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Triumph TR6 - valve guides

If I have high oil consumption and white smoke on deceleration, but not on idle, it appears that means valve problems. The compression is okay and consistent. Are there any articles on valve guide replaclement and can one do it at home? What should something like that cost, assuming a mechanic diagnoses this problem?

The short answer is yes, it is something that can be done at home. However in my mind the more appropriate question is more along the lines of is it worth my time and the stuff I would have buy and build to do this job at home for what would likely be a one shot job.

The cost will vary with what you want done. You might even consider going with an exchange cylinder head. Roadster sells exchange heads that have bronze guides and hardened seats, just the thing for the no lead fuel these days. I don't know what the machine shop situation is around where you live, but I would also check locally about having hardened seats and new bronze guides installed. Figure in the price of replacement valves and possibly springs if you go the local route. If you want to run valve stem seals, this would be the time as the guides will need to turned (if uninstalled) or flycut (if already installed). Compare the prices of the exchange head vs. having the work done locally and make the call. I think Roadster gets about $500 exchange with new valves and about $100 less for one supplied with previously used, but good valves just to give you a starting point.


If I could get this done for $500, I would jump at it! It seems like anything in South Florida costs more, and I am betting it will be $1,000 or more. Is there anyone out there who can suggest someone in the Palm Beach County or Martin County area for a diagnosis and the work?

Long day little sleepy here but why are we talking valve guides with white smoke on Deceleration? Maybe once or twice after sitting a week in colder climate but I think were talking South Florida. Only condensation there should be on the outside of a cold brew?

Bill Brayford

Just pull the head and send it into a machine shop for a valve job. It helps if you order the guides and valves in advance and just supply the parts for the job. I paid about $400 Canadian for a good job. The other thing is, does it really matter if it burns oil - even after your valve job it will burn some. Heck - it leaks oil. Remeber, your dealing with an old British car; they leak, burn and smell no matter what you do. Save your money, drive it and have fun.

John Parfitt
Calgay, Canada.
73 5 speed.
John Parfitt

On the topic of valve jobs - if you took your head off, got the valves done & at the same time milled the head (on a 75 tr6 motor) would there be a problem with "blowing or seizing" the oil control rings? (Currently my compression is 110psi across the board)

I remember my father & I getting the valves ground on a farm truck with a 283 & then when reassembling having lots of oil burning issues. Turned out the "new higher compression" due to the valve job seized/messed up the oil control rings. We ended up re-ringing the motor in a unheaded garaged in the middle of a cold Ontario winter.

Still having nightmares about the above...........

Aivars Berzins
Aivars Berzins

Obviously, I don't have the answers and really appreciate the input. Bill in Canada-I gather from what I have read that the smoke on deceleration is oil getting burnt because the vacuum is less or something and it gets sucked past the valves. And I am going through a lot of oil, although it doesn't smoke at idle. Another issue that may be related is that the oil pressure is really high for the first ten minutes or so that the car runs-close to the max on the gauge. After a while, it goes down, but it stays above 50 when running, except at idle, even when the oil level seems to be getting toward the ad oil line on the dipstick. But maybe I can find a way to get it done cheaper than what I am afraid of!

Hi John

From your posts don't jump to conclusions!!!!

Your car sounds pretty OK? As JohnP and others point out its 30 yrs. old and was never a Honda sewing machine nor was it precision just grunt. Thankfully it doesn't sound like one either?

The reason for my post was your description of "white smoke" after deceleration. Valve guides intaking excessive oil on deceleration will give blue black smoke when you accelerate again not white. White thats not there all the time is steam not of any concern.

If you have a standard TR exhaust system with upward angled exit pipes from the muffler across the back. The muffler collects water and dampness in the bottom. When you back off the gas it creates a vaccum in the pipes and muffler and some gets sucked back up into the hot exhaust pipe and when you step back on the gas especialy you will get some white smoke caused by water, steam really.

Thats a good thing gets rid of some of the water making rust. See it mostly on cars not driven for awhile. And on huge mufflers like the 6 they don't get hot enough to dry out.

As for the high oil pressure reading it can be caused by lots of things from engine wear/ dirty oil filter/ bad pressure relief valve or too high viscosity oil? Gunge in oil line to gauge? Thats something that has to be tracked down one step at a time..

As the oil thins with higher temperature it moves through engine easier. Sort of like having a good heart and bad arteries? If you havn't done so get an oil and filter change and ask them to report on the oil.

Search google for Triumph clubs in your area and phone them best place to get info.

And hey if you live in Eden. I guess the prices might be high. Trade you though. Try freezing your assets off for 6 months of the year buying British parts through the US with our exchange rate. :)


Bill Brayford

Hi Aivars

I tend to give detailed posts as RickO very politely pointed out. Its OK Rick most of my friends call me a long winded S.O.B. I'm used to it. :) My biggest problem is if you play with any old cars long enough there is no simple answer.

So I went to this one rather than reply on Johns about head.

Valves and head won't usually cause a low even across board compression by themselves. Almost always rings and cylinders worn cause most of it.

First get a detailed compression and leakdown test. Will tell you exactly whats going on.

A simple valve job engine in is OK.

Do not have any machining done to head surface unless block surface is done at same time by the same guys. My opinion from experience. If both are somewhat out and they will be due to heating and cooling they will still conform and head gasket will seal. If you have one milled flat and not the other you will have problems.

Rebuild whole unit. Head rebuild causes ring problems or vice versa? Worn cam crank etc. all need to work together.

If its running OK and after pro compression and leakdown. I think compression actually will read a little higher? Unless your having big problems. I would save the bucks to have a total job.


Bill Brayford

Bill, thanks. That's sort of where I am right now. I want to put a few hundred miles on the car, watching the oil consumption, and see what's going on. The compression was in the 120's and consistent when I had the car checked. I did not know enough to request a leak down test. Supposedly, at least I was charged for it, a new oil filter was put in by the Jag guy that checked the car out for me and did a bunch of rear end work(and overcharged me, I think). It's still got the original oil filter cannister, so I suppose I could pull it off and check. The oil pressure relief valve is something I need to check too. I noted that the oil pressure sender was replaced by the prior owner about 2 years ago, according to his records.

One of the reasons I bought this particular car is that it appears to be rust free and cosmetically in good shape. The paint is very good and there are no dings or dents. The speedo had a broken cable when I got it, and I replaced it first thing, but the car read over 77,000 miles; it could have really been 78,000 or 150,000, there is no way to tell. Since I have learned a little more, I have discovered that it has SU's, which is about a $1,000 after market upgrade as well as an upgraded exhaust. So, I guess, unless there is a major engine problem, I did pretty good.

By the way, as to the white smoke, it is pretty much 100% humidity down here this time of year, 24/7. The car is garaged, but do you think the high humidity could be the cause of the white smoke? Thanks, John.

This thread was discussed between 06/09/2003 and 08/09/2003

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