Safety with Cylinder Heads and Valves
Keep these 10 safety precautions in mind when working with cylinder heads, valves, valve springs, camshafts, and rocker arms.
1. Always wear safety glasses around the shop. Wear
the glasses at all times while in the shop, even while
looking up specifications, reviewing procedures, or
working on cylinder head components. Get in the
habit of keeping the safety glasses on at all times.
2. The edges of the cylinder head may be very sharp
because of the machined surfaces. Be careful not
to cut your fingers when handling the cylinder head.
3. During cleaning, pieces of carbon and soot are
usually removed from the valves and cylinder
heads. Be careful not to breathe in the carbon dust.
4. When valves and valve springs are being removed
or installed, the valve springs are depressed and
under high pressure. Make sure the valve spring
compressor is secured correctly on the valve so the
spring will not slip under pressure. Your eyes and
face may be injured if you are hit by a spring that
has slipped out of the grasp of the tool.
5. Make sure that any electrical tools used for cleaning
valves or cylinder heads are grounded correctly.
Never use an electrical tool while standing in wet
areas in the shop.
Back to Safety
6. Often the top edges of used lifters are very
sharp. This is caused by the cam lobe wearing on
the top of the lifter. Be careful not to cut your
fingers on these sharp edges when removing lifters.
7. When installing a camshaft, be careful not to pinch
your fingers between the cam bearings and the
cylinder block holes.
8. Make sure that all tools used for working on the
camshaft and valves drive mechanisms are clean
and free of dirt and grease.
9. When grinding valves or using other electrical
equipment, never string an extension cord across
10. Many of the bolts and nuts require high torque
specifications. Always use the correct torque
wrench, and know the torque specifications when
working with cylinder heads.