What is a Valve Tool and How Do You Use It?
Whether you’re fixing a few engine parts or giving it an overhaul, at some point you will need to remove or replace the valves. Using a valve tool makes the process much easier and saves you a lot of time. The engine valve tool is also simple to use and inexpensive to buy. Below is more about this specialty engine tool, from what it does to how to use it.
What is a Valve Tool?
A car valve tool is simply a specialty tool to help you safely and easily remove engine valves by compressing the spring. So it’s correctly called a valve spring compression tool. The tool is mostly used when rebuilding the engine, but can also come in useful when removing or replacing the valves.
Engine valves include the intake and exhaust valves. These are held under tension by springs. In order to remove them, the springs must be removed. But the springs are tightly held by collars or keepers. These must be taken out first.
This is done by using the spring valve compressor tool. Once the spring is compressed, the two pieces of metals commonly referred to as keepers can be taken out —usually using a magnet. The valve is then removed by carefully sliding it down the bottom of the head via the valve guide.
The benefits of using a valve tool include:
- You can easily remove and install engine valves
- It’s much quicker and easier to use than other methods
- You can avoid damaging the engine valves and other parts when rebuilding the engine
Valve Tool Kit
The valve spring tool comes in many different styles. It can be an individual tool or it can be a kit. An individual valve pulling tool is usually either a forked assembly that uses a set of jaws to grab the valve spring at two different points.
Another variation of the valve tool is a U-shaped assembly with flexible joints that compress the spring from their side of the cylinder head. The flexible construction of this tool makes it suit the configurations of different engine cylinder heads or match the sizes and diameters of different valve springs.
When the valve extractor tool is not an individual tool, it’s available as a kit. The valve tool kit typically consists of a C-shaped assembly with holes for a threaded pin or screw on either side. This tool is then supplied with various sizes of cup adapters.
To use it, you turn the threaded pin using a handle that you insert into a hole in the screw. The adapter cup will then compress the spring from both ends. Other (but less common) types of the valve tool remover include the pneumatic and standalone types. Let’s now see how to use one.
How to Use a Valve Spring Compressor Tool
The engine head valve tool is pretty easy to use. But as we have seen, it’s available in many different styles. So, depending on the specific tool you’re using, there might be some slight variations in how to use it. Here, we will focus on how to use the adjustable type.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- The valve spring compressor tool
- Ziploc bags (to keep labeled valves)
Note that we are assuming you have the cylinder head already removed, and the valves accessible. If not, check out this video on how to remove it correctly. Here now, is how to use a valve spring compressor tool.
Step 1 Position the Valve tool
Position the valve compressor tool over the cylinder head so that the side with the handle is on the head’s bottom. Next, open it wide enough for the tool’s upper end to fit over the valve on the other side of the head.
Step 2 Adjust the Valve Tool
Using the adjuster, move the tool’s jaws to the appropriate width. You want them to be just wide enough to grip the valve spring firmly. Press the handle. This is the short lever on your side of the tool that functions as its handle.
Step 3 Adjust Valve Tool If Necessary
Pressing the valve tool handle may not have applied enough force to compress the spring. If that’s so, try again, using the earlier steps. The aim is to ensure the keepers can be easily removed.
Step 4 Remove the Valve Keepers
Once you’ve compressed the spring, you can remove the valve keepers. Do so by gently tapping them out with a small punch and a hammer. If you can’t reach the keepers with your tools, try using a magnet to remove them.
Step 5 Remove the Valve Spring
Release the valve spring compressor tool. Do so gently. Take out the retainer spring from the top of the cylinder head. Next, remove the valve through the cylinder head bottom by sliding it down the valve guide.
Be sure to label the valves for correct reinstallation. Use the Ziploc bags that we mentioned earlier.
And that’s it! You know how to use a valve spring compressor tool. Note that you can also use it as a valve installation tool. You’ll only need to reverse the removal process.
Valve Spring Compressor Price
The price of a valve spring compressor tool depends on several factors such as the brand, and where you purchase it. As we saw earlier, the tool is also available in different styles and will, therefore, carry varied price tags. You won’t be paying a lot more than $80 for a decent quality one, though.
The typical spring valve compressor price starts from $25 for an individual tool. The valve tool kit is a little more expensive, but only by a few dollars, typically going for between $30 and $60.
When looking for the best valve spring tool, don’t just focus on the price. Consider other factors such as ease of use, durability, and how well it will fit your needs. Also, check out user reviews to get an idea of what others think of a particular product.
The valve tool is meant to make your life easier when it comes to engine valve repairs or valve replacements. It’s a tool that can save you time and money while avoiding potential damage to your engine valves. We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of how to use a valve spring compressor tool and the different types available.