Help!! Sticky valve springs retainers


Founding Member
Feb 16, 2001
norristown pa/ state college
Hey guys,
I m in the middle of chaging valve springs on my J302 heads off the car and CANNOT get a few of the exhaust ones off. I m using a small hammer and socket to strike the retainer to loosen it up. Then i use the compressor, full size off the car type that holds the valve too, compress the spring, but the retainer will not release. I then smack it with the socket and hammer but nothing....i ve got 5 more to go!

SO, does anyone have any tricks that i didnt try yet? I soaked them in penetrating oil for a while but nothing.. The hammer i m using is very small so i m going to pick a nice 5lb tomorrow. I hope this would help. ANy tips would be greatly appreciated..need to get the motor built before the weekend.

Thanks all.

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Active Member
Aug 22, 2004
Jersey Shore
A few good blows with a nice hefty Bam Bam (hammer) always got what I needed loose to get the retainers out. If you're striking it with the heads off, put a piece of wood or something right under the valve so when you're smacking it you're not just depressing the valve, either the retainer is gonna slide down or the hammers gonna bounce back. Nothing a BFH should be able to take care of.


10 Year Member
Jan 19, 2006
Put something under the valve you are trying to remove so that the valve cannot open and they should come right of, thats how I do all of mine, one at a time. Also try and use one of those pen magnets if you have one to get the locks, they help alot.


New Member
Feb 8, 2006
Aberdeen, WA
you mentioned air holding the valve so i'll assume the heads are on the engine and you're using air to hold the valve up.. use a normal size hammer(no need for 5lb sledge) and tap the retainer on top, not the valve itself while trying to compress it with the tool. All i can figure is you must be doing something wrong..good luck