Engine Builder Shop Solutions: July 2011 - Engine Builder Magazine

Engine Builder Shop Solutions: July 2011

Editor’s Note: Over the past few months we have published several views on engine pre-oiling. This month is no exception. Here is an idea on how to save money on a priming tank.

Low Cost Priming Tank

I prime the oil system in every engine I build. It’s cheap and easy insurance against a dry start. A 2.5-gallon paint pressure tank makes an excellent priming tank at a fraction of the cost of a purpose-built unit. As an added bonus, the entire top comes off so it is easy to clean out as needed. Now even the crank driven oil pump engines are easy to prime.

Brad Stephens

Seagrove Engine

Seagrove, NC



Valve Spring Testing

When you want an easy way to check the strength of valve springs to make sure they haven’t weakened over time, use this method to check old springs against new ones without using a spring tester.

Take a used spring and carefully place it head-to-head with a new spring in a vise with a thin piece of sheet metal (about 1/16? is good) between them. Then slowly close the vise while carefully watching and measuring the length of each spring. If the old spring compresses before the new one, it has lost some of its strength and should be replaced.

Jim Kovach

Kovach & Associates

Performance Engine Building

Parma, OH



Charging for Free Advice

Like many shops, we have had problems with giving free advice to people calling us asking for our help. Often times we have been on the phone for as long as an hour giving free advice that never resulted in a sale. Here is what we do now to avoid the problem: when a call for advice comes in, Denise says that we will be happy to help, but first she will need the caller’s credit card number.

When the caller asks why, she explains that our technician is on a job, but will be happy to stop his work and help the caller at our standard hourly rate with a minimum charge of $27.50. She then asks how many hours of help the caller would like. At that point the caller usually stammers and says something like “I’ll call you back.”

Denise always invites the caller in for an appointment to diagnose the vehicle’s problem, but typically the caller won’t come in.  All he wanted was free advice.

Denise and Gary Ledford

Ledfords Performance

Waco, TX



Engine Turning Tool From an Old Balancer

Here is how you can put a broken harmonic balancer with no ring to good use. Hone out the snout area so it will slide on and off the crankshaft easily.  Weld a length of pipe across the center of the balancer so the ends stick out, and you have a tool to turn the crankshaft.

Darren Karleskint

DK Motor Services

Girard, KS



Recycled Coolant Filter

Don’t throw away that old furnace filter just yet! It will double as a coolant filter if placed under the roll over fixture in your honing machine. Yes, the honing machine has a filter.  But using the furnace filter instead is a less expensive way to get a little more use out of your old furnace filter.

Anthony Milano

Paul Milano Service

Canton, OH



Whose Business is it Anyway?

As a driver for one of the top Engine Parts Distributors in Florida, I deliver to some of the best engine builders in the state. On my route I see that some shops prosper while others struggle. I think that one of the main reasons is that the prosperous shops advertise and the struggling ones don’t.  

I drive a rolling billboard van wrapped with company information that helps bring my company business. Some shops I visit along my route are lacking even a sign on the front of their shop stating the name of their business and what they do, and yet they complain that business is slow. I’ve attended several races around the state this year handing out marketing material and talking to people.

This has resulted in getting a few new customers. A little advertising goes a long way. Get out there and put up a sign or hand out cards at a local car show or race. These are simple things that will pay off.

Brenda Crumb

Engine Rebuilders Warehouse

Dania Beach, FL



Manufacturer Shop Solution:?Idle Up!

Cam bearing damage can occur for many reasons, but in high performance engines a major cause is low idle speed.  Customers may prefer the sound of a “lumpy idle,” but adequate camshaft rpm is essential for full film lubrication.

Keep in mind that the camshaft runs at 1/2 the speed of the crankshaft. A low idle with high loads and reduced oil viscosity can produce boundary lubrication, where metal-to-metal contact exists.  This high friction causes heat and wear that will damage the bearing and cam. One remedy is coated cam bearings, which are designed to avoid metal-to-metal contact in high performance applications.

Here is an equation that can be used to compare levels of friction in various situations: BP=ZN/p. In this equation, “BP” stands for Bearing Parameter. “Z” stands for oil viscosity, “N” stands for speed in rpms and “p” stands for the projected area.  

Remember: Idle Up!

Chuck Barnett

Dura-Bond Bearing Co.

Carson City, NV


Engine Builder Shop Solutions is sponsored by Engine Pro,
a consortium of 9 engine parts specialist WDs operating 30 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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