05 November 2012

drastic measures - flathead valve removal

In my quest to lighten the load,
the last junk flathead was dragged to the house.
ford 8ba flathead

This flatty was the first engine in the green 40 coupe,
and was ceremoniously destroyed in an epic adventure to San Jose,
for the last Asphalt Invitational - 2007!
That trip is in the "lost series" as I've never fully written about it.
Both my cell phone and digital camera disappeared that night,
so no pictures.
(One in the tow truck, one on the 101 somewhere)
And what's a story without pictures!
Definitely one of those "laugh about it later" times.
Bottom line(s) - AAA rules, having friends far from home is good,
a floor in a hot rod is handy, always bring a full gas can when fuel gauge is missing,
and 3 people can sit cozily in a 29 roadster for 200 miles!
Holly and Luke/Pigpen made it to work on time the next day even!
Good times...
Funny how a chunk of metal activates old memories.
effin crack - ford flathead

Here was the problem.
A small crack from the valve to cylinder wall.
The only crack on a low mileage rebuild too!
Dang butt cheeks!
(our house saying to minimize swearing)
removing flathead valves

Like the 59a from last month,
this engine could have been sleeved and rebuilt.
If it was possible to disassemble and reuse every piece,
that would have been a doable option,
as the sleeve work is maybe $200.
removing flathead valve guides

Could a sleeve be done without removing the valves?
If not,
then scrapping the block was justified for our pocketbook.
These are the easier to remove later style valves,
with the 2 half clips on the bottom.
I thought they would just slide out without too much hassle,
unlike those mushroom valves from last month.
flathead lifter valley

What I thought would be a quick couple hours!
Two weekends later!
The rods, pistons and crank were no problem,
and 12 of the valve assemblies.
A little bit of hammering coaxed 2 of the sticky valves out,
but holey chit 2 of the valves did not want to budge.
(The reason why I needed the valves removed was to save the adjustable lifters.)

Basically they were rusted stuck in the seat,
as I didn't turn the crank over every couple month like a keeper engine.

Searching a bit on the internet didn't find any really helpful hints.
Torching them out was only a last resort,
since the lifters couldn't be removed without removing the valve guide.

After racking my brain for a couple evenings,
my main mantra prevailed.
When in doubt - weld it out!
unsticking a stuck ford flathead valve

What I needed was some localized heat to break the rust bond.
The stick welder was brought out,
and a couple circular passes were welded on the valve head.
It worked on one valve,
just enough to get the pry bar in there,
until the head broke off!
The other one still was stuck.
It was getting late,
or it just seemed late even if it was a saturday night,
so hammering wasn't a good option as I'm trying to be neighborly.
One more pass,
and something strange happened.
Jakob the night welder

Jakob had been watching the scenario,
and was wondering what the stick was for on the welder.
I've let them try MIG welding a couple times (4-5 years old!)
so I figured what the heck.
Jakob night welding!

After a couple tries he was able to pull a bead!
Wow and even in the dark!
Way to go Jake!
removing stuck ford flathead valve

The next day we got another late start as usual.
(you'll find out why in another post)
A nut was welded onto the broken valve.
The valve was easily spun with a ratchet, some oil,
and the screwdriver placed strategically underneath,
using the valve spring tension to help twist it out.
removing stuck flathead valve

The last valve was the trickiest.
While the other one would move about a centimeter up or down,
enough to get that first wedge in there,
this one was rusted shut.
removing a stuck ford flathead valve

First a nut was welded on,
to give something to hammer on.
Hopefully spinning it enough to loosen it.
After that didn't work that well,
a bolt was welded on,
then Jaxon came to the rescue with his muscles.
Jaxon tearing apart engine

Once removed,
the valves didn't look that rough to be so stuck.
Okay one did.
excalibur valves

And just like that the lifters were freed!
johnson hollow adjustable lifters

I'm not gonna segue into a different subject like I planned.
A little burnt right now to type!
Until the next post...



  1. Hello, I just wanted to take a minute to tell you that you have a great site! Keep up the good work.

    Furniture & Office Removals

  2. Hey Thanks for reading and commenting!
    Hope you can learn from my trials and tribulations!