Engine Builder Shop Solutions: May 2013 - Engine Builder Magazine

Engine Builder Shop Solutions: May 2013

Using Multi-Layer Steel (MLS) Head Gaskets

As the name implies, MLS gaskets are constructed from 2 to 5 layers
(depending upon the application) of heat treated stainless steel. Each
layer is separated by a thin layer of a nitrile rubber coating. They
have also been embossed in key areas to aid the sealing process, and to
maintain proper sealing forces between the cylinder head and block.

The correct surface requirements on both the head and block are very
important for maintaining a proper seal when using an MLS gasket. Most
manufacturers call for a surface finish of 40 Ra or less. Check with the
gasket manufacturer for the proper spec.

If you are switching from a traditional composite head gasket to an MLS
head gasket, both the block and the head will probably need to be
resurfaced to achieve the finish required. Some older resurfacing
machines can’t achieve this level of finish.

Caution: Do not spray or apply any coating to MLS head gaskets that have
a coating from the manufacturer. The surfaces of these gaskets that
contact the cylinder head and the block are coated with a special
nitrile material designed to seal not only compression from the
cylinders, but also the water ports. Any added coatings can cause the
gasket to move around more than designed, causing leaks.

Scott York

Advantage Engine Parts

Lynn, IN


TLC for Threaded Fasteners

To obtain the correct torque on a fastener, it is important that your
threads are clean. You can achieve clean threads simply with a few easy

For threaded fasteners, remove grease or other surface contaminants by
wiping with a clean rag or soaking in a chemical degreaser. After this
initial cleaning, a wire brush can be used to further clean the threads
and remove any remaining debris including rust, dirt or other stubborn
contaminants. Using a vise to hold the bolt will make this easier. But a
wire wheel is a much faster method, and gives superior results.

For cleaning internal threads, like threaded holes or nuts, thread
cleaning chasers should be used. Thread chasers can be purchased
individually or as a set. In a pinch, a bolt having the correct size and
thread can be made into a thread chaser by grinding away a section of
the bolt lengthwise. This gives the debris a place to go.

A nut can be used in the same way to clean up bolts or studs. Thread
cleaning chasers are available for cleaning blind or through holes. A
set of chasers is an important addition to your tool box and essential
in properly preparing an engine for final assembly.

Lamar Whitman

Engine Pro Technical Department

Wheat Ridge, CO


Customer Shop Tours Can Increase Business

Among the sales and marketing strategies used to promote business,
customer tours were by far the most frequently cited tool among the top
shops in a 2012 Top Shops Benchmarking Survey. Nearly three-quarters of
those upper-echelon shops recognize the value of opening their doors to
customers, even though it is impossible to track how much new work can
be directly attributed to these promotions.

Shop tours offer the opportunity to personally introduce your equipment,
processes and people in a way that isn’t possible through a brochure,
website or even a video. Tours demonstrate not only your pride in your
operation, but also your comfort level in showcasing it. In turn, your
customers come away with the comforting feeling that their jobs will be
processed with the same degree of care and concern they would exercise
if they had worked on it themselves.

Tours also enable you to demonstrate the control you have over your
processes and the thought you put into how work flows through your
shop. Better yet, it enables customers to get a feel for your operation
by observing your employees. While walking your shop floor, customers
are able to sense how your employees perceive your company by how they
conduct themselves and interact with each other. These are the types of
subtle attributes that make it attractive for them to do business with
your shop. Also, shop tours promote networking among racers and car
enthusiasts, which is one of the best ways to promote new business.

If you don’t offer customer tours, think about why you don’t.
Identifying the reasons might highlight areas of potential improvement
and increased business.

Jim Kovach

Kovach & Associates

Performance Engine Building

Parma, OH



Organizing Your Parts for Restoration Projects

A piece of cardboard and a felt pen can help you keep the parts you take off an old engine properly organized.

Being organized is a big part of restoring cars and engines. When you’re
taking parts off a car one year and putting them back on two or three
years later, you need a good way to keep track of them.

Over the years, I have tried taping parts, labeling them with string
tags or putting them in plastic bags. Magic marker notes wear off tape.
String tags seem to attract grease that makes them unreadable. Plastic
bags full of parts are almost as easy to lose or lose track of as parts
themselves, and they can get very greasy and the bags are relatively

I have found the best way to store parts is on old pieces of
cardboard. To attach nuts and bolts to cardboard, simply poke holes in
it, put the bolt through and tighten the nut on the other side. Certain
parts can be attached to the cardboard with electrical ties. The very
cheapest electrical ties will suffice. If you are storing nuts that came
off studs, rather than nuts and bolts combined, you can use electrical
ties to hold the nuts to the cardboard. You can even use different
colored electrical ties to indicate where the nuts came from.

If you’re keeping track of head bolts, cut the cardboard in the shape of
the head and put the bolts in proper sequence. Label each position with
a magic-marker. For some reason, the ink stays on cardboard much longer
than on tape and string tags. A nice thing about storing fasteners and
parts on cardboard, is that when it comes time to use a wire wheel to
clean them, and some treatment to keep them from rusting again, you can
take them off the cardboard, restore them, and put them back on the
cardboard again.

This is a very easy system to use and I think you’ll find it works
great.  So, start saving those nice pieces of cardboard you get in your
parts shipments. You’ll need a lot of cardboard in all shapes and sizes.

John Gunnell

Gunner’s Great Garage/Restoration Shop

Manawa, WI


Engine Builder Shop Solutions is sponsored by Engine Pro,
a group of 9 engine parts specialist WDs in the U.S., and one in Australia, operating 35 branch
locations serving engine builders/rebuilders across the U.S and Australia.
Authors of Shop
Solutions published in each issue of Engine Builder Magazine are awarded a prepaid $100 Visa gift card. Entries 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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