I bought a '42 SnoGo last fall (with a newer flathead in it, an 8RT) that had sat unused for some time, at least fifteen years.

Well, you just can't do that here in Alaska and hope to get away with it. With 150°F temperature swings between seasons, there's too much condensation. Plus, the engine had been poorly maintained when it was in use—the oil filter was so full of sludge I was able to scoop it out and bake cupcakes with it.

So it's little surprise that about half the valves were stuck.

Here's where I'm at so far on the project: https://youtu.be/sY185uY7vu8. (Was going to wrap it up for the winter, but changed my mind.)

I've got 'em all freed up except #s 5, 6 and 7 exhaust. They're still stuck in the guides and the guides are sliding freely up and down in the block. The retainer clips slide right out.

And that's where I sit.

If they were on the intake side I could soak 'em in solvent and be done with it. But they're on the exhaust side, which means that anything I put in there drains right down through the block into the manifolds.

I'm headed back over there again Thursday, when I hope to borrow a friend's pickle bar and see if I can somehow pry 'em loose (first time through on a flathead, for me). The only thing I can think of is to hope the tangs on the bar are thin enough to fit into the clip slots, hold tight against the opposite side of the intake hole and rubber mallet 'em on the driver's side of the block. (Prolly will ruin the guide that way. Yuk.)

Here's what it looks like (this is mainly #6, with #7 slightly visible to the left):

enter image description here

Any ideas?

  • You state the "guides" are sliding freely in the block. Are these guides for the lifters or valve guides? I've not seen guides for lifters, but I guess if the block is aluminum, this could exist. In either case, if guides are moving within the block, you've got some serious issues going on. Even if you do get the freed up from the lifter and/or valve, the guides are still going to be moving, which isn't doing any good. Sep 6, 2023 at 14:29
  • Flathead valve guides are designed to move freely within the block and are held in place with retaining clips, which in turn are held in place by a recess in the block and by the springs (you can see one of the clips in my picture, on #6 intake all the way to the right). youtu.be/g0L8yr788qA
    – InteXX
    Sep 6, 2023 at 15:18
  • I just had a 'duh' moment. That whole assembly will slide right out once the clip is removed! I just didn't try it again after I pulled the clip, that's all 😒
    – InteXX
    Sep 6, 2023 at 15:27
  • I guess I'm applying modern day engine manufacture to something which is not quite so new :o) Hopefully someone will give you a clue so you can get it worked out! Sep 6, 2023 at 16:23
  • Ayup. They sure did things differently eighty years ago. Now that they slide out—without the clips—I'll be able to soak 'em on the bench until the valves come loose from the guides.
    – InteXX
    Sep 6, 2023 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


Well, that was my 'duh' moment for the week. (I'm leaving this Q&A active for free entertainment purposes.)

In a flathead, the only thing holding the Valve Assembly (in flathead-speak) steady in the block is the retainer clip (see the photo of #6 intake above, the one all the way to the right). The spring then pushes between the clip and the keepers and holds everything together. Without the clip, the whole thing slides easily in and out. By design.

My own gaffe came about because I didn't pull on the valves again after I removed the clips. Now that the assemblies slide right out, I'll just soak each one in a soup can of Marvel until they come loose on their own.

Whew! Maybe I should go back to my old job at the shoe sole factory.

  • Don't forget to mark this as "the answer" when you're able to. :o) Sep 6, 2023 at 19:50

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