So I got my handy-dandy T-Vac in the mail today and couldn't wait to try it out! I know my engine isn't 100% and the T-Vac was going to help me root it out.
Only I'm not sure that I want to know? I discovered that I have worn out valve guides and/or leaky valves. I get a "Fast vibration from 14-19" and/or "2-5 oscillating drop from nominal" I'm so glad I got this thing!! Lol, now I have a project I didn't know I had. But it's good, slowly but surely my T will run better and better.
My questions are: what's the best way to tackle this? I can buy the reamer tool and some oversize valves, but are there any tricks or issues to that approach? Or is there a better/different way to go about it? I mean, if $$$ were no object I'd take the whole thing apart, ship it to J&M and say "make it pristine" and have everything all metal stitched and balanced and sexified and she'd prolly run 70 mph when I got it back.
However, since I'm stuck in reality . . .
Are the hardened seats worth going ahead and getting/installing? I ask because I hate to get in there and not go ahead and do smart things, especially if it isn't too hard. I have zero intention of pulling the engine and taking it to a machine shop - I saw a few months ago a magnificent setup where a forum poster got this really cool machine that cut him some nice holes for hardened valve seats or just newer, fresher valve seats, can't remember which. Anyway, it looked really cool and like it worked really well. Is there anyone in eastern North Carolina (or South Carolina or Virginia) with the necessary tools for this job? (if it's worth doing).
I make no presumption of being an expert - I did lap the valves back when I was first getting the whole thing going and thought that I was getting a pretty good seal. I'll try and get a compression tester and see if I can't isolate which valve(s) are the problem children. After that, I will drain and remove my radiator, pull the head and post some pics. I'll also make sure not to wipe anything before taking pics so I can get a good diagnosis from the board on what all I have going on. Hopefully I won't find anything other than some loose valves.
Just as a side note: it's not a huge, major issue - because the engine is strong and I can jump up and pass anybody else's T when I've been on tour - but I have noticed that the engine likes to do this little stumble/bump thing at idle. I jokingly say it's cause she's cam-ing. She still runs like lightning, I'm just hoping make her run like greased lightning it after we get these valve shenanigans worked out. Last question - since I'll have everything so far apart should I bite the bullet and save for a Stipe 280 cam? Been really tempted. Thanks!
Hi Seth, I was the one doing my seats. I am interested to see what the forum say's about your issue. I do not have the knowledge or experience to advise. My T is up and running well now, I put new but not hardend seats in. I found my engine has lot's of issues - very worn. But it's running well, knock on wood. Wishing you the best of luck with yours.
Seth - I think the most inexpensive way to do a complete in car repair would be the following:
350 Chevy exhaust valves available at NAPA or at most any parts store. They have slightly larger heads and the stems are .030 larger than standard Model T. Use Ford 9N tractor intake valve seat spring retainers also available at NAPA with the split keepers for the Chevy valves. You can use standard Model T springs with this set up. I would then install adjustable push rods. If your valve seats are not to bad you should be able to lap the new valves in. You will have to ream the guides .030 oversize but is not hard to do. You should be able to do the whole thing for less than $200.
The oversize head will bring the valve back up to the top of the block if your seats are worn.
Langs sells this set up and is listed as "modern valves".
I like this set up and have used it on all of my engines.
I'm building an engine now and I'm getting ready to install new valves, here is a photo of the valve, spring, keepers and retainer.
I think Mike gave you some good advice. I would add that I'm a proponent of driving and having cheap fun so long as everything is running well and is safe. It's my hope and intent that the T-Vac will aid owners of obviously ailing "T's" in diagnosing why the car runs poorly not to worry the owner of a good running car! *GRIN*
Two recent examples:
when I did a valve job for a friend and when done, #1 cylinder wouldn't fire. Turned out I had dinged the intake manifold gasket upon installation, and it was leaking...the usual tests wouldn't detect it, but the low vacuum pointed me to it and the car ran great after a second new gasket set was installed (I still can't figure out how I managed to damage the first one in the first place).
Second instance was that over time, and heavy usage, this same "T" progressivly got worse at burning oil...everyone was convinced that the rings were shot. Compression test showed good compression, and leak-down test was reasonable for a "T" engine (I did not personally do this test, but was made aware of the results). Note: During the previous valve seat work, the valves were manually manipulated and at that time the guides were found to be severely worn as were the seats, thus the recutting of the seats. (The previous owner had DRILLED the valve guides for larger valve stems and did not do anything to the seats...the valves came out at all angles and no longer seated properly)...no remediation was performed on the guides themselves, just recut seats. Finally, as an experiment, the T-Vac was used and it indicated/verified worn valve guides, which I believe is the source of the extra oil making it's way to the combustion chamber. To be fair, I own a car which is WORN OUT but runs great. Valve guides are worn, but the car will not smoke...go figure.
Really, my point in all of this is to not worry about a good running car showing signs of wear, but to use the tool to diagnose a poorly running car and fix or attend to the root cause for the poor running. In any event, happy motoring, and be safe.
I would probably just save my cash (as long as the car is running reasonably well) and get the seats, valves, springs etc. and guides done all at once. It's just one last thing to deal with over the long run. Last time I was out that way, I noticed lots of vintage farm machinery still in service. That leads me to believe that somebody, someplace services the stuff. They should be able to do all the necessary tasks for a complete valve job if you furnish them the parts. Ask a few farmers that still run their old machines and see what they say.
OK. I am missing something.
I Googled T-vac and all that came up was a Medical Post T-vac Erection device.
Can you tell me what you are trying to erect?
Oh God Fred, that is too funny!
Seth: I have one of those T-Vac's too (I think I may have even recommended it to you last year) and have the exact same issue in my TT. From reading a lot of your posts, you no doubt are far more mechanically inclined than me, so I will be watching your progress closely, as you will be aiding me in pretty much doing the same thing. I think all this work can be done with the engine in the vehicle, right? How do the tappets get installed with the engine in place? Is reaming the valve stem holes a big deal to do? As opposed to reaming, if the holes are already "oversized" due to wear, I wonder if "just slapping the next sized valve up" would do the trick? They probably aren't oversized perfectly round though.
Tim, doubtful if they will be worn enough to fit next size up without reaming, also chebby valves will require adjustable lifters. You wind up with more money in the job and in my opinion an unneeded accessary as the stainless valves made for the T will give many many miles of trouble free driving with out needing more adjustment. KGB
If you're going to do a valve job, I suggest doing it yourself. Been my experience that the boys at the shop won't take the time to do things right, at least in my neck of the woods. After a few disappointments with hiring it out, I broke down and bought reamers, a Neway valve seat cutter and a valve facing too.
I've done about a number of valve jobs on my cars and it makes quite a difference in performance.
Couple things I learned
1. The new stainless valves available from the vendors don't have the right face angle and have to be machined.
2. The lifter reamers from the vendors
have straight cut blades and don't have a guide. Invariably they produce oversize holes. The valve reamers are fine.
3. Set the lash with the springs in place.
If you lived close by, I could come over and help you out. With the head off and valves removed, it wouldn't take half a day.
In the photos, notice the old two piece valves. I did a mechanical restoration of a survivor and used NOS Ford valves and lifters.
You can order new valves with oversize stems with a reamer. The reamer cuts a clean hole and is very easy to do I did this on my 15 and installed adjustable lifters, the seats were good just needed cleaning up. When a "T" engine stumbles around at idle or pulsates is usually a sign of a warn cam, warn valve guides shouldn't cause that kind of reaction. There is a bit of a mystery about valves. I have looked at different valves and the seats are at 45 degrees and some valves are also at 45 degrees and some valves are at three varying degrees 30 at the top 45 in the center and 70 at the bottom this gives clearance at the top and bottom and only a 1/16 - 3/32 where the valve actually touches the seat. When a valve is ground in this configuration I am not a proponent of any further "lapping". The valve grinding compound creates circular scratches on a perfect finish I can't see the purpose of this procedure, however it has been done for 100 years. Some modern machine shops don't perform this procedure nor do they hone cylinders any more. I had a valve ground for my single cylinder Fairbanks engine and it was ground at 45 degrees all the way, it would not seal, I took the valve back and requested that it be ground at 30, 45 and 70 degrees respectively, with out any lapping it was a perfect fit with no leaking. Check around there are many variable opinions in the subject. I would be inclined to stay with T valves.
Seth, If you do the valve guides will you do it in the car or take the engine out? If you do it in the car, be careful when reaming number 4. I had a problem with the firewall and would recommend removing the engine to ensure you ream straight through the guide. Just thinking, Dick C.
Seth: I have done everything in the car before , except ream the lifters. Im pretty sure they can be done in the car also. Tim: To remove the cam and lifters, You use clothes pins to hold the lifters in the "Up" position while you remove/install the cam. One thing to look for that I have never seen addressed, is the cam bearing fit in the block. I personally have had 3 engines where the bearing fit the cam perfect and was worn in the block. The engine that was in the 27 touring Im building at this time was worn about .040 in the block. I could pry the front cam gear up .020 with a very light pressure on a short screwdriver. My valve stem/tappet clearance average was about .016. With the engine ideling everything seemed OK. But at speed or under a pull. The large cam gear can "climb" up the crank gear and give me a negative .004 clearance and hold the valves open and cause the engine to overheat and no power. Sounds like your engine is running OK, but I would still look close at the bearing fit to the block. It seems to be an overlooked item.
David Menzies said: "When a "T" engine stumbles around at idle or pulsates is usually a sign of a warn cam, warn valve guides shouldn't cause that kind of reaction."
I'll second that.
Ok, good info everybody. Some more from me: I have adjustable lifters already and the valves are newer one-piece. They may be from a Chevy 350, I just don't know. I'm going to measure the stems before I order more in case they are already one oversize.
Seth - Here is a set of Chevy valves that are listed on Amazon for less than $20. Still have to buy keepers and spring retainer but you could have new valves for not much money.
I ordered the valves "modern" from Langs and also the adjustable lifters. We also used a stipe camshaft. Everything worked out fine. We had to ream the holes in the block for the lifters and also take off 160 thousdandths from the end of the valve stems. The car purrs like a kitten.
Here is my 26 engine with the Chevy valves, if you purchase the valves locally or find a buy online you will save $$$. The link above makes each valve about $2.40.
if you search "modern valves" on this forum, or thru google, you will find all the info and part #'s. one thing to note is all the chevy valves are shorter which is why you use adjustable lifters to make up the difference. 69-74 ford 351 windsor valves are 100 thou longer, and slightly larger head in case your valve seats are very low.
All this talk about valves no one's pointed out that the valve seats may be cracked.
I would suggest checking the block first before a major purchase. makes sense to me.
I've replaced all the valves in the car. You can buy stainless steel Fordson tractor valves with 11/32" stems. That allows you to ream the worn 5/16" valve guide, then use a seat cutter to enlarge the valve seat and cut it to accept the bigger diameter 1.66" Fordson valves. This is superior to installing valve seats because you don't remove as much material from the block. The block is stronger because you have not drilled for valve guides either.
Valves P/N S-242-G are here on page 10:
The Fordson valves are longer than Model T. You use a V block drill jig to drill the valve stems for the retainer pin, so there are no new retainers or keepers to buy. You cut the Fordson tractor valves to length, giving you the option of using original non adjustable pushrods (lifters).
In summary: Less machine work, less parts to purchase, and the valves are now slightly larger giving better performance. Cheaper, better and faster.
You do need to check valve to cylinder head clearance when using the larger valves.
BIGGER VALVE HEADS;
I had a guy bring me a 15 touring out of Ogallala, Nebraska. He had an overhaul job done at a big shop in Ogallala. After the overhaul job they could not get it running and neither could the owner. I pulled the head and found that the shop in Ogallala had installed some intake valve with bigger heads. All four intake valve heads were stuck ON TOP OF THE HEAD GASKET. After I reshaped the Head Gasket the 15 ran like it should. The Garage that rebuild the rest of the motor had done a super job. Installing bigger valve heads is OK but you MUST make sure that they clear the HEAD GASKET. If the valve head does not clear the head gasket you must UNFOLD the gasket around the valve hole, trim the gasket back and then refold the trim.
Many years ago I used to install Cadillac valves in the intakes. I had to spend considerable time reshaping the Gaskets so I eventually quit doing it.
It sounds like the Fordson valves clear the Head Gasket OK.
Royce - That seems like the best alternative for the all too common "T" block with valves sunk too far into the block from too many years of "valve jobs"! Also seems like it would make an excellent technical article for VF! With your writing skills and knowledge and experience with engines (aircraft, Model "T" and otherwise) and the excellent photos you take, plus some "input" from an older and even more "experienced" "T" mechanic like your Dad, please think about it! With brand new stainless steel Fordson tractor valves and the ability for us "DIY" shade-tree mechanics to cut excellent valve seats at home with equipment like the Neway carbide valve seat cutters, I believe many "T" guys could do an excellent valve job and end up with the valve train part of the engine better than Ford built it! Again,....a tech article for VF,.....please think about it,........harold
Sorry Dave,....we were typing at the same time!
There is some mention about valve springs above. Years ago a neighbor had me rebuilt a motor for his T. He insisted that I order in new springs. I did and when they arrived they were weaker than the original springs so we threw them in the garbage and used the original springs. Sometime back I bought a large box of used springs at a swap meet. There must have been well over a hundred springs in the box. Between that box of springs and all the springs that I have added I can choose springs of 24 to 28 lbs. I throw any thing weaker than 24 lbs away.
Someone in your club must have a SPRING CHECK or it would be an awful poor shop in your town if they don't have one. Or you can not find a spring checker use your common bathroom scale to check the lbs. Compress the spring on your press to 2&1/8". If you don't get 24 or better lbs throw it away.
Last year one of the guys here in town sent for new springs. I checked it on my spring checker and they all read at or above the 24 lbs. Maybe they are selling better springs today.
I posted the wrong picture above. I will see if I can find the spring checker in my pictures.
One more time.
The Fordson valves cleared the gasket just fine for me. I don't know that they clear every brand of gasket so Dave's advice is great.
Here is a link to the images to the valve job I did with engine in car..........
The guides were very worn so I used the stainless T valves with oversize stems, reamed the guides, used new springs, keepers, etc., see for yourself. The seats were in very good condition and cleaned up well. The intake ports were sooo crusted with oilcokeslag (my own word) it was very nice to clean them out. This was a perfect time to put in the new cam, lifters, etc.
The photos tell the story and show some of the things being discussed above in this thread.
The end result was a far happier engine that runs like it should.
It's said that "a picture is worth a thousand words"! Well, you just shared a very nice "BOOK" with us Erich! Very nice sequence there Erich, and it's plain to see what you meant about the "gooked up" intake ports. How'd you clean them out Erich? Small wire wheel on your Dremel? Nice work and again,...nice sequence of high quality pictures!
Harold, I did use a dremel tool with a sand paper flapper wheel that looks like a super paddle wheel , if you know what I mean. I locked it as far out in the collet as possible so it would reach. It did clean well and had the plus of also smoothing a bit on some of the sharp cast areas. Did that help make more power? In my mind, it didn't hurt.
An extra note: with the lifters held up via clothes pins for cam removal, it is a bad idea to just pull away the pins and assume the lifters will fall out the inspection opening. Two of them jumped into the sump/magneto area. It was not my brightest moment.
If doing this job with engine in car, do clean out the valve area and do use clean rags in the valve galley to catch all the fillings from the valve guide ream.
So I've got the head off and hope to take some pictures today while it is light outside.
If the valve guides are worn will I be able to wiggle the valves and tell? I tried to move a few of them and man they all feel really solid and stiff - I can't wiggle them at all.
I definitely had a really good seal with my head gasket, so no issues there. Still going to clean off all of the carbon and see if I can find anything like a cracked valve seat or something like a "smoking gun". Stay tuned for more updates.
Seth, remove the keepers, relieving spring tension, then do the wiggle test on each valve. There may be more wiggle after the tension is off. If you feel any, ream and replace time.
Valves can be pretty loose in the guides and still be within spec. Check the service manual, I believe .008" clearance is acceptable. Lifter specs are a lot closer. Problem is the guides are worn hour glass shaped, so measurement can be difficult.
Tom and Mike at the Antique Auto Ranch installed Hardened Stainless 289/302 Small Block Ford valves as well as Hardened Stainless valve seats. They look good and they work.
For a complete engine rebuild, I highly recommend it...espeically if you have the block out and are doing other machine work. Don't cut corners, do it right.
For an in-car rebuild or valve job, I might just do what Erich did and ream the valve guides, re-cut the seats, lab and re-assemble.
One of the procedures that I have changed (right or wrong) is I quit reaming the PUSH ROD GUIDES. For years I always automatically reamed them out to the next size. However the more PUSH RODS that I checked had no play. In fact I never found a worn guide, So I no longer ream the guides. Maybe I just am missing something.
Dave Huson - I have found push rod guides that were undersized. When I rebuilt my 26 engine the old push rods measured .416. Everything I have ever read says that the standard push rod was .437, I had to drill and ream to get standard size push rods to fit.
Mike, that's interesting I don't ever remember running into that.
"Clayton Paddison (Vancouver Washington)"
Clayton, why does your block surface look like it was surfaced with a dull Broach?
Where's the valve seat angle, never seen anything like that before!
Herm, you must need a bigger screen for your old eye balls, mine's 17" and all looks right on the valve and seat angles on that set up of Clayton's!
The plan gents is that the engine will remain in the car and I will locate somebody in North Carolina with the necessary tools to cut me some new valve seats. Once that is done - next step will be to procure a Stipe 280 cam (this might take the longest) and then I'll double check that my adjustable tappets are happy with the new cam. Finally! I will either get some Ford 289/302 valves or the ones from Snyders, either way there will be fresh springs/cups/keepers.
So! Who's got a valve seat cutter near me?
Herm, you must need a bigger screen for your old eye balls, mine's 17" and all looks right on the valve and seat angles on that set up of Clayton's!"END QUOTE"
Kerry, my screen is 24", if yours is 17", maybe that is why you can't see what I see.
That is if you knew what you were looking at!!
The deck machine work was done many years ago, but checked almost perfectly flat during the rebuild by Mike Robinson of the Antique Auto Ranch (Spokane, WA). It is also not as rough looking as it shows in the photo. I'm not sure why it does.
Not sure of the valve seat angle...but I believe it is standard for the 289 and 302 Hi-Po SBF engines.
Clayton, the top of the angle looks rounded, rather then sharp to cut carbon.
You can see light reflecting off the top edge.
Sorry Herm I forgot, your the only machinest that knows what he's doing, the rest of the world will be in big trouble when you give up the job and sharing your expertise!!
Herm does know what he is doing. He is one of the top 4 T mechanics that I know of in the T world and I know a lot of them. I am sure there are others also. I hope Herm never quits posting at least in my time, you can learn a lot from him.
You don't have to be sorry Kerry, and I know you forget, or never knew in the first place, and I don't care about your little digs, and I don't think Royce does either.
Pictures are up for comment, at least that's the way it works when I post pictures I know you forgot.
Is Comment what keeps you from posting your work Kerry?
Check with the guys with the Hornet's Nest chapter of the Horseless Carriage Club, several T guys in there and near by to you in Havelock. The one gentleman I knew from years ago is Richard Landis in Clinton NC he and his father ad several T's and may know a good shop to do the valve seats. There was a machine shop in havelock that did mine down Rt 70 headed out of town toward Morehead City on the left. Likely long gone....that was in 1978 :-)
Time does fly.
Herm, this is not a little dig, just trying to see what you do? what I see is a normal seat cut of 45degrees and a 20 or 30d cut to pull the seat back from the edge of the valve.
Herm and Kerry,
I understand what Herm is saying for sure....the photo I posted does make it look a bit rounded.
I can guarantee it is a clean, sharp 45 degree cut...spent many hours staring at them during assembly.
Sadly the quality of the picture is lacking....as they are giant and I have to reduce them to post them here.....one of my very few "pet peeves" with this forum's design.
Sorry for the confusion guys
You Seriously don't see any difference?
No need to be sorry Clayton! no confusion to be seen on my part!!
I don't really to be honest...except for the machine finish on my deck surface and that my valve grind looks to be a bit steeper then 45 degrees.
Both look close to me.
Well, Clayton's engine has been tested and does preform better than most T's - have you dared to test the top speed yet?
That is sure true! I haven't really pushed her yet...but above 65 it starts to get a bit scary
I'm also not trying to start a fight here..
Regardless if the valves "LOOK" rounded in the photos....they are not and are cut correctly. They seal better then most T's on the compression stroke (90+ lbs) and as Roger said....preforms better then most Ts on the highway.
The deck was machined and the deck surface texture was done intentionally so as not to allow any fretting or damage of the head gasket during expansion and heating.
The builder of my motor is someone I trust and has never produced anything but a stellar product for me or anyone I know that has dealt with them in the last 20 years.
I can understand what Herm is saying about a smooth surface. About 20 years ago I was having my blocks surfaced in a machine shop in my home town. One time I got a block back that look like a corn field. I thought well he is the Machinest and I went ahead a installed the head. When I put water in it and started the motor there was tiny rain drops coming out all around the block. I took the block back the machine shop and he redid it for me. I thought since it was his mistake he would do it for nothing but he charged me to remachine the block. That was the last time I used him. I started using a machine shop in Yuma Colorado. They would back up to one of my shop doors and I could load up 2 or 3 blocks and they would be back in a week with the blocks very well done.
Well, despite the thread drift, I'm still looking for someone with the tools I need. It's looking like I'm just not gonna drive for a while, just saving for the Neway seat cutters.
This is the valve insert cutter my wife's brother used to fix my engine. He has a motor cycle shop in Arkansas. He also supplied the seat cutter. Fantastic when one can find the right tools.
Seth, it sounds like you put the head back on. Have you done a compression test on it? Before or after? Before and after? If so, what readings did you get?
As pointed out earlier it may be a worn camshaft that's giving the "Fast vibration from 14-19" and/or "2-5 oscillating drop from nominal", rather than, "worn out valve guides and/or leaky valves."
I have not put the head back on. I don't have a compression tester but I'm working on getting one. I'm going to get a new cam and valves anyway, so I just want to go ahead and clean up the seats while I'm doing everything else. Just will take a little while. Main thing is I should be done and everything back together before it starts to warm up. I'm hoping to have it back up and running by the end of February even if I have to buy the valve seat cutting tools. I emailed the folks at Neway and I can get everything I need for about $300. Not great but way better than the $500-$800 I was seeing on all the kits on eBay.
Sorry for assisting the thread drift.
Neway does make nice tools. We have one here at the shop.....if we were closer, we would be more than happy to loan it and even help out.
Anything for a fellow T owner!
Seth give me a call 276 733 9555
Will do, I get out of work at 3:00 p.m. eastern, can I call you then?
This is what I find in a box with valve tools.
I am very new to the model t world. I just replaced my intake manifold to a aluminum high intake manifold. When I start my car I runs very bad, like it is not getting enough gas or it is trying to cut out. Any ideas on this topic? Thanks...
John - Seems like I just read, somewhere here on the forum I think, that the larger or high capacity intake manifold does not work very well on a stock Model "T" engine. Sounds like it should only be used with some combination of additional speed equipment. FWIW,......harold
Seth, if Randall is too far away, I am in Asheville and can do the job you need. 828-775-1257 8AM-5PM
sounds like you have a vacume leak. high volume intakes work fine, most montana 500 guys run them
John, I bet if the only change was the large manifold, I bet there is a leak in the gasket area. What type gasket did you use?