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Hardened valve seats...how to tell?

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  • Hardened valve seats...how to tell?

    How can I tell if the Hawk I now have has the updated hardened valve seats for use with unleaded fuel?

    And what are the consequences of running unleaded fuel on non-hardened valves seats?

    Also, while I'm thinking of it, what would be the most likely cause of an excessive carbon buildup in the exhaust? I mean by excessive, when I start the Hawk up, there is literally a pile of soot and solid particulates which initially shoots out the tailpipe. Once it has started and the idle settles down, nothing more comes out....no black smoke, no nothing, but minor condensation.

    I've checked the WCFB carb function/settings and choke operation and everything seems normal. There is no "fuel smell" as would be the case, I would think, if the carb were running rich.

    I've already had the R/H muffler completely plug up on me, and I dissected the old muffler and found it chocked full of soot and scaly particles from, I would guess, the insides of the pipes themselves....reminded me of the old coal-furnace we had when I was a kid.

    What a mess.



    1962 GT Hawk 4sp

  • #2
    If you have the head removed, you can usually see the hardened seat pressed into the head around the valve. Without the head off, there's really no way to tell. As far as the consequences of running unleaded fuel, I can't really tell you other than what experience I've had. My combine has a 318 Chrysler engine that had cast iron heads without hardened seats. When I overhauled the thing, one exhaust valve on each head was recessed severly but the rest looked just fine. When I overhauled the slant six Chrysler on the other combine, all of the seats were just and both engines had been run under pretty much identical conditions, approximately 2200 rpm constant running for long hours at probably 80% of their horsepower potential at that rpm. For me, all that did was confuse me even more. Supposedly light loads wouldn't cause problems and heavy loads would, but that didn't really explain each V8 head having only one seat recessed.

    As far as carbon goes, older diesel tractors are very good at depositing a layer of carbon in the muffler. When used fairly often, nothing happens but if it sets all winter without being run, sometimes rust forms under the carbon and loosens it. The first time it's fired up, chunks fly out. I've had the same thing with gas engined combines that had set from one harvest season to the next. So if you engine has set for a long time or had often set for long periods between runs, that's probably where all that stuff came from. Remember that short runs don't get the muffler and tail pipes hot enough for long enough to evaporate all the condensation out, so with lots of short runs, especially in winter and there's probably a lot of moisture setting inside the pipes causing rust.

    Comment


    • #3
      quote:Originally posted by John Kirchhoff

      If you have the head removed, you can usually see the hardened seat pressed into the head around the valve. Without the head off, there's really no way to tell.
      Well, since I am a firm believer in the "if it ain't broke, don't try and fix it" philosophy, I guess I'll just leave it be until something "breaks".

      quote:So if you engine has set for a long time or had often set for long periods between runs, that's probably where all that stuff came from. Remember that short runs don't get the muffler and tail pipes hot enough for long enough to evaporate all the condensation out, so with lots of short runs, especially in winter and there's probably a lot of moisture setting inside the pipes causing rust.
      I can't say for sure, not knowing the previous owners' driving habits, but beings that the Hawk came from Ontario Canada, it'd probably be a safe bet to say it did indeed "sit for extended periods of time" through the winter months.

      Thanks for the response and info.

      Karl


      1962 GT Hawk 4sp

      Comment


      • #4
        I've got the black soot and condensation too, literally two black trails on my driveway. You don't really see smoking especially when warmed up but I get sooty stuff at start up. When driving I had my wife behind me and she said smoke would come out when I accel and decelerated hard. So mines from worn valve seals as well as worn rings in a few cylinders...saving up some money to fix it.

        E. West
        "The Speedster Kid"
        Sunny Northern California
        Where the roads don't freeze over and the heat doesn't kill you.
        And an open road is yours to have -only during non-commute rush hours 9am-4pm and 7pm to 7am (Ha, ha, ha)
        Best Regards,
        Eric West
        "The Speedster Kid"
        Sunny Northern California
        Where the roads don't freeze over and the heat doesn't kill you.
        And an open road is yours to have -only during non-commute rush hours 9am-4pm and 7pm to 7am (Ha, ha, ha)
        55 Speedster "Lemon/Lime" (Beautiful)
        55 President State Sedan (Rusty original, but runs great and reliable)

        Comment


        • #5
          quote:Originally posted by 55studeman

          I've got the black soot and condensation too, literally two black trails on my driveway. You don't really see smoking especially when warmed up but I get sooty stuff at start up. When driving I had my wife behind me and she said smoke would come out when I accel and decelerated hard. So mines from worn valve seals as well as worn rings in a few cylinders...saving up some money to fix it.

          E. West
          "The Speedster Kid"
          Sunny Northern California
          Where the roads don't freeze over and the heat doesn't kill you.
          And an open road is yours to have -only during non-commute rush hours 9am-4pm and 7pm to 7am (Ha, ha, ha)

          Hmmm, that could be a distinct possibility. Looks like it's time to do a cylinder pressure test. I wouldn't think re-ringing and putting in new valve seals in a Stude engine is too tough a job, is it? At least as long as the cylinders don't need honing.

          However......on mine, when I replaced the plugged up muffler, I no longer get the carbon blast on start up out of that pipe....but I do out of the one I did not replace. Nahhh, I'll still do a pressure test anyway. Thanks for the tip.

          Karl


          1962 GT Hawk 4sp

          Comment


          • #6
            Maybe its time to replace the other muffler as it seems to be full of carbon and rust. I had a truck that I worked on for an older gent, he was complaining that it was running rough,most of his driving was around town. All it took was a little trip on freeway,in 3rd floored at 65, a peek in mirror showed redish deposits coming from tailpipe,then cleared up. He later asked me what I had done to improve its running condition. Just blew the carbon out. Lou [8D]

            Comment


            • #7
              You DO NOT NEED the hardened seats in your Stude engine. Use the several hundred bucks you'd spend to do this on some nice chrome or something that actually adds value or is just nice to look at. In a Stude engine, you can't SEE those pretty, new seats and they don't buy you anything in performance or longevity. Not much return for investment![V]

              Miscreant adrift in
              the BerStuda Triangle


              1957 Transtar 1/2ton
              1960 Larkvertible V8
              1958 Provincial wagon
              1953 Commander coupe

              No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm surmising here, Bob, but is that because of the Stude block's high nickel content? That was the reason for not needing hardened seats in my old AMC Jeep V8's - the block was hard enough already.


                [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

                Clark in San Diego
                '63 F2/Lark Standard
                http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Mr. Miscreant, exactly how do you know he doesn't need hard seats? Do you know what kind of driving he does, or how deep his seats are now?

                  How many recessed seats have you guys seen? Me...more than I care to see. I'm not talking 1/8" here...I'm talking in .010"/.020"+ deep. If there's one...the problem needs fixing.

                  The myth of high nickle cast iron...what exactly IS a high nickle content? 1/2%, 1%, 2% more...what?

                  In the porting I've done for over 30 years...the Stude heads do NOT tear up cutters any faster or show a different spark when ground than any other Big Three cast iron! So...how do you tell there's more nickle?
                  Passed down from years of someone comming up with the idea from the clear blue.?
                  The old "high Nickle" GM blocks of the 70's....you COULD tell their nickle content was higher than other cast iron...in the ways I mentioned above.

                  I'm not saying that they may not have more nickle than "Studes" [u]earlier</u> iron parts...I'm saying it isn't high enough to be called "high Nickle" as per 50's thru 80's Big Three iron parts.

                  Wives tails...I love'em.

                  Mike

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well Mike, 34 years of driving Studes - truly driving them as they were intended and not just to Friday night cruises or for a sprint down the track on occassion - PLUS the opinions of MANY MORE knowledgeable STUDE-specific gearheads are what makes up my summary. How many Stude heads have you personally had to FIX or replace in your career?
                    Frankly, I'm still waiting to hear of a set of Stude V8 heads with a really badly recessed valve seat(s) that might could have been saved by hardened inserts. Not that one or two instances would constitute an honest "Gothcha!" There's WAY TOO MANY Studes driving around without them - either freshly redone or vintage.
                    Do you read the Co-operator column? How come it's not awash with woeful tales of costly repairs of precautionary retro-fits?

                    I've not done any head work in the sense of porting, polishing etc., but I have done a number of valve jobs in the past - when I had access to the equipment. Point is, I'm not totally without first-hand insight. And I've been driving (remember, not toy-timing) my Studes on unleaded since it was intro'd to SoCal in the early 80s. Still waiting for my first valve/valve seat failure. Maybe this fresh engine in Pete will prove to be my spoke-stick.[8]
                    But of course, my experiences are purely anecdotal. There's just gotta be some statistics tabulated somewheres what'll set me straight. Of course, it IS Karl's money when it gets right down to it.

                    I thought about this over breakfast, Mike. You're right - I need to do some calling and lend some credence to my advice here. I'm going to call on every builder of Stude engines that I know of and ask them for their slant on the necessity of hardened seats. My personal experience/observations aren't good enough to make an honest and qualified call on this. And it isn't fair to newbies that we only offer opinions as opposed to proof when hundreds (actually thousands if you totally farm out the revision to a shop)of dollars are at stake.
                    It wasn't too long ago that I recommended a friend to a guy I'd heard of (second hand) who'd made it known that he was up to reworking Studebaker heads for performance gains. I was involved in the building of the vehicle that would ultimately end up using the engine I was advising/assisting in the construction of. I told my friend to resist the head specialist's advice if said specialist recommended hardened seats be installed in the course of the rework. When the heads were finished, my friend related how he'd relented to the specialist's insistance that seats be incorporated. He allowed as how the guy was adamant that they MUST be used or failure would result. So much for the old line about the customer always being right, I guess. Cost my friend an extra $400 or so if I remember right. BTW, the engine runs fine. It's gotten maybe 2 hours on it since it was brought to life a couple of years ago.[^]
                    What was interesting tho, was that after that set of heads was returned, the expert groaned about how much more time had been involved than he'd estimated when he took on the work. He'd purportedly lost money with all the extra hours those labor-intensive Stude heads required when all was said and done. I suppose that one could surmise these were the FIRST of any Stude heads the "expert" had ever actually laid hands on. Of course, I don't know this to be fact.[:I]

                    Anyway, like I said - we need a consensus here so we can advise folks as to what's what regarding this question. We're here to help and it's not fair to hand someone off to a repair facility for guidance. Not when we have a vast pool of expertise and experience to draw from thruout SDC.

                    Miscreant adrift in
                    the BerStuda Triangle


                    1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                    1960 Larkvertible V8
                    1958 Provincial wagon
                    1953 Commander coupe

                    No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      To answer your question about the "co-operator"...
                      Maybe it's because most Stude owners don't drive there cars as much as I do, or maybe yourself. My Lark is my everyday car...And I know how much I have to adjust the Exhaust rockers...NOT the intakes!

                      I'd still like to see an actual Stude block and head iron "actually" analyzed for it's exact material content.
                      And then have some of the Big Three iron done...and put the papers side by side and truly see who's got the nickle.

                      As I've said before...I won't change your mind...and you won't be changing mine. At least on this subject.

                      As a side note...and I've said this before...I do not recomend putting hard seats on cars driven low miles per year or cars not running the Silver State Crown race!

                      Mike

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ok, ok, I didn't mean to foment any kind of debate on this valve seat matter.....I do appreciate all ideas and comments, "pro or con".

                        Getting back to the subject at hand, let's just for conversation "assume" (no wise cracks now), that I would be better off having hardened valve seats.

                        I remember reading that it is possible to purchase a product which essentially amounts to Tetra-Ethyl-Lead in a can, that can be added to unleaded gasoline, in order to provide the necessary lubrication to the valves that modern unleaded fuels lack.

                        Has anyone heard of this and would it be a logical (at least reasonable) alternative to removing the heads and having hardened seats installed? Remember, this is just for conversation purposes only....assuming, the Hawk needs those seats.

                        Karl &lt;in Iowa&gt;


                        1962 GT Hawk 4sp

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hello there from Holland.
                          Igot more and more surprised reading this topic
                          I am driving on LPG every day now and there is no trouble with valves because of the supply of valvestuff in stead of lead.
                          Karl would be wise to set his carb to proper CO% with the two screws in the front and do as told in the answers given on the CO item a few weeks ago
                          And also look at his spark plugs and the little springs in his distributor and if course his timing
                          and in my knowledge valve seats are worn when it is impossible to set them.
                          greetings lm waterreus oud beijerland

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            quote:Originally posted by hawk gt 62 rhd

                            Hello there from Holland.
                            Igot more and more surprised reading this topic
                            I am driving on LPG every day now and there is no trouble with valves because of the supply of valvestuff in stead of lead.
                            Karl would be wise to set his carb to proper CO% with the two screws in the front and do as told in the answers given on the CO item a few weeks ago
                            And also look at his spark plugs and the little springs in his distributor and if course his timing
                            and in my knowledge valve seats are worn when it is impossible to set them.
                            greetings lm waterreus oud beijerland
                            You say I should set the carb A/F screws to the CO (carbon monoxide) setting?

                            Never heard of that and have absolutely no idea how to do it. You say this was discussed a few weeks ago? How do I search for old threads?

                            Karl &lt;in Iowa&gt;


                            1962 GT Hawk 4sp

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Karl,

                              We're glad you're here! Don't worry about startin' a fuss. The only dumb question is the one not asked.

                              The lead replacement stuff is as much a waste as the seats. It's kinda like takin' a garlic pill every day. If you live to be a hundred, you can attribute the feat to the garlic pill, if you don't take one every day and die at only 96 or so, well, there ya go! Should have taken that damned cheap supplement pill every day.[}] You know - "Clinically Proven!"

                              Lessee.......... when you fill up next time, add some Mystery oil for upper end lubrication, some lead substitute to protect the valve seats, some octane booster to suppress pre-ignition, and some fuel system cleaner to keep the carb in great shape!
                              Add some STP to the crankcase cause that's what Stude promoted (never mind that they owned the Co. at the time) along with some "Motor Medic" to stop leaks and quell oil-burning.
                              Save the last quarter of that STP can for your tranny - automatic, stick - doesn't matter. Says so right on the can.
                              Make sure you don't overlook the rear axle with additives to alleviate wear and protect TT clutches. and last, but not least, get some Bar's Leak in the cooling system to protect it as well as some water wetter and a can of water pump lube to prolong pump life. Now you're ready for the road![]

                              Miscreant adrift in
                              the BerStuda Triangle


                              1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                              1960 Larkvertible V8
                              1958 Provincial wagon
                              1953 Commander coupe

                              No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                              Comment

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