How to Replace Valve Stem Seals Without Removing Cylinder Head

Are you having trouble getting your cylinder head off to replace the valve stem seals? In this blog post, we’ll show you, and we are going to show you how to replace valve stem seals without removing cylinder head. This is a great DIY project for those who want to save some money and have a little bit of mechanical experience. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll have the job done in no time!

How to Replace Valve Stem Seals Without Removing Cylinder Head

There are a few things in life that are both daunting and exciting: replacing valve stem seals is one of them. The thought of boring into your engine and messing around with the valves is enough to make some people quake in their boots, but the sense of accomplishment you feel when you’ve done it yourself is hard to top. In this post, we’ll walk you through the steps required to replace valve stem seals without removing the cylinder head. Let’s get started!

Why Replacing Valve Stem Seals is Needed?

There are a few reasons why you need to replace valve stem seals:

1. Prevent Oil Leaking

The main function of valve stem seals is to prevent oil from leaking from the cylinder head into the combustion chamber. Over time, these seals can become worn or damaged, causing oil to leak past them and into the combustion chamber. This can lead to a decrease in engine performance and fuel economy, as well as an increase in emissions.

2. Restore Compression

Another reason to replace valve stem seals is to restore compression. When oil leaks into the combustion chamber, it can compress, which reduces the amount of air and fuel that can enter the cylinder. This can lead to a loss of power and efficiency.

3. Prevent Hot Spots

Another problem that can be caused by oil leaking into the combustion chamber is hot spots. When oil ignites, it can cause localized hotspots on the piston and cylinder walls. These hotspots can cause premature wear and tear on the engine components.

Oil Leaking Into the Combustion Chamber

4. Better Engine

Replacing valve stem seals can simply make your engine run better. When all of the engine’s components are working correctly, it will run more efficiently and produce fewer emissions. Otherwise, you may start to notice a decrease in performance and an increase in fuel consumption.

5. Save Money

Over time, replacing valve stem seals can save you money. By preventing oil leaks and restoring compression, you’ll use less oil and fuel. In addition, you’ll also extend the life of your engine by preventing premature wear and tear.

Tools and Materials You Need to Replace Valve Stem Seals Without Removing Cylinder Head

  • A set of 12-point sockets that includes a 3/8” drive
  • A socket wrench with a 3/8” drive
  • A 6” or 8” extension for the 3/8” drive
  • An end cap oil filter removal tool or a large pair of channel locks
  • Valve spring compressor tool
  • A dial indicator
  • Feeler gauges in .003”, .004”, and .005” sizes
  • New valve stem seals (the same size as the ones being replaced)
  • A can of brake clean
  • A small pick
  • A set of metric Allen wrenches that includes a 3mm size
  • A set of standard Allen wrenches that includes a 5/32” size
  • A torque wrench that measures in inches/pounds

How to Replace Valve Stem Seals Without Removing Cylinder Head in 8 Steps

If your car is leaking oil and you suspect it’s coming from the valve stem seals, you may be able to replace them without removing the cylinder head. This can save you a lot of time and money, as removing the cylinder head is a very involved process. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Remove the Spark Plugs

The first step is to remove the spark plugs. This will give you more room to work and make it easier to turn the engine over when you’re ready to install the new valve stem seals. Make sure to label the spark plug wires so you can put them back in the correct order.

Label the Spark Plug Wires

Step 2: Remove the Valve Cover

Next, remove the valve cover so you can access the valves. Be careful not to damage the gasket as you remove it. It is very common for the gasket to tear, so be careful. Otherwise, you’ll have to replace it.

Step 3: Remove the Valve Springs

Using a spring compressor, compress the valve springs and remove them along with the retainers. Be careful not to lose any of the small parts. Make sure to note the order of the parts and how they fit together, so you can reassemble them correctly later.

Step 4: Remove the Old Valve Seals

With the springs and retainers out of the way, you can now remove the old valve seals. Use a pick or a small screwdriver to gently pry them out. Be careful not to damage the sealing surface. Make sure to remove any pieces of the old seals that may be stuck in the groove.

Step 5: Install the New Valve Seals

Now it’s time to install the new valve seals. Start by lubricating the seal with a little bit of oil. This will help it slide into place more easily. Then simply press it into the groove on the top of the cylinder head. Make sure it’s fully seated, and there are no gaps.

Step 6: Reassemble the Valve Train

Once the new valve seals are in place, you can start to reassemble the valve train. Start by installing the springs and retainers. Make sure everything is installed in the correct order and that all the pieces are properly seated.

Step 7: Test the New Valve Seals

Before you put the cylinder head back on, it’s a good idea to test the new valve seals. Pour a little bit of oil into the cylinder and crank the engine over a few times. This will help seat the seals and make sure they’re sealing properly. If there are any leaks, you’ll need to remove the cylinder head and replace the seals.

Step 8: Install the Cylinder Head

Once you’ve verified that the new valve seals are sealing properly, you can install the cylinder head. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation procedures. Be sure to torque the bolts to the correct specifications.

Torque the Bolts to the Correct Specifications

Some Essential Tips to Replace Valve Stem Seals Without Removing Cylinder Head

If you are like most DIY mechanics, then the thought of removing the cylinder head on your engine just to replace the valve stem seals is quite daunting. It doesn’t have to be tough. There are a few tricks you can use to make the job a lot easier and avoid having to remove the head.

1. Choose the Right Tools

You will need a few basic tools to get the job done. First, you will need a socket set or wrench set that includes metric sockets and wrenches. You will also need a ratchet and extension. A torque wrench is also very helpful but not required.

2. Keep Engine Cool

Make sure the engine is cool before you begin working. This will make it easier to remove the valve cover and avoid burning yourself. Otherwise, you could remove the valve cover while the engine is still warm and allow the heat to escape, which will make it more difficult to remove the cover later.

3. Prep the Area

Before you begin, it is important to prep the area. This includes removing the valve cover, spark plugs, and anything else that could get in the way. It is also a good idea to clean the area around the seals so that you can see what you are doing.

4. Remove Old Seals

Once everything is prepped, you can begin removing the old seals. Start by using a small pick or another tool to remove the inner seal. Once the inner seal is removed, you can use a larger pick to remove the outer seal. Be careful not to damage the sealing surface as you remove the seals.

5. Clean Sealing Surface

Once the seals are removed, it is important to clean the sealing surface. This can be done with a piece of sandpaper or a wire brush. Make sure the surface is clean and free of any debris before you install the new seals.

Important to Clean the Sealing Surface


The process of replacing valve stem seals without removing the cylinder head is not as difficult as it may seem. With the proper tools and guidance, you can have your vehicle back on the road in no time. We hope that this blog post has provided you with information about how to replace valve stem seals without removing cylinder head.

Although it is not the easiest task, it is still possible to replace valve stem seals without removing the cylinder head. This can save you a lot of time and money. With the right tools and careful planning, you can get the job done quickly and efficiently. If you have any questions or would like further assistance, our team of experts is always happy to help.

Jennifer Branett
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

DIY Quickly