21 years ago, an engine builder in Arizona poured new bearings and adapted the engine to modern valves. He only seated the crankshaft, not installing pistons, camshaft or valves. That's how the engine has been stored since 1996. Recently I have been assembling the engine and have run into one difficulty after another. I lapped in the main and rod bearings with Time Saver, as well as the camshaft bearings. (I ended up buying a new center one from Lang's. See my previous posting about center camshaft bearings) I lapped in the valves, too. Lap, lap, lap. LOTSA fun, believe-you-me!
Unfortunately, I have been unable to find the valve keepers for these modern valves that may or may not have accompanied the rebuilt engine block, so I ordered new ones from Lang's to fit "modern valves". Predictably, the two-piece keepers I received do not fit the two grooves in the valves, as can be seen in the accompanying photos. The inside grooves and lands between the valves and keepers do not match and the two halves don't come close to mating = a gap.There was no paperwork accompanying the engine work because the builder was a friend and I paid cash. He's long dead and I am at a standstill. Clearly, these keepers are not the right ones for these modern valves. Rather than driving around town to each new car dealer and trying to match my valves with their keepers, can anyone identify the valves I do have? Are they Chevy 350 valves or what?
This is the last element to whip into shape with this &^$*@ engine, as final assembly is awaiting putting the valve springs in place on the already-adjusted valves/lifters. Photos of the valve stems, keepers and heads are included to help identify what brand keepers I need to find. Just what are they??? "Sorry, but I can't get my Mickey Mouse camera to focus close-ups any better than what you see.
Marshall- just put the keepers in the bottom groove on the valve stem. The other groove is for a rubber seal that is used only in the OEM application and is not needed in a T engine.
Hi, Dan -
And the fact that the two halves of the keepers don't meet will not be a problem? I can take a photo of the spring base slid over the two halves and post that. It will be evident that there is a gap between the keepers. I worry that in operation, the whole kit and kaboodle will separate and fly apart. The spring bases that I also ordered from Lang's slide nicely up the valve stems without slop or wiggling, so they must be the right size. Why, then, would the keepers be almost too small?
Here are mock-up views of the keepers placed on a valve stem, in the lower groove of the stem. The gap is not quite as much as seen in the one photo. I couldn't keep the two halves in place while taking the photo. But there is a gap.
Having looked at these photos, do you think it's o.k. to assemble the valve springs, bases and keepers?
The fact they don't meet is not a problem at all, you don't want them to be a tight fit against each other. There is no way for them to fall out once the spring support is in place. If the keepers went around and touched you wouldn't know whether they were fully seated against the stem or not.
When you install put little grease or vasoline to stick the keepers to the stem
I put in 2 sets one went in easy the other real pain
Gulp...Well, O.K. I'll proceed with these parts as is. When I was racing big block Corvettes in the 1970's, I don't recall this kind of a problem with valve spring retainers and keepers. I recall keeping them in place with a little dab of chassis grease while the retainers were assembled around them. I could have sworn the two keeper halves mated up against each other. That was with 500+ horsepower big blocks. But not when these parts are adapted to a 20 horsepower Model T? Memory failure on my part?
Nevada Bob -
I was still typing my previous message while you had already posted with similar information. Either I'm a slow typist or I use too many words.
Looks to me like you have Chevrolet V8 exhaust valves, which is fine.
The keepers also look like they are Chev keepers for those same valves.
If the flat surfaces of the keepers touched each other there would be a possibility of the valve stems being loose in the keepers. They donít nessessarily touch each other.
I just went through this two weeks ago.
I used .oo2Ē oversized Chev valves because the guide holes in the block were worn slightly.
STOP!! Those keepers and and valves clearly do not go together.
Yes, on correct matching valves and keepers there can be a LITTLE gap. Not like that though. And they clearly DO NOT fit that retainer correctly.
It's late now, but I can post pics of a proper setup in the morning, but DO NOT rely on that setup. It is wrong and has a potential for failure.
I have assembled far to many engines in my lifetime to clearly see you have an issue that is not right. Lets get it fixed.
In the mean time, if you can supply me with the valve stem diameter (try to at least use a set of calipers here), the valve head size, and possibly an overall length of the valve, I may be able to guide you towards the correct parts.
I was typing when Gary beat me to the explanation too.
I can only add that when you use Chev valves and keepers and the Chev spring retainers you use model T valve springs.
The springs I got were wound a little bit tight. I opened one end of search spring slightly so they would sit down all the way onto the retainers.
When the Chev valves are in the block the groove nearest the end of the valve stem gets the keepers.
Ignore the next groove, if you put the keepers in that groove the spring would be too tight.
So far, no harm, no foul. I haven't put the darned keepers and retainers together yet.
Here are the measurements you requested:
Stem diameter: 0.3410" - 0.3415"
Valve head diameter: 1.4995"
Valve length: 4.920"
I don't know how accurate these measurements are, based on my skill level using battery-powered digital calipers. Allow a couple thousandths leeway one way or another.
Chad, I say those valves and keepers are all correct for each other, but then I just started rebuilding engines In 1954 and have only done somewhere between a few dozen and a few hundred valve jobs on model A and T Fords and most every other make of car that was ever popular.
The big gap in the picture Marshall shows is normal.
Marshall, go to a machine shop and ask a machinest to show you a Chevy valve and keepers.
You will feel better about it all.
The machine shops all have a box of Chevy spring retainers and keepers.
I always get used retainers and keepers free from machine shops, even from shops that donít know me.
Marshall- look at the keeper/lock assembly from the stem end of the valve and look to see if the OD of the stem and the ID of the keeper match up without a radial gap. Next, seat the spring collar in place on the valve with the keepers in place. The id taper of the spring collar and the OD taper of the keepers should mate together with minimum clearance and not wiggle excessively. If these two things check out, you are good to go. Aarons suggestion to check with a local engine guy is not a bad idea if you are still unsure.
There has to be a gap in the installed valve keepers or the keepers & retainer will not tighten around the valve stem. The second grove on the small block valve stem is for the valve seal, many of these seals were improperly installed by uniformed techs causing oil burning and cold engine startup smoke out the tailpipe. A test for the seal was to use a mityvac hand held vacuum pump with a special rubber cap, none of this is needed in this application. Chevy big block valve stems are like modern Ford & Chrysler and only use 1 grove and they use an umbrella design valve seal, again not needed in this application. More important is not having excessive valve stem to guide clearance.
Marshall, Here are some pics of a proper fitting valve / keepers / retainer setup. Notice as I mentioned, yes there is a gap. But notice how the top of the keepers is near flush with the top of the retainer.
Unless yours was not pulled up tight on the keepers, it is wrong as your retainer is down from the top of the retainer...that is my biggest concern. Most production vehicles of the 60's 70's used a 7 degree keeper / retainer combo. I am wondering if you somehow have a 10 degree keepers and a 7 degree retainer---again, unless that retainer is not pulled up tight in the pic.
The measurements of the valves do indeed verify you have a standard small block Chevy exhaust valve. Therefore valve keepers and retainers should be easy to find if you need replacements.
George is sort of right with the second groove from the top. It was for an o-ring that sealed the top of the retainer preventing oil from running down the valve tip, through the gap in the keepers and thus down the valve guide. That ultimately had the potential to create an oil burning issue in the original application. It's not needed in the Model T conversion.
As I look at your pics again, It appears visually you should have the 7 degree vale keepers. So I am really hoping the retainer just wasn't pulled up far enough on the keepers.
Better safe than sorry, but the 4th pic down you posted was the major cause of my concern.
I learned a long time ago, when working on a model T engine forget everything you ever learned about a small block engine. It probably won't apply.
I mocked up the retainer and keepers just to show in photos what the gap between the keeper halves looks like. That gap was my main concern. There was no spring tension pushing down on the retainer to seat the keepers. I assume that once the springs are assembled to the valves, the pressure will force the keepers up higher inside the retainer's cone.
The consensus seems now that what I have is correct for a Model T conversion to modern Chevy valves. It still looks a little scary to me, being an "everything has to fit and look right" kind of guy. But I trust the wisdom of the guys on this forum, so I'll go with what they advise here. Thanks to all, who responded with their advice and experience. Let's hope this engine stays together. What a nightmare it has been so far! Some engines are like that, while others seemingly just fall together. This engine wasn't one of THOSE! &^%$(*%!!!!
Marshall, you should be able to pull that retainer up by hand all the way. That retainer needs to go farther up. Relying on spring pressure is not the proper way to make sure it will go. If you can not pull it up and close the distance I show in red, than what that pic shows, there is an issue.
It should look like what I posted here:
I am pretty confident at this time you have the right parts.....always best to double check though.
Chad, I am wondering about your comment that I was "sort of right" about Chevrolet small block valve seals.
I can't tell from the pictures if the parts are a good match, however, I'd like to insert a little information about locks.
There are two kinds of locks; "pinch locks", which we have here, and "butt locks". Pinch locks work by gripping the valve stem due to the wedging in the tapered ID of the retainer. The bead and groove serve only to locate the assembly on the valve stem, and neither have to be hard. The gap is necessary to ensure that the locks get a secure grip on the valve stem.
Butt locks have four or three beads. They butt together so as to not grip the valve stem, and therefore they let the valve rotate freely and independently of the spring, retainer and locks. This requires the locks and the lock groove area of the valve to be hardened.
I also believe you're OK and I'm not sure but I've seen them flush with the retainer and sticking up a bit too so I really don't think the fact that they stick out a bit means anything. Certainly won't hit anything.