Shop Solutions January 2017 - Engine Builder Magazine

Shop Solutions January 2017

You want to seal that flange with an OE MLS gasket? Good luck! The same conditions now exist in exhaust flange technology as when the first MLS head gaskets were being replaced under repair conditions.


Removing and installing an older Ford oil filter adapter without damaging it is easy when you make this tool. Find a nut that fits on the threads and cut a slot with a cutoff wheel. Next, apply valve grinding compound to the threads, install the nut, clamp the nut between the void with a vise grip and rotate it out of the block.

Valve grinding compound should not be used to reinstall it.

Dave Matton

D and D Auto Machine

Bloomington, MN 


One thing I’ve learned after many years of business is that my time is very valuable. I can balance multiple machines running and I can squeeze in some time with my customers, but it can be difficult being the “parts guy” as well.

Like most shops, I can’t afford a parts counter person on the margins we make on parts today and I know some shops are walking away from parts sales because of this. I have found a parts person and his salary is free – or almost.

There are many engine parts WDs out there and each has multiple customer service reps (CSR). They are, in effect, working for you! After regularly dialing into my WD I was able to find one who I could relate to and work with and parts acquisition became much easier and much more profitable. As long as I have the right information when I call, I have easy access to quotes, availability and my parts show up while I keep working. I might be able to shop out every part for the best price, but that would cost me far more in the long run.

Randy Torvinen

Torvinen’s Machine

Menahga, MN


I have made a variety of valve holders, each made for different head configurations. I make them out of wood and drill holes matching the head configuration so I can replace the valves back into the same valve guides.

The above example is for a Cummins, but I’ve made them for a variety of heads. Some have added holes to hold lifter buckets in the correct order as well.

Shawn Bergeron

Daytona Auto Design

Daytona Beach, FL


ISX Cummins DOHC heads are often returned with an injector cam bearing seized to the camshaft. The cause may be twofold:

1) When the technician removed the camshaft on the head exchange, he stood the camshaft on its end. Since the camshafts are hollow, all of the oil ran out.


2) Upon installation, the engine must be pressure-primed with the valve cover off to observe oil seeping out from between the cam and the bearings. The predominant cam bearing seizure is on the injector cam because four of the bearings do not have oil holes in them to pressure lubricate the cam and bearings. If the pressure lubrication process is not followed, it is almost certain a failure will occur.

Arvid Elbeck

American Cylinder Head

Oakland, CA


Sometimes it’s easier to work on something if you can get it a little higher up in the air. I made a steel post with a tapered end to hold cylinder heads up high above the assembly bench. The single post allows me to swing the head around easily and it is high enough to get the valve compressor underneath.

Steve Potz

Steve’s Engine Shop

Cocoa, FL


You want to seal that flange with an OE MLS gasket? Good luck!

The same conditions now exist in exhaust flange technology as when the first MLS head gaskets were being replaced under repair conditions. OEM MLS exhaust flange gaskets just can’t create a lasting seal on a warped, pockmarked and irregular sealing surface that is not straight. The MLS gasket may provide an initial seal but after a few heat cycles and a short period of time, the embossment that is designed to seal the gasket no longer recovers and the irregular surface of the flange allows leak paths to develop and the MLS gasket will fail very prematurely.

A stainless steel armor for a positive seal around the exhaust ports and a composite graphite gasket body material that is designed to fill in minor imperfections in the surface finish allows for a more robust clamp load sealing the exhaust ports. When the imperfections in the surface are eliminated, the seal will be maintained for the life of the gasket.

To prevent future failure you should use a gasket that has been engineered utilizing the materials and design for the real world repair environment. By the way, that OEM exhaust manifold gasket failed for a reason. If you don’t fix the cause or redesign the gasket, why would you expect a different outcome?

Engine Pro Technical Committee with special thanks to Fel-Pro Gaskets 

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Crank Balancing Update

If there’s anything all of us in this industry have come to understand, it’s that you can never be certain someone else did the job correctly – and when it comes to crankshafts and crank kits that you or a customer might purchase, it’s imperative to ensure a proper balance job was performed and not just trust that it was because it says so.

As performance, technology and ultimately horsepower have continued to increase over the years, engine builders have needed to evolve along with it. That means being able to control increased horsepower to create livable and workable horsepower. 

Obviously, pistons still go up and down and cranks go round and round, but the technology involved in the entire engine has allowed performance to reach new heights. All that increased horsepower has to go through the crankshaft – aka the heart of the engine. If that crank/heart is unhappy, everybody’s unhappy. Enter crankshaft balancing.

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