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Old 03-12-2011, 08:55 AM   #1
G. Man
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Icon2 What's the best way to clean your valves?

I'm swapping a d15b7 head onto a d15b2 block, but the valves don't look very good. I might not be able to even use it, but I want to clean them up to see what I'm dealing with. And I'm hoping the seats are still good. I've looked all over and can't find any info on it.

Do you use different grits of sandpaper combined with seafoam or what?

If so, what grits do you use from start to finish?

What's the best way? I don't want to screw them up.

Were tearing into it tomorrow, so I don't have a lot of time. I need to get them cleaned asap!

Any info would be greatly appreciated, thanks....
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Old 03-12-2011, 03:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

a bench grinder with a wire wheel works great for me. i wouldn't use sandpaper. carb cleaner might help if you can't get it with the wire wheel
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Old 03-12-2011, 05:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

I would not sand or wirewheel them.
The best way to get rid of the carbon build up is to use paint stripper in a can.
The best I have used is the one you find at Home depot made by Klean Strip. It comes in a tall spray can.
Spray the valves outside in a well ventilated area and make sure not to get that stuff on you. let the stripper work for a couple of minutes and rinse it off with a hose.
Most of it will come out but you might need to do it two maybe three times.

I cleaned a head that was covered in sludge and it came out like new.
The stripper does the work for you, you just spray this stuff, wait and rinse it with a hose. DO NOT spray it onto painted surfaces, only bare metal like valves, pistons, etc.
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxbore.com View Post
I would not sand or wirewheel them.
The best way to get rid of the carbon build up is to use paint stripper in a can.
The best I have used is the one you find at Home depot made by Klean Strip. It comes in a tall spray can.
Spray the valves outside in a well ventilated area and make sure not to get that stuff on you. let the stripper work for a couple of minutes and rinse it off with a hose.
Most of it will come out but you might need to do it two maybe three times.

I cleaned a head that was covered in sludge and it came out like new.
The stripper does the work for you, you just spray this stuff, wait and rinse it with a hose. DO NOT spray it onto painted surfaces, only bare metal like valves, pistons, etc.
Thanks for your post,

That sounds good, but I'm not just dealing with sludge. Some have a white coating? Like they're burnt somewhat. Will that still work? I know they should probably be replaced but I just don't have the money. I'm hoping I can fix the head I have on right now once we get it off, but I want the spare (the one i'm cleaning) ready to swap in case it's in better shape. I just want to clean the valves and then test the seats. Will this method (klean strip) still work with what I'm dealing with?
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

dishwasher...i kid i kid
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Old 03-12-2011, 08:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

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dishwasher...i kid i kid
ive washed many parts in the dishwasher with a tad bit of dawn in it. Dont tell my wife. SHe did notice when I baked headlights in our oven though, caught me red handed pealing them apart on the kitchen counter.
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Anyone have something to say that doesn't involve dishwashers? WTF?
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Soak em in gas and scrape off the old carbon, the white stuff is carbon more than likely on ur exhaust valves, right? Its perfectly normal. Once u get em cleaned up a bit, put each one in a drill press, start with 400 grit sandpaper, and go up from there. Don't get crazy with the sandpaper, just enough to remove the material u don't want on there. Don't go up the valve stem either. Also, the drill press helps identifying bent valves, cause the valve will wobble when u turn it on. I found a couple bent valves that weren't obvious using this method.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grnnt4 View Post
Soak em in gas and scrape off the old carbon, the white stuff is carbon more than likely on ur exhaust valves, right? Its perfectly normal. Once u get em cleaned up a bit, put each one in a drill press, start with 400 grit sandpaper, and go up from there. Don't get crazy with the sandpaper, just enough to remove the material u don't want on there. Don't go up the valve stem either. Also, the drill press helps identifying bent valves, cause the valve will wobble when u turn it on. I found a couple bent valves that weren't obvious using this method.
Sweet, thanks! I'm going to give this a shot. I'm not taking the valves out of the head though, I don't have the skills or the time at this point, so I'm just going to hope none are bent :/ I thought the white meant they were burnt, because only some of them have it (mainly on the exhaust side). We'll see. As long as the seats turn out to be good....
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlk16188 View Post
SHe did notice when I baked headlights in our oven though, caught me red handed pealing them apart on the kitchen counter.
haha i've done this
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:34 PM   #11
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Maybe you guys should start a cooking forum, to better serve your needs....
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:07 AM   #12
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

400 is a little rough if you ask me. the valves are hardened, i might use 1000 grit but a fine wire wheel works and doesn't leave a mark.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:35 AM   #13
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by G. Man View Post
Maybe you guys should start a cooking forum, to better serve your needs....
now that wasn't very nice now was it

another suggestion for you: try a 3m scrotch brite roloc pad

http://able123.com/abrasives-bristle...1f3a93b3c8bb56
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by D16SiHatch View Post
now that wasn't very nice now was it

another suggestion for you: try a 3m scrotch brite roloc pad

http://able123.com/abrasives-bristle...1f3a93b3c8bb56
I know, I wish I was one of those nice guys, but I play the cards dealt . Thanks for the tips everyone. I appreciate it... Be rolling in the wagovan in no time!!!
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:59 PM   #15
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Anything that can leave a scratch on the valve is a bad idea - especially the edge of the valve.
If you insist on using sandpaper then you will scratch the valve and will risk heat cracks.
Of course you could work your way down to grits like 2400 and that would probably work.

Why bother though?

Soak them overnight in B-12 Chemtool.
Scotchbrite pad or soft wire wheel the stuff off the next day.

As long as they are out, go ahead and lap the valves when you put them back in.
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:52 AM   #16
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Wish I had seen a thread like this a few years ago. I chiseled/scraped the build up on my valves and stuck them in a drill and used sandpaper (started at 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000, metal polish). I honestly didn't care though, it was an 8 valve head and it was more of a learning process for rebuilding engines. I'll be removing the head this summer to see what everything looks like now that it has accumulated some mileage.

This is what I dealt with, I hope yours don't look like mine did...

Click the image to open in full size.

Just curious, how clean do you think you can get your valves if you don't plan on removing them? I've never used chemicals or gas so I'm curious as to how clean it will get considering you're not removing them.
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:49 PM   #17
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

I'm only concerned about the part you see when you pull off the head, not the stem. That never even crossed my mind lol. I found a cheap head on craigslist that I think I'm going to grab instead though. These valves look burnt to me. I'm new to engine internals and really don't know. I really need to get my car fixed. Not so sure I want to take a chance on this head.
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:05 PM   #18
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

24TEN, that is the nastiest valve i have ever seen. It almost makes me want to throw up. It reminds me of the fungus on my ex girlfriends va....
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:07 PM   #19
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 24TEN View Post
Wish I had seen a thread like this a few years ago. I chiseled/scraped the build up on my valves and stuck them in a drill and used sandpaper (started at 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000, metal polish). I honestly didn't care though, it was an 8 valve head and it was more of a learning process for rebuilding engines. I'll be removing the head this summer to see what everything looks like now that it has accumulated some mileage.

This is what I dealt with, I hope yours don't look like mine did...

Click the image to open in full size.

Just curious, how clean do you think you can get your valves if you don't plan on removing them? I've never used chemicals or gas so I'm curious as to how clean it will get considering you're not removing them.
and this is what happends when you don't know how to take care of a car.
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:24 PM   #20
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlk16188 View Post
ive washed many parts in the dishwasher with a tad bit of dawn in it. Dont tell my wife. SHe did notice when I baked headlights in our oven though, caught me red handed pealing them apart on the kitchen counter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by D16SiHatch View Post
haha i've done this
Why baking your headlights? I've forgot why this was done. I use to remember. >.> I'm too young for my memory to be this bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danked View Post
24TEN, that is the nastiest valve i have ever seen. It almost makes me want to throw up. It reminds me of the fungus on my ex girlfriends va....
Literally almost puked. Haha.
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:33 PM   #21
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Alright, I'm going to tell my story start to finish, and maybe someone can give me advice lol.

I bought a 90 wagovan, with the stock d15b2. I replaced temp sending unit, temp sensor, flushed tranny and put in red line mtf. Changed oil with wix and royal purple. I threw a o2 code so I bought a o2 sensor, but couldn't get the old one out. I called a reliable mechanic and he told me 20 bucks to change it. Since I busted my knuckle 3 times already it was worth it to me. When I took it in I asked to check the motor mounts because the engine was vibrating. You could feel it in the shifter too. Well after and hour and fifteen minutes they finally got the o2 sensor out (ended up costing 40 bucks instead of 20) and then checked motor mounts which turned out to be fine. He told me I had a low cylinder, and either had a burnt valve or a stuck valve, but was certain it was going to need a valve job. So I got a hold of the guy I bought the car from and told him I wasn't happy, and explained the situation. Luck for me he was cool about it and one of his buddy's had a motor (d15b7) that smoked, but the head was still good on it (according to them). He bought the motor and just gave it to me. We brought it home, pulled the head, and that's pretty much where I'm at. The exhaust valves are all white. The intake valves look fine. I was just going to clean it up the best I can, check the seats to make sure they seal, and swap heads. but now I'm leaning towards buying this head on c.l. for 75 obo. The guy says it's all ready to go, no problems.

On the plus side, the engine I got for free has all the sensors including the idle control. If anyone has advice for me, send it this way lol. I came down sick, so I really don't feel like doing much but surfing honda-tech, till I'm well anyways. Oh, and it has a newer water pump in it.

Last edited by G. Man; 03-16-2011 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:34 AM   #22
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruckus2009 View Post
and this is what happends when you don't know how to take care of a car.
No, this is what happens when you buy a WELL USED car (I hope you're not telling me I don't know how to take care of a car). Majority of the time you are taking over someone else's problem.

Personally I never trust any engine that I haven't personally inspected and/or replaced parts on (perfect example is the picture of the valve above, imagine the rest of the engine). Having said that, I'd keep the head you have already and proceed with cleaning the valves as others have stated and replace the valve seals before reassembly. You can probably disassemble the head and have your local machine shop clean it for you and spend less on the new seals rather than buying that head for $75, much less if you do it all yourself though.

EDIT: I was looking through some old pics and found this, it's from a head I had bought off of craigslist. I hope yours aren't anywhere near as bad as what I have encountered.

Click the image to open in full size.

Comparison:
Click the image to open in full size.
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Last edited by 24TEN; 03-16-2011 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:58 AM   #23
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Well like I said, I'm new to engine internals, and would probably F it up if I attempted to remove and clean them. I think I can get this other head for 50 bucks, and then once my car is running well, I can maybe attempt to clean the valves on this other head. I need my car too bad to risk F'ing up. My truck gets 15 mpg, and that's killing my pocket book at the moment. I will tear into this other head, because I want to learn this stuff. Just not right now. I really appreciate yours and everyone else help and comments (except maybe the kitchen crew J.K.), and I will use and learn from this.
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:14 AM   #24
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Did a little more reading into the thread into your original issue.
I now see you are strictly talking about the combustion chamber face having a little build up on it.
That would come off EASY once the head is installed. Seafoam would do the trick.
OLD OLD cars used to be able to get away with putting a little water into the intake. The cool vapor in the hot combustion chamber would crack the carbon build up right off. Terrible idea for today's higher compression and high tolerance engines.

The pics with the build-up on the intake side of the valves may not even represent what's going on with the head you have. Your's may be pretty clean and nothing to worry about.

You should drop one of the intake valves out and see what it looks like before you go ahead with buying another USED head. The one you buy may have clogged up intake sides just like the pics! You just won't know until you take a good look!
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:17 AM   #25
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Default Re: What's the best way to clean your valves?

Quote:
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You just won't know until you take a good look!
EXACTLY

The last pic I included was from a head that was supposedly rebuilt. It may have been rebuilt...years ago...or they literally replaced the seals and didn't bother addressing the valves. Either way, you should carefully inspect whatever you decide to install. It's not difficult to remove the valves either, the basic tool is really cheap.
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