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Making a Valve Keeper Installation Tool

for the L134

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If you have ever tried to install valve keepers in a L134 engine, then you know it can be a real experience. I recently removed and replaced the valve keepers on my L134 while the engine was still in the vehicle. This vehicle is a CJ2A so removing the fender yielded easy access to the valve cover. I thought this would enable me to remove and replace the keepers without a problem. Well, that wasn't exactly the case. Removal was ok but instillation proved to be a challenge. I couldn't get my fingers in there with the spring compressor holding the spring up. Fingers are too FAT and patience is too THIN. I tried grease on a screwdriver to hold on to the keeper and put it on the valve. Then rotate the keeper to the back and put the second one on. This sort of worked but the first keeper didn't want to seat in the valve groove or I kept knocking the first keeper off with the second. I knew there had to be a better way!

I decided I needed to make a tool that would hold both of the valve keepers at the right ang;e and place them around the valve stem at the same time.

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Design considerations:

As stated previously the tool needs to hold both keepers at the right angle and install them simultaneously.  I considered magnetizing the jaws, but decided assembly glue (grease) would work ok and I wouldn't need to control the strength of the magnet. I thought that assy glue on the valve stem would provide a better bond than the jaws. (This, later, proved to be the true) Also I needed to be able to work the tool about 15" away from the actual installation location.

The Jaws must position the keepers in the valve grove stem exactly. There needs to be a support under the keepers, it needs to be as large as possible and the arms of this tool need too be small (unlike my hands). The tool needs to easily clamp the keepers to the valve stem so a pivot mechanism is required. And the materials need to be easily and economically available.

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Gathering Materials:

A valve cap has the correct geometry but the keepers could fall out the bottom. A washer welded to the valve cap would keep them from falling. The diameter of the valve stems is 0.371". So a washer with 3/8" hole would work well. A 5/16" washer from the local Tractor Supply Company (TSC) has a 3/8" hole. (I use them for 3/8" washers) Spare valve keepers will position the valve cap on a spare valve and the washer will clamp the keepers in position. The 15" handles will be made from 3/16" rod from TSC 36" long. The cost was $0.99. The pivot will be a 1/4" bolt through a 5/16" nut and screwed into a 1/4" nut. A 1/4" spring lock washer will provide a "tight" pivot. Total cash outlay will be $0.99. That's economical!

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The spare valve is clamped to the welding bench. Install the valve cap and keepers as if in the engine. The washer is clamped to the Valve cap to hold the keepers down. Now the washer is lightly tack welded to the valve cap. The Valve cap assembly is now firmly attached to the valve. The sides of valve cap is sawed at 180 apart to remove it from the valve to produce two (2) jaws. After deburring the jaws are clamped around the spare valve and the handles (3/16" steel rod 15" long) are welded to the washer side of the jaws. When the handles are satisfactorily welded to the jaws and the jaws still clamped to the valve, the pivot assembly is positioned between the handles and welded.

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(as usual click the image for a larger view - then use the back button on the browser to return)

Here is the complete assembly

Close up of Jaws. Note the washer for a lower support.

This shows the valve keepers installed. Note the "top" of the jaw has been ground down to just below the keeper top.

This shows the keepers sitting on the lower support washer.

Pivot point. 1/4" screw, 1/4" split lockwasher, 1/4" flat washer, 5/16" nut and 1/4" nut.

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Copyright Richard N. Meagley Sr.
Last revised: May 25, 2007.