A Complete Idiots Buffoonish Attempt At Replacing A Valve Seat.


At least my shirt matches

Well, since we were so rudely interrupted by boats exploding, we were doing other things in the barn at 97 degrees. Like trying to change a Valve Seat and Valve. We will of course update folks with any new news on the couple and investigation. But today we are gonna show a complete idiot can do this without tearing apart the engine.


First thing you do is call Dave VanNess. “Hey Dave, I broke a valve and the valve seat is out.” Second thing you do is laugh. I mean what are ya gonna do? Cry? The good news is Dave said its very possible to repair this without any over the top stuff. maybe for a mechanic or machinist. But a fat fingered sugar deprived old geezer artist… HAHAHHAHA, now I am gonna cry.

I got me a hammer?

The good news is Jimmy is a great friend and “says” he enjoys this. So, we get new parts, Seat, valve and the tools to make this happen.

7 AM. Thats breakfast sandwiches in the trash bag. No, they come that way. They end up in another place.

7 AM before the sweat fest takes over. I had already removed the head, and valve cover. Which is harder than you think under the manifold. Hey, I can take stuff apart like a champ.

First a short prayer. Blessed father of all flatheads, please allow us to perform this task with peace and love. may the grease come off with GOJO before my wife see’s my dirty hands. Amen.

Okay here is the deal. Its possible. Here is a self captioned photo series. WARNING, I have no idea what the right words are. And we decided to go old school on this. Taking it all to a machine shop seemed so… well.. so un Woody Boater. After all, this is how it would have been done.

We put the seat in the freezer. Now, we know this may be an old wives tale. Or a wife of a mechanic tale. But we are going old school here

Dave sent us some very cool tools.

We had to compress the spring and remove the lock set.

Clean and put in this stuff. Lock and Set, or something like that. We had to ask an old parts store for this. It expands and locks in the valve.

Install the seat with a slight tap tap. That’s my hammer! I helped.

A little mirror to make sure its all tight. No cavity’s Dr!

We put in some paper towels to collect the lapping compound.

We are gonna do a 45 Degree angle and 32 degree ish cut

At this point we have been on the phone with Dave about 10 times, No phone service or Wifi in the barn, so lots of back and forth. I am also sure at this point many in the Peanut gallery will have something to say. Have at it, you cant insult me, since I know I am a fool.

Turning the cutter – this cuts the seat to an angle that matches the valve


Now the valve is inserted with some lapping compound and turned to expose the seat. Ya, I have no idea how else to explain this. But where it rubs it leaves a mark and you know its sealing.

Spinning the valve. or starting a campfire?

Could move a tad up, but looking good for in the barn

Valve installed, Spring compressed and now the lock set.

At this point I was brought in because my shaky hand is less shaky than Jimmys. We stuffed with a rag the inside of the valve area so no part would drop into the oil pan. Now, this is the bitch part. Cause you have to navigate over the carb the manafold and slip it on the valve.  By this time its 11 AM and 1 billion degrees in the barn. We both look like we have been swimming in a pool, and well. The one thing I do, and PLOP!

OHHHHHHHH SHIP! &*^T#$*&#)$@#&$T^)#$&~$) There goes one of the locks. Where is it? Is it gone? In the oil pan. How did it find the little area to drop into the pan? If we are lucky its in the pan? In the carb? Disaster, on the cam? Disaster?

We turned off the lights and closed the door! TO BE CONTINUED!

Tune in tomorrow for the next episode of Lost Lock! Will we find it? Will we chance it and run the engine with a new set? Can we find a new set?


23 replies
  1. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Did you consider pulling the manifolds? As I age, I have found removing a few extra bolts to gain access works out to be faster and easier than human contortions. Hope you find all the parts and tools that fell in or are going to fall in before you are done.

  2. Johnny V./John Vyverberg
    Johnny V./John Vyverberg says:

    Sometimes turning out the lights and closing the door is the best thing to do…………..

    Kind of surprised you didn’t at least take off the carb though.

  3. Matt
    Matt says:

    Taking the manafold on this boat means tanking the engine. The carb really isn’t in the way.

  4. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    Assembling the MCL that I have been restoring, I think about how much stuff I will have to remove to access the valve covers for future lash adjustment. With the manifolds, fuel pump and 2 carbs in the way, I can just barely see the cover bolts and that’s with the engine not installed in the boat yet.

    My experience with old sports cars; whenever a British car shop manual says to maneuver part A around part B, it means it cannot be done without pulling the engine!

  5. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    BTW, I used the freezer method to “shrink” a cutlass bearing for inserting in the prop strut. It worked.

  6. Inquiring Minds Want to Know
    Inquiring Minds Want to Know says:

    It would be good to know how you suspected a valve problem in the first place and then how you confirmed that it was indeed a valve issue and which valve.

  7. Matt
    Matt says:

    NO SHIP! Too old for that crap. In Stinky, we just yank the engine. Its easy and fun. In WECATCHEM.. OOOOFFFFFF

  8. Garry
    Garry says:

    It confirms why machine shops have equipment costting tens of thousand for this work. Adjusting the valves with dual uplift carbs while in the boat is asking for the chiropracter and too many bruises. Checking is no great experience either.

  9. Jim G
    Jim G says:

    Get a new lock set. Leave the old one in the pan. Its way to big to get though the pick up screen.

    Also put wheel bearing grease on the inside of the lock cap. That will hold it on will up try to put the second one on.

    Also make sure you remove your rag from the valve chamber. I had a customer who did his on carb rebuild and forgot to remove the rag from the intake. It completely blocked the air off to one cylinder.

  10. Garry
    Garry says:

    Does anyone else use the following on valve lash?
    Dcades ago I started using three feeler gauges to adjust lash. For example .010 lash use a .009 and a .011. If the 11 is too tight try again and if the 9 is too loose, again.
    I prefer a purring sound rather than hearing nothing or clacking.

  11. Matt
    Matt says:

    There are feeling gauges that have a .001 step so you don’t need many feeler gauges.
    Example. it may be .016 on the tip of the feeler gauge but 3/4 in it becomes .017. So if you adjust at 16, and if you cant push into 17 it tells you you are not at 17. make sense? Really? Can you explain it to me then.

    • Garry
      Garry says:

      Stepped feeler gauges sound good but need replacement after so much usage. There is defromation after usage that builds.
      In the freezer withthe blueberries? I want my pie clean, no oily residue and we are talking about thickness to begin with of thousanths so the change would be in the tenthousanths.

  12. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:


    I think you put that feeler gauge in the freezer for a while next to the wife’s frozen blueberries then see if it fits.

  13. Garry
    Garry says:

    Jeepers! I didn’t know where I was feeling around. I love blueberry pie and try to sneak some lime juice when the cooks back is turned. She hasn’t figured out yet why they get tarter.

  14. Rick
    Rick says:

    Is all that stuff really in an engine? I always turned the key and waited for the magic to happen. When it doesn’t I bring the boat to a magician and he turns my cash into more magic. While the happens I use a different boat with sufficient magic.

  15. Matt
    Matt says:

    BTW, if any of you are getting blocked by a screen after commenting, I have no idea why that is happening. it happened to me as well. Sorry, I am digging into it, and blame Valves!

  16. Mike U
    Mike U says:

    jeepers, creepers, how ya gonna find that keeper!?
    jeepers, creepers, better use those peepers!

  17. Rob
    Rob says:

    Ran my 1952 m47s Chryslers for 20 years after a full rebuild in 1989. Never touched the valves, messed with the carbs, but did the points 3 times in 20 years. At least 100-150
    hours per season. Stop fiddling with these engines and run them without mercy.

Comments are closed.