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Valve spring keepers... tips for installing?

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OK, I've spent over 2 hours in the garage with a series of screwdrivers, prybars, hemostats, spanners, needle nosed pliars, forked ball joint separator tools and even a custom rigged tool for compressing the springs to get the 2 piece keepers installed. I read a post by Brian P that was very detailed, showing him using an automotive style spring compressor, but this too was far from the perfect tool for this job. Unfortunately my only valve spring compressor is for overhead valves and has hooks that leverage off of a rocker shaft. Won't work for my Briggs. I generally hate to give in and pay a shop to do one part of the reassembly of an engine, but I have very rationally come to the conclusion that with the tools in my current possession, it is impossible for me to complete this part of the job. Are there any specific tools from an auto parts store, Home Depot, etc that can be recommended for doing this job, or should I just take it to my Simplicity dealer 5 miles from my house and have it done? I need to get this tractor out of my garage and I'm getting tired of struggling with this part of the re-assembly. Thanks, Craig

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I found one like this to come in handy also. http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/8-INCH-VALVE-SPRING-COMPRESSOR-TOOL-Auto-Engine-NEW-NR_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ35625QQihZ014QQitemZ330191790043QQrdZ1QQsspagenameZWD4V

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The best success I've had with installing the keepers is to use a small engine spring compressor. After the spring is compressed put grease on both sides of the keeper and slip it into place with a small screwdriver. The grease will hold the keeper on the screwdriver blade until it is positioned properly and then just slide the tip off the keeper. Rotate the first one around to the back side and make sure the second one is seated properly. This should only take a few minutes. Good Luck, Dave

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Thanks for the replies. I checked out the tools on Ebay and then called my Simplicity dealer. They have a compressor for $19.95 so I'm headed down there right now to get it. As with most other Briggs tools I have looked into purchasing, I was expecting the compressor to be in the $80 to $150 range, which would make it an easy choice to pay a shop $25 to do the job. Now I can own the tool and do the job myself now and in the future. I'll let you all know how it goes with the tool. EDIT: I should have stopped way before I did when I was struggling with it early this morning. I had both springs compressed, keepers installed and the top end back together in under 10 minutes with the new tool. And it cost me less for the tool than the $25 shop rate for them to install the keepers. Thanks again. Craig Craig

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