The task was to remove the valve springs on my LS7 so I could do a "Wiggle Test" which measures valve-stem-to-guilde clearance. To do this requires removing the valve springs.
An Internet search for an easy-to-use, reasonably-priced tool for removing valve springs while the heads are installed on the engine led me to Lingenfelter Performance Engineering's web site. Most know "LPE" as Chevrolet engine performance engineering firm, but they also sell a select line of special tools they've developed in the process of building some of the most powerful Corvettes and Camaros in the World.
The "Lingenfelter Valve Spring Compressor Tool" (PN L950025297) works on any Gen 3, 4 or 5 Small-Block V8 as well as on the new EcoTec 3 V6. The LPE spring compressor's design is elegant in its simplicity. Made of black-anodized aluminum, the tool bolts to a rocker arm mount using a stock rocker arm bolt. LPE's tool has a 3/8-in. square drive hole on each side. The user attaches a 3/8ths drive breaker bar or long-handle ratchet to provide force to compress the spring.
Set the tool on the rocker mount and run the bolt down finger tight then, attach a 3/8-drive breaker bar. Pull down on the breaker bar–a lot of strength is not required–until you can retrieve the valve locks with a magnet. Release the pressure and remove the retainer and spring. It's that easy.
With the LS3, LS7, LS9 or LSA, all of which use an offset intake rocker arm, you simply twist the tool such that its aligns with the valve spring retainer then make the bolt finger tight. The load of spring compression is applied to the bolt not to the rocker mount, so having the tool's pivot centerline at an angle to the rocker mount is not a problem.
The only potential trouble spot with the Lingenfelter Spring Compressor is that if you don't have the tool positioned correctly, it's possible to have the I.D. of the retainer score the valve stem once the spring is fully compressed. You want to avoid this problem, especially if the valves are coated. Careful observation of the spring compressing action will prevent this from happening.
Last weekend, I had all 16 valve springs off my LS7, measured valve stem-to-guilde clearance, then used the tool a second time to put everything back together. The Lingenfelter Performance Engineering's Spring Compressor is one of the better values in on-engine spring compressors on the market.
For more information visit www.lingenfelter.com