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jsandidge jsandidge is offline
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Default Valve stem seals

Like just about everything else, I've heard conflicting things about Ironhead valve stem seals. I've heard not to use them, I've heard you have to modify some parts, and I've heard there are seals that fit.

Are there seals that fit? If so, what are they, and where do I get them?
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I look at it this way.

Ironhead valve guides are very short.

Now you want to shorten them more to make room for a seal? This will shorten guide and valve stem life. Then put on a seal and take away the oil?

Why?
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No valve guide seals. Besides being too short already, the oil on the valve stem lubricates it and has a valve cooling effect. The oil will always be cooler than the cast iron head.
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I have successfully installed valve stem seals to stock motor with P cams.
I only modified the outter diameter of the guides to fit car type seals.
I had to make sure that there's enough room for them but with P cams it was OK.
No problems at all, no mysterious valve seizure, no excessive valve guide usage.
I could agree that teflon seals could make the stems dry but not viton seals, they allow enough lubrication to keep them alive and well.
20k miles on this motor so far and zero problems.
Just my 2 cents.
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A local machine shop installed valve stem seals on my motor against my instructions. Many of these guys have expert knowledge but do not understand about vintage engines or IronHeads in particular. I hate it when they get arrogant and will not listen to the customer.

Anyway the result was that the exhaust valves would stick, consistently under a specific condition - riding at a constant 70 MPH for about 5 miles. Then I would pull off the road, let it cool and carry on.

It was very annoying as you can imagine, and humiliating when riding with my IronHead buddy. It definitely spoiled the higher speed excitement we enjoyed.

I did not know that there were valve seals in there. I had never seen one previously. But when I took down the top end and saw these things in there I immediately knew what they were from many years of discussions on this forum.

I took them out, re-assembled, problem solved.

They were never installed by the factory, they are not ever needed, the exhaust valves do need the oil for cooling, it is risky to install them. Don't do it.
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No one has said why valve seals SHOULD be installed.

What is the benefit?

There is no catalytic convertor to protect! At least on mine...
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old subject
truth told, seals are DESIGNED to leak, they WILL not stop oil usage only control the amount used. seals are useful on the design of the engine oiling where there is a flooding of oil. the ironhead does not fall into this area. waukesha used to use shields, then went to seals and then went back to shields due to issues and that only the inlets were shielded.
hd said that 500 mile to a qt of oil was normal and not a warranty issue, my 1974ch new from the box got 1000 miles to a quart and no issues.
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On the Jap bikes that I'm used to, you will get unusual smoking on start-up when the seals go bad. I have replaced them and cured the issue. I don't have this problem on the Ironhead, but thought about the seals since my top end is torn down. After hearing what you guys have said, I won't be installing them. Thanks.
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Installed them on mine, no problems. Them and new rings drastically cut oil consumption. Once the rings are properly run in I expect this to reduce to negligible. Then I'm going to try surface discharge plugs.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMick View Post
A local machine shop installed valve stem seals on my motor against my instructions. Many of these guys have expert knowledge but do not understand about vintage engines or IronHeads in particular. I hate it when they get arrogant and will not listen to the customer.

Anyway the result was that the exhaust valves would stick, consistently under a specific condition - riding at a constant 70 MPH for about 5 miles. Then I would pull off the road, let it cool and carry on.

It was very annoying as you can imagine, and humiliating when riding with my IronHead buddy. It definitely spoiled the higher speed excitement we enjoyed.

I did not know that there were valve seals in there. I had never seen one previously. But when I took down the top end and saw these things in there I immediately knew what they were from many years of discussions on this forum.

I took them out, re-assembled, problem solved.

They were never installed by the factory, they are not ever needed, the exhaust valves do need the oil for cooling, it is risky to install them. Don't do it.
I want to add to this...
I changed the oil at every ~1000 miles. It was never down by more that a few or several ounces.
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