John Deere Model E Engine Restoration
(Page 3 of 7)
So far we have had the easy part of this John Deere Model E restoration. Now for the difficult part. Removing rusty and stuck valves is never easy, but it is possible. If they are not too badly stuck I usually oil the valves well with penetrating oil and drive them out with a hammer. Driving valves out with a hammer usually causes the valve to expand on the stem end and it must be filed down to its original size after the valve is loose and before the valve can be completely taken out. The other method of valve removal I use I do not whole heartedly recommend, because I believe it might damage the head. I have done several this way and never have cracked or warped a head, but I am aware that it may do so sometime. I feel that this method has less chance of damage than the heavy beating required to loosen badly rusted valves. First remove both valve springs, then place the head in a wood fire of sufficient size to heat the whole head cherry red hot. Allow the head to stay in the fire for about 15 minutes, remove it and immediately throw it in a bucket of water. Stand back. Much steam and hot water will result. When the head is cool, penetrating oil and light hammering will usually free the valves. Grind the valves and valve seats if still usable. If not usable, replace the valves with new ones and have a machine shop replace the valve seats. If the valve guides are badly worn they should be replaced also. The engine will never run properly with badly worn valve guides.
The next step is to remove the piston. The method I have had the most success with is to first cut a green hardwood limb or trunk of a tree as nearly the size of the cylinder as possible and about 18 inches long. Shave the bark off with a hatchet if necessary just enough for the wood to go in the cylinder. Be sure wood is cut square on the ends so as to contact the piston evenly. Place the back of the engine block against something solid, like a wall, place one end of the wood in the cylinder against the piston and hit the wood hard, solid licks with a heavy sledge hammer until it begins to move. Once the piston budges even a little use water in the back of the cylinder as a lubricant. Drive the piston on out. Loosen the piston rod on the piston pin with penetrating oil. It usually is not necessary to remove the piston from the rod, but if it is removed, be certain that the set screws engage the holes in the piston pin when the rod is put back on.
Remove the rings from the piston and clean out the ring grooves thoroughly. Replace the old rings with new ones if the old ones are worn or have lost their elasticity.
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