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Shop Solutions – May 2017 Edition

I call this my “Easy Riser” for Harley cylinders. It is a 2.5L GM block that I have bored to two different sizes to accommodate different cylinder bottom sizes. I use bolts installed into head bolt locations to prevent rotation of the cylinders. I only hone cylinders on this, boring is still done on parallels. This is way easier than horizontal honing on a Sunnen rod hone with a cylinder hone adapter.

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EASY RISER

I call this my “Easy Riser” for Harley cylinders. It is a 2.5L GM block that I have bored to two different sizes to accommodate different cylinder bottom sizes. I use bolts installed into head bolt locations to prevent rotation of the cylinders. I only hone cylinders on this, boring is still done on parallels. This is way easier than horizontal honing on a Sunnen rod hone with a cylinder hone adapter.

Jeff Kroger

Sturdevant’s AP-Machine Shop

Sioux Falls, SD

MULTI-PURPOSE
WOOD STOVE

During the winter months, I enjoy the heat from my wood stove in my shop. I don’t have a flywheel ring gear heater, so I utilize the wood stove here as well. I put my ring gear on top of the stove (direct heat) for 10 minutes (or longer if necessary). This heats the ring gear and allows it to drop right on.

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If you need to remove valve seats and guides on aluminum heads, put the head on the stove for easy removal or installation. If you still have to press pistons on, warm the rod ends on the stove for easier installation. This trick works on many interface jobs – use your imagination.

Gary Wolfe

Gary Wolfe Automotive Machine

Middletown, CT

THE BUCK STOPS HERE

Sometimes when we repeat a task over and over, we don’t look at the details as much as we should. We trust the customer, the parts manufacturer or simple circumstance. The opportunity for problems presents itself when we become comfortable, building the same engine we have done dozen’s of times. We know how the parts are supposed to fit and don’t pay close attention to the details. The time saved by skipping a few steps can come back to bite you in the end.

It reminds me of the story about a skydiver with thousands of jumps who walked to the plane, “bs’d” with his buddies all the way to altitude and jumped out. Sad part was that he forgot his parachute, and no one else noticed either!

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As the last person to handle the parts, the shop has the responsibility to make sure they are correct, fit correctly and are installed correctly, no matter what the circumstances, or where they came from. We need to treat every job like the first or only job, to prevent a bad landing.

Mark Sarine

Sterling Engine Parts, Inc.

Dania Beach, FL

BLAST IT

We’ve all had problems with plain shank tooling “turning” in a keyless chuck. I have found that bead blasting the end of the tooling where it goes in the chuck can provide enough grip and end the spin.

Dale Beran

The Parts Bin

Ord, NE

ANOTHER BLOCK AS CYLINDER STAND

Certain times of the year we get hit with several requests to bore and hone – or just hone – ATV or motorcycle cylinders.  We found that we don’t have to remove the block we’re working on in the honing tank to sneak in a quick cylinder hone or two. Bolt on or toggle clamp the jug to the deck. Even two at a time. Then we can get back to honing the block in no time.

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Mike Schmelzer

Bay Speed Center

De Pere, WI

HAPPY CUSTOMERS

TELL THOUSANDS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA

The best form of advertising is word-of-mouth. The old studies showed that a satisfied customer will tell two-three people about their good experience with your company, while a dissatisfied consumer will share their experience with eight-10 people.

In today’s social media-dominated society, these numbers have grown by a factor of 1,000. These same people now post comments on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Foursquare, etc, that reach literally thousands of people.

You can see why focusing on excellent customer service is more important today than ever. Here’s an illustration of some great customer service that happened to me just a few weeks ago: I’ve been a member of AAA for many years. I use the discounts when I travel, but I’ve never needed roadside service until I got stranded in a parking lot with a dead battery. My first instinct was to call a friend, buy a battery and install it in the parking lot. Instead, I gave AAA a call.

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The operator was very friendly and helpful and dispatched a service tech right away. It took about 30 minutes for the truck to arrive. During my wait, they called three times and sent two texts with updates on the ETA. The service tech, Kyle, called when he left the prior job. He took time to ask me about my F150’s symptoms and even asked if I was safe.

He showed up right on time, arrived in a AAA truck, a bright uniform and with a great helpful attitude. This guy was well trained. After cleaning the battery terminals and running a compete battery and charging system check, he said the battery needed replacement and he had one on the truck. I had already shopped battery prices at a couple parts stores and found prices ranged from $107 to $180 depending on amps and warranty. So I expected to pay AAA at least $200. I was surprised when the total bill, including a 5-year warranty came to $116.

This story illustrates the concept of word-of-mouth and more importantly, this tip is on the importance of great communication. AAA has honed its communications skills and customer service training to a fine art. We can all learn a lesson from this well established service company.

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In today’s electronic world, great (or poor) service can lead to thousands of comments which can have a huge impact on your business.

Steve Rich

Sterling Bearing, Inc.

N. Kansas City, MO

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