Getting the rocker arms back in???

Discussion in '2.3L (N/A & Turbo) Tech' started by md89stang, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. Hi folks!, I need a little assistance. I just completed a minor head overhaul on my 89 2.3 - new valve stem seals, new springs, cam change. I'm trying to get the rocker arms back in, and here is where I have a problem. The valve keepers will not lock into the collar on top of the valve spring. I try to compress the spring slightly to put the rockers back in, and only the collar and spring move - not the valve stem. So, rockers will not go in. Do any of you have suggestions on how to get the keepers to lock into the collar again??

  2. Honestly that almost always happens. The keepers are made to lock into the retainer to keep the spring from flying off, but not when the spring itself is being compressed.

    It's a pain in the ass but you can work around it. It's been awhile since I did that job (last time I had the followers out of my Thunderbird was probably 4 or 5 years ago).

    If I recall correctly...I was actually using a seal puller to compress the springs. What I did was place the follower in, and try to get the one end on the tip of the lash adjuster and move it into place as best I could. Then I leaned on that puller to compress the spring and just pushed the follower into place. It doesn't need much movement of the spring and might require a little muscle but you should be able to get it to "pop" into place, and from there if it's not perfect it will be a lot easier to get correctly into place with just a little compression of the spring.

    Hope that helps- I always hated follower reinstallation because there's no good tool for it! I've heard there's a valve spring compressor out there that hooks under the cam and makes this job easy but I don't know where to get it.
  3. KD Tool's #8037 is pretty widely available. Esslinger also offers a one-piece lever-type compressor. I welded up my own rough copy of Esslinger's.

    I still don't like installing followers, though.
  4. I've recently completed a similar head refurbishing, and faced the same problem... then I realized that I had put the plugs in, and the compression in the cyls was keeping the valve stems up; so I removed the plugs and I was then able to push the stem all the way down in with a fingertip and insert the followers/ rockers. Sometimes it is the simple things. I hope this helps!