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dropped valve seat.....

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Unread post Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:21 am

Posts: 52
Hi,i have a set of 140 heads with one dropped valve seat.does anyone know where i can find a COMPETENT machine shop to do this repair?and stake all the seats? in located in Ocala,Fla...

Unread post Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:58 pm

Posts: 1094
Location: Norfolk, VA

Ray Sedman in CA can do it, but you pay for what you get. By which I mean you'll pay a lot for his work, but you'll be glad that you did.
Click it!

Unread post Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:04 am

Posts: 188
I do that type of work . I live in Anderson In
Michael LeVeque
LeVair Performance & Restoration

Unread post Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:01 pm
bbodie52 User avatar
Corvair of the Month
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Posts: 5945
Location: Lake Chatuge - Hayesville, North Carolina

Here is some information I wrote some time ago concerning Corvair dropped valve seats:


Valve Seats.

The biggest durability issue with the Corvair head is dropped valve seats. It used to be that only 140s were a noted problem, but since all the heads are 30 or more years old, the problem has started to show up in small valve heads as well. There are a few ways to deal with the problem:

First, you can stake the seats. This involves using a staking tool which fits in the guide and has a little chisel shaped plunger, you go all the way around the seat and peen some aluminum over the seat. This technique has been debated a bit, but it's safe to say that it only really works on heads that haven't been overheated. When Corvairs were fairly new, or better yet if you started with a new pair of heads, this probably worked pretty well. But nowadays how can you be sure the heads haven't been overheated?

Method two is the preferred racer's technique - remove the old seats entirely and replace with a bigger, deeper seat. Expensive, but the best way to go. You can also fix a set of heads by welding then installing new seats, if you do this you should plan on doing all the seats, because the other ones are probably loose too.

Next is a method that involves somehow mechanically locking the seat in place, either by machining screw threads into the head and seat, or by machining the seat with a flange on the bottom, the seat would be installed then heliarced into place. Warren LeVeque offers the latter "sunken" seats as an option when he prepares heads.

Finally, Chuck Cromwell sent me this neat trick for installing set screws. He's had very good luck with this method, so I'm happy to put it up here. I will make two observations that may help you be successful. First, don't do this to a set of heads that have dropped a seat and you're trying to get by with replacing just one seat. Second, I'd suggest using a drill press to get the holes in straight, and perhaps practice on a junk head first.

Do this before you do a valve grind. With a 1/16th drill, drill a hole 1/4 inch deep into the aluminum right against the seat. Opposite that hole, drill another 1/16th hole 1/4 inch deep. That will be 2 holes 180 degrees from each other. Now drill both holes with a 1/8th drill, and finish with a 9/64ths drill, maintaining your 1/4 inch depth. Tap both holes with a 5/32nds (Note: a 10-32 should be the same size) bottom tap using plenty of oil on the tap. This will stop the aluminum from plugging the flutes. When you finish tapping the holes, flush them out with a good solvent such as brake cleaner, lacquer thinner, etc. Look in the holes and you will see threads in the side of the seats. Using (red) locktight on your screws, screw the screws down tight and let the locktite set up overnight. Then, using a dremel tool with the thinnest cut off blade, cut the screws off as close to the head as possible. Finally, use a grindstone in your dremel tool and grind the screws off flush with the head.


Over the years the 140 Corvair engine has picked up somewhat of a reputation for dropped valve seats. Corvair cylinder heads are aluminum, so the seats, which have to be of a harder material, are pressed in.

According the Bob Galli, of the Virtual 'Vairs (VV) Internet e-mail discussion group, using valve seats that are stepped on the outside diameter (OD) might be a sure cure for 140s. They were recommended to him by Corvair engine guru Richard Finch. A company that makes custom stepped valve seats is the Tucker Valve Seat Company. Contact information is shown below:

Tucker Valve Seat Company
Toll free; USA: 1-800-362-7321
Toll free; Canada: 1-800-367-7321
Web site:

Another knowledgeable contributor to Virtual 'Vairs, Ed Corson of Corson's Classic Corvairs, believes a permanent fix for dropped valve seats involves taking your heads to a good aluminum head shop to have all the valve seats replaced with deep seats, and he points out that these same seats are used in Porsche heads and some VW heads.
Ed recommends the shop listed below, one which he's been doing business with for at least 23 years.

Fumio Fukaya Enterprises
4000 Alamo Street
Riverside, CA 92501
Tel: (909) 784-1251

NOTE: I tried a reverse lookup on the above phone number, but it produced nothing. However, a GOOGLE search for the above firm produced a result with the same address, but a different phone number area code, shown below:

Tel: (951) 784-1251

According to Ed, Fumio Fukaya arrived at California's Riverside Race Track about 30 years ago with a Japanese race team that raced a car with an all aluminum engine. When the team folded, he opened a shop in Riverside, where he would build/repair only aluminum head engines.

"He is so good and well known around the country and in racing circles," Ed told me, "that heads are sent to him for repair or remanufacture from all over the U.S. and Canada. I feel very fortunate to be located here where I was able to learn of him and get to know him. We have become very good friends and business acquaintances. I highly recommend him for Corvair heads. You can call him or send heads to him at the address and number listed, or if you would rather send them through me, contact me at Corson's Classic Corvairs."

Corson's Classic Corvairs
16953 Mockingbird Canyon Rd,
Riverside, CA 92504
Tel: (909) 780-7880


"A set of heads usually takes about 3 weeks to be completely redone with new deep seats and silicon/bronze valve guides. I recommend you disassemble the heads and clean them yourself, which will save you about $50.00. I also recommend that you not send him your valves, but replace them with new ones. After all if you are going to put that much effort into a set of heads you might just as well do it right."
Brad Bodie
Lake Chatuge, North Carolina

Unread post Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:20 pm

Posts: 577
a few quick additions. ed corson passed away a few years back. i think fumio fukaya doesnt work on vair heads anyome. i heard that the new guys that are running the shop arnt too keen on doing vair heads. a few heads w/set screw seats have had the seats fall out.

-Scott V.

Unread post Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:41 pm

Posts: 1094
Location: Norfolk, VA

Fwiw, I had a regular machine shop replace the exhaust seats in my 180 heads because one was loose and a few others were starting to sink. Intakes were fine, just needed a touch with the stone to clean them up. I had them use stock seats: no deep ones, no screws, no staking, no magic tricks. The heads are still fine to this day and as anyone who knows how I drive will tell you, I'm not exactly nice to the engines I build- I beat them looking for weak points. Sometimes when a seat drops it's not that there was a fault per se, but rather that someone was trying to do something with parts that weren't properly serviced. For example if I were to use a set of 140 heads that aren't exactly known for stellar seat retention to begin with, I'd have all the seats and guides done first. Not doing so means you agree to take your chances. All these heads are old now, IMO you simply can't trust that things are going to be fine. This is especially true with turbos or high compression N/A engines that are driven hard.
Click it!

Unread post Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:41 pm
bbodie52 User avatar
Corvair of the Month
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Posts: 5945
Location: Lake Chatuge - Hayesville, North Carolina

Sounds like good advice. There is nothing like the voice of experience and practical application and testing of available options. I recently purchased a Corsa with a 140 HP 4-carburetor engine and a history that already includes one dropped valve seat that was repaired in its past. My wife and I are planning to make an optimistic cross-country, coast-to-coast trip in this Corvair, and we recognize the risk of another dropped seat as a known weakness in this engine. That being understood, I intend to perform a "preemptive strike" by pulling the heads for examination and overhaul by a good, reputable machine shop that is familiar with Corvair heads. A good valve job, new seats (as needed), valve guides, new valves, etc. would seem to be appropriate with these 46-year-old heads prior to taking such an extended journey. :tongue:
Brad Bodie
Lake Chatuge, North Carolina

Unread post Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:08 pm
ncwitte User avatar
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Location: Lansing, Michigan

I was very satisfied with the work Larry Shapiro did on my heads. A little of the story and pictures here:
Norm Witte
Lansing, Michigan
'65 Corsas: 140 coupe and 180 convertible

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