Mystery of the Valve Keepers

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Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby BobM » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:23 am

Well, after 2 years of tail chasing, procrastinating and avoiding the truth, I accepted the fact that my awful running cub's problem was stuck valves. I pulled the sheet metal, removed the head and confirmed that two valves were stuck and no amount of chemecal was going to unstick them. So very carefully I blocked the openings around lifters and removed the valves. I was able to clean the valve guides with the help of a brass brush and am now ready to reassemble. Problem is there were only 13 keepers. I presume that there should have been 16, 2 for each valve stem. As I said I was very careful removing the keepers and none could have fallen into the engine block as I had all openings blocked off.

Is it possible that someone only put 13 keepers in and that the engine would still have operated OK? I'm thinking I better get some more keepers and do the job right.
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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby Rodney51Cub » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:44 am

You might want to pull the pan and see what is swimming in the oil.
That way you will know for sure they are not in the motor.

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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby BobM » Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:10 pm

I wasn't looking forward to opening it up, but, you are right, I half to know for sure.
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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby lazyuniondriver » Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:21 pm

BobM wrote:
Is it possible that someone only put 13 keepers in and that the engine would still have operated OK?


The engine will operate with only one keeper per valve stem but on a tear down of an engine with one keeper on a valve you will notice an extremely abnormal amount of wear to the valve stem or valve guide. Worn stems and guides usually allow an excessive amount of oil to be consumed.

I wouldn't normally be concerned about keepers in the pan but in the case of someone assembling an engine with less parts than intended, it probably wouldn't hurt to inspect the pan and lower engine for abnormalities.
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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby BobM » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:16 pm

That is good advice. I wonder if part of the problem with the valves sticking was only one keeper on 3 of the valves.
Thank you.
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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby Denny Clayton » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:31 pm

BobM wrote:That is good advice. I wonder if part of the problem with the valves sticking was only one keeper on 3 of the valves.
Thank you.

I wondered about that, too. Stranger things have happened. :roll:
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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:35 pm

get a magnet on a stick and reach behind the lifters, etc. I learned that the hard way once. A couple keepers were right there, but I could not see them.
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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:19 pm

John *.?-!.* cub owner wrote:get a magnet on a stick and reach behind the lifters, etc. I learned that the hard way once. A couple keepers were right there, but I could not see them.

John is right. They can sneak around in back, and stick in a hard to see spot. Ed
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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby BobM » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:35 am

Weeeeelllllllllll, taking your good advice, I continued my search for the missing keepers. Bright lights and forcing this tired old body to bend over and really look discovered no more keepers in the valve spring area of the engine. No problem, pull the pan and I find about 3/4" of the kind of sludge that could almost be called coal. Only fould two of the keepers in there. Admittedly the engine hasn't run long enough to get hot in the 4 years that I have been "getting around to finishing it" while solving the lack of compression problem along with completing my Cub education program.
I did drain and refill all the oils shorly after I painted and reassembled the Cub. When I pulled the side cover off I also pulled the engine drain plug and left it out for a few weeks while I worked on removing the valves and cleaning the guides etc. I never work to fast on the Cub and usually don't work on it two days in a row. So the pan had plenty of time to drain, but I guess coal just don't drip.
My new keepers and gaskets are in from TM Tractor Parts (what a great resource they are) and today is the day I'm committed to installing the keepers, "all sixteen of them", adjusting the valves and reinstalling all the parts I took off to get into the heart of the engine.
Maybe momentum will keep me going until I hear the "little engine that could" purr again.
Thanks for all your good advice and help.
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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby BIGHOSS » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:05 am

I realize that I may be highjacking this thread, but I have a keeper question. What are some of your methods ("tricks")of keeping the "keepers" in place during the installion process? What are the steps in order of re-assembly, such as (A) install spring, (B) install spring retainer, (C) compress spring, (D) install keepers and finally release spring.
As I have never installed valves, this does not seem to be easy. Any suggestions?
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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby lazyuniondriver » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:11 am

If I encounter a keeper(s) that won't stay put, I use the tiniest dab of bearing grease to hold it put until the spring is released.
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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby BobM » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:54 am

I have just finished installing the keepers on the first 6 valves. I simply compressed the spring, dab a bit of grease on the inside of the keeper, dab a bit on my finger tip and gently push the first half into place. Then with a pick tool I moved the first keeper to the back side of the valve stem and repeat the grease trick with the second keeper. Takes a little getting used to, especially in rear and front most valves. Big clumsly fingers don't help much either. You need a lot of patience and be real sure you get them seated on the valve stem correctly. If you don't, you'll find a keeper hiding behind a valve spring. Ask me how I know, twice.
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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby Stanton » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:57 pm

OK, I'm a novice. I don't know what part of the valve assembly you all are referring to.

Are the valve keepers called another name in the Service Manual? I looked in the Blue Ribbon Engine Service Manual and could not find anything called a "valve keeper."
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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby grumpy » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:06 pm

David Dee Mock-Leonard

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Some days it's not worth chewing through the restraints
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Re: Mystery of the Valve Keepers

Postby Bob McCarty » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:23 pm

Stanton, In the manual they are referred to as "valve spring seat key" or "valve spring retainer key". Too long a name for most of us to remember. :D

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