Engine Builder Shop Solutions: November 2010 - Engine Builder Magazine

Engine Builder Shop Solutions: November 2010

Cleaning Up Cam Bearings After Installation

Once in a while you may get an engine block that has an imperfect or misaligned cam bore. Rather than taking the time to scrape the newly installed cam bearings to fit by hand I took old cam cores and made cutter cams. Verifying the cores are straight, I milled slots across the journal at an angle (deeper on one side) forming a cutting edge. You can then install the cam core and rotate it scraping away any tight spots and minor misalignments. It works great for me.

Vince Calabrese

Pittsburgh Crankshaft

Pittsburgh, PA


Bringing ‘Lean’ To The Small Shop

Lean applies to every function within a business whether large or small. Your customers don’t care if your success/failure comes from you practicing or not practicing lean in your shop – however, you will see the benefits in more business and greater profits.

The fundamentals of lean are:

Plan, Do,Check and Act.

• Step one should be selling the idea of lean to your employees – but with actions not words. You must demonstrate to your employees that lean is worth the effort by teaching the fundamentals.

• Allow employees to test out new ideas and techniques. They can establish a common means by which to experiment, and ultimately to share best practices/procedures.

• Take waste out of processes that are unnecessary. Anything that frees up time and/or reduces unnecessary inventory and spending will be immediately recognized.

• Establish agreement with the customer on both what needs to be done and how to accomplish it.

• When communicating and negotiating with a customer, most shop owners/sales professionals focus on getting agreement on the what – product, service, price, timing is involved. The how is left to the existing process. But many complaints, gaps and disagreements come from lack of agreement on how methods, communications, and decision making processes are accomplished. Learning to establish the critical how’s early can lead to better long term customer satisfaction.

• There are many good books and articles on Lean that can be seen or purchased on the internet – one is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean: Lessons from the Road.

Jim Kovach

Kovach & Assoc. PerformanceEngine Building

Parma, OH


Stubborn Dowel Pins

Some solid dowel pins in cylinder heads, blocks or flywheels, especially those that have been removed before, can be difficult to get a dowel pin puller jaws to grab a hold of. I use valve lapping compound in the jaws. This acts like “teeth” for the jaw surface and can give you that additional grip you need to remove the stubborn ones.

David Hunter

Metro Engine Serv.

New Brighton, MN


Removing Stubborn Pressed-In Rocker Studs

This is how we remove a pressed-in rocker stud that refuses to pull out, especially those that have been through a bake oven. If the stud has broken at the threads, thread the stud and then use a poly-lock as a drill guide bushing. After drilling all the way through the stud the wall of the stud should have collapsed enough to tap and then continue with a puller or continue drilling out larger to either peel the remaining part of the stud out or just drill it out.

Dan Daley

Cope Bros. Automotive Machine

Tacoma, WA


Cleaning Damaged Threads and Splines

When trying to use a thread repair file it takes forever to clean up damaged threads. If you first apply valve grinding compound to the threads, then use the thread file it can be done in a fraction of the time. This same practice can be used for buggered up splines. Take a three sided file and cut the end off (where there are no teeth), apply valve grinding compound to the splines to be repaired. Now the file will do the job with ease in no time.

Jim Kovach

Kovach & Assoc. Performance Engine Building

Parma OH


Keep Your Serdi/Newen Style Cutters Cool

Would you like to get more life out of your Serdi/Newen style cutters on hard or Abrasive valve seats? Spray them with alcohol. I have some old methanol from our old funny car, I put it a spray bottle and squirt my cutters. I have found some finish improvement and longer life from the cutters. It works especially well on large radius bits or bowl hogs.

Jeff “Beezer” Beseth

Beezer Built Inc.

Newtown Square, PA


Inventory Etiquette: Pretend It’s YOUR?Part

Today’s totally tired subject matter has to do with what I call inventory etiquette. My definition of inventory etiquette is to treat any parts you handle as though they came from your own shelf and not the shelf at the local parts house. Basically, when you’re ready to pick up that $200 head set with two inches of grease on your hands and then pry it open with a pitch-fork, pretend it’s yours and that there is nowhere you can return it. The bottom line is to make sure the parts are correct, then, by all means, torture them any way you like. I know this advice is elementary, but, tell that to the guy who just walked out of your shop with the sad face and the gouged open, wrong, $200 headset in his hands.

Ray Goebel

Engine Rebuilders Warehouse

Dania Beach, FL


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.


You May Also Like

Shop Solutions July 2023

Engine and machine shop tips and tricks.


To precisely shorten bolts in the lathe, I made slotted collets for each bolt diameter. They are fractional in length to measure off the end, so you know where to cut for your length. I’ve used large O.D. valve guides and aluminum round stock. Just make the collet big enough to clear the bolt flange, hex or socket head.

Shop Solutions June 2023

Engine and machine shop tips and tricks.

May Shop Solutions 2023

Engine and machine shop tips and tricks.

April Shop Solutions 2023

Engine and machine shop tips and tricks.

Shop Solutions March 2023

If I’m not using torque plates, I tape up both sides and trim out the bores. I use painter’s tape, which comes off easily and doesn’t leave any glue residue. I get much less oil in the spray washer this way.

Other Posts

Shop Solutions February 2023

Check out February’s shop tips and tricks.

Shop Solutions January 2023

Next time you have set of large journal small block Chevy connecting rods to resize, consider honing the big ends of them for a +.002” outside diameter bearing that the LS engines with fracture cap rods use.

Shop Solutions December 2022

Everyone misses occasionally, and this helps avoid dents and damage.

November 2022 Shop Solutions

November tricks and tips for the shop!