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Giving the valves a light grind will actually prolong their life rather than shorten it as it will remove any carbon deposits and spall marks which cause hot spots which eventually can cause valve burn out. The additional work involved would cost very little if doing it yourself.
Just to reveal my astounding ignorance: are you talking about cleaning the valve heads in situ? I really, really don't want to disassemble anything else. It'll all end in tears, believe me.
In my opinion it would not be worth the risk of not replacing the tensioner when renewing the belt as this would be when it is most vulnerable to failure. A new belt is much more firm and needs to run true.
Gah. You've talked me into it.
It is OK to fit the water pump either using a paper type gasket or a silicon based silicon. The disadvantage of using the paper type is that it is slightly less heat resistant and prone to absorbing coolant which may cause it to rot over time.
Good, will stick with sealant only.
One of the water channels at the top of the block had a small piece of blue sealant from the water pump in it... over-enthusiastic beading, I guess!
The head doctor should be 'done' any time now. Fingers crossed...
Currently in mojolicious's garage:
2001 Ford Focus 1.9TD(d)i Estate in the incredibly luxurious 'LX' trim :)