tool if anyone wants to fab one?
     
  10. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Bourbon. Moderator Premium Member

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    Please do, and write fabrication and use instructions into a DYI thread.
     
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  11. XJPilot

    XJPilot Member

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    I saw some tools like that online but unfortunately I don't think they would have worked. There is very little space around the spring and the top plate sits flush with the cylinder head.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Colin 85 700

    Colin 85 700 Active Member

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    Ya, my tool wouldnt work at all.nyou need an exposed spring.
     
  13. Colin 85 700

    Colin 85 700 Active Member

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    Guess i didnt look at my own bike that carefully when i had the valve cover off or i would have realized the style of head. All these XJs are the same family if engines so.... My bad on a stupid recommendation.
    I even made thar pic on my daughters drawing app thinking i was being helpfull ;)
     
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  14. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Bourbon. Moderator Premium Member

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    My bad as well. I didn't look at the pic before asking for a writeup, just the thumbnail. plus...bourbon.
     
  15. cds1984

    cds1984 Active Member

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    XJPilot.
    I like the piece of lumber against the frame to compress the spring. Ideal in frame concept.
     
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