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Discussion Starter #1
Allright folks, here is a little write up for those of us that cant see why you need to waste a perfectly good headgasket just because you want to have fresh valve stem seals. I know I think like that and really hate taking off the manifolds and messing with the torque wrench and all that other nonsense. This is an old hot rodder trick simply known as the Rope Trick or Indian Rope Trick or Cylinder Head Rope Trick. We'll be putting rope into the combustion chamber to keep the valves in place so that you can replace the valve stem seals without the valves falling into the chamber themselves.

So here is what you can do:
First jack up the car and remove the passenger wheel and the inner spash guard so you can see the crank pulley. Next you'll remove the negative battery terminal for safety and then proceed to remove the valve cover. Next the rocker assemblies can be removed to gain access to the valves themselves and so all the valves will sit in the closed position.

Here you have about 8 feet of nylon rope. Its hollow core braid, a fact that may come in handy later. 8 feet is all you need since we'll be doing one cylinder at a time.


After removing the spark plugs, the valve cover and rocker arm assemblies you will come to this step. With the negative battery cable removed (you dont want the engine trying to crank over, do you?) you will spin the crank until the indicator is away from Top Dead Center as it is in this picture. Why you ask? Because we want to put as much rope into the combustion chamber as possible before compressing it to hold the valves in place. The crank bolt is a 21mm and should turn quite easily from under the wheelwell.


With the 1st cylinder at BDC we begin to feed the rope into the spark plug hole. I used about 7 feet inside which was still enough for the cylinder to turn over and not get jammed up and potentially hurt anything inside. You can experiment with using less rope to ensure your safety but trust me, dont use more than 7 feet or you could possibly jam it up.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)

Next we'll use a valve spring compressor to get spring and retainers off of the valve. Funji has some great advice about giving the spring a good whack before trying to remove it. This loosens the keepers so they'll come out much easier. Once compressed the keepers will come out from the top and the spring can come free.


Here we have the compressed spring and the two keepers easily visible. Now it would be very easy to remove the valve stem seals on all 12 valves one by one. Installation is the reverse of removal. For more info about changing out the valve stem seals, check the project by Funji where the explains the process in much great detail with the cylinder head off of the car.


Yes this may seem very ghetto but it is a proven old trick without having to break the head seal. Set aside some time to get it done and you too can have fresh stem seals and solve the oil loss and colored exhaust that all of us get as these cars age. Thanks.
 

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