Valve seals in my old '65 galaxie

So about a year ago I drove my Cougar to one of the local car shows and my wife drove the '65 Galaxie to the car show. What I noticed when she started it that I hadn’t before was the tell-tale smoke coming from the exhaust from starting it, how it stopped after a few minutes, but returned at a long traffic light.

As those of us who have been down this road before know, it valve seals. So after looking at getting the air hold adapter or making one, I thought about the following:My compressor will kick a breaker just aring up the tires or using my air tools on other projects. Do I really trust it to a)Not force the piston down the cylinder which it probably will. And b)I really don’t feel like pulling the cylinder head because I want to keep this a small project and with my ocd I will end up taking the heads to the machine shop which will in turn cause me to take the intake manifold to the machine shop. I would probably want to do a port match. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Why am I taking this long for my decision?Because I really don’t feel like taking apart an engine with 45,000 original miles. Port matching etc., doesn’t make a lot of sense on a street driven '65 Galaxie that is being pulled by a 289.

So anyhow, long story short I did the rope technique. It’s an old schooler’s trick. You take a length of 3/8" nylon rope ( I used approx 3 ft.), turn the cylinder to BDC, fill it with rope until you have approx. 1 ft. left hanging out, and turn the cylinder to TDC. This will put enough resistance on the valves to keep the in their place.

Did it work? Yes! Did my ocd kick in a little? Yes. I ended up replacing hte intake gaskets too as it was weeping oil from around the end seals. I also port matched the intake (rough cartridges-NEVER polish intake ports on the intake or the head-You NEED a surface to promote air tumble) to the gasket. Didn’t do the heads as, like I said, I didn’t want to pull the heads. I also dumped the points, installed a Pertronix module, the 12v relay (which also won’t allow the car to start unless it’s plugged in), and recurved the distributor with a more aggressive curve . Oh yeah, and new valve springs and retainers. If my budget would have allowed it would have gotten at least a roller tip rocker

How does it run? Well it’s a 289 pulling a land yacht so it isn’t gonna’ set the world on fire. BUT…It does pull harder below 3,000, and pulls cleaner to 5,000 rpms. And she does it without fumigating the people behind me, or marking its territory when I park it.

I have sent many a car away to do valve seals. I don’t know why. It is much easier than a cam install and degree in, or rebuilding a transmission, or a complete rebuild (yes I know you replace the seals on a rebuild, but it’s a whole different ball of yarn rebuilding fresh clean heads on a bench than in a car).

So yeah, this has been a long story, but it has been a bit of an adventure for me as this is a first. And no dropped valves!!!

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