Shop Solutions: July 2008 - Engine Builder Magazine

Shop Solutions: July 2008

Timing Chain Tensioner Installation Caution: 1996-’06 GM 2.4L

This tensioner consists of a housing and a piston. The piston has a secondary piston or plunger contained in it and must be in the compressed position for installation. When compressed, the plunger extends approximately .070? (or 1.7mm) beyond the piston cylinder. If this is not the case, turn the tensioner over with the plunger end facing down, and press it firmly on a hard surface until the plunger fully resets in the compressed position.

Next, insert the tapered end of the piston into the tensioner housing for installation. After the installation is complete and all components are in place, activate the tensioner by releasing the plunger.Using a flat blade screwdriver or cotter pin removal tool, press firmly against the face of the plunger. Depress the plunger beyond the flush surface of the piston cylinder until you hear it click and feel the plunger release.  The plunger should immediately apply pressure against the tensioner shoe and also against the timing chain.  

NOTE:  If plunger cannot be depressed, the plunger is not properly reset. Remove the plunger and refer to the first paragraph of instructions to fully reset plunger. Failure to follow installation instructions will likely result in engine damage.




Rear Main Bearing Oil Seal Installation Problem

The spring in an oil seal can easily be damaged if it is handled roughly during storage or assembly. Before assembling, visually examine the spring for kinks, squashing or other damage. The spring is necessary to maintain roundness of the sealing surface. Damage will cause an out-of-round condition and a leak path will be created.



Machining Procedure For Pushrod Guide Plates

When machining for guide plates on small block Chevys I use a 7/16? ball nose end mill to cut the pushrod guide holes.  It centers itself in the hole with just a twist and is better than breaking drill bits.  Don’t use the end mill in a hand drill, only in a fixed head machine like the VGS-20.

Arus Kinney  

Austin-Jordan Engines

Wyoming, MI

Main Cap Sealing

Today, some gasket companies do not include side sealing caps as used in Buick, Chrysler and Ford sets. Some suggest using RTV silicone to fill the void. My suggestion is to go “old school” to solve this issue. Get a new cotton mop head at your local hardware store. Cut off a few springs and coat them lightly with silicone. Using a drift, punch or any type of metal rod, tamp the cotton strings into the void. Be certain that you pack the void tightly, filling it to the top.


Darrin Anderson  

Braymer, MO

Tips For Projecting A Quality Machine Shop Image

ERC PosterA machine shop’s quality image attracts quality customers.  High-profit machine shop operators budget time and money projecting a professional image.  Image building includes things like facility and employee appearance, phone skills, good customer service procedures and associating the business with clubs and associations.  When a customer asks “Why should I buy from you?” the answer should include, “I’m a member of…”  

Successful machine shops are members of their local Chamber of Commerce and have the Engine Machinist certification from ASE, the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence, Car clubs and local chapters of ASA, the Automotive Service Association,, can put machine shop owners in touch with potential installer customers. Trade associations like AERA, (Engine Builders Association,, and ERC, (the Engine Repower Council,, are great ways to network with fellow shop owners.  

Most associations offer marketing assistance.  The ERC is offering machine shop owners a SHOP SOLUTION in the form of a free poster (see illustration above).  This poster tells customers that your shop “Repowers” engines and directs them to a Web site that explains the rebuilding process, including an excellent three minute video on why Repowering is such a great option.

Posters are available through ERC distributor members; go to and click on the “Industry Professional” tab for info.


Steve Rich  

Chairman, ERC

Kansas City, MO



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
awarded a $100 Visa Gift Card. Winners will be chosen by
the staff of Engine Builder Magazine and the Engine Pro Technical

To submit a Shop Solution simply mail your entry
to Engine Builder Magazine, Shop Solutions, 3550 Embassy Parkway,
Akron, OH 44333; or email to Shop [email protected] Shop
Solutions may also be
emailed to [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
publication with each month’s new entries. If you include your email
address you will be emailed notification of publication if your Shop
Solution is chosen.

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