Valve stem seals exactly control how much oil gets into the valve stem system. This makes them important parts for keeping your engine’s compression levels at the right level. Having a valve stem seal that works well in all of your uses can save you time and money because you won’t have to spend as much time fixing or replacing your engine. But how can you tell if a valve seal is bad, and what signs should you look for?
No one wants to deal with valve problems because they mean there is a big problem with the engine of your machine. Global Elastomeric Products comes into play at this point. Find out how to find bad seals and what you can do to keep this from happening.
Why do valve stem seals leak and what are they?
Valve stem seals, also called valve guides or valve seals, keep motor oil out of the combustion chamber by keeping the valve straight and oiled properly. The valves open and close the engine’s intake and exhaust chambers. This is controlled by the camshaft, which has high and low parts called lobes and heels. These parts are oblong and have an off-center pivot point. When the camshaft turns, the lobes push the valves open and the heels push the valves shut, controlling the flow of air into and out of the combustion chamber. A timing chain or belt is used to coordinate when the valves open and close with when the pistons move.
The valve stem is the long, thin part of the valve with a small flat head at the end. When the valve is closed, the flat head shuts off the combustion chamber. Oil flows through the engine and stays just above the valve to lubricate the camshaft. The valve stem seals keep the valve in place and guide it into the valve seat of the cylinder head. They also keep oil from getting into the combustion chamber.
Some Signs Your Valve Stem Seal Is Leaking
Valve stem seals control how much oil an engine uses and how well it is lubricated by letting a certain amount of oil into the valve stem as it moves. Having the right amount of oil is very important for lubrication. If there isn’t enough oil, parts that rub against each other can wear out. But too much oil can cause carbon to build up, which can cause many problems, such as:
- Damaged valve seats
- Poorly working catalytic converters
- a rise in pollution
- Less efficiency
- More oil consumption
Basically, valve stem seals stop oil from the cylinder head from getting into the combustion chamber. If a valve is broken, engine oil can leak into the engine, which can cause the engine to break down.
There are six ways to tell if you have a bad seal on your hands:
- Test on a cold engine
- There is a lot of smoke
- A lot of oil used
- Less power to speed up
- Going wrong
1. Giving the engine a test when it’s cold
A cold engine test is one of the best ways to find out if a valve seal is broken. The seal is now cool because your machine hasn’t been running for a while, even if it’s been overnight. Once the engine starts, the seal will get smaller. If a seal is broken, it will leave a small hole. The oil will then gather at the top of the head of the valve cover.
When you turn on the engine, you might also see blue smoke coming out of the exhaust. If this happens, it means that the old oil is getting into the combustion area through the broken seal. Even if the blue smoke goes away after a few minutes of starting the engine, it means that the engine needs a new seal. The blue smoke is burned oil.
2. More people are smoking
Depending on the machines and tools you use, smoke is often a regular form of exhaust. But if it starts to last longer than normal or change color, you know that a bad seal may be to blame. As the engine runs for longer, the extra smoke may also come in more steady waves. Watch out for certain movements of the machine that make more smoke than normal.
3. More Oil Consumption
If you use more oil than normal, that could be another sign that your seal is broken. When oil burns or leaks at a faster rate, the valve can’t stop the flow of oil. Burning oil makes more pollution and can make the catalyst dirty. The temperature of the converter goes through the roof when there is unburned fuel in the exhaust. This can cause the converter to overheat and stop the exhaust.
Use a dipstick to check the oil level in the engine, and look at your oil log to see if the oil amounts are different. You can include this in your normal maintenance plan. Oil leaks are often a clear sign that the valve seals are broken, but they aren’t always easy to see, and the oil could be burning off, so don’t count on this as a sure sign.
4. Engine Idling
If your tools ever sit still, you should pay attention to them. High vacuum levels can cause oil to build up around the heads of the valve system while the valve is closed and the engine is at rest. If the seal is broken, you might see blue smoke again when you start the engine. That means the oil is getting past the seal and into the valve guide. Make sure to turn off the engine and take it out of service until it can be fixed.
5. Reduced ability to speed up
Depending on the engines you use in the fields and agriculture, testing the compression can also tell you if your valve stem seals are getting worse. If the machine has a higher amount of compression, there is a problem with the valve seal, and you’ll need to get new ones. On the other hand, a lower level could mean that something is wrong with the piston rings.
6. The engine won’t start
If the seals in an engine are broken, oil can build up on the wires of the spark plugs. Because of this, plug fouling can happen, which is when carbon deposits build up on the plugs and can cause the engine to fail. As the amount of carbon in the engine rises, so does the compression. This can cause damage to the engine from improper detonation or even problems with pre-ignition.
If you know these six signs of a bad valve stem seal, you can fix the problem before oil leaks and high compression levels start to happen. If you spot different-colored smoke, more oil use, misfiring when the engine starts up, or noises while the engine is running, you can fix the seals faster. In exchange, your activities will stay safe, efficient, and productive.
How to fix and keep valve stem seals in good shape
It’s important to use the right oil grade for your car, which you can find in the owner’s guidebook. This will keep the valve stem seals from wearing out. Change the oil at the recommended times and remember to replace the filter if you do it yourself. If you do it yourself, you should also replace any seals or gaskets on the oil filter housing to keep it from leaking. Use a product like Rislone Engine Oil Motor Flush to get rid of the oil sludge that has built up in your engine’s tight spots. When you put in new oil, you might want to add something to it, like Rislone Engine Treatment.
This will make sure that your oil keeps moving parts inside the engine well lubricated, and it will also keep oil sludge from building up by mixing it into the oil and letting the oil filter catch it. Rislone Engine Oil Supplement with Zinc Treatment is a good choice for older cars that use zinc to lube the parts inside the engine. This will provide the zinc needed to lubricate the engine’s parts while using modern engine oil.
If you are having any of the problems listed above, use Rislone Oil Seal Engine Oil Burning & Leak Repair. This will restore the valve seal’s size, flexibility, and elasticity, as well as build a polymer film around the valve seal to provide adequate lubrication and keep excess oil from going through the valve stem and into the combustion chamber. All 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, and 8-cylinder gasoline, diesel, LPG, or boosted engines that use synthetic or petroleum motor oils can use this product.
Why valve stem seals break
The main things that cause a seal to wear out are problems with the seal itself and bad fitting. Valve parts are made of strong plastic, but they can still break, crack, or wear out. A bad fitting could even leave some seals out. If any of these things are wrong with the valve, oil will get into the cylinders of the engine.
When valve stem seals start to fail, carbon builds up. This affects other parts of the engine, like the valve seat and guide, so fixes need to be done quickly.
There may still be very good compression in some cases. But if the engine uses a lot of oil, the working temperature will rise, which can cause seals to break or crack. Not enough space between the valve and the valve guide can also cause seal problems. If it is free in the cylinder head, it can move side to side and wear out the valve. The best thing you and your crew can do is check each piece of equipment in your fleet’s preventive maintenance plan and do regular safety checks.
When you check your roof every day or once a week, you can find leaks and other problems before they get worse.
It’s also important to spend money on high-quality valve seals that don’t leak. Partnering with a company that promises seal products with no mistakes puts you ahead of the competition and gives you an edge.