Engine Builder Shop Solutions: January 2010 - Engine Builder Magazine

Engine Builder Shop Solutions: January 2010

Dealing With Bad Employees

One of the fastest ways to lose control of your business is to let a bad employee take control of your shop and ruin the overall moral.

Pay attention to your people and understand that when things change in their lives it can affect the attitude they have at work. If an employee is having trouble in their lives away from or at work it’s time for you to try and understand what is bothering them. Above all, don’t be afraid to lose an employee if he or she is causing havoc. It’s better to run short handed than to run your business with an employee that’s not on your side for whatever reason.

It is also imperative that you learn and understand your local employment labor laws pertaining to your business. A disgruntled employee can ruin a smooth running business in a short period of time if let go to run its course. When you know the local labor laws you can better protect yourself.

There is a shortage of good technicians all across the country today. In many cases, quality techs may not even be available in some areas. As a shop owner, you know how valuable your employees are to the business. A good idea is to go to the local automotive colleges in your area and recruit the students in the top 5 percent of their class. You may even have to find young people that show interest in the industry locally and send them to school and train them yourself. That way you mold the employee the way you need them!

Bill Crum

Engine Pro Technical Committee   



That Crank Rings A Bell

There is an easy and quick way to tell if a crankshaft is made of steel or cast. Using a small ball-peen hammer strike the crank lightly (as if you were striking a triangle instrument) on a counterweight section of the crankshaft. If there is a dull ring, the crankshaft is cast iron. If there is a long sharp ring, the crankshaft is steel.

Gary Askins

NAPA of Saratoga

Saratoga Springs, NY




How Long Has It Been, Really?

Ok, just how long has it been since you’ve been in a classroom or attended a seminar to learn about new technology and procedures in the industry?

Technology has changed rapidly in the past few years, so if you haven’t been keeping up you’re falling behind.  Research schools and seminars in your area to keep up in the industry. If you have any questions about where to find training, a good source to contact is your parts suppliers. They often have information on classes in your area.

An educated man is a successful man!

Bill Crum

Engine Pro Technical Committee



GM Duramax Diesel Piston Strength

The GM Duramax diesel has been around since 2001. Many have logged over 400,000 miles and are starting to be seen in machine shops for rebuild. They are also used quite successfully in truck pulling competition. It should be noted that the original pistons from 2001 to 2005 are quite strong from the OE. But from 2006 on, the piston pin bore is bushed and this has weakened the factory part.

Both engines can suffer from broken cam locating dowel pins, which tends to happen when someone uses ether to aid startup. If the motor kicks back, the dowel pin will break. Some high performance builders have been milling a slot into the camshaft and replacing the pin with a stronger woodruff key. This should prevent any further breakage.

Dave Sutton

Sterling Engine Parts

Minneapolis, MN



Variable Valve Timing Service

A number of today’s modern engines use a system called Variable Valve Timing, (VVT). Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen are just to name a few. These companies use similar systems that incorporate engine rpm and oil pressure to change valve timing.

High mileage engines should have the timing gear and or oil pressure solenoid valve cleaned periodically to keep the system functioning properly. Special tools are needed to disassemble the cam gear. If you are rebuilding one of these engines make sure you disassemble and clean these pieces before reassembly.

If the engine failed because of bearing failure and there is a lot of metal throughout the engine you need to  make sure you clean these pieces before reassembly or the trapped particles could damage your new engine!

Roger Borer

Sales Manager

Engine & Performance Warehouse



Hex Drive for Small Spaces     

In order to be able to use a tap in tight spaces with a socket or wrench, I drive a hex nut on top of the tap. This works great in tight spaces.

Raymond Hogg

American Muffler


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
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address you will be emailed notification of publication if your Shop
Solution is chosen.


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When the timing cover or block has no dowel pins, or the dowel holes do not fit snug on the pins. Take an old damper and hone the center so that it is now a slip fit onto the crank snout. Use it to hold the cover in place while tightening the bolts.


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