I couldn't find a valve spring compressor that would work without taking the heads off. I bought two different ones that didn't work because there is no room around the springs for the little arms that are supposed to hook onto the lower coils. Supposedly there is a Mitsubishi tool that will work but it's $200 if you can find it (I could not). So, I made my own from commonly available parts I bought from Home Depot for less than $15.
The photo below is the valve spring compressor in action. The posts following will explain how to make it.
Materials you will need:
(1) 3/4" pipe nipple, 3-1/2" long not including threads (cut them off if present).
(1) Steel bar stock, at least 12" long (preferably 14"), 1" to 1-1/2" wide, 1/4" thick; or a channel if you can find it, 1-1/2" wide by 1/2" deep by 1/8" thick. I had to buy a 36" long piece and cut it to length; this was the biggest part of the material cost.
(1) 5/16" x 6" screw eye, with a center hole about 1" diameter.
(1) 5/16" washer
(1) 5/16" nut
(1) 1/4" x 1" hex head bolt
(1) 1/4" nut
(4) 1/4" washers
Tools I used (yours may vary):
10" miter saw with abrasive metal cutoff blade (to cut pipe and handle to length)
4" angle grinder with metal cutoff blade
Dremel with 1-1/2" metal cutoff blade
Hacksaw with tungsten carbide rod blade
6" bench grinder with grinding wheel and wire wheel
Flat bastard file
Drill with 3/8" bit
Hammer and centerpunch
The first piece is made from a 3/4" pipe, black iron or galvanized. Cut off a piece 3 1/2" long. You don't want threads on the bottom surface that contacts the valve spring retainer. Threads on the other end don't matter. Cut out the window in the side using an angle grinder with cut-off wheel, a Dremel, or a hacksaw if you're a masochist. I used an angle grinder for the straight cut about 1/4" from the bottom and the angle cut at the top of the window, and a Dremel with a little abrasive cut-off wheel to make the cuts parallel with the pipe. Grind or wire wheel all the cut edges smooth. I tried covering the bottom surface with electrical tape so it wouldn't scratch the retainers, but it doesn't stay in place very long. None of my new retainers got scratched anyway (they're titanium). The finished piece looks like the picture.
Last edited by OthercarisaFiat; 06-24-2004 at 02:37 PM.
Reason: Additional info
Next, make the handle. I used a 1 1/2" x 1/2" x 1/8" channel. You could also use flat bar stock, but it would probably need to be 1/4" thick. Don't use a tube section for reasons which will become obvious. Cut a piece about 13 or 14 inches long and grind the cut edge smooth. Drill a 3/8" hole about 1/2" from one end and another 3/8" hole about 1 1/2" in from the first one.
The hook is a 5/16" x 6" screw eye with about 1/4 of the eye cut off. There are also screw hooks you can buy, but usually they have an elongated hook that will get in the way and be difficult to use. The screw eye with a section cut out works better. You also need one or two 5/16" washers and a 5/16" nut; also a 1/4" x 1" hex head bolt, about four 1/4" washers and a 1/4" nut.
For initial setup, put the hook through the hole closest to the end of the bar, and put on the washer and nut. Run the nut down until about 1" of the threaded end of the hook sticks out. With the hook hanging down, put the 1/4" bolt with three washers up through the other hole, then put the other washer and the nut on and tighten the nut finger tight. The assembly looks like this.
Step 2: Put the top end of the pipe over the bolt head and washers (these will keep it in place) and maneuver the bottom end over the spring retainer. Rotate the pipe so that the window is accessible, preferably up to catch any dropped keepers.
Step 3: Make sure the pipe is centered over the spring retainer, and adjust the nut on the hook to take up any slack, then press down on the handle to compress the valve. Hold it with one hand and use your other hand to remove or insert the keepers, with needlenose pliers, hemostat or whatever. By twisting and manipulating the handle, you can control the position of the retainer with respect to the valve stem to facilitate getting the keepers in and out.
Last edited by OthercarisaFiat; 06-24-2004 at 02:16 PM.
Reason: Missing Information from Original Thread
The exhaust valves in the rear cylinder bank have to be done differently, because there will be no room for the handle. Remove the hook and the bolt, and reverse them so the hook is where the bolt was and vice versa.
Now instead of pushing down on the handle, you have to pull up on it. It's a little harder but it still works. If you have a helper this would be a piece of cake, but I did all 24 valves by myself using this tool.
You could wrap some duct tape around the end to make a sort of handle, that would be more comfortable to use; I didn't bother. There is also a liquid rubber type product you can dip the end in to make a rubber grip; Plasti Dip and Grip 'N' Guard are two brand names. I'd estimate it takes about a 20 lb. push or pull on the handle to compress stock springs, so it's not really uncomfortable even without this, but it would make it nice if you are going to use it more than once.
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