Citroen Traction valve stem seals ?
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Thread: Citroen Traction valve stem seals ?

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    Default Citroen Traction valve stem seals ?

    Hi
    When we redid the head on our Citroen Traction engine I fitted valve stem seals. Now after very little use at the time and now getting it going again the inlet valves seem to be sticking. I was thinking that the top end oil supply is very minimal so perhaps the stem seals were a mistake. A bit more lube might be a good thing till it is used more regularly. I forget the actual type of seals I used now !
    Jaahn

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    1000+ Posts gerrypro's Avatar
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    Jaahn, I never fit them! I did up the heads on both of my cars using K-Line Guide Liners for the valve guides. They are a really good fit and I find that I have to check each valve for freedom of movement before I start up after a long period of rest. This involves removing the rocker cover, liberally lubricating the valve stem and 'bouncing each valve with a small ball peen hammer until there is good movement. The one that usually sticks on this particular head is the inlet at the rear ( timing chain end). Eventually when they wear in this will no longer be necessary. Yes I get good oil supply all the way down the rocker shaft as all other aspects of the engine were attended in the rebuild!
    Cheers Gerry

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    How old is the petrol? Sour petrol will varnish the intake valve stems and make them stick to the point of bending pushrods (don't ask me how I know this.) If you are re-starting a car that has been sitting for a while, drain the fuel tank and for good measure, spray carburetor cleaner down the throat of the carburetor before shutting it off each day until you are sure the last vestiges of the sour petrol are gone.
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    sticking valves bent several of the pushrods in the traction motor here.... I bet it happens again if I ever get the gearbox back together (fingers crossed this winter that can happen).
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    Quote Originally Posted by citroenthusiast View Post
    How old is the petrol? Sour petrol will varnish the intake valve stems and make them stick to the point of bending pushrods (don't ask me how I know this.) If you are re-starting a car that has been sitting for a while, drain the fuel tank and for good measure, spray carburetor cleaner down the throat of the carburetor before shutting it off each day until you are sure the last vestiges of the sour petrol are gone.
    Live and learn! I didn't know that. Thanks for the information. As usual, it means "use your car regularly" I guess.... Not that an excuse should be needed.
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    JohnW

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    Hey thanks guys. Funny how I have never heard of this problem before ? Back in the day when I had mine, two of them, I never had a problem there !

    I guess if you do not use your old classic regularly you might be advised to mount a smaller tank somewhere and just use that and fit an easy drain to it. I do know the current cheaper fuel is crap and leaves stuff behind when it evaporates that I have never seen before in the old days. It clogs carby jets and bowls too. Probably worth sticking to 98 as it has more additives for the extra money.
    Jaahn
    Last edited by jaahn; 22nd March 2019 at 07:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaahn View Post
    I do know the current cheaper fuel is crap and leaves stuff behind when it evaporates that I have never seen before in the old days. It clogs carby jets and bowls too. Probably worth sticking to 98 as it has more additives for the extra money.
    Jaahn
    Ethanol is hydroscopic and can absorb 50 times more water that ordinary fuel. Apparently it has a self life of only around 90 days.

    Gasoline Expiration - Ethanol Blend Fuels Have a Short Shelf Life
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    E10 or similar left in a dormant car's fuel tank will very likely result in corroded tanks, senders and pumps. Beware.

    Aren't the stem seals on a TA little more than an o-ring?
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    Hi
    I never use E10 in anything that sits around. When I said cheap fuel I meant just 91. I only use E10 in my new car ?? which is refilled very regularly and has no build up of deposits. I usually put 98 in everything else including the lawn mower.

    However I am always suspicious of sites which give out information about problems and which have an agenda. EG Fuel Testers test kits are that sites agenda !! Usually "half" the information on the web is crap or misleading ! Deciding which half is the problem. But I guess minimising your problems by having knowledge of the possibilities is wise.

    Re the stem seals. It is so long ago when I did the head I cannot remember what is there. I would usually use umbrella seals if nothing else is specified but perhaps they were no longer available. If so I would have fitted O-rings. I did also use valve stem paste at the time which is like anti sieze. Laurie has freed up the valves with WD and quite a bit of tapping and levering. The inlets were all stiff. The motor actually started easily but then was a problem when restarting a couple of times. A valve stuck open then a bent push rod. Then all the valves stiff when checked. We will see what happens. Move it or loose it seems to be the saying.
    Jaahn
    Last edited by jaahn; 23rd March 2019 at 05:35 AM.

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    What you describe sounds like classic symptoms of varnish. The engine starts fine but the sour petrol moving past the inlets deposits the varnish on the valve stems. As the engine sits overnight, the varnish hardens so the next time you start the engine (or maybe the time after that) the intake valves seize. That's why I recommend using carburetor cleaner right BEFORE you shut off the engine to remove the potential varnish from the intakes.
    Cheers,
    John T.

    54 11BL; 61DS19 LHM (son's); 71DS21 BVH; 73SM 3.0; 73SM 2.7EFI; 73SM 3.0 (other son's); 74 Maserati Merak

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaahn View Post
    Hi


    Re the stem seals. It is so long ago when I did the head I cannot remember what is there. I would usually use umbrella seals if nothing else is specified but perhaps they were no longer available. If so I would have fitted O-rings. I did also use valve stem paste at the time which is like anti sieze. Laurie has freed up the valves with WD and quite a bit of tapping and levering. The inlets were all stiff. The motor actually started easily but then was a problem when restarting a couple of times. A valve stuck open then a bent push rod. Then all the valves stiff when checked. We will see what happens. Move it or loose it seems to be the saying.
    Jaahn
    The seals provided in a gasket overhaul set are the plain rubber rings. The valve stems need all of the lubrication they can get in a TA head. It is better to use a little oil than to let the stems run dry!
    Perhaps the clearance on the valve stem is a little too tight?
    Cheers Gerry

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    From my experience in my Mower shop years ago, I suggest never using any fuel containing ethanol in your vintage car. We could always tell when ethanol fuel had been used in a mower by the seals & O rings turning to jelly.
    Stale fuel is always a problem too, as modern petrol starts deteriorating in only weeks !
    The use of a fuel conditioner [ mower shops sell it ] in the tank should be regarded as essential in anything that sits idle regularly.

    Richard
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    Also do not forget to use a lead substitute such as 'Flash Lube' if your cylinder head is stock standard.
    The sump could also benefit from the use of Nulon E30 if the engine is in good condition. This will impregnate the working parts with 'ptfe' providing some intrinsic lubrication to the valve stems.
    Cheers Gerry

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    I take it this engine has been modified for unleaded fuel? If so then try a little bit of outboard engine oil in the fuel for a while. It won't smoke because it burns and you're only using a very small amount anyway. But if it hasn't been modified, then use a lead additive with each tank full and the problems should dissappear.

    Tip== valve guides are not smooth bore which is something often overlooked with aftermarket bushing.
    Cheers Tony.

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    Hi
    This engine has not been modified for unleaded nor the guides 'rebushed'. They guides are as used in a previous life, as are the valves, so both should be worn in perhaps. The head with guides and the valves were selected from the available 'stock' and checked for reasonable clearance etc.
    I fail to see the lead additive having any effect on the guides. That is for the seats I believe. I would be happy to be shown the error of my ways
    Jaahn

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    Jaahn, the Flash lube buffers the seats on the exhaust valves ( The job that tetra ethyl lead would have performed in the older fuels ) and also provides extra lubrication for the valve stems. Tractions with worn stems are notorious for burning exhaust valve seats. Therefore if wear is excessive K-Line guide liners are a convenient way to restore the original valve guide. There is also the added advantage of the liner being made of bronze instead of the sintered iron of the original guide. This is a much better material to bear on the valve stem but requires a good supply of oil. A new rocker shaft with re-bushed rockers will prevent oil supply loss ensuring oil gets all the way down to the other end of the shaft.
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    Cheers Gerry

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    Hi
    Laurie played with the valves to free them up, then has found they siezed again next time for a cold start. Freed them up and do it again. In the end it came to the one valve all the time. So he removed the spring and cap to find the valve guide had been driven down into the port. So it must have been well siezed in the guide.

    So off with the head and pull all the valves out. The bad guide had gone down to the flare on the valve so was fractured and the end fell apart when removed on the valve. HAS ANYONE GOT ONE GUIDE TO SPARE. PLEASE.
    He has used some commercial carby/manifold cleaner and it seems to remove the brown 'gunk' on the valves and stems and combustion chamber carbon OK. As the engine has been only run for some minimal time several time over the years, a couple of hours max, it is a mystery where this gummy shit has come from. It has never had old fuel in it and mostly was run on a small tank with fresh fuel and after the tank was cleaned it was used with fresh fuel and then drained.

    As I might have suggested I had put an oring on the valve stems. It is a mystery to me this valve sticking and I have started lots of old cars that had been sitting around for years and had no valve troubles like this. I do not recall it being said this is a common problem back in the 60s and 70s when we had Tractions for normal use then. They were never babied to start them and would have been run on ordinary oil and fuel then. I recoed the engine myself on the B15 but only so I could shave the head and flywheel and do a 'head job' and tune it up a bit. Never had any silly problems with either, just the CVs and rust in the doors mostly. The Lt15 was trouble free in the motor while we had it, normal maintainance. The next owner cracked the gearbox after a while. Not sure what happened to it after that.
    Jaahn
    I will see if I can get some pics on but not working just yet ??.
    Last edited by jaahn; 8th April 2019 at 11:02 PM.

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    Sorry that you have to do the head again. Maybe a little extra clearance of the valve stem this time round? There is such a thing as too tight! I have a couple of bronze guides that were made for a TA by someone ( unknown) they are unused and will need reaming after fitting. PM me your address and you can have them!
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    Cheers Gerry

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    Default Thanks to Gerry !

    Quote Originally Posted by gerrypro View Post
    Sorry that you have to do the head again. Maybe a little extra clearance of the valve stem this time round? There is such a thing as too tight! I have a couple of bronze guides that were made for a TA by someone ( unknown) they are unused and will need reaming after fitting. PM me your address and you can have them!
    Hi
    As promised Gerry sent the guides to Laurie pronto. He used one of them to replace the broken guide. It was finished in situ and was declared a good size. This is second hand information but he cleaned all the crappy sticky stuff off everything checked all the valves etc etc etc. The valve clearances seemed in line with the published figures from some similar old English motors of the day.
    It is back together again and started up first time. Seems to be starting and running well. The fuel tank was drained and flushed and some small amount of fresh fuel used. I guess that will be the main thing is to put small amounts in the tank before use.
    Thanks for the help and suggestions on here and by Gerry, from myself and Laurie. He is hoping to have it registered soon after a bit more work. Looking for some hinge screws 7mm 1.0P x 16 countersunk head. Some seem to have gone AWOL. Any suggestions.
    Jaahn

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    Hi Jaahn! Are these screws for the door jinges?
    Cheers Gerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by gerrypro View Post
    Hi Jaahn! Are these screws for the door jinges?
    Hi Gerry, yes the door hinge screws. Not easily found as you know. Laurie had the screws put away carefuly but he has shifted house and we know what that means
    Jaahn

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    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaahn View Post
    Hi Gerry, yes the door hinge screws. Not easily found as you know. Laurie had the screws put away carefuly but he has shifted house and we know what that means
    Jaahn
    Oh I can find them easily ... There is nothing easier. Tell him to jump onto CTA and order in some expensive replacement parts. Make sure there is eye watering postage costs on top....

    Now the amazing bit will happen.

    Before your shiny new parcel arrives in the post. The missing screws will magically appear.

    seeya
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaahn View Post
    Hi Gerry, yes the door hinge screws. Not easily found as you know. Laurie had the screws put away carefuly but he has shifted house and we know what that means
    Jaahn
    Jaahn. I will have a look in my spares jars I am sure that I have a whole bunch of them They are in two different lengths. There are shorter ones that are used in the upper hinges so as not to foul on the inner window frame. Does your friend need a complete set?
    Cheers Gerry

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    As a precaution, spray a liberal amount of carburetor cleaner down the throat of the carburetor each time before you shut off the engine until you have run a full tank of petrol through the engine. This will prevent any latent varnish from seizing the valves again....
    Cheers,
    John T.

    54 11BL; 61DS19 LHM (son's); 71DS21 BVH; 73SM 3.0; 73SM 2.7EFI; 73SM 3.0 (other son's); 74 Maserati Merak

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    Quote Originally Posted by citroenthusiast View Post
    As a precaution, spray a liberal amount of carburetor cleaner down the throat of the carburetor each time before you shut off the engine until you have run a full tank of petrol through the engine. This will prevent any latent varnish from seizing the valves again....
    Of course that would mean removing the air cleaner every time this procedure was performed to stop the spray ending up being trapped by the filter! Impractical!
    Cheers Gerry

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