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Using Multi-Layer Steel (MLS) Head Gaskets
As the name implies, MLS gaskets are constructed from 2 to 5 layers (depending upon the application) of heat treated stainless steel. Each layer is separated by a thin layer of a nitrile rubber coating. They have also been embossed in key areas to aid the sealing process, and to maintain proper sealing forces between the cylinder head and block.

The correct surface requirements on both the head and block are very important for maintaining a proper seal when using an MLS gasket. Most manufacturers call for a surface finish of 40 Ra or less. Check with thegasket manufacturer for the proper spec.

If you are switching from a traditional composite head gasket to an MLS head gasket, both the block and the head will probably need to be resurfaced to achieve the finish required. Some older resurfacing machines can’t achieve this level of finish.

Caution: Do not spray or apply any coating to MLS head gaskets that havea coating from the manufacturer. The surfaces of these gaskets that contact the cylinder head and the block are coated with a special nitrile material designed to seal not only compression from the cylinders, but also the water ports. Any added coatings can cause the gasket to move around more than designed, causing leaks.

Scott York
Advantage Engine Parts
Lynn, IN


TLC for Threaded Fasteners
To obtain the correct torque on a fastener, it is important that your threads are clean. You can achieve clean threads simply with a few easy steps.

For threaded fasteners, remove grease or other surface contaminants by wiping with a clean rag or soaking in a chemical degreaser. After this initial cleaning, a wire brush can be used to further clean the threads and remove any remaining debris including rust, dirt or other stubborn contaminants. Using a vise to hold the bolt will make this easier. But awire wheel is a much faster method, and gives superior results.

For cleaning internal threads, like threaded holes or nuts, thread cleaning chasers should be used. Thread chasers can be purchased individually or as a set. In a pinch, a bolt having the correct size andthread can be made into a thread chaser by grinding away a section of the bolt lengthwise. This gives the debris a place to go.

A nut can be used in the same way to clean up bolts or studs. Thread cleaning chasers are available for cleaning blind or through holes. A set of chasers is an important addition to your tool box and essential in properly preparing an engine for final assembly.

Lamar Whitman
Engine Pro Technical Department
Wheat Ridge, CO


Customer Shop Tours Can Increase Business
Among the sales and marketing strategies used to promote business, customer tours were by far the most frequently cited tool among the top shops in a 2012 Top Shops Benchmarking Survey. Nearly three-quarters of those upper-echelon shops recognize the value of opening their doors to customers, even though it is impossible to track how much new work can be directly attributed to these promotions.

Shop tours offer the opportunity to personally introduce your equipment,processes and people in a way that isn’t possible through a brochure, website or even a video. Tours demonstrate not only your pride in your operation, but also your comfort level in showcasing it. In turn, your customers come away with the comforting feeling that their jobs will be processed with the same degree of care and concern they would exercise if they had worked on it themselves.

Tours also enable you to demonstrate the control you have over your processes and the thought you put into how work flows through your shop. Better yet, it enables customers to get a feel for your operation by observing your employees. While walking your shop floor, customers are able to sense how your employees perceive your company by how they conduct themselves and interact with each other. These are the types of subtle attributes that make it attractive for them to do business with your shop. Also, shop tours promote networking among racers and car enthusiasts, which is one of the best ways to promote new business.

If you don’t offer customer tours, think about why you don’t. Identifying the reasons might highlight areas of potential improvement and increased business.

Jim Kovach
Kovach & Associates
Performance Engine Building
Parma, OH



Organizing Your Parts for Restoration Projects
A piece of cardboard and a felt pen can help you keep the parts you take off an old engine properly organized.

Being organized is a big part of restoring cars and engines. When you’retaking parts off a car one year and putting them back on two or three years later, you need a good way to keep track of them.

Over the years, I have tried taping parts, labeling them with string tags or putting them in plastic bags. Magic marker notes wear off tape. String tags seem to attract grease that makes them unreadable. Plastic bags full of parts are almost as easy to lose or lose track of as parts themselves, and they can get very greasy and the bags are relatively expensive.

I have found the best way to store parts is on old pieces of cardboard. To attach nuts and bolts to cardboard, simply poke holes in it, put the bolt through and tighten the nut on the other side. Certain parts can be attached to the cardboard with electrical ties. The very cheapest electrical ties will suffice. If you are storing nuts that cameoff studs, rather than nuts and bolts combined, you can use electrical ties to hold the nuts to the cardboard. You can even use different colored electrical ties to indicate where the nuts came from.

If you’re keeping track of head bolts, cut the cardboard in the shape ofthe head and put the bolts in proper sequence. Label each position witha magic-marker. For some reason, the ink stays on cardboard much longerthan on tape and string tags. A nice thing about storing fasteners and parts on cardboard, is that when it comes time to use a wire wheel to clean them, and some treatment to keep them from rusting again, you can take them off the cardboard, restore them, and put them back on the cardboard again.

This is a very easy system to use and I think you’ll find it works great.  So, start saving those nice pieces of cardboard you get in your parts shipments. You’ll need a lot of cardboard in all shapes and sizes.

John Gunnell
Gunner’s Great Garage/Restoration Shop
Manawa, WI


Engine Builder Shop Solutions is sponsored by Engine Pro,a group of 9 engine parts specialist WDs in the U.S., and one in Australia, operating 35 branchlocations serving engine builders/rebuilders across the U.S and Australia. Authors of ShopSolutions published in each issue of Engine Builder Magazine are awarded a prepaid $100 Visa gift card. Entries will be chosen bythe staff of Engine Builder Magazine and the Engine Pro TechnicalCommittee.

To submit a Shop Solution simply mail your entryto Engine Builder Magazine, Shop Solutions, 3550 Embassy Parkway,Akron, OH 44333; or email to Shop [email protected] ShopSolutions may also be emailed to [email protected].

You must includeyour name, shop name, shop address and shop telephone number. SubmittedShop Solutions not published will be kept on file and reevaluated forpublication with each month’s new entries. If you include your emailaddress you will be emailed notification of publication if your ShopSolution is chosen.

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Shop Solutions – The Power of Knowledge
Engine Builder and Engine Pro present Shop Solutions in each issue of Engine Builder Magazine and at to provide machine shop owners and engine technicians the opportunity to share their knowledge to benefit the entire industry and their own shops. Those who submit Shop Solutions that are published are awarded a prepaid $100 Visa gift card. Engine Pro is a nationwide network of distributors that warehouse a full line of internal engine components for domestic and import passenger car, light truck, heavy duty, industrial, marine, agricultural and performance applications. They also produce engine parts under the Engine Pro name that offer premium features at an affordable price. Professional engine builders! Submit your Shop Solution at shop [email protected]. You must include your name, shop name, shop address and shop telephone number. Submitted Shop Solutions not published will be kept on file and reevaluated for each month's new entries.
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