August 2017 Shop Solutions - Engine Builder Magazine

August 2017 Shop Solutions

At times I have had a main journal that just honed faster than the rest. Here’s my solution - maybe it will work for you as well. I cut some .001˝ shim stock and place it between the stone and journal and give it a few short strokes. The shim stock will stop the honing of that one journal and let the rest catch up.


At times I have had a main journal that just honed faster than the rest. Here’s my solution – maybe it will work for you as well.

I cut some .001˝ shim stock and place it between the stone and journal and give it a few short strokes. The shim stock will stop the honing of that one journal and let the rest catch up.

Mark Carney

Automotive Machine Inc

Emporia, KS


Occasionally you find yourself needing to remove stainless o-rings while servicing engine blocks or heads. Instead of trying to pick and gouge the wire out, simply strike an arc on them with your TIG torch and immediately touch the tungsten to the wire. Wait a few seconds, pull it, and the wire will come away with it. It doesn’t take much. I like to start at the ends where they meet.

And speaking of o-rings, when installing the o-ring wire, dress/scarf cut the end at a 45-degree angle. Install it in the groove as usual, and when you get to the final end, mark and cut the wire. Then, with your handheld belt file, dress the end at the same angle and finish the install. The scarf cut will be a little more forgiving than a butt joint and there will be no gap to leak.

Ron Flood

Cedar Machine Service

North Branch, MN


When working on GM cylinder heads that have a short tip length, like the LS series, you may need to have the valve shortened for correct stem height. The valve tip may set below the retainer. I use my Sunnen cap grinder to remove .020˝ from the top of the retainer. This helps to reclaim some rocker to retainer clearance.

Jack Conklin

Performance Machine Specialty

Cleveland, MO.


Here is how you can repair the hone head since Rottler does not service the head any longer.

You can use a Regis part number RSI218. You will need to drill out the top of the pinion to remove the expander nut. Then cut the top of the shaft and drill and tap it for a small bolt. Then put on the bolt and washer and you are ready to go.

Charlie Corria

Charlies High Performance Machine

Tracy, CA


I carefully organized the machines in my shop to utilize a variety of jib cranes which I custom built   specifically for this shop. They are carefully designed to clear doors, ceilings and other cranes. I welded stops on them to limit the swing which will save the walls and equipment from damage. These cranes allow me to easily lift heads, cranks and blocks to each machine without heavy manual effort.

I also made a variety of straps, and color coded threaded eye hooks. There are five of these cranes in my shop and I’d estimate the cost at about $1,500 each, including the hoist. A big investment, but it makes it easy for one man to move anything, anywhere in the shop.

Steve Potz

Steve’s Engine Shop

Cocoa, FL


Sometimes when machining and repairing different things, it is necessary to remove helicoil inserts that have been previously installed. Without any knowledge of how to do this you can make a simple repair seem like a complete disaster. From my experience, helicoil inserts are not really particularly difficult to remove. Tools needed for this operation include a small center punch with a sharp point, a medium sized ballpeen hammer and a decent pair of needle-nose pliers. The first step is to take the center punch and position it on top of the thread insert 85 degrees from the end of the insert. Then strike the punch lightly with the hammer. The idea here is to get the punch behind the insert, which will bend it in towards the center. Once the insert is bent into the center of the hole, use the needle nose pliers to back the insert out. If done correctly, the insert will come out with minimal effort and frustration.

Ben Hoitink

Hughes Engines, Inc

Washington, IL


Despite what you may hear, bigger isn’t always better. Stiff springs are better than stock springs – if the engine really needs them. But sometimes there is a tendency to go overboard with spring pressure.

Triple springs are the way to go if you’re building a ProStock drag motor that will rev beyond 10,000 RPM, but for engines that never see the high side of 7,000 to 7,500 RPM, a good set of quality beehive or conical springs can usually provide the best valve control with the least load on the rockers, pushrods, lifters and cam. 

Double springs provide a margin of safety if one of the springs breaks. But if you buy quality springs made from high quality steel, breakage should not be an issue. Various surface treatments as well as cryogenic processing can also extend spring life and reduce the risk of breakage.

Ideally, you want the least amount of valve spring pressure that will provide adequate valvetrain stability and control within the RPM limits of the engine. Excessive spring pressure accomplishes nothing except increased friction, loading and stress on the rockers, pushrods, lifters and cam.

Engine Builder Technical Contributors

You May Also Like

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.

Engine Builder and Engine Pro present Shop Solutions in each issue of Engine Builder Magazine and at 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 September 2023

Engine shop tips and tricks.

Shop Solutions August 2023

Engine shop tips and tricks.

Shop Solutions July 2023

Engine and machine shop tips and tricks.

Shop Solutions June 2023

Engine and machine shop tips and tricks.

Other Posts

Supertech Sodium-Filled Valves

These Supertech valves offer a significant reduction in valve head temperatures for today’s turbo engines.

PAC Valve Locks

With the new PAC-L8145, you can now drop installed height by .080″ with just a lock change.

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.

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.