View Full Version : Valve Seal Replacement?

05-27-2012, 09:44 PM
I would like to replace the valve seals since I get tired of fumigating the cars behind me when I accelerate from a stoplight. (I believe seals to be the cause due to high oil consumption, plus some google fact finding.) How involved/difficult is valve seal replacement? I am sorry to say that my mechanical experience is far behind that of the rest of you gentlemen. Engine currently has 219,000. I should probably replace the head gasket while I am at it too huh?

05-28-2012, 06:28 AM
I am not sure how bad yours are compared to mine. I was having a bit of smoking at startup due to what my research indicated was valve stem seals or guides. I didn't replace anything at this point and I am at 353,000 miles. What eliminated the smoke and reduced the oil consumption to a quart every 1,000-1,500 miles was switching from 10W30 synthetic to 5W40 Rotella T synthetic. I realize that this is not a "mechanical" fix, but it works and fuel economy was not affected (that I noticed) by the slightly thicker oil.

05-28-2012, 09:30 AM
Pull the head and take it into a shop to get it reconditioned. The cam is probably gone at this point as well and I wouldn't be surprised if the valves are all kinds of nasty. It cost me around $350 to get mine done and it came back good as new.

81's are easier to rebuild than the 79-80 because they don't use that goofy 2 port exhaust. They're also easier to find in the yard if yours is cracked.

My 79 was blowing blue smoke and it turned out it was a cracked head, not valve seals. If you're going to go through all the effort of taking the head off to do the head gasket you might as well recon the head while you're at it. Maybe hone the block out with a drill hone and do the rings/cam bearings while you're in there. It's tricky but you can do it while the engine is still in the car.

05-28-2012, 11:28 AM
Oh, sorry guys, I missed the fact that this was an '81. I am pretty sure the head on mine is just fine. Idle is good, power is good, and fuel economy is still like it was years ago. If I am ever feeling ambitious and have time on my hands I'll get a valve spring compressor and replace my seals. You just have to be careful that the piston is up so you don't lose your valve, right?

05-28-2012, 03:32 PM
Take the spark plug out and feed a bunch of rope into the combustion chamber then turn the crank until it won't turn. This will keep the valve up and allow you to pull the seal off.

05-29-2012, 06:26 AM
Oh, that's right. I remember the rope trick now. I'm getting encouraged to take this one on next time I need to do a valve lash adjustment. No sense wasting a perfectly good valve cover gasket and grommets.