Engine Builder Shop Solutions: July 2013 - Engine Builder Magazine

Engine Builder Shop Solutions: July 2013

How to See Through Pistons for Clearance

With the advent of longer stroke crankshafts, one inch plus lift camshafts, raised camshaft locations, lifter angles, bore spacing, etc., exact camshaft lobe and connecting rod clearance may not be able to be determined from looking up from the crankcase area of the block.

To see through the pistons we save spent pistons, mark the pin location and bore, and then machine the heads off or machine openings so we can observe clearances from above. We can also send a mirror down the chamber. In addition, this is a great vantage point for observing connecting rod/wall thickness.

Archie Frangoudis

Archie’s Racing Service

Merrimack & Nashua, NH


Small Parts Storage Idea

I use tea bag holders to organize small parts for cleaning. Retainers, keepers and other small parts fit into these containers that are available at the local hardware store. They have a screw top so everything is kept together, so no more lost parts!

Dave Burn

Area Auto Parts & Machine

Denver, CO

Using a Welder to Remove Broken Bolts

As we all know, extracting a broken bolt can be very frustrating and time consuming. Here is a tip to help make your life a little easier. First, find the correct size flat washer and nut for the broken bolt.  For instance, a broken 3/8? bolt will require a 3/8? flat washer and nut.

Start by welding the flat washer to the end of the broken bolt and then weld the nut to the flat washer. Welding the washer to the end of the bolt first makes it easier to get a good weld between the nut and the broken bolt. A TIG welder works very well for this but a MIG welder can also be used.

After the washer and nut is welded on, it can be heated with a torch to help make it easier to remove the bolt. The nut that has been welded on can now be turned and the broken fastener should come with it.

Ben Hoitink

Hughes Engines, Inc.

Washington, IL

How to Improve Your Company Image

Want to improve your company image? Before you answer your phone or a customer gets to your counter, do this – smile.  

According to an APS Journal of Psychological Science study, there is physiological response to smiling that reduces the intensity of the body’s stress response, regardless of whether a person actually feels happy. And being in a positive frame of mind will help you sell more parts and labor!

Steve Rich

Sterling Bearing, Inc.

Kansas City, MO

Aluminum or Tri-Metal,  Which Bearings to Use?

When you bring up the question of whether to use aluminum (bi-metal) or tri-metal bearings to several machinists, you are likely to get more than one answer. The chart below from MAHLE Clevite supplies facts to help you make the right decision.

Engine Pro

Technical Dept.

(Thanks to MAHLE Clevite, Inc. Farmington Hills, MI)





Manufacturers Shop Solution: Why Replace Oil Pump Screens?

An oil pump pickup screen smooths the flow of oil into the pump and usually keeps out debris that can lock up the pump. The pickup screen is the only part in an engine that assists the pump in its function. All other engine parts depend on the oil pump to assist them.

If a screen could be taken apart, it would be easy to clean. Unfortunately, it can’t. Therefore, it is impossible to clean it completely. Any debris left inside has the potential of locking up the pump.

Close examination of a used screen assembly after attempts to clean it may reveal a dark brown stain, which is usually a varnish type coating. The most common screen mesh has .040? square openings between the wires. Oil flow is directly proportional to the area of the hole. If the varnish coating is .0051? thick, the square hole is reduced to .0301? on each side. This is a 25% reduction on a side, and a 44% reduction in the total opening area and flow. Here is the math: (.040?)2 – (.030?)2 / (.040?) = 43.75%.

The second statement references “usually keeps out debris.” There are two styles of screens that allow debris to enter an oil pump. The first has a valve in the center that opens if the oil is too thick or if the screen is restricted. The second type has eight gaps approximately 3/16? x 1/2? which allow oil to flow if the mesh will not.

Oil screens should always be replaced. There is not a more economical way to reduce oil pump and engine failure from ingested foreign material.

Technical Department

Melling Engine Parts

Jackson, MI

Factoid of the Month

The iconic Ford blue logo was signed by Henry Ford. Right? Wrong! The Ford blue logo was designed and signed by Childe Harold Wills, best known as the father of the Wills Sainte Claire automobile. Mr. Wills was also a metallurgist and calligrapher. He designed and signed the Ford blue logo while working for Henry Ford before launching his own automobile.

By the way, a foremost collector of Wills Saint Claire automobiles is Tom Lieb, owner of Scat Enterprises. Tom owns four Pebble Beach Concours class winning Wills Saint Claires, and many spare parts.

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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Shop Solutions – January 2024

Before installing cam bearings, make sure to chamfer any oil holes and clean up back grooves of any sharp edges.

Engine Builder and Engine Pro present Shop Solutions in each issue of Engine Builder Magazine and at enginebuildermag.com to provide machine shop owners and engine technicians the opportunity to share their knowledge to benefit the entire industry and their own shops. Those who submit Shop Solutions that are published are awarded a prepaid $100 Visa gift card. Submit your Shop Solution at [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 each month’s new entries.

Shop Solutions December 2023

Check out the latest shop solutions from builders around the country.

Shop Solutions November 2023

Many times, the flange diameter of the rod nuts will contact the radius around the nut seat on some rods. Some jobs may not warrant the expense of spot facing the nut seat on the connecting rods. In that case, it can be quicker and more effective to just machine a chamfer on the ARP rod nuts.

Shop Solutions – October 2023

A written warranty provides benefits for you and your customer. It sets expectations, protects both parties and is a great marketing tool that encourages repeat business.

Shop Solutions September 2023

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