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Low tech tips for mid 50's Buicks Part III: valley cover


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See the website since forum changes eliminated the pictures here:



Low tech tips for mid 50's Buicks Part III: valve lifter (valley) cover

The valley cover is what the name implies, a cover, but it is essential for the removal of crankcase vapors. Inside is an aluminum mesh that intercepts oil droplets and returns them to the crankcase, while allowing vapors to escape by way of the draft tube. I have seen this mesh so clogged that the crankcase pressure built up to the point of creating or enhancing leaks including the crankshaft main seals. It is impossible to clean without disassembly. Solvents will leave a dry flaking residue to sprinkle on the camshaft. Caustic cleaners used at automotive machine shops will destroy the aluminum mesh making the unit ineffective at stopping oil leaks from the draft tube, while again leaving residue to fall into the engine. The following is my method to disassemble, clean and reasessemble. This unit is from a 1955 322/254 engine; other nailheads may be similar.



Two pictures of a "cleaned" cover. Not so bad?


After using a center punch I use a small drill to create a shallow hole for guide pin of the spot weld cutter. (Notice that I missed one spot weld...not intentional)


Spot welds cut out.


Open, exposing some of the problem. The inner cage for the mesh was cut out in a similar manner. this time I cut only one side and bent it open.


Nasty remnants of the mesh headed for the trash.


To reasessemble I used pop rivets on the inner cage and spot welds elsewhere. Pictured is a spot weld gun from Eastwood, a primitive tool that is hard to control and produces weak welds. But it is good enough for this job. Other ways that I have used included brass brazing and JB Weld. A mig or tig welder if available would be best.


Finished product.



Tools and supplies used: Hammer, center punch, small drill bit, drill, spot weld cutter and the replacement mesh (air conditioner filter); all available locally.

Coming soon: power steering rebuild and ignition switch replacement if it stays this hot in South Texas.


Edited by old-tank
forum changes removed photos (see edit history)
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Guest imported_Thriller

Thanks for sharing that Willie. Realistically, there are tools involved that I don't have / haven't mastered, but hopefully I will at least remember if I have some of the symptoms described.

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