In The Shop: Valve Spring Replacement

If you are interested in a cam upgrade on your Harley Davidson, it is vitally important that the manufacturer’s instructions are scrutinized over. If stock Harley pistons are still being utilized, valve to piston clearance needs to be checked. S&S recommends, at least, .060″ clearance for intake valve clearance and, at least, .080″ clearance for the exhaust valve.

It is also very important to consider the valve springs that are being used. Due to the limited capability of the valve springs in 1999 to 2004 Harley Davidson engines, some installations will require high lift valve springs. Whether you go with S&S, Fueling, Andrews, or any other manufacturer’s cam shafts, instructions will will be specific as to what valve springs should be utilized.

Recently, we installed an S&S Power Package kit on a 2003, injected, Road King. The kit included the S&S 585CE (easy start) cams. Installing these cams required that we upgrade to performance, high lift, valve springs. We decided to continue with the S&S theme and go with S&S Street Performance. 585″ Round Wire, Conical Valve Springs.

A valve spring compressor is needed in order to disassemble the valve and spring assemblies. A tool like this is relatively inexpensive. Cheaper versions of this tool can be found for less than $100. The performance springs come with shims to achieve the appropriate valve spring heights. These shims can be installed beneath the lower collar. To figure out what shims, if any, are needed; a measurement needs to be made to determine the spring height and clearance between the top collar and the valve guide. S&S has specific instructions for taking this measurement.

It is good mechanical practice to try returning each valve back to (or close as possible to) it’s original position upon reassembly. To do so, we use a marker on the top of the valve stem to help keep orientation.

Watch these videos:

Harley Top End Removal
Harley Valve Job
Cam Gear Drive Conversion
Cam Chain Tensioner Shoe

Here are some photos of our install:

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