Engine Builder Shop Solutions: November 2008 - Engine Builder Magazine

Engine Builder Shop Solutions: November 2008

Ford Reverse Rotation Rear Main Seal Replacement

Ford small block 302 V8 engines have long been used in marine applications in both standard and reverse rotation crankshaft configurations. Many vendors list seals for the reverse rotation two-piece seal, but some reverse rotation engines use a one-piece seal. I don’t know of any aftermarket listings for a replacement one-piece seal for this application. It is important NOT to assume that a standard one-piece seal will work in these applications. There will be a leak if a standard directional rear seal is used with a reverse rotation crankshaft.

Here is a solution to the problem. According to one gasket manufacturer’s engineering department, a rear seal made of “PTBE” rubber will work in these applications, because these seals are not direction specific. Sealing is maintained by the sealing material, not the directional flutes like those molded into a standard rubber seal.


Dave Sutton

Sterling Engine Parts

Minneapolis, MN


Valve Cleaning Tip

I used to come to the shop and hang around with my husband at night when he was assembling and inst-alling engines. He would let me help with cleaning, which leads to my tip. When he tore down cylinder heads he would let me clean the valves.To prevent damage to the valve stems he would put a fuel hose over the stem and let me use the glass bead machine. The fuel hose kept the glass bead from damaging the stems. This also works when cleaning valves in a shaker, by keeping the stems from nicking when they bang together.


Nikki Marlar

Sterling Engine Parts

Minneapolis, MN


Top 10 Machine Shop Business Tips

Engine Pro recently held a series of 8 focus-group meetings in the Midwest. Each meeting consisted of 8 to 10 machine shop owners and a moderator. Three questions were asked during the meeting.  What’s working? What’s not working? What do you need most to help you “make it” for the next 10 years? After talking with 70+ machine shop owners, the Shop Solutions Top 10 owner tips was created. Here is Tip #4.


Tip #4 – Package Your Work

Do you ever get a phone call from a mechanic shopping your service? A caller might ask you how much to bore a V8? If you’re like many shop owners you tell him $20 bucks a hole. The customer says thanks and you go back to machining some iron. But, if you’re like a shop owner in South Dakota, you tell him “$25 bucks a hole if that’s all you want! AND it’s $150 to boil and jet wash the block and to install the cam bearings and freeze plugs; $35 to check the align bore; $35 to check the deck and $65 to magnaflux your block.” He continues, “That’s $485 worth of service required to do the the job correctly” – he then offers to discount the individual services if the customer is willing to have the job done “right.”

This Dakota shop owner explains that small partial jobs are very expensive and require a greater gross margin to cover single operation set-ups and increased warranty exposure. He has increased his bottom line by offering a labor package that includes all the necessary machine work and the related parts. He says that selling the “package” takes a few extra minutes because you have to educate the customer about the rebuilding process, but it’s usually time well spent. He claims that most customers are grateful for the knowledge and a high percentage come to him for the job.

This package philosophy has also reduced customers carrying in their own parts. He uses this philosophy when quoting most machine services. The most popular package that has impacted his profits more than any other is the valve job package. When quoting a valve job he always packages the head gasket set in the quote and tells the customer that the gaskets will only be warranted if purchased with the head.


Steve Rich

Sterling Bearing Warehouse

Kansas City, MO



Valve Face Marking

I use a large flat-tipped black marking pen to see where the valve seat is contacting the valve face. Just cover the valve face with ink and turn the valve on the seat. This is faster and easier than using messy bluing fluid or layout dye.


Arus Kinney

Austin-Jordan Engines

Wyoming, MI


Do You Work Hunched Over or Standing Up Straight?

Every shop I call on seems to have equipment sitting low to the floor.  Having worked for many years in a shop myself, I’ve found that raising the cylinder hone onto a base six concrete blocks high makes the job much more comfortable. An added plus is that your engine hoist will be able to roll under the hone.  Spend a few minutes this weekend building a base instead of spending a career hunched over machinery.


Mike Simon

Engine Parts Group

Chicago, IL


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.
Win $1000 for the best Shop Solution of 2008 and $500 for runner up! Shop
Solutions published in each issue of Engine Builder Magazine are
awarded a $100 Engine Pro certificate for parts purchases at any of
Engine Pro’s branch locations across the U.S. 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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