Shop Solutions November 2015 - Engine Builder Magazine

Shop Solutions November 2015

When assembling an engine, one of the most overlooked items is the timing chain sprocket alignment. The upper and lower gears should be installed and alignment checked with a straight edge. I have seen them as far as .020˝ off.

The Importance of Timing Sprocket Alignment

When assembling an engine, one of the most overlooked items is the timing chain sprocket alignment. The upper and lower gears should be installed and alignment checked with a straight edge. I have seen them as far as .020˝ off. I allow the upper sprocket to be “proud” by half the thrust clearance when checking with the crank pushed toward the rear. As the crank floats from the oil pressure, it will be centered.

To adjust this, simply remove material from the sprocket that needs adjusting. I do it on a rotary table in the milling machine, spinning the sprocket on the table and using an end mill. On some, the top sprocket can be machined for a Torrington bearing or thrust washer at this time, while simultaneously correcting misalignment. Proper timing chain alignment will give a longer service life.

Ron Flood 

Cedar Machine Service

North Branch, MN


Connecting Rod Pin Bore Repair

Ever need to repair a Ford, Chrysler or any other full-floating connecting rod where the pin bore is now larger than the O.D. of your new bushings? I use acid-core solder as a filler and bonding agent.

Heat your connecting rod’s small end in your rod heater. Use the acid-core solder and coat the pin bore of the rod. Now, while it is hot, start to press your bushing into the hole. Use additional solder at the leading edge of the pin bushing and coat the outside of the bushing some as you press it in. Then let the rod cool down to room temp.

As it cools it will shrink down in size and firmly grip the bushing. DO NOT QUENCH or the bushing may fall out. Use a wire brush to clean up the outside of your rod and hone the bushing to size.

Darrin Anderson 

Sterling Bearing Inc.

Kansas City, MO


Save The Piston, Remove The Pins 

Before removing press-fit pistons that we plan on reusing, we immerse the piston in a coffee can of motor oil. You only need enough oil to submerge the piston.

We use synthetic oil for the EP and high temperature qualities. We then heat it to about 250 degrees. This expands the piston away from the pin to minimize scratching of the pin bore and lubricates the pin in its travel through the rod end.

Our hotplate is an industrial type with a thermostat, so we set the temp and don’t have to worry about overheating the oil and having it burst into flames.

By using this method, we seldom have to pin hone the pistons, and have never distorted one, but polishing the pins is still required. Many of the engines that need to be balanced use inexpensive pistons with broached slots in the pin bores, which makes pin honing difficult.

Timm Jurincie

Tuff-Enuf Auto & Marine Performance

Avondale, AZ


Ohio Makes a ‘Max’ Investment in Our Future

If you’re looking for a new shop employee, Cleveland, OH may just be the city with the answer for you. Up until now it may have seemed that all the good employees either had jobs or had retired. Here is what Cleveland did to solve the problem of “lots of job openings and no qualified machinists or tradesmen.”

August 19th of this year marked the opening of the first of three new high school/trade schools in our area since the Max Hayes trade school opened in 1957. The old Max Hayes School was no longer technologically up to date, was in disrepair and was located in a small residential area.

Rather than just refurbishing Max Hayes, a completely new facility was built on an old abandoned industrial site. At a cost of $48M, paid for by government grants and a voter-approved bond issue, the new facility is smaller than the original and built to handle 800 students. The original Max Hayes could handle 1,475.

It is a two-story building with classrooms on the second floor and 11 large workshop bays on the first floor. The school has separate labs/bays for trades such as auto collision repair, automotive technology, engineering, welding, manufacturing design, precision machining, and software development.

Students have equipment at their disposal that isn’t available at some high tech companies. They will come out of there with state-of-the-art training and be able to “hit the ground running.”

The public had a chance to view the new school in late summer and it was a huge success. For more information contact the Max Hayes school principal, Ms. Kelly Wittman, at the Cleveland School District. For more information, visit

Jim Kovach

Kovach & Associates 

Performance Engine Building

Parma, OH


What’s the Best Penetrant?

A recent online article provided some information on various penetrating oils. A subjective test of all the popular penetrates with the control being the torque required to remove the nut from a “scientifically rusted” environment resulted in the following numbers.

Penetrating oils ……….Average torque load to loosen

No Oil used 516 pounds

WD-40 238 pounds

PB Blaster 214 pounds

Liquid Wrench 127 pounds

Kano Kroil 106 pounds

ATF*-Acetone mix 53 pounds

The ATF*-Acetone mix was a “home brew” mix of 50% – 50% by volume automatic transmission fluid and acetone. It has been said that lacquer thinner may be used as a substitute for acetone.

Engine Pro Technical Committee with special thanks to Machinist’s Workshop Magazine ( and Bert Hitzing

You May Also Like

Factors of Crankshaft Selection

From the high-performance powerplants propelling Top Fuel dragsters to the subdued engines found in family sedans and grocery getters, each crank must be tailored to, and appropriate for, its specific application.

We know a crankshaft plays a critical role in an engine’s performance, converting reciprocating motion into rotary motion while serving as the backbone of the entire system. It must be strong enough to withstand the continuous pounding of rods and pistons, yet possess enough elasticity to absorb vibrations and flex, albeit slightly, when needed.

Shop Solutions March 2024

I always keep a pair of needle nose pliers and a small, straight screwdriver in my blast cabinet to hold small parts when blasting.

Degreeing the Camshaft and Checking Valve-to-Piston Clearance

Jeff McCord of LinCo Diesel Performance walks you through degreeing a camshaft and checking valve-to-piston clearance.

Designing a Better LS Engine

After a customer wanted a Steve Morris Engines’ SMX in an LS version, Steve saw the upside and potential in the market, and a challenge to build a better LS.

Other Posts

The Importance of a Good Valve Job

The valve job ensures the mating surfaces of the valves and the seats properly control the air/fuel mixture.

Getting Better Cylinder Head Airflow

When it comes to improving horsepower and rpm, airflow has a lot to do with it, and it seems the job is one that’s never finished.

Horsepower and Head Gasket Technology

Head gaskets have one of the toughest job in an engine, and now we’re pushing them harder than ever, making it easier to expose the slightest weakness.

Inside the Development of Frankenstein’s F-Series LS Cylinder Heads

Right away, engine builders knew it was special.