Shop Solutions: April 2008 - Engine Builder Magazine

Shop Solutions: April 2008

Charging For Expert Advice

Bench racers wasting your time? Our shop labor rate is $80 per hour. I sell my advice for 1/2 price!  When a guy wants me to engineer a motor by selecting parts combinations and machining specs to achieve a specific level of performance, I charge him for my time. 

I explain to him that my 20+ years of experience and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machine equipment makes me an expert and that he should consider my recommendations as being a consultation, just like he’d get at the doctors office. (Sorry, I don’t take Medicare.) I have a desk set up in my lobby that is stocked with catalogs, a computer terminal and a time clock. When  we sit down I punch the clock.    

While I’m working with the customer I give him my full attention. I don’t answer phones or talk with employees or other customers. I’ll write down part recommendations and offer machining combinations complete with machine labor estimates.  

When we’re done I punch the clock again and present him a bill payable on the spot.  You might think this process would turn folks away but I can tell you from experience that my bottom line is stronger since I started this process and I’ve got plenty of work.

Peter Ireland

Engine Pro Marketing Specialist



Flat Tappet Lubrication Concerns  

Almost all of today’s motor oils available off the shelf no longer have the extreme pressure lubricants that are vital to avoid cam lobe and lifter scuffing during the break-in of rebuilt flat tappet engines. Two additives that address this problem are Comp Cam Engine Break-In Oil Additive p/n 159 and Crane Cams Super Lube p/n 99003-1.  These products provide low price insurance to avoid premature camshaft and lifter failure.

(Editor’s note: other manufacturers offer zinc additives and break-in oils; see our Buyers Guide.)

Engine Pro Technical Committee



A Better Way to Install Harmonic Balancers

I coat the threads of harmonic balancer installation/removal tools with a moly lube. It requires much less effort to use the tool, and makes the threads last longer. Moly lube also works well on power steering pump tools.

Arus Kinney

Austin-Jordan Engines

Wyoming, MI






Oldsmobile 455 cid Rod Bearing Failure

I work for an engine parts warehouse and every winter and spring I sell master kits to machine shops rebuilding Olds 455 engines used in jet boats. A major reason for the rebuild is that the rod bearings have spun and wiped out the crankshaft.  

A cure for this problem is to use oil restrictors that keep too much oil from going to the top of the engine and drying out the bottom end. A source for these restrictors is Mondello Performance.

Bruce Olson

Engine & Performance Warehouse

Oakland, CA



Tapping Large Holes

When tapping a hole with a tap too large to hold in your chuck or collet, such as a 3/4? or 1?,  you can ensure that the tap starts and stays straight by keeping the tip of a center engaged in the 60 degree center of the tap.  After wrenching it a turn or two, stop and re-check for straightness by re-engaging the center in the tap.


Kurt Hinkle

Enginetech Machine

Santa Maria, CA




Removing Crankshaft Pilot Bearings

When removing crankshaft pilot bearings I have found the easiest way is to use toilet paper! Soak the paper in water and stuff it into the hole, and then drive it in with a bolt or other tight fitting tool. Keep cramming in more wet toilet paper until the bearing pops out.  

In my experience, this method is much quicker than using bearing removal tools and is way cleaner than using grease.


Arus Kinney

Austin-Jordan Engines

Wyoming, MI 





Engine Builder Shop Solutions is sponsored by Engine Pro,
a consortium of 14 engine parts specialist WDs operating 33 branch
locations serving engine builders/rebuilders across the U.S.
Solutions published in each issue of Engine Builder Magazine are
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the staff of Engine Builder Magazine and the Engine Pro Technical

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