Broken valve spring


Veteran Member
Oct 1, 2016
Waupaca WI
Same here, but, to help out when alone, I've been using my small Snap-On mini flat screw driver with a magnetic tip on the end, it's actually quicker doing that way and alone to boot.

Works perfectly when doing the springs changes on the dyno or in car, picks the the valve lock apart, spread and turn to the loose side, then use the magnetic side to take out the keepers, and they do not fall off.

Use the same mini screwdriver to "time" the keepers as well when reinstalling, and all alone is quickest.

View attachment 141294
That is what i use as well. Handy tool!


Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Nov 4, 2004
Ringgold, GA
While we're doing this, my first valve spring remover. An old pry bar that got drilled and filed, back in late 80's.


Greg Mc

Veteran Member
Mar 18, 1999
Hernando, MS
Have never trusted using air to keep the valves closed, too afraid if the engine rolls over. I insert a piece of spark plug wire then use a bar to bring the piston up til it stops on compression stroke. I have an older comp cams tool that screws onto the rocker arm stud, magnet to remove the keepers but install them with my fingers so I can feel they are positioned correctly.


Veteran Member
Sep 6, 2013
United States
Nothing wrong with that cam. Did you cut down the guide bosses before putting the valve seals on to see how much retainer to guide clearance you have? if not I would get that done first. I had one set of 906 Vortec heads that would take no more then .455 lift and just hit the guides. I run 062's with spring pockets cut and a milled down the guide bosses .100 tons of clearance. My cam is the Elgin 1165P .488 and .510 lift more so on the intake side as I run 1.6 rocker on the intake side. Spin my 406 to 6200 with no busted anything. Beware that GM and comp has had some crappy valve spring issues in the past, that's why I do not use comp anything now.
Agree with 1980RS on the concerns regarding valve lift, Vortec heads flow well, but either the valve length or the valve guide length restricts movement, my understanding is that 0.450 is about the limit with stock guides/valves. I have not had issue with Comp Valve springs, but will not argue that there have been some issues, I had one (289 Ford) Comp Cams lifter to collapse with no visible wear or any noticeable issue to cause. I replaced the set and the car runs fine. Check your clearance as indicated and replace the springs, the air pressure in the cylinder is probably the best method, assuming good compression and valve sealing.

Daniele Silvaggi

New Member
Dec 15, 2020
I had the same problem and then found out that the builder that put my motor together was getting used springs from a race team. They would use the springs and then throw them into a bin and sold them to other builders and they would sell them as new. Luckily I didn't drop a valve. He bought me a brand new set and never broke one again.


Jan 17, 2020
Personally, if I were you.. I'd look into running beehive springs. PAC, LS6, or just LS 5.3 springs if you're going to stay moderate on the cam. (Lift under .500) They are single wire, lower seat pressure, and easier on the valvetrain. If I were to run Vortec heads... On the street I'd go with Clay Smith 274. It's a single pattern 224° and .450 lift with a 108° lobe separation. AKA "Torquesmith". Yes, it's a flat tapped. It costs a little more than comp, but very high quality, low volume. I doubt it'll wipe if you follow procedures to a T.

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