Engine Builder Shop Solutions: November 2011 - Engine Builder Magazine

Engine Builder Shop Solutions: November 2011

Removing Mushroomed Lifters in Vehicle

A good way to remove mushroomed lifters while the engine is still in the vehicle is to use the box that the new cam came in.  You will need to pull the mushroomed lifter as high as it will go in the bore and hold it there with a small “C” clamp or vise grips. Next remove the old cam. Cut the cam box in half to form a “V.”  You’re basically making a trough for the lifter to drop into. Sometimes I tape a magnet to the box to hold it against the block for extra security.  

Next, insert the “V” box into the cam bore and push it all the way to the back of the block. You may have to trim the box and make a few test runs. It gets a little tricky here. You may have to turn the crank by hand if one of the rod throws blocks the box. Now slowly pull the box out.  Don’t pull too fast or you will do a number like the magician pulling off the tablecloth and all the items staying on the table.

I have seen techs “bull” their way through and pull the lifter out using a puller. This is not recommended because it puts metal in the engine and can also score the lifter bore. If you want to get real fancy, instead of using a box, make your tool out of a piece of pipe and leave more of radius to capture the lifter better.

Jeff “Beezer” Beseth

BeezerBuilt Inc

Newtown Square, PA

Vise Grip Valve Seal Removal Technique

When using vise grips to remove valve seals, remove the adjusting screw at the end of the pliers and replace it with a bolt and nut. Adjust vise grips to desired tension and snug up the nut.  Now there is no need to adjust tension each time you remove a valve seal.

Arus Kenney

Austin Jordan Engines

Wyoming, MT

Bottom Cylinder Chamfering

Everyone knows to put a small chamfer on the deck of the block to ease the installation of the piston into the cylinder. Did you ever think about relieving that sharp edge that is left at the bottom of the cylinder after boring and honing the cylinder oversize? 

This sharp edge can actually scrape the oil off the piston skirts and cause premature piston failure.  A simple fix to this problem is to take an old honing stone and deburr the bottom edge of the cylinder before removing the block from the honing machine and before final washing.

Larry “Lapper” Downey

Mardinly Enterprise

Broomall, PA

Extracting Broken Exhaust Bolts on 3.1L, 3.4L GM Heads

Exhaust manifold bolts in the 3.1L and 3.4L GM V6 cylinder heads are broken off flush or below the surface of the head in almost every cylinder head we see.  It used to take me several minutes to remove each bolt as I drilled completely through the bolt and then used an extractor that was hammered into the center hole. Now I extract the bolts in seconds. Using a 1/8? drill bit, I drill a maximum depth of 1/4? and then take a #3 extractor as shown in the picture, tap it in with a hammer, then using a tap handle, I simply wind it out.

Jeffrey Myers

MAR Automotive Inc

Philadelphia, PA

Free Promotions

Many don’t realize that there are lots of ways to promote your business that cost little or no money. Giveaways are an inexpensive way to promote customer loyalty while promoting your business.

Customized Post-It notes, refrigerator magnets and can wraps are inexpensive ways to keep your company name in front of your customers. Give out a few ball caps, t-shirts and jackets and you have created walking billboards for your company. With a little effort and some creative pricing, this type of advertising can be totally free.

One way to build funds for marketing is to slightly increase the price of your parts and services. The increase can be so subtle that your customers won’t notice. Increasing the price of a valve job by $3 won’t drive customers away but it will pay for a nice pair of can wraps with your company name on them.

Another strategy to offset advertising costs is to seek help from your suppliers.  You’ll be surprised at how many of your business partners may have merchandise or funds available for customer promotions.

Steve Rich

Sterling Bearing Inc.

Kansas City, MO

Manufacturer Shop Solution: Proper Thrust Bearing Assembly Procedures

When assembling thrust bearings:

1) Tighten main cap bolts to approximately 10- to 15-ft.lbs. to seat bearings, then loosen.

2) Tap main cap toward rear of engine with a soft-faced hammer.

3) Tighten main cap bolts, finger tight.

4) Using a bar, force the crankshaft as far forward in the block as possible to align bearing rear thrust faces.

5) While holding shaft in forward position, tighten main cap bolts to 10 to 15 ft. lbs.

6) Complete tightening main cap bolts to specifications in 2 or 3 equal steps.

Mahle Clevite Inc.

Technical Department

Ann Arbor, MI


Engine Builder Shop Solutions is sponsored by Engine Pro,
a group 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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