Valve Keepers-Retainers Failure Analysis

When it comes to failures in your engine, you want to know what's going on and what caused it right away so you can make sure the problem gets fixed. We're here to help!

We've talked about different failures affecting your diesel engine valves and its corresponding components. Now, we're going to dive into the valve keepers/retainers.

How can these components fail? What causes them to fail? We've got an in-depth failure analysis to help you figure out what's going wrong with your diesel engine. 

Want to know more about what causes your valves themselves to fail? Check out our other failure analysis dedicated to valves.

In the market for new valve train components or other parts for your diesel engine? Our ASE Certified Technicians are ready to help you find exactly what you need!

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Valve failure caused by impact loading

The following picture shows returned materials. The yellow arrow pointing at the valve retainers show they are undamaged. The rotators indicated by the blue arrow were inspected and function properly showing no damage. The two valves in the foreground show no galling in the stem indicating they did not seize in the valve guide. The Green arrow points to the broken valve, note location of break.


valve keeper retainer failure analysis


In the above picture, the green arrow points to the valve head and the area the valve broke. This is the strongest part of a valve. This type of failure only occurs from impact. The second valve is bent in the same location but did not break. All the possible causes such as valve sticking in guide, broken valve retainers show no signs of failure as seen in the first picture.

Conclusion: Since both valves are bent in a similar manner, the piston hit the valves and not some random piece of foreign material. The root cause of failure is impact loading. 
Failure in the valves can cause other problems for your engine. Check out our blog on engine noise caused by the valve train for more information.
If this failure looks like something that happened to your diesel engine, then you'll be looking for some diesel engine replacement parts. We carry parts for a wide range of applications, so Highway & Heavy Parts can help you get what you need to get your diesel engine running again. 
Do you need parts for your diesel engine? Our ASE Certified Technicians can help you get the parts you need! Call them at 844-304-7688, or request a quote online!
Originally Posted November 18, 2015; Edited March 20, 2020