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I'm refreshing a used engine and installing new valve stem seals. I got a complete valve spring removal kit but it came w/o instructions. Removing the springs is not an issue but putting the valve keepers back in is. What are the favorite methods used by the folks here? Also, the kit came with things I can't find a reference to anywhere. It's the kit w/two plates to mount on the head to hold a bar to pivot a lever on. It also has a set of knurled "knobs", if you will, that are threaded to attach to a knurled handle.
Are they supposed to help install the keepers? It also came with a long magnetic rod (on one end) that has two spring loaded levers that press out when pressed. If anyone has the same kit you'll know what I mean. But installing the keepers is going to take a week if I don't figure a better way.
Thanks ahead of time
Aerofxr
 

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It would help to post a photo or photos of or link to the valve spring compressor kit you have. I can guess about the knurled pieces you mentioned, but clear photos would really help me be sure in correctly identifying what those are. Some of these kits include lots of extra pieces to make them more universal, but you only need a few of the pieces for a particular engine.

Is your spring compressor kit like one of these from ebay (I think Amazon has the same or similar)?:



Simplest trick on putting the keepers back in is to put the valve spring and spring cap in place over the valve stem, compress the spring, put a dab of axle grease in the keeper pocket of the valve spring cap, properly orient and push the keepers into the grease to hold them in place, then release the spring compressor. The key is the grease.

Magnet comes in handy to remove the keepers with the spring compressed. You might need to move the keepers in the spring cap pocket if they're "stuck" in place with hardened oil residue - then lift them out with the magnet.

To hold the valves up with the keepers and springs removed, I prefer the method of filling the cylinder with 3/16 nylon rope rather than using compressed air for a couple of reasons. Put the piston at BDC, push string into the cylinder until almost full, then rotate crankshaft to move piston up to press the wad of string against the cylinder head to keep the valve from dropping. Problem with the compressed air method is that it introduces a lot of moisture into the cylinder. and what happens to your valve if your compressor craps out or you lose power in the middle of the job?

24 valves - one valve at a time.
 

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I don't know what kind of valve stem seals you are installing, but for some seals, they can come with a tiny "condom" made of cellophane, which eases the seal ID over the valve stem tip and keeper notches without damaging the seal.
 
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