Stuck Valves

Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:28 am

Granny my '47, has patiently been sitting on the sidellines while I dealt with Ellie's problems and of course the pole barn and life's other issues. The last time Granny was out kicking up her heals was during CubFest Northeast NB 2009 and she was running pretty darn good. Cecil was able to hand crank her to life (something I can no longer do) and a number of attendees were able to take her for a run up the logging road. Since that time she has basically sat waiting for me to let have some fun. Got lots of plans for her this winter but to get them done I need to be able to start her up. She turned over nicely with the battery, had spark, air, fuel and it felt a bit of compression but no start. Decided to go through the diagnostics but since I am still not the greatest with it it takes a while. Also next door neighbour was over with his daughter's boyfriend who happens to be an aircraft mechanic who does a lot of work on mag equipped radials. Somehow or other it got out of time, mag was not taken off but the cap was and he/Roger hand cranked Granny losing #! TDC.

Tried to find #1 TDC but could not feel any compression which led me to think that Granny might have lost prime whilst sitting. Anyways that has kept me kind of in limbo cause I am no mechanic - still learning. My other chum who also happens to be my main mechanic for the van before he went back to the Tar Sands (long story) is home for 3 weeks and he was over. Troy has been looking for a new place form him and the soon to be bride with some property where he can have his garage/barn combo and get a couple of Cubs - he really has taken a liking to Ellie ... in a major way. So he is helping me as time allows.

Troy has helped me find #1 TDC by opening up the valve cover and watching the valves. We found out that #4 and #5 valves are stuck open and the rest really needed to have the lash adjusted. Each of the other 6 valves were almost closed .. couldn't get the .013 feeler gauge between so we adjusted the valves as per the chart. Once we get #4 and #5 loosened up then we can adjust those as well.

Last night I redid the spark plug wires, new plugs, points and condenser are new so I dressed the points and adjusted the gap. The pony tank is basically shot so I gotta go get another pony tank and a few other items. Have added oil to the spark plug holes and boy can you not only feel the compression you can hear it improve even when just hand cranking slowly (trying to get to TDC). Put some liquid mechanic into the spark plug holes last night as well hoping that it will wick down and maybe loosen up whatever is holding those two vales up.

Any ideas on how to bring these two down? I really do not want to open this block .. with my luck (oh and it appears that this engine has never been touched .. ever) so I know darn well that I am going to end up with a couple broken head bolts and I just don't need the aggravation of that scenario. So .. ideas on bringing those two valves down would be appreciated. I think that if the valves will come down they will clean up nicely after the lash is done, engine starts and SeaFoam becomes another regular additive to Granny' s liquid diet.


Re: Stuck Valves

Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:33 am

Rudi - you should be able to get a screwdriver tip on the valves through the sparkplug hole. A light tap will hopefully seat the valve. You could also try prying up on the valve stem since the valve cover is off.

Re: Stuck Valves

Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:50 am


I would try to get some Sea Foam into the cylinders with the stuck valves and then turn the engine over. The objective is to try and get some of the liquid flowing down the stems to the guides. Then, I would close the gap on the tappet adjustment while the lifters are down on the affected valves and hand crank the engine over carefully, which should push up the stem a little and hopefully loosen the valves. If you can get the valve stem to move up a little, the Sea Foam should then work its way down from the top and free up the stem. The valves are not likely stuck that bad.

Re: Stuck Valves

Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:36 am

My 154 now has 4 stuck intake valves, apparently using 10 year old gasoline was a bad idea. Eitherway, I will just spray the stems with carb cleaner, then penetrating oil, then push with a screw driver on the valve tops and hope they free enough to start. Once started I will just use some "HEET" in the gas tank to help clean the remaining gunk. I will drain out the old gasoline also.

Re: Stuck Valves

Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:04 am

I take a valve spring compressor and put it in the valve spring and that gives it a pressure down and lightly push down on the valve through the plug hole. If that fails I remove manifold and can spray the valve stems with your choice of. I have an old screw driver I bent so it goes to the center of valve so it is not so app to bend the valve. It will bend trust me( been there). hope this helps.

Re: Stuck Valves

Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:45 am

Once you get the valve to move, it may take many revolutions and "Tapping" it to get it to move freely on it's own. Plenty of "lube" of your choice on the stem will help

Re: Stuck Valves

Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:56 pm

I run seafoam (upper cylinder lube) in everything now in the gas tank and crankcase. My fcub has been sitting for about 1 1/2 years now but every so often i reach my hand in the fan and turn it over as much as i can. Since there is seafoam in it when it was running i should be ok. Soon as i get the tranny in it i'll hot wire it and fire it up and left her run a little.

Re: Stuck Valves

Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:08 pm

I got #5 to move 3 or 4 times by tapping very lightly with a large Craftsman standard screwdriver. It hasn't freed up yet because as soon as I turn the engine over it kinda gets stuck again.. but it seems easier to tap down each time. Added a lot more Nut Buster to the valve and stem -- hopefully -- as it went in through #3 spark plug hole. I also sprayed it a few times from the valve cover side as well. #4 is more of a pitb it seems. Moved a smidge but not a lot. That one may take a few days I guess. I am not tapping hard and trying to use the dullest screwdriver I have as I don't want to score the top of the valve. It may not be important ?? but trying to be as careful as I can.

Drained all the gas... :oops: OMG... I can't believe that I left gas in the tank. Old gas is not a nice thing to take out of a tank. Plus I now have to clean the lines and going to have to take the carb apart -- :shock: the crud in the line was scary. Had to check why there was crud in the line -- seems the PO of the pony tank had busted through the screen, so any crud that got in the tank is now in my carb :(

Redid the plug wires.. but I gotta redo em cause I didn't do them right. There really should be a How To Properly Construct Spark Plug Wires .. which would have helped. The camera is in the pole barn and I will be taking pictures as I redo the plugs again. You know, even bulk that stuff ain't cheap :lol:

Re: Stuck Valves

Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:10 pm

Keep at it Rudi. Like everyone else, when I had two valves stuck open. I removed the spark plugs and poured in a spoonful of Marvell's Mystery oil that I had around the garage. I cranked it over a couple of times then let it sit for a day. Next day I had Willy over to help and I put my large screw driver through the spark plug hole and put pressure on it until it dropped. I poured in a little more oil and held the screw driver on the valve to push it back down again if it stuck while Willy hand cranked the engine and it wasn't long before it was moving on it's own and not sticking.


Re: Stuck Valves

Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:07 pm

Rudi... I think this would make a great video for me to learn how to adjust valves!!! hint hint! :)

Re: Stuck Valves

Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:26 pm


Kinda hard to hold the camera, crank the engine and tap the valve at the same time... but will try and get some pics/video of what is happening. I will try to put together a video of adjusting the valves. It is actually kinda easy.. once you do it a couple times and it sort of makes sense :?


Yup keeping up the cycle - push the valves down, crank the engine which shoves em back up, squirt em with Nut Buster and/or Loctite's Solvo Rust, wait a while and do something else and go through the cycle in 20 minutes or so... (this is while I am in the barn) before I go out to town, I make sure the valves are up and the penetrating oil is in the stems/guides - same routine at night.

Been working in the barn most of the day aside from when I had to go to get the van serviced. So far #5 is moving quite well now ... I just have to push it with hand pressure and it will come down, it just won't do it on it's own. Hopefully that will change in the next day or so. #4 has finally moved 4 or 5 times but man is it stiff. I have been lubricating the stems from the valve/tappet area behind the manifold .... or whatever that area is called which I forget at the moment as well as the valve/valve stems from the spark plug holes. I am hoping that it will get easier.

Patience seems to be the key here. Even though I got lots of work for Granny to do, I have to take the time and do it right/learn to do it right so that I don't end up with 3 times the work and God knows how much expense..... so a little bit at a time I guess.

Re: Stuck Valves

Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:56 pm

Hang in there, Rudi. The '63 was starting to sound like a "johnny pop" about 7 or 8 years ago when started. Smoothed up after getting warm. I think the problem was too much rest time. Some two cycle oil and seafoam and a good work out, she starts and sounds fine. The tune-up and carb clean-adjust didn't hurt either.

Re: Stuck Valves

Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:05 pm

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Re: Stuck Valves

Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:33 pm

Well now that I have sorta came down from cloud 197 .. :lol: yeah, I am pretty pleased with myself .. Went back out to work shortly after I posted. Was having a late dinner, been working a lot lately. Did a couple small projects in the pole barn .. getting it all ready for winter so I can work in there. Roger was over tonight and installed the last 3 breakers for the time being - and I installed the weather stripping and plugged the rest of the holes in the temporary barn doors. Going to be toasty this winter :{_}:

Anyhoosie, after playing on the barn for a bit, I started again on the stuck valves. Add more Nut Buster crank it a couple times, tap down the valves 2 or 3 times and then start all over again. After a couple turns #5 all of a sudden clicked, wasn't sure what it was but when I looked at the valves while I was cranking #5 was moving all by itself :shock: :!: :{_}: Had to crank it a few more times to believe it but yup, #5 is now free and doing what it does best :D #4 well, that was a different story. Energized I decided that I was going to keep at it and see if it would also free up. Cycle after cycle Nut Buster alternating with some Loctite and I kept cranking in 2 complete cycles per trip. After a little over an hour, #4 started to become much much easier in fact I could put it in place just pushing the screwdriver. After a little more time the weight of the screwdriver itself was enough to get the valve to drop and then about 5 or 10 minutes later pop :!: it dropped on it's own. I went through it a few more times cranking by hand to ensure that the valves were dropping properly. I then relubed with some Nut Buster, stuck the plugs back in, pulled the kill switch and turned it over a half dozen or so times with the starter. All 8 valves working as they should.

Now I am really quite pleased. Tired but very pleased.

And Gary, yes there is 2 minutes of video. Need to upload it over the next day or so.. hopefully. Now I am off to bed, market in the morning :D

Re: Stuck Valves

Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:15 am

Rudi, you're a good man! :) I'm going to attempt to start taking mine apart this afternoon.... I've been soaking down the head bolts real good the past couple of days and letting it run for about an hour at a time to see how the seafoam is doing in the oil.