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Talking Valve adjust completed - success!!

Well, I finally did it.

I finished my very first 911 valve adjustment today and the car started right up and ran beautifully. Since it was my first valve adjustment on a Porsche, I took my sweet time and did everything slowly and methodically. It paid off.

It pretty much went just as the tech article on this board and Wayne's book predicted. Thanks to everyone who offered their insight on this job. It really helped.

Some points to ponder for the first timer (like me):

1) Some say to empty the oil only out of the case. I emptied out ALL the oil and did an oil change while I was at it. Now I've got clean oil in there. Note: even after you drain all the oil, when you pull the lower valve covers, be prepared with a rag or paper towels to catch the inevitable massive drip of oil that'll pour off the heads. It's probably a couple of tablespoons or maybe a bit more.

2) I took off the air filter cover and removed the filter. My AC is already gone so this really opened up the right side for easy access. I took the air blower plastic duct off the blower which did wonders for the left side access.

3) I labeled all the plug wires. I removed the wires and the distributor cap and slid the whole pile of wires up to the center and top of the engine (out of the way).

4) As some had suggested, I wrapped my heat exchangers in tin foil. That, to me, is a must do if you want to keep oil off the exhaust.

5) The engine will turn over just fine with the plugs in as long as you have the car in neutral, not in gear. Ask me how I know.

6) The Porsche adjustment tool works pretty well but I'd say that the other tool that Island (somebody) makes is probably better. The Porsche tool is a bit too wide from the front of the blade to the handle and makes getting it into the tight spaces a pain. Be prepared to use all the blades. I didn't break any, but I bent about 5 of them. Make sure those screws that hold the blade are tight. If you use the Porsche tool, bend it to 90 degrees.

7) When measuring the gap initially, don't even try the first time to get the blade in. Just loosen the locknut and adjustment screw, slide the blade in, and snug the screw back down onto the blade. Make fine adjustments with the screw until the blade drags around in the gap pretty snugly yet still moves. If the blade binds, it's too tight. If it moves easily, it's too loose. It just takes practice to get the feel right. I did mine yesterday and then came back this morning and double checked them all and re-adjusted a few that I thought were too loose. As you get more comfortable with the process, you'll start to be able to get the blade into the tight gap by just feeling for it, but probably not at first.

8) The toughest valves for me to work with were the exhaust valve for cylinder number 2 (it's tight down there next to the cat; 1 and 3 seemed easier - go figure), and the intake valve for number 6, which is way in the back on the right side. They weren't too tough. They just required a bit more effort to measure and adjust.

9) Like I said earlier, after I finished, I went back and checked them again. It's a little more work but well worth the effort.

10) This job took me - start to finish - probably 11 hours over two days, but like I said, I took my time and plodded along slowly. I was in no rush. Now that I've done this, I could probably do the whole job in 6 hours. Much of the time was spent taking everything apart and putting it back together. Lots of busy work.

11) Wear latex gloves and long sleeves. My hands stayed clean throughout and so did my arms. No muss, no fuss.

12) Tools: 13mm box wrench (no offset needed), 13mm socket, 3" socket extension, 24mm socket for the fan belt pulley (to move the crank), various other 7, 8, and 10mm sockets to remove small bolts that secure the plug wire brackets and the blower ducting to the engine, stubby bladed screwdriver, other various normal minor tools that everyone should have.

Overall, I'm glad that I did this job myself. My car's quieter, I saved a ton of money by not asking a shop to do it, and I earned some good hands-on experience with the car. It's not a tough job but it does take time and patience.
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Last edited by 450knotOffice; 02-20-2005 at 11:29 PM..
Old 02-20-2005, 06:13 PM
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Congrats!

The only one that I would have some hesitation on is your #7.

I've found over the years that 911 valves are pretty stable. Usually a good number of them are spot on when you go to check them. So why not try to check the valve clearance before loosening it? If it is at the correct spec, it is no problem to get the feeler gauge in. After all, you do that after the valves have been adjusted to check your work.
Old 02-20-2005, 06:18 PM
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Point taken SoCal.

My point was that a first timer who's never tried to find the gap would probably find it almost impossible to get the blade in while it was tight. After he's done the job once, he should have the "feel" to be able to find the gap with the blade.

When I first started, I could not get my blade into the gap because I couldn't figure out where to put the blade by feel and I could not see it. However, during the re-check I was able to find the gaps blindly no problem. I just knew where to feel for it and how to slide it in.
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2009 997.2 Carrera 4S
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Old 02-20-2005, 06:26 PM
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Good write-up! The nice thing about doing them yourself is the time and patience you can put into it. A shop may be just as good or better at it but they can also be rushed to get the job done.
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Old 02-20-2005, 06:29 PM
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I have the requisite parts on the way from our host and I'll be doing my first adj next weekend. I've been hesitant to try this myself, but just decided to bite the bullet and not spend the $400 for the local dealer or independent to do it for me. This kind of post is a good shot in the arm.

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Old 02-20-2005, 06:40 PM
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Well done 450........have another beer for the effort!
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Old 02-20-2005, 07:21 PM
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excellent....
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Old 02-20-2005, 08:12 PM
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wtg Scott! Now that you've had practice, when can I drop my car off for the valve adj.? I'll even bet you a case of your favorite brew that you can't do it in 6 hrs.
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Old 02-20-2005, 08:16 PM
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especially if I drank that case of brew.

OK. Fine. Do I hear 8 hours? Anyone? Anyone?

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2009 997.2 Carrera 4S
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Old 02-20-2005, 08:28 PM
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Thanks for the awesome write up! Bookmarked this for my first attempt when the weather turns.
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Old 02-20-2005, 11:12 PM
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Thank you.
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Old 02-20-2005, 11:21 PM
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If you have never adjusted the valves before, sometimes the hardest part is just trying to figure out where the gap is between the elephants foot on the rocker and the top of the valve stem. Before you actually start your valve adjustments with #1, rotate the engine until either #4 or #5 valves are fully closed and check them as they are quite a bit easier to see. Using a bright florescent light helps immensely. When you are confident as to where the feeler gauge goes in, go back to #1 and do your adjustments.
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Old 02-21-2005, 06:13 AM
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Nice write up. Gives me confidence to do my own.

How often do you re-torque the head studs when performing a valve adjustment?
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Old 02-21-2005, 07:22 AM
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Way to go Scott !

A real confidence boost for a beginner like me. I will print it out and keep it for the future when I get brave enough, allthough I guess my first go will be at an oil change...

By the way IŽll threw in two cases and 10 hours..

Good Work !!

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Old 02-21-2005, 07:52 AM
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IMO you should never re-torque head studs.

If you want to check them to make sure the studs are not broken, go ahead, just don't use much torque. A little twist will tell you if a stud is broken or not. Heck, a flashlight will tell you the same thing. If it isn't broken but is weakened, do you want to help it break sooner?

After the engine has run for a while the lubricant on the threads breaks down and the threads have a significant increase in it's coeficient of friction.
That means a torque value for a clean, well lubricated stud is now completely inaccurate, unreliable, and irrelevant.

The difference in the coeficient of friction between threads that are clean and we lubricated, and threads that are dry and slightly rusted is at least 4 fold according to my spreadsheets I obtained from a company called Hytorq.

So if you used 10 ft. lbs. to torque new lubricarted threads it would require at least 40 lbs of torque to achieve the same stretch later on after the lubrication breaks down and corrosion starts.
The added friction would also dramatically increase the torsional load, or twist. Not a problem with most fasteners but if they are marginal already, snap!
Yo will not be able to restore the proper stretch on the head studs, you will only be able to twist them in a way they may or may not like.
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Old 02-21-2005, 10:13 AM
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Sam, I am doing my umpteenth valve adj. tonight as the final break-in phase from my rebuild. Yes, I have managed 1000 miles in two weekends! I have 993 epoxy-coated head studs, but we reused the old barrell nuts, which were in good shape. So what would you say I should use as a torque value when checking them tonight? Thanks.
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Old 02-21-2005, 11:03 AM
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We have to ask, why would the clamping force you put on the head studs when you built it change? Maybe the washers seated a little, maybe the studs stetched, maybe the case warped? All are unlikely IMO.
If your original stretch on the head studs was lost you would need to try and restore it, but again, why would it change? if it hasn't changed you don't need to mess with it at all.
If it has only 1000 miles on it over 2 weekends it is likely that some of the lubrication from the never-sieze you put on the threads will remain. Some but not all. The heat will have cooked away some of the grease/binder of the never-sieze but the metallic particles will remain.
If you try and re-torque using factory specs I doubt the nuts will turn at all. If they do, something is wrong i.e. something has relaxed in a way it shouldn't.
Re-torquing using the factory specs shouldn't hurt anything at this point and will tell you if something came loose but that is all it will do.
If any of the nuts are loose and the same torque value makes em spin, something is wrong. I can't say what to do then, it depends on what caused them to lose the stretch.
If they came loose and nothing is mechanically damaged obviously you would need to try and restore the proper stretch on the studs. The only way to duplicate that exactly would be to remove the nuts, clean the threads to as new condition, re-lubricate them, and re-torque. I would not try to do that to my engine.
If you re-torued them to original specs the actual stretch would be lower than design because the friction would affect the actual tension of the stud. In other words the torsional load would not be directly propotional to the tensional load.
Another option would be to try and guess at a torque value that would compensate for a higher friction factor. Throwing darts would be as accurate. Maybe 10% over original, maybe 40%? without testing you wouldn't be able to accurately duplicate it. It all boils down to replicating the friction factor.

Some very knowledgeable Porsche engine builders will say that you should re-torque the heads, I don't see the need or reasoning.

Based on their reputation and experience it could be argued that they know better than I do.
If someone can explain to me why it is beneficial I may change my mind. Until then I consider it a waste of time. On an engine with good head studs it won't hurt anything. On an engine with old, weak dilavar head studs, it may hasten an eventual failure. Or it may do nothing.
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Old 02-21-2005, 11:42 AM
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Thanks. I'm just checking them because Wayne's book says to do so and I'll have the valve covers off tonight. I don't expect there to be any movement, since my case is not magnesium. But then I wasn't the one who reassembled the engine, so nothing wrong with double-checking the work while I'm in there.
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Old 02-21-2005, 11:46 AM
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Not that I want to add more complexity to an already hand-wringing procedure for the newbees BUT

NOTE that immediately after an engine rebuild, the head studs will be *initially* torqued..

After a certain amount of engine hours, the head studs should be torqued to the 'final' spec..

Some engine rebuilders ( the shonky ones ) do NOT tell their customers this. Then customer complains about a 'knocking' noise under heavy acceleration.. Rebuilder says 'yea, bring it in and we will check it out'.. After a couple more $$, customer gets engine back and knocking has (hopefully ) disappeared. If not, then the b*stards have still not torqued the head studs to their 'final' torque.. ( that knocking is the cylinders slapping against the case and heads )

Ask me how I know.....

So, in conclusion - I revise by my original suggestion to NOT retorquing head studs UNLESS your engine
1) has just been rebuilt
2) exhibits signs of oil leaks between cyls and head or cyls and case
3) just to see if any studs are broken ( apply *minimal* torque to studs, like turning socket extension with your fingers ) or take a peek in there with a flashlight and mirror...

Just my $0.02
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Old 02-22-2005, 02:07 AM
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Good post

Just finished doing my first valve adjustment. I'll put it back together tomorrow. I have my fingers crossed it will be ok.

I used some of the pointers here; such as loosening the lock nut and screw if I couldn't find the spot. I considered it to be well adjusted if the feeler had a small drag, not if it was tight. If real tight, I loosened up a bit. This is the first adjustment since a rebuild about 18K or so.

I feel that it could have gone smoother. The tool could be better designed to clear the tight spaces, but it still works [with a few extra words thown in].

I am considering painting the covers. I suppose I'll decide tomorrow when I go to the parts store for oil. Is there any reason not to do it? Maybe red crackle would look good.

todd
86 coupe
Old 02-26-2005, 07:13 PM
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