Gives Mechanics Use Of Both Hands
Aircraft maintenance engineer Jolly Higdon, president of
Airborne Flying Service Inc of Hot Springs, AR, has developed and
patented a series of valve spring compressor tools for Lycoming and
Continental piston engines. The tools allow mechanics the use of
both hands to remove and replace springs, keepers, stems and
guides, rocker arms, spacers, push rods, push rod housings and
cylinder hold-down nuts.
The Valve Wizard, mounted to the cylinder on-engine, allows
easier access for removal of the parts and in turn, the removal of
the cylinder from the crankcase. The most valuable asset with the
Valve Wizard, according to Higdon, is the time saved on removal and
replacement of the cylinders.
Higdon invented the tool after years of frustration using the
typical lever bars for which constant pressure against the spring
must be maintained by one hand, leaving just one hand to access the
top-end parts. With Valve Wizard, the cylinders remain bolted to
the crankcase while relieving the tension on the springs, saving
several hours labor per engine.
Valve Wizard attaches firmly to the cylinder head by use of the
rocker cover bolts on each cylinder. Threaded shafts compress the
springs and maintain hands-free compression during the process.
Both intake and exhaust valves can be worked on at the same time,
reducing maintenance time significantly. The tool is designed to
allow wide, unobstructed access to the springs, keepers and
"On a typical 4-cylinder engine the time saved will pay for the
tool first time out of the box," says Higdon. "I approached the
solution focusing on strength and simplicity, and the result is
apparent. Injection-moulded, high-impact plastic with steel inserts
and compressors, the Valve Wizard attaches quickly and allows full
access to the keepers, guides and stems, on parallel and
The Valve Wizard comes as a kit of three at a price of $339, or
$139 each if ordered individually. The three models cover Lycoming
O-235, O-290, IO/O-320, IO/O-360, AEIO-360, O-435, IO-480, IO-540
series and Continental O-470, IO-470, IO-520, IO-550 and TSIO-520
series engines. The tools carry a comprehensive lifetime limited
The US Patent Office awarded a patent for the design in December
2006. Full production began in May.