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Technical removing heads for a beginner

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Cuddles Two, Mar 18, 2021.

  1. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 8,419

    Budget36
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have recent $$ experience, your mileage may vary. This past summer I had a set of heads done, all new valves, springs/retainers, ect. Seat were done as well as the new valves and the heads resurfaced. The guides were good and didn’t need work. Came in at right around $480. I have went after market, but I’d ported these heads years ago and wanted to see how well they’d run.
     
    ekimneirbo likes this.
  2. Thank you Budget36. I will look up porting again. I forget what that is. But you at least give me a ball park of what to expect. I had no idea of $$. Still, worth doing. I want to take care of my baby.
     
  3. Engine masters I'll check out if it is on the net. I have an old antenna so I don't get much tv. I've seen roadkill & not impressed. As for cost, I'm not made of money but if it is open anyway, I'd rather do the job right and save up to pay for it. Been like that since I was a kid. Like a new model on the shelf ? I saved until I got it. I really will have to learn about porting and hardened seats & stuff like that. I don't intend to cut any corners on my engine. Painted head
    studs ? Hmm ? As I say, I did the intake manifold last year & I remember, it has to be pristine before reassembly but I didn't know to keep my fingers off the heads and block surfaces. Makes sense. Thank you and thank you all. I am discovering also that these helpful people are from all over the world. Wow !
     
  4. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 2,489

    ekimneirbo
    Member
    from Brooks Ky

    Since you have a computer, you can go to YOUtube (Utube) and type in "Engine Masters" or "Roadkill Garage" and see some video clips or maybe even the complete shows. Look for the "streaming" option. The idea is that they throw in lots of useful info as they go thru this stuff. It gives you an opportunity to learn some things and see a little about how to do things. Not all of it will be something directly related to your project, but as you gain knowledge it will help you in the long run. The idea is that you see things that are being done even though they aren't the specific thrust of the show.
     
  5. I watched an episode of engine masters and recognized one guy right away from a video online about removing and installing distributors. He is very knowledgeable and normally I love his videos but on the video I watched (earlier) when rebuilding a junk engine w/tow other guys, one of the first things he does is pull out all the push rods and collect them in one hand as he pulls them. As a novice, I learned to carefully place them in a box in the order they came out of the engine. These guys clearly know engines inside out but engine master videos might be a bit too advanced for me. When putting the engine on a dyno (I think it is called), I understood nothing. They could have been speaking Martian. But I take your point. These guys know their stuff and if I learn one thing from a video, it's more than I knew before I watched it. I will check out more engine masters but it doesn't look too promising. Too advanced for a novice maybe.
    My heads are in the shop. I should get them back in a couple days. I thought I'd miss a lot or all of the riding season (such as it is) but I guess not. Of course I would still be reefing on the head bolts if Bill hadn't come to show me how to remove heads. We got into it and all thought of the virus was thrown away as our hands got increasingly dirty. A nice escape from reality. No face diapers were worn. Wrong attitude I know. (We both live in the sticks & see few people) But it sure was educational & fun. Oh and I ground down some of my headers where they made removing my spark plugs impossible. First time I ever removed my headers. Thank you everyone !
     
  6. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 2,489

    ekimneirbo
    Member
    from Brooks Ky

    Thats the point exactly. If you watch them you will gradually become more familiar with lots of things and how they get done. Just like removing the head bolts on your engine. If you watch a video on head gasket replacement you will see the guy remove head bolts. Simple for most rodders but they had to learn too. Now that you have done so yourself, it'll be much less daunting in the future. You not only learned about removing the head, but how to use the best tool for the job. I always felt that one of the great losses in todays society is that there are no filling stations with neighborhood mechanics anymore. No place for wide eyed youth to hang out and help just so they could be around cars............
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2021
  7. wuga
    Joined: Sep 21, 2008
    Posts: 413

    wuga
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I don't know about in most states but in Canada, shop and apprenticeship programs have been removed from schools and the workplace. Employers in all trades are finding it harder to employ qualified tradesmen. In every school there should be a short but basic survival course, how to repair things around the house, how to recognize and deal with problems with your vehicle. Once you have the basics, your ability will exponentially grow to the point where you can confidently remove heads. That's how I learned, luckily I had a grand father and father who guided me.
    Warren
     
    ekimneirbo likes this.
  8. RodStRace
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,777

    RodStRace
    Member

    No youth training in school is part of the problem, but the big one as you mentioned is that many businesses expect a fully competent labor pool without training, at wages that have remained stagnant from back when they would train fresh out of high school.

    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-ta...rs-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/

    The local nationwide chain tire and repair shop is hiring at $10-12 hr. plus monthly bonus for apprentice/journeyman techs. That's about what they were paying 30 years ago.
    Used to be a good flat rate tech would get 45-50% labor when the shop rate was $50. The shop rate now is often over $100 and the tech is not getting $50+ hr. The owners are pinched between rising and extra business costs against retail pricing pressures that make it difficult to stay open, too.
     
  9. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,994

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    I wonder what being an automotive technician will look like in 30-40 years ?
     
  10. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 8,419

    Budget36
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I’ll bet a laptop and battery tester is all that will be needed to troubleshoot new cars;)
     
    2OLD2FAST likes this.
  11. Hmmmm.....someone should tell us that we don't have apprenticeships anymore... Maybe in your province but not in Alberta, alive and well here. apprenticeships can start in high school through the rap program. We have alot of students come through our college every year in our apprenticeship programs.
     
  12. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 8,419

    Budget36
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    As for porting your heads, you’d have to take them apart and then be real careful around the freshly cut seats. But, I’ve worked on two Ford heads with a die grinder, an older set of DOVE heads I put on a 460 and a set on an OT 5.0. Both had these big humps in the exhaust ports that you could knock down and then polish the ports though. Stuff rags down inside if you’re comfortable, but if not just leave them alone, bolt them on and get back on the road!
     
  13. wuga
    Joined: Sep 21, 2008
    Posts: 413

    wuga
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Education forums are starting to find out how taking away apprenticeship programs impacts business. At one point Ontario basically shut down everything because in their view, everyone was going into IT. Well, most of those jobs went overseas and now we have to reinvent education to catch up. I lived in Alberta for 8 years and my daughter went to university there and I am envious of your education system.
    Warren
     
  14. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 8,419

    Budget36
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I know we’re veering off topic, and I won’t get into quotas, etc. but my local (only) HS has a deal with the JC , but the students are mainly in the “continuation “ HS, these kids were moved next door, pretty much so the HS can keep the numbers up to State standards. Cool thing about it these kids can go to the JC, take advantage of several programs and also during that time if they get a job, it counts as credit to the school, so they don’t have to hit the Continuation HS, then to the job, then to JC. Now this was active when my kids were in school , but don’t know what’s happened now recently with the pandemic.

    Thing is, it takes some effort and prodding in parents and kids to see what’s available in the area. I’d have never known about the deal with the JC and the Continuation HSs had I not been in a situation I had to do a JC program. I was a poster child that JC asked me to go speak to the schools, tell the kids/parents what the advantage was.
    I mention this because my 3 girls, two of which were sent to the Continuation HS, never knew about it. I didn’t know, until asked to participate.
    I guess the bottom line( and so tough for the younger crowd and maybe for the parents) is to reach out to the schools and see what’s out there.
    Not all our kids are destined to be the next CEO at IBM.
    Reminds me of Caddy Shack, “the world needs ditch diggers too”.
     
    ekimneirbo likes this.
  15. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 11,001

    jimmy six
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I guess I’ve got a lot to learn .005” over pistons. New to me..
     
    kevinrevin and 2OLD2FAST like this.
  16. I may have stated the .0005 over incorrectly but that is how I understood what Bill told me. I will certainly start watching the engine masters series to see what I can learn. The guy I recognized certainly made it clear how to remove & install a distributor in his other series and I appreciate that. I will see if engine masters do a video on 'porting' so I understand that better. Thank you all.
     
    ekimneirbo likes this.
  17. Budget mods for big power video by engine masters - I actually understood some of it. You were right. Not all of it but enough to really enjoy the fuel pump part. Thank you ekimnierbo.
     
    ekimneirbo likes this.
  18. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,994

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    .005 over ?? Sounds odd ..
     
  19. kevinrevin
    Joined: Jul 1, 2018
    Posts: 156

    kevinrevin
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from East Texas

    Something to ponder as you watch the numerous videos out there: those actors are usually in a professional level shop with all the tools needed, and they have new parts to use so the old ones are not meticulously marked and reused.
     
  20. .005 over - Maybe I got it wrong. I don't claim to know. I just remember what Bill told me when we got the heads off.. I say "we" but he did 90% of the task. Bill looked at them and I think he said 5 over but I could be wrong.
    And yes, I have noticed the shops in the videos are huge, well lit and pristine (much like somebody's I know). And I am reminded of it anytime I try to see what I'm doing in my own garage while tripping over things. But I am beginning to amass a tool collection worthy of having someone scoop it when I'm dead. Isn't that how the game is played ? Whoever dies leaving the most fun stuff wins ?
    I should add that while I really enjoyed the fuel pump segment of the video, I recognize that I don't need to upgrade my fuel pump because I don't want to race. I just love the thought of cruising on a warm sunny day. Mmmmm. But yes, I understood some of the video. I'll search for more from engine masters. Thank you.
     
  21. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 2,489

    ekimneirbo
    Member
    from Brooks Ky

    The thing about having your own shop is that while its great to look at pristine professional shops, thats not what most of us have. My personal vision is to have a shop thats semi-organized, large, and equipped with what I need to do a job. I have found that the first thing I needed was a willingness to work for what I want instead of saying "This is what I have and it must make do". My first house had no garage, so I built one. Then sold the house and moved to a place where I could have more workspace. Thats what many people just won't do. I have never been sorry that I moved so I could build a bigger shop. You would be surprised what you can do if you just try.
    As for tools, what has worked for me is to buy certain desirable tools used. I attended auctions and combed Craigslist. What I found was that when a good deal surfaces, you have to buy it or it will be gone. Maybe its not exactly what I want, but when exactly what I want comes available, I buy it and sell the existing one I have to someone else. Gradually you accumulate most of the things you want, and often you really don't end up with much money for what you have. I have bought lots of sheetmetal brakes. Have had small to really large ones. I sold most of them for more than I paid for them as they never lose their value. The last brake I bought for $800 and kept it for about 10 years. Sold it for $2500. And I think I sold it too cheap. Had 3 guys wanting it and then saw similar ones going for $4000. Same thing with slip rolls. Had a bunch that I bought and as I found better or more desirable ones I bought them and resold the one I already had. I finally settled on one thats 36" and doubt that I actually have any money in it. I guarantee you my shop is not pristine, but almost everyone who comes by compliments me on it. Had two guys come by from Facebook marketplace yesterday to buy a couple of old electric motors. Both of them complimented me on my shop........and right now its covered with too many parts for too many projects I'm working on. So don't let the idea that you have to have a beautiful shop to work in, strive for a shop that has what you want and need to do work with. Its attainable at a reasonable price if you just work at it over time.;)
     
  22. Good idea about auctions and Craigslist. I've never done either. I have bought a welder & and an English wheel & that really cuts into my parts purchases so I can see buying used and working toward better tools is a good idea. Good points. Thank you. I recently ran across a led sled for cheap that I'd love to scoop (but know I can't). This hobby is so addictive. Shop manuals, parts, tools, another body just screaming at me. I can't sleep at night !!! Actually I've been awake since 3:00 AM and this was a typical night. Maybe with the warm weather, I can get some of this out of my system in the garage.
     
  23. Possible month long lock down at midnight tonight. I hope I get a call that my heads are ready today. The adventure continues at a snails pace if not. Still, if I get them a month from now, I'll be putting them on in gorgeous weather and that is so much a part of this hobby to me. Summer wrenching or driving is what I planned for all along.
     
    Budget36 likes this.
  24. I spent yesterday with a wet stone taking down my rocker arms so they are smooth on the surface, indent free. Took all day but now I know how. I'm getting to know my ride inside-out. Cool.
     
  25. I gotta say, I have no idea what you are talking about. "Wet stone the indents out of your rockers" ... say what?

    I have zero experience inside a Ford but plenty with a SBC. In my personal experience, if the rocker arms are worn, they get tossed for better ones. If they are dirty, they get cleaned with solvent and reused. Please clearly explain exactly what you have done and why as this is something I have never heard of anyone doing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
  26. Bill Vilneff showed me how to do this. He is a mechanic who also does drag racing (he competes). So I'm guessing he knows what he is doing. Anyway, to answer your question, I was told that if they are badly worn, he tosses the rocker arms out just like you. But, if they aren't worn too badly, he uses a wet stone to level the surface wear the rocker arms wear. To look at them, I couldn't really see what he was talking about and even by feel, it was barely perceptible. But after watching him restore one, I realized what he meant. The rocker arms wear a tiny bit in the center so there is a very slight depression. Most noticeable if I drag a wet stone over the surface a few times. The area I just hit with the stone is slightly scored but the depressed area is still shiny. Some of my rocker arms took about 10 - 15 minutes to restore but some took 30 - 45 minutes. So to clarify, in profile the surface has a curve but where the rocker arms wear is at the TDC of the curve, what was once a flat surface about half an inch wide at the apex of the curve. With a wet stone and a little time and elbow grease, I restored the flat surface of the curve. There was no longer any depression in the center. I would say that on the worst rocker arms, the depression was less than half a mm but I guess that's enough to warrant some restoration, at least according to Bill. If I haven't explained it well enough, please let me know.
     
    Maicobreako likes this.
  27. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,267

    1971BB427
    Member
    from Oregon

    Well in over 50 years of building cars and engines this is a first for me? I've never "restored" a rocker arm in my life. I've replaced singles, or sets, but none restored. Rocker arm sets these days are pretty cheap, so even a full set of roller tip rockers I bought last year was only $100. And stock type were under $50 a set.

    As for porting heads, I wouldn't waste my time or money. If it's done correctly it's very expensive, and will add some power. But unless the heads themselves have large enough valves to work with larger porting, it's money wasted.
    Think of your engine as a complete system that flows equally from carburetor to exhaust, and it isn't much different than the plumbing in a house. You wouldn't put 1" water pipe to a 1/2 faucet, and then run more 1" after the faucet. You'd run everything the same size from start to finish. And an engine needs the same thing to work well. So the right size carb, intake and runners, camshaft lift/duration, valves, and exhaust ports, and headers/pipes, all need to work together. Any oversizing or under sizing wont mean diddly if every part of the system isn't sized equally to work with it.
     
    kevinrevin likes this.
  28. Thanks for the explanation, I understand now.

    I can honestly say I too have never heard of anyone doing that to rocker arms before.
     
  29. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 2,489

    ekimneirbo
    Member
    from Brooks Ky

    I would think that people who restore rare old cars use that process when the rockers are made from unobtainium, and probably many rodders in the fifties when money was scarce. Airplane engines routinely have their rocker arms resurfaced as well. There is nothing wrong with doing it, as its a learning experience. Today, most of us just replace worn rocker arms or just upgrade to some better rocker arms.
    Here is a guy doing some BMW :eek: rockers. Skip to about the 3:30 mark.
     
  30. Thank you everyone for your assistance. And the video really explains it well. I did the same thing but by hand with a wet stone. The machine would have been easier & more accurate but risked heat so again, I'm glad I did it by hand. In my defence, after spending so much on a valve job, it was nice to save $50 and not buy new rocker arms. Plus it's fun to get to know the parts of my engine so even if they aren't made of unobtainium, it was worth doing to me. I will attempt to shut this thread down now..
     

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