Video: Shadetree LS Tech – LS1 Head Rebuilding Taught Firsthand

If education be its own reward, then today’s video from YouTuber Strictly Perform will be the kind of reward that keeps you from spending money unnecessarily. It’s like a rebate you didn’t know you were getting, but you’ll be glad to have had when your friends are dealing with a permanent “Check Engine Light.”

The workbench shows the LS1 head awaiting cleaning and maintenance.

The workbench shows the LS1 head awaiting cleaning and maintenance.

Answering a request from one of his fans, the upstart DIY-er’s aim with this video will be to show us all how to clean and maintain the heads of an LS1 on our own. His lesson begins at the 0:41 mark, as his bench presents a dissected head, valves, springs and all laid out neatly.

The carbon buildup on the valve seats is the first order of business. The young man shows us what we need – lapping tools, valve grinding compound, a valve spring compressor, and valve stem seals – as he proceeds to reinstall the valves into the head.

With the head facing right-side up, he demonstrates the little trick he uses to get the seals lined up for the valves after they’re cleaned. He uses the closest-sized socket from a socket wrench set to get the seals pre-installed. Here, he also stresses the importance of cleaning off the seats and valve heads, while lubing the valve stems to get the best possible results when lapping.

The valves are lapped against the seat of the head.

The valves are lapped against the seat of the head.

During the lapping phase, the kid notes how the sound changes the more he spins the valve around the seat, indicating that the valve and seat will sound less abrasive as they begin to mesh together. He mentions another special note to take is marking the cylinders and their appropriate intake/exhaust valves after the lapping is finished, so that the valves will wind up in their corresponding lapped cylinder once it’s time for reassembly.

Near the 13:00 mark, the head is now standing on its side, as our mechanic goes about compressing the spring to get the valves re-sealed. This more or less concludes the lesson, as the process now requires just repeating the same steps to get the rest of the head completely back to normal. It’s time-consuming, but it definitely makes a difference in the longevity of the motor.

Check out Strictly Perform’s YouTube channel to see other fine DIY tutorials. The man has talent and know-how, not to mention some awesome camera setup skills.

About the author

David Chick

David Chick comes to us ready for adventure. With passions that span clean and fast Corvettes all the way to down and dirty off-road vehicles (just ask him about his dream Jurassic Park Explorer), David's eclectic tastes lend well to his multiple automotive writing passions.
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