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The fastest way to remove valves from a cylinder head (VIDEO)

by | Apr 28, 2022

Removing valves from a cylinder head should be done carefully if you have a notion to reuse the valves, springs, collars, and keepers. A spring compressor is the right tool for the job.

That said, in my salvage yard days, I learned a trick I still use today if I’m stripping a head for scrap. It’s the fastest method in the world, hands down. I’m not gonna say I’ve never pulled this trick on a customer car, but I will say I don’t use it often nowadays.

  1. Pull the head and the cam(s) if it’s an overhead cam engine. Set the head on a non-marring surface with the valve stems pointed up.
  2. Select a socket with an OD that’s a little smaller than the OD of one of the valve keepers.
  3. Flip the socket’s open end onto the keeper and whack the end with a deadblow hammer.
  4. Lift the socket up carefully, collect the keepers, collar, and spring. Lift the head and fish the valve out of the combustion chamber. (Keep ‘em together and labeled if you’re gonna put these parts back into the head or you’re lapping valves.)

If you’re quick and you’re not worried about retaining parts, you can strip down a four-valve four-cylinder head in under a minute. Watch your hands and peepers!

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