Engine Builder Shop Solutions: September 2010 - Engine Builder Magazine
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Engine Builder Shop Solutions: September 2010


Mounting 2.3L Ford Heads on Serdi-Style Machines

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Many Serdi-style seat and valve guide machines mount off of the valve cover side of the head. Some heads, such as the one on the Ford 2.3L OHC engine, do not have a valve cover rail on one of its sides. This makes it difficult to mount the head on the machine.

I have a simple fix that I have been using for over 20 years. First get a piece of steel 6?x 4? and about one inch thick. Then find a piece of thin cardboard or paper to make a template off the side of the head with no rail. Place the cardboard on the side of the head and tap it with a ball peen hammer to “engrave” the cardboard. Make sure you get the bolt holes transferred to the cardboard. Transfer the template to the piece of steel you found earlier and drill the holes. Bolt the plate to the head and you’re ready to go. Some of the later heads do not have as many bolt holes as the earlier heads so you have to make multiple holes in your plate. I have used “Can’t Twist Kwik Clamps” for the plate on exotic heads.


Jeff “Beezer” Beseth

Beezer Built Inc.

Newtown Square, PA


Cutter Grinding

How many hours are consumed setting cutter heights on a (WVN 570) rotary broach only to end up with just one or two cutters providing the final finish? Here is a method that will place all the cutters on exactly the same cutting plane the first time and will produce a finish like you have never been able to obtain before.


First, disconnect the power from the machine and properly lock the equipment out so there is no possibility of it being started during this process. If you currently grind your own cutters or send them to an outside service, grind the bits to a point, following the original angle, without the second angle flat at the tip. Install the cutters in the head using your standard method of setting heights. Do not spend a great deal of time on this step, less than a minute on each and get them within .005? or so, then verify that they are properly tightened in place.


Next, set up a small grinder, with a diamond wheel, to one of the cylinder block bolster plates that is locked in position at about the midpoint on the machine rails. I use my tool post grinder from the lathe that I mount directly to a stud that is threaded into one of the 3/8-16 tapped holes in the bolster plate face. You could also use a die grinder or any other type of power unit that turns the proper speed and can be mounted rigid enough to hold a fixed position. Whatever you use will have to be able to be adjusted to grind the cutter perfectly flat on the top surface with a 3-degree clearance to the back. The tool post grinder makes it very easy to set the proper angles.


The last set up requirement is to rig up a simple indexing pointer to reference off of the cutter either before or after the one you are going to grind. Position this pointer so it locates the cutter being ground on the same centerline as the machine spindle. Since the cutter heads on these machines are canted back a few degrees, locating on the centerline of the machine spindle will place the cutter in the highest position. Back the height adjusting dial down a few turns and bring the cutter head assembly up to remove any backlash. Position the first cutter to be ground under the wheel and raise the head until it begins to cut. Now, grind each cutter by traversing the cutter head under the grinding wheel with the hand wheel, removing a few thousandths at a time until you have produced about a .050? wide flat. This can be done in a single pass if your grinder set up is stout enough. Rough grind all 10 cutters to the same height, the flat widths may vary slightly depending on how accurately the holes were machined in the cutter head and how close the angles were maintained on the initial cutter grind.


Clean your grinding wheel face and then raise the head a thou or two and make your finish pass on all 10 cutters without adjusting the height. The first time you use this method to grind the cutters it may take a few hours to round everything up and make your grinder mount.  The second time should take less than half of the first time if you document your set up and keep all of the necessary components together. The results should be very pleasing and your machine will prove a superior finish.

Dan Hoefler

Custom Precision Services

Kaukauna, WI


Installing Valve Keepers on VW/Audi/Porsche Cylinder Heads

The common 20-valve 1.8L turbo VW/Audi cylinder heads are very challenging when it comes to installing the valve keepers due to the small size. (Some Porsche heads are the same) Compressing the spring and gaining easy access to install the keepers is virtually impossible using a standard spring compressor. The solution I came up with is to mount the cylinder head on my Serdi 100 machine, then with a modified (partially cutout) wrist pin in the Serdi I can compress the spring and obtain good access to install the keepers. I use a small screwdriver with a 30 degree bend an inch from the tip, with a small blob of wheel bearing grease on the tip to pick up the keeper and insert into place through the wrist pin. Installing the keepers this way takes only a matter of seconds for each valve.


Rod Nelson

Rod’s Automotive Machine Shop

Colorado Springs, CO


Temporary Hone

I have used this in a pinch when it was necessary to hone out a few tenths in soft brass or cast iron that I didn’t have a hone to fit. Take a piece of 1/4? round stock about 4? long and cut a slot down the center of one end with a hacksaw about 3/4? deep. Cut two pieces of emery cloth also 3/4? wide by 2-3? long (enough to almost fill the hole to be honed). Place the emery strips into the slot (cutting side out) and mount into a die grinder. Use with a little light weight penetrating oil or similar oil to prevent the emery cloth from loading up and slowly move back and forth inside of the bushing. It takes longer than honing stones, but it does work. Note: I have used this method to finish hone brass connecting rod bushings after they have been pressed in.


Jim Kovach, Kovach & Assoc.

Performance Engine Building

Parma, OH


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