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CYLINDER HEAD/VALVETRAIN PROBLEMS and CURES

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Bill USN-1

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Some things we do out of necessity, others we do just out of desire to change.

This thread resulted from both.
I will try to cover most of the mods/changes I have performed on my cylinder heads over the years. Some can only be performed with the heads removed, others while still installed.

Below are some of the previous threads that have been posted here. You can use them for additional reference.

TROUBLES
Stuck valve/lifter

Fouled plugs

valve seal replacement

Start up smoke-what oil to use

Oil drain back holes

Broken 2 piece rockers


Lets discuss the parts of the valve train first.

ROCKERS

There are 2 styles of rockers that I know of that were used in the IH SV motor.
There are 2 piece welded rockers that use the ball and cup pushrods,

1534Rocker_arm_1148.JPG


and the 1 piece stamped rockers that use ball end pushrods.

1534Rocker_arm_1149.JPG


PUSHRODS

1534rockers_2077.JPG





STANDS

There are also 2 rocker shaft configurations.
The early 9 stand.
And the later 5 stands.

These do not affect the basic function of the assembly but if more is better, then I prefer the 9 stand assembly.
Note the base of the stands all point in the same direction and not all stands are drilled for the oil passage. Pay attention during assembly so the hole lines up with the hole in the head.

1534rockers_2070.JPG




SHAFTS

The shafts for each assembly are the same.
But they are installed in opposite directions.
For the 2 piece rockers, the oil holes in the shaft face up.

For the 1 piece shaft, the oil holes point down.
This is viewed from the bottom.

1534rockers_2074.JPG


If you convert from 2 piece to 1 piece rockers simply turn the shaft over and it's just like a new shaft!!
1534rockers_2078.JPG



HEAD MODS

I performed several modifications to the heads to cure some of the known faults in the IH design.
By far the number 1 complaint is the "PUFF OF BLUE SMOKE" at start up.

There are a lot of people that have turned this into "urban legend" status!!
Saying things like it was designed from the factory that way!!!
Well I may not be popular for my stance but I just do not buy into it.

I feel there are several factors that cause it to happen. I will talk about each and what I did to eliminate them.


OIL DRAIN BACK HOLES

Most of this mod can only be performed with the head removed.
The oils drains out of the heads thru a small return hole located in the front and back of the head. These holes intersect the outer most headbolts and the oil has to flow around the shank of the bolt to return to the pan.
This leads to a very tight channel for return and is very easy to become obstructed in an older engine. Just simple oil deposit build up can cut the size of the return in half.
We have all read about having to add an extra quart of oil to the IH just to keep the lifters quiet at highway speeds...... Why? Because the oil can't get back to the pan fast enough. It accumulates under the valvecovers and waits to drain back down.

Now if the lifters aren't getting enough oil...what about your crank, rod, and cam bearings? Ever wonder why the IH cam bearings deteriorate fast? (just a theory)

When the oil pump is low on oil it starts to cavitate and air is mixed with the oil. Not good for parts that need oil.

So what do we do about it?

Well for an old engine:

I remove the outer head bolts and clean them off.
Then I use a small caliber gun cleaning or engine oil passage cleaning brush, to clean the return holes with the heaad bolts removed.
You will need to flush the returns with carb or brake cleaner to remove the old build up out of the holes.
Also blow the head bolt thread out to prevent the fluid from setting in the threads. Wrap a rag around your air blower tip to catch the liquid.

When clean, Reinstall the head bolt and torque to spec.
CHANGE YOUR OIL!!

NEW ENGINE

I use my die grinder to polish up all the oil return paths. The trough in the head and the return holes.
A simple tapered sanding drum will work good.

Same as I use when cleaning up the exhaust ports.

While I'm at it I clean up the casting around the spark plugs to allow the mud and water to drain away from them!!

1534heads_0389.JPG


1534heads_0390.JPG


1534heads_0392.JPG


1534heads_0393.JPG


1534heads_0397.JPG



Note the little deposits. These were left in the rocker shaft and pedestals that broke free after the rebuild. I pulled the the shafts off at 14,000 miles and found this under them. These deposits broke loose due to the new high detergent oil now used in the motor. This is what will build up in the return passage around the head bolts and start to restrict the return.

1534drain_back_2089-med.JPG


1534drain_back_2090-med.JPG


VALVE GUIDE SEALS

The IH SV motor uses the simple O-ring(GM) style seals.
If everything else was perfect, these would be fine.
Being an old Ford guy, I prefer the umbrella style seals. They function the same as the o-ring seals but add a skirt on the bottom to also deflect excess splash from hitting the stems.
As an experiment, I picked up my 75 scout out of a famers field where it sat for 9 years. I got it running and naturally it had the puff of blue smoke at start up.
So I pulled the valve covers and cleaned the oil returns as described above by removing the head bolts. Then I removed the valve springs on just the last 2 cylinders closest to the firewall. I replace the seals with the umbrella seals and reassembled the motor.

Puff of smoke at start up was gone!!!

So I came to the conclusion that if IH designed the motor to smoke on start up then why did fixing these 2 cylinders stop it?
I would think that all the valve seals would have to be changed to cure it?
If IH designed it to add lube to the valve guides, then why would the other valves cause the same smoke?

Another thought is, if chevy uses the same seals then why doesn't all of their motors smoke on start up?

Types of seals:

The seal on the left is the stock o-ring seal.(IH/GM)
The seal in the middle is the umbrella seal.(Ford/me)
The seal on the right is the poitive lock (PC) style seal. These should only be used with the silicon bronze valve guides. They will stop all oil lubrication to the guides.

1534000_0259.JPG


There are numerous different umbrella seals available.
I use the standard straight side seals. Not the tapered side or the heavy duty HD seals-they have a thicker rubber at the top and may bind on the springs at full lift.


VALVE SPRINGS
This is why I removed the rockers.
I had a miss on 1 cylinder that I could not figure out.
I had spark. Swapped plug...plug wire....
I had fuel.
I could not find a vacuum leak.
The compression test showed 150psi!!
Both valves opening and closing!!
But the cylinder would not fire!!

So all obvious sources of a miss or dead cylinder had been checked.
So I started thinking about the obscure...
pin hole in piston?
Mushroomed valve?
Cracked valve seat?
flat cam?

So I pulled the plug and stuck an airhose to my compression tester fitting.
I noticed a large leakage internal and the compressor could barely keep up???

I did the next cyl and the compressor was able to build pressure and maintain it.

So I pulled the rockers and staked the valves with a hammer and drift. Just to see if a piece of carbon was stuck in the seat.
Retested and it's still the same!!

So I grabbed the valves to check for play in the guides and felt something sharp on the back side of the spring!!!
This is what I found!

1534valve_spring_2085.JPG


So what to do???
Well we have all heard the stories about the IH valve springs being weak.
So when I built my motor I used big block chevy springs-BBC. I run my motors hard and frequently exceed 4000 rpm. I'm sure it contributed to the failure but i think my EBAY springs may have been used springs!!
I will say that having the inner damper springs probably saved my motor.
A valespring failure normally results in the valve falling into the piston and destroying everything!!

But back to ebay I went...and I found these.
I use the BBC springs and the retainers.
I reuse the IH exhaust rotators.

ERSON VALVE SPRINGS FOR A HYDRAULIC CAM (PART NUMBER E915011). THEY ARE SINGLE SPRINGS WITH DAMPER, MADE FROM CHROME SILICONE MATERIAL, AND WILL WORK IN MANY APPLICATIONS, SUCH AS BBC, BB MOPAR, FORD 351C, 351/400M, 429/460.
HERE ARE THE SPECS:

1.500" OD
95# @ 1.820"
313# @ 1.180"
1.080" COIL BIND
.640" MAX LIFT

1534Springs.jpg


Here's the compression tester I use.

1534valve_springs_2329.JPG


The part that screws into the head is also good for putting an airhose on to assist in removing the springs!

1534valve_springs_2303.JPG


An alternate way to remove the springs with the heads on the motor is to place the piston at TDC on the compression stroke. This is right after the intake valve closes as you rotate the engine by hand.
Then back it up 1/2 a turn rotation and feed some cloths line of small rope into the cylinder. A couple feet should do. Leave the end hanging out the plug hole. Then rotate the engine back up to TDC. If you have enough rope in, the piston should push the rope up against the valves and hold them in place. If you don't have enough...the engine will continue to turn.

Once locked in place you can safely remove the valve springs without them falling in the cylinder!!


There are several styles of valve sping compressors designed to be used with the heads still on the motor.
Here are a couple of them I use. Both work.

1534valve_springs_2316.JPG


1534valve_springs_2318.JPG


You may need to use a deep socket and hammer and tap the top of the spring before you start to unseat the retainers!!

The rest is pretty straight forward and the pics should show most all you need.

1534valve_springs_2304.JPG


1534valve_springs_2305.JPG


1534valve_springs_2306.JPG


1534valve_springs_2307.JPG


1534valve_springs_2309.JPG


1534valve_springs_2310.JPG


1534valve_springs_2311.JPG


1534valve_springs_2312.JPG


1534valve_springs_2313.JPG


1534valve_springs_2314.JPG


1534valve_springs_2319.JPG


1534valve_springs_2320.JPG


1534valve_springs_2322.JPG


1534valve_springs_2325.JPG


1534valve_springs_2326.JPG


When installing the rocker shafts, It's a good idea to use a little sealant like permatex on the threads of the bolts since they extend right into the intake runners.

1534valve_springs_2327.JPG



Let's talk about one last mod.
What if you plan to run a large cam?

Well when I was preassembling my motor I checked the free space between the valvespring retainer and the valve guide.
Things looked to be a little too close for my liking. So I used my old Crane valve guide cutter and removed .100" from the top of the guides just to be safe!!

1534heads_0389.JPG


1534heads_0390.JPG
 
Last edited:

Lava

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Another awesome article Bill. Talk about content!
I've been trying to follow your photoposts, but am a little lost on the fi stuff :eek: :D (I need way more background for it to make sense)
no matter, a little at a time, and I've got plenty of time for that stuff later :D
 

surfcraft

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Great photos, Bill. And lots of food for thought.

When we rebuilt my 196, my machinist (brother-in-law!) coated the drain-back surfaces of the head with a coating designed to aid drain-back.

Next time I'd like to try some of your techniques, as well.

Might have to by another Scout, so I don't have to wait 400,000 miles to get the chance!

Thanks,

JW
 

sjm1003

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Very Inforative And Complete.you Put In Lots Of Work On This And It Showes. Thank-you
 

Bill USN-1

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Thanks,

Another thing to keep in mind is the weight of the oil used.
The thicker the oil, the slower it will flow. Good for oil pressure but not good for the flow back to the pan.
 

kneemoe

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thanks to bill's great write-up (and the free time i have at work) i now know i've got the welded rockers.... question is, should they have *any* play from side to side....i'd say 6 of the 8 dont, but thw two on my 3rd cylinder both seem to have a little wiggle room up and down the assembly that holds them
also, 4th cylinder i can push down on the lifter/rod and things actually move (less thana 1/16th but still, the others dont do this)

any suggestions? i take direction real well i just dont know what im doing ;)
 

kneemoe

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jeff campbell said:
dan,sounds like a few weak lifter's on #4?jeff

thanks jeff, that was my first guess
what concerned me was the rockers being able to move perpendicular to the direction they're supposed to travel in - is that acceptable or am i just waiting for something to chew itself apart?
 

jeff campbell

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you may have a few bushing's worn,i think you can still get them by themselves fron IHC,but tell them it's for a loadstar motor,or they won't give ya the time of day!at least they won't here at my localD-ship.jeff :D
 

Bill USN-1

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As you rotate each piston to TDC on the compression stroke...(intake valve just closed)....The valves will be closed and there will be min tension from the lifters.
Some oil will bleed off after you shut the motor off. If you have ever heard loud ticking after you shut the motor off...that is normally the lifters bleeding off.

When they do, you have very little tension on the rocker arm and you will be able to move it side to side slightly.
This is normal.

As long as the rocker stays centered on the valve stem you are fine.


Rotate your engine with a starter switch or by hand with a socket on the crank and compare the rockers at TDC.
Then you will know.
 
Last edited:

kneemoe

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Bill usn-1 said:
As you rotate each piston to TDC on the compression stroke...(intake valve just closed)....The valves will be closed and there will be min tension from the lifters.
Some oil will bleed off after you shut the motor off. If you have ever heard loud ticking after you shut the motor off...that is normally the lifters bleeding off.

When they do, you have very little tension on the rocker arm and you will be able to move it side to side slightly.
This is normal.

As long as the rocker stays centered on the valve stem you are fine.


Rotate your engine with a starter switch or by hand with a socket on the crank and compare the rockers at TDC.
Then you will know.

good deal, thanks bill, i'll pull the plugs when i get home from work and start checkign things out
i love the web :D
 

Bill USN-1

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I used stock GM retainers but there's no reason those won't work that I can see.

AFAIK IH valve stems are 3/8" and the keepers are 7° so you should be fine.
Someone else on here also just ordered the same springs and retainers.
 

avst03

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Thanks Bill USN-1 for your many tech articles especially GM TBI FI and this one.

I have the same problems you guys with Scouts have on a SBC the puff of blue at start up.

Are you using umbrella seals on the exhaust and intake? Looks like your using them on both.
How much clearance do you have or need between the umbrella seal and the damper spring?
Does the umbrella seal cover the guide end (cast in guide)

Mike...
 

topher61

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Thanks for taking the time to post such detailed info with pictures. I had started a thread a while back because of a stuck valve and your pictures have really helped me see exactly how things are laid out.

Quesion though... you said...
Well when I was preassembling my motor I checked the free space between the valvespring retainer and the valve guide.
Things looked to be a little too close for my liking. So I used my old Crane valve guide cutter and removed .100" from the top of the guides just to be safe!!
What exactly made you think the tolerance was too tight for your liking? How much should there be? I still have a little more tick than I'd like and might soon be tackling some valve work.

Thanks again for the illustrated write-up......and a note to the rest of the board...when I was knee-deep in getting my brakes back in shape and also looking at going power brakes/steerting etc, Bill took the time to send very detailed emails about which year parts would work with my truck. :D
 
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