Engine Valve Seats

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Valve Seats
Valve Seats

A valve seat is the surface on the engine, which allows the intake or exhaust valve to rest, while it is closed. Valve seats are essential to a proper engine compression ratio and a leak free engine. An improperly positioned valve seat will cause valve leakage which will have adverse effects on engine efficiency, lifespan, performance, and exhaust emissions. Some examples of an improperly positioned or machined valve seat include incomplete seating during the press fitting-step, distortion of the valve seat surfaces which may be curved and not circular, a tilt in the machined surfaces relative to the valve guide hole axis, a deviation of the valve seat surfaces and the valve guide holes, and deviation of the machined conical section of the valve seat from the cone angle which is required to match the valve surface.

Failure of a valve seat can be indicated by a crack or excessive ware. These failures of a good valve seat are usually caused by overheating of the engine or high mileage on the vehicle. Low compression in the engine is one of the tall tale signs that an engine seat may be going bad.

Valve seats can be made through press fitting, spray on seats, or by cutting the seat into the cylinder head or engine block. Press fitting the valve seat is the most common and precise out of these three methods and provides for a secure fit that allows for good flow when the valve is open. Cutting the valve seat into the cylinder head or block is common in inexpensive engines but can only be done on some engine designs. The sprayed on valve seat is the newest method to create a valve seat and has many advantages over a traditional seat. Some of these advantages include a thinner surface and more efficient heat transfer from the valve to the seat which allows the components to be thinner and lighter which is good for engine performance.

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