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Wed Jul 04, 2007
I have demonstrated the use of my home-made valve spring compressor in several other posts in the past, but never got around to giving any details or measurements. It's a fairly simple tool in concept, but it works quite well for Volkswagen cylinder heads - it can also be used for other overhead cam applications. Here is a picture of all of the parts which make up the tool (click for a larger version):
home-made valve spring compressor

In a nutshell, there is a "foot" piece which presses down against the upper spring retainer. The foot is pressed down by a long lever. The lever braces against a "bridge" (just a good, strong, round bar), and the bridge is held in place by a couple of angle brackets which bolt onto either end of the cylinder head.

Below is a picture of the foot piece, with the dimensions added. The diameter of the piece is 1.25", with a window cut into it which spans about 120 degrees. Note the position of the window relative to the mount on the top of the piece - that offset is intentional. The window gives you access to the valve keepers while the valve spring is compressed, and I found access to be a little easier with the window offset to one side a little bit. The height from the bolt going through the top mount down to the very bottom of the foot is 4.75". Click on the picture for a larger version, which will make the captions easier to read:
home-made valve spring compressor

Below are pictures of the handle, which is 19" long. There is a notch at one end, which mates with the "bridge" piece. Click for larger versions:
home-made valve spring compressor home-made valve spring compressor

Below is a picture of one of the right-angle brackets. Both brackets are the same. The hole in the bottom goes over a valve cover stud, the hole in the top is for the bridge piece to go through. These pieces bolt to the cylinder head (using the valve cover studs) and provide support for the bridge piece. The height of this piece is 3.75" (from the middle of the bridge holes down to the bottom). The width of the piece of steel this was made from is 1.5", and 1.125" of the piece was bent to make the bottom. Click on the picture for a larger view, with readable captions:
home-made valve spring compressor

Lastly, here is a picture of the "bridge" piece - it's just a polished stainles steel rod that I had laying around. Whatever you use to make this piece, make sure it's good and strong - it will be under a lot of force. The length will depend on the size of your cylinder head - make it maybe an inch more than the length of the head.
home-made valve spring compressor

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