My Valve Spring Compressor - Heads On/In Car

KnuckleDuster

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I ended up needing to install fresh valve springs in my truck. All I had was a cheapy screw type compressor, with the fingers that grab the springs. They are not too horrible, for what they cost, but are completely useless when it comes to INSTALLING double springs. That left me looking for a lever type compressor, since the LSM price range is up there, and $300 for something I might use very rarely is hard to justify.

I started looking at the almost identical offerings from Comp, Powerhouse, and Proform...
Those all left me underwhelmed. All three are a very simple fixed handle tool that looks like it probably costs them all of $10 to make. Yet, prices start about $100, on up to nearly $200!
Oh, and you need two, if you want to work on big AND small blocks! Because, why SHOULD they drill a couple of extra holes? Or design anything that will work on two shaft mount rocker engines that have the same shaft diameter?
That would make too much sense, and not enough dollars, I guess?


Anyway, as usual when I need a good answer on something, I came here, and searched around. I ran across several great home made units! I took some ideas from each one, added a few touches, a friend added a few, and we made it, yesterday. This morning, I used it to swap out all my springs for new double springs. It went great, so I wanted to say THANKS to the guys that inspired me when they made thiers, and share what I came up with, for the next guy that has to change springs with the engine in the car.

A note- if you copy this idea, make sure to use a socket that will accept an extension from either end. I like the spark plug socket, because of this, and you can also use a wrench on it, if needed. The main features I tried to incorporate are all ways to keep you out of trouble when dodging obstacles in the car, like the brake master cylinder, booster, and anything mounted on the firewall.

YES! It works on BOTH big and small block engines!
You might not think it's pretty, but after using it - I think it's beautiful!
Function, not fashion!
Good luck!


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Here's something you couldn't do with the overpriced crap units from Comp, Powerhouse, or Proform!
Their tools range from $100 to almost $200, and would not let you work around the master cylinder or booster, like this!


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And when you get up against the firewall, on the other side, simply insert your extension through the front of the spark plug socket.

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Note that the groove and socket are mounted towards the spring side of the shaft axis, I think this helps give leverage. The most helpful, is being able to ratchet the handle to nearly any position. I had no trouble operating and holding the the spring compressed with one hand, while installing the locks with the other. It's also ambidextrous, so you can swap the handle to use whichever arm is more comfortable.

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MOPAROFFICIAL

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Whatever works when you got a welder you can make a lot of things... and that's what I love about a welder.
Remember that ProForm sells one too for shaft mounted rockers.
You can feed rope into the cylinder after putting it at TDC to keep the valve up... obviously leave some of the Rope hanging out the spark plug hole- don't push it all the way in, duh.
 

Steve welder

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I forgot about using rope to hold valve closed.
A very very long time ago I had to put those umbrella seals on the guides and so I hooked up the compressor to each cylinder and had the tool that bolted on each rocker stud (GM) it wouldn't work, kept opening valve, letting air escape......Guy told me to tap each valve and than try it, worked like a charm
 

MOPAROFFICIAL

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I forgot about using rope to hold valve closed.
A very very long time ago I had to put those umbrella seals on the guides and so I hooked up the compressor to each cylinder and had the tool that bolted on each rocker stud (GM) it wouldn't work, kept opening valve, letting air escape......Guy told me to tap each valve and than try it, worked like a charm
Yes. Tap the retainers.
 

KnuckleDuster

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Thanks guys!
I use an old plug wire with the distributor boot cut off, coiled in the cylinder. The spark plug boot eliminates worrying about it dropping in, it's easy to clean each time, and no worries about air pressure failing. It just takes some practice on where to set the cylinder before feeding it in, to get it to coil right.
Unfortunately, I don't own a welder , my buddy was nice enough to weld it up for me. Cosmetically...eh..but, the function is gorgeous! I designed it specifically to be versatile enough to overcome obstacles in any engine bay, and it works much better than anything I could have bought!
 

JDMopar

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That is brilliant! Did it get the wiggles on the ratchet end when you used the extension? If it did, it wouldn't be hard to make a brace that would slide on the shaft in that situation. Just run the extension thru a hole in the slide bracket that rests across the rails where the valve cover bolts on. If it doesn't wiggle, no need! :)
 

KnuckleDuster

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That is brilliant! Did it get the wiggles on the ratchet end when you used the extension? If it did, it wouldn't be hard to make a brace that would slide on the shaft in that situation. Just run the extension thru a hole in the slide bracket that rests across the rails where the valve cover bolts on. If it doesn't wiggle, no need! :)

No issues, even extended way out, it worked fine with the Lunati double springs, 336 lbs open, 402 lbs/in.
No need for a brace.
 

jamesmcclain340

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I use the Proform tool. for the cylinder I have a HF compression tester set that uses a short whip with a male air fitting. just screw it in and hook up shop air. just remember that the engine will rotate till valves close when hooking up.
 

Gearhed73

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Ive also made similar spring compressor, just could not justify the price to purchase one.
 
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