I finally got around to changing the valve stem seals in my wife's 1986
Jetta GLI. As with most first time projects, I was a little nervous going
into it, but it actually went fairly easy.
The only "special" tool I had was a self made valve spring compressor I
built following a design I found online. It worked fine.
> The keepers and retainer and valve stem accumulate varnish over time
> which glues all together. A quick tap with a spark plug socket and a
> small hammer separates them momentarily and breaks the bond.
I had planned on using the "rope in the cylinder" approach to keep the
valves from falling into the cylinder, but every attempt at compressing the
valve springs just compressed the rope instead. I tried about 2' of rope,
then about 4', and then almost 6'. Same results every time.
So, I thought I would switch to the traditional air compressor method,
using an adapter that was part of my compression gauge. But that didn't
work either. After more head scratching, I realized the compression gauge
adapter had a one-way valve in it. So, it was back to the rope method.
Then I remembered your comment about things being glued together. A couple
of quick taps with the spark plug socket and a small hammer was all it took
to break the bond. The springs then compressed easily.
One of those bonehead moments...
> You are going to toss the seals anyway. Just
> grab them with pliers and pull them off.
6 of the 8 seals came out easily with a standard pair of needle nose
pliers. Naturally, the last two were stuck in there good! For those I used
a pair of needle nose vise grips. A bit more grip and they came right out.
> Some seals come with a plastic sleeve to protect the seal
Naturally, my seals didn't come with the sleeve. But, I had a couple of
sleeves left over from head gasket sets I had purchased over the years.
> the seals can be installed using a deep socket
> that fits the seal properly.
I used a deep 6 point 12mm socket on a 6" extension. It worked great. I put
the sleeve over the valve stem, started the seal on the stem by hand, then
seated it firmly with the socket.
I greased up the new seals slightly before sliding them on. I don't know if
that's the proper way of doing things, but it's how I normally install
other seals, and they slid down easily. I haven't noticed any problems.
> apply your spring compressor lever and remove
> the the keepers with a magnet.
The magnet worked great for removing the keepers. But, reinstalling the
keepers was easily the most awkward aspect of the whole job. I needed the
magnet to get the keeper near it's destination, but then had no way to free
the keeper from the magnet.
I spent a lot of time with the magnet and a
tiny screwdriver putting the keepers back in place (while holding down the
compressor arm), but eventually I got the job done.
I'm sure there must be a more elegant way of installing those keepers.
> Simple deal, just take your time.
My heart sank when I tried to start the engine back up. The timing sounded
really off and it wouldn't start. I made multiple attempts at resetting the
valve and ignition timing, checking the plugs, etc. but had the same
results every time.
After continued cranking, it finally started but the valve lifters made all
kinds of noise, and the engine stumbled and jumped like an old steam
engine. I feared I had seriously screwed something up.
But, gradually each cylinder quieted down, and the idle smoothed out. I
stored the hydraulic lifters upside down while I had them out, just as my
Bentley manual recommended. But, I'm guessing the oil drained out of them
somehow anyway and it took a bit for them to repressurize?
Anyway, my wife's car is back up and running smoothly again, with no signs
of smoking. Now it's just a matter of waiting and seeing if the oil
consumption has decreased.
If all goes well, I'll be changing the oil, and replacing the oil pan
gasket next weekend...
Thanks to everyone who offered advice!
Anthony >> Stay informed about: Replacing Valve Stem Seals