Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lapping valves

So, you have heard of "lapping valves", "fresh top end", or "top end rebuild"? Not sure what lapping valves means? Read on.

If your engine has low compression, you may need to lap the valves. The other possibility may be piston rings, but that's another post. Start by removing the engine, cam cover, cam, and head. Once you have the head free, you will need a valve spring compressor, lapping suction tool, needle nose pliers, and grinding compound. Beware-- all engines are different; this may not apply the same to yours.

Set the spring compressor up with the short end on the valve face. I actually made this spring compressor from a cheap C-clamp and 2 bits of steel pipe. I cut a slot in the longer piece, then welded it to the screw end. The short piece was welded to the flat end.

Through the slot in the pipe, the valve keepers are accessible with a few cranks of the screw. Pop the keepers out (visible in the bottom of the pipe under the valve tip). Back off the spring, and the valve is free.
Remove the spring or springs together, and mark which end goes towards the head.

Valve is now free. The keepers are visible below on the table by the pliers. You can peek in the top exhaust port and see the light and the valve stem.

The valve can be pulled out of the head, being careful of the valve guide. Clean the carbon off the valve a bit with some light sanding. Beware the sliding surface; it should not be sanded! The carbon should also be removed from the port. Be careful not to score the head, and beware the valve guide. 400 grit sandpaper works well.

Now you are ready to lap. Unless your valves are really pitted, you should only need "fine" grinding compound. Smear some around the edge of the valve and put the valve back in the head.

Now take the suction tool and stick it to the valve face. Using a "fire starting" motion, rub your hands together with the tool between them. You will hear a scratching sound as the valve rubs back and forth, but it will get softer as you go. When the hand-rubbing/valve-spinning becomes quiet, pull the valve out a bit with the suction tool, turn it 90 degrees in the head, and put it back in and repeat. Do this 3-4 more times, then check by wiping off the grinding compound.

You should have a shiny seat and valve edge that don't photograph well. In the picture below, the grinding compound is still on, but the valve and seat are shiny all the way around. If you have a large gap of non-shinyness, you may have a bent valve. Bent valves would also cause compression leaks, but are generally preceded by a catastrophic engine failure of some sort, so you should know before you get to this point.

So, now that I have a shiny new valve seat and everything cleaned up, I'm ready to reinstall the valve. But first, I will replace the valve guide oil seal, which was under the springs on the cam side of the head. This is fairly straight forward, but the old ones can be a bear to remove. Be patient and get the needle nose pliers to pinch the oil seal off from the side. The new one should just press on, but it may take some persuasion with a mallet.

With the new bits in and valve reinstalled, the process is the same for the rest of the valves. Lucky me, this engine only has 4. The old Honda 750 I ride has 16. I hope this helps solve the mystery of valve lapping.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Informal Living Room Finished

Ok so John and I started working on remodeling our informal living room back in September.

This was how it looked originally.

First I started the remodel with the removal of the awful border. More information on how I did that can be found here.

Then I knew I wanted darkish gray walls, with a white chair rail with boxed molding, so I began to paint. I originally painted the room Ashes by Behr, but it was a lot lighter than I was wanting so I went back and got it darkened to Cement by Martha Stewart. John and I decided we wanted the chair rail 3 feet high (measured from the floor). So I measured 3 feet up from the floor and drew a straight line all around the room. Once the line was made we were able to evaluate if we liked the height. Luckily, we were happy with the 3 feet. Then I painted the Cement color down to that line and primed everything below that line.

Then John and I went to Lowe's and picked out the molding we wanted for our chair rail and lighted crown molding. We installed the chair rail (more on how we did that here) and John installed the lighted crown molding. A how-to-guide for the lighted crown will be posted soon. So after a while it was looking like this

ll the molding was installed we painted it a creamy white. Our house was built in 1915 and during that time period white was made with yellows and reds. Later one bright whites made with blue undertones were popularized. We tried to stay somewhat period and used a creamy white.

To complete the renovation we got some new furniture mentioned here and here. We also DIYed an old brass chandelier mentioned here

We also decided to rearrange the furniture. Previously the couch was up against the one wall and the TV was directly across from it. This gave us very little left over room for more seating. So to increase seating we moved the couch in front of the windows and put the two chairs on either side and put the TV on the smaller side wall which wasn't utilized before.

Here are the after pictures!

So once again here's the before

And here's the after

Dining room mini makeover

So when John and I got our new chairs from White Goat, a fun new French store here in Little Rock, we also found a bar for our dining room. Our dining is very wood heavy. We have half timbering on the ceiling, a wood table and chairs, and a wood wine cabinet. This is what it looked like before

John and I had discussed getting a bar so we could have a place to make drinks and store stuff. The bar we found is painted wood, so I was afraid it would look out of place in our all wood dining room. But I also wanted something that would balance out the room and make it feel more connected to our white trimmed informal living room that you can see from the dining room. So I decided to do a furniture shuffle and see if I could make it work.

We centered the bar on the wall that the painting is on in the picture above. Then I started to put on some lamps I got for Christmas from John, some candles, a tray also purchased from White Goat, and some decanters we also got for Christmas. I started liking the way it looked but the painting above it just wasn't right so we moved it to adjacent wall. I got my second sunburst mirror I made this past summer and put it there to see what it would look like and I love it! This is was the bar area looks like now.

Since I loved the new bar area so much I tried to tone down the wood in the rest of the room. To do this I put a cream table cloth with a burlap runner on the table and created gold, silver, and cream place settings.

This definitely helped the room feel connected.

Our wine cabinet was in the corner that the plant holder is now in in the picture below

So we moved it across the room

That part of the room is still wood heavy but John is going to put in some lighting in the cabinet which will hopefully lighten it up a bit. Overall I really like it and keep going out of my way to peak at the new bar area. Also we had a party recently and the bar was heavily utilized and was much better than making drinks in the kitchen!