Engine Pro Shop Solutions - May 2018 - Engine Builder Magazine

Engine Pro Shop Solutions – May 2018


Eliminating the movement of parts when installing or removing Spirolox-type retaining rings in piston and rod assemblies will make the job easier and save time and cursing.

Instead of clamping a connecting rod in a vise and then trying to steady the piston, we make a simple device to stabilize the entire piston assembly. 

The photos should be self explanatory. A piece of scrap aluminum and about an hour of simple lathe work is all it takes. Just clamp it in a vise for easy installation or removal. We have fabricated a number of these for other shops.

Archie Frangoudis

Archie’s Racing Service

Nashua, NH


We are still getting lots of calls on rear main seal leaks on LS engines after rebuilds. We suggest engine builders install the rear seal with the lip facing the crankshaft, like all other engines, regardless of installation instructions.

This change in seal production started around 2007 when the 6.2L and 5.3L LC9s came out and most of the aftermarket followed the GM engineering prints and design.

Tim Schwanke

Schwanke Engines, LLC

Springfield, MN


The GM Active Fuel Management, or AFM engines in 2005-2014 5.3L and 6.0L passenger cars, trucks and SUVs are prone to lifter failures. These lifters are expensive and labor intensive to replace.

As is common with lifter failures, the lifter usually gets the bad rap for failing, but is usually the result of some other problem. It is commonly dirt, or in this case, the failure of the Valve Lifter Oil Manifold, or VLOM, to deliver consistent, adequate oil pressure to the lifters.

The VLOM has electrically operated solenoids, which switch oil pressure to the 4-AFM cylinders. When the VLOM fails due to wear, dirty screens, or other problems, it must be replaced or subsequent failures are likely. It is safe to say that a $200 VLOM is good insurance against a comeback on a $2,000+ lifter job.

Mark D. Sarine

Sterling Engine Parts, Inc.

Dania Beach, FL


Sometimes it’s hard to get a caliper into a head to get a quick spring installed height. Machine a piece of tubing or rod with a 3/4˝ I.D. and approx. 1.25˝ O.D. Make it exactly 1˝ long.

Install a valve, drop in your bushing, a retainer and a pair of valve locks. Using a pair of calipers measure the distance between the bushing and the retainer. Your spring height would equal 1˝ plus the caliper reading. 

Kimberly Duncan

Reid’s Automotive, Inc.

Whitman, MA


Used oil analysis can be a very helpful tool for engine builders. Not only can you see increases in wear before the problem becomes a bigger problem, it can also detect contamination.

The tribological printout shown below is from a customer who had a very small head gasket leak. He could not detect any change in coolant level, nor could he “see” any water/coolant in the oil. However, used oil analysis did detect the water (and resulting wear metals). The presence of water in the oil created a domino effect that damaged the engine.

By taking samples on a regular basis, these issues can be caught before they become a major problem. Here are some tips on how to properly take a used oil sample.

For best results:

Take sample within 10 minutes of using the equipment (i.e. shutting off the engine or coming off the track).

If this is not possible, drain 1 quart of fluid into a quart or larger container, shake for 1 minute before filling the sample bottle. Clean the area around the drain plug to remove possible contamination before taking sample.

Allow the oil to drain for five seconds before beginning to take the drain sample.

Always use the sample bottle provided in the kit but only fill it 3/4 full. DO NOT fill beyond the top of the label on the bottle.

Complete the sample information form, place the sample bottle in the plastic bag and seal. Don’t forget to provide your name and email address to get your results.

Lake Speed, Jr.

Driven Racing Oil

Olive Branch, MS

You May Also Like

Shop Solutions July 2022

When the timing cover or block has no dowel pins, or the dowel holes do not fit snug on the pins. Take an old damper and hone the center so that it is now a slip fit onto the crank snout. Use it to hold the cover in place while tightening the bolts.


Solid, smaller-sized dowel pins can be stubborn sometimes. One of the most useful ways I’ve found to deal with the really stubborn ones is to start by putting a heavy chamfer on the outside edge of the dowel with a grinder. Then, I run a die on it. In this case, the dowel is 1/4” OD and the die used was a 1/4-20 NC. Run the die on it as far as you can and then remove it. Lay a washer over the dowel, turn a nut on the dowel until it stops. Take the nut back off, add another washer and repeat until the dowel comes out.

Shop Solutions June 2022

I needed a narrow grooving tool to quickly clean carbon from piston ring grooves for an engine restoration project. All the usual grooving tools were too wide.

Shop Solutions May 2022

Check out these Shop Solutions from builders across the country!

Shop Solutions
Shop Solutions April 2022

Check out these Shop Solutions from builders across the country!

Shop Solutions
Shop Solutions March 2022

Check out these Shop Solutions from builders across the country!

Shop Solutions

Other Posts

1-on-1 with Engine Parts Group/Engine Pro President Jesse Jones

Many of you might be familiar with Jesse Jones. He’s been part of the engine parts industry and the automotive aftermarket for nearly four decades in various roles with iconic companies such as Fel-Pro, Clevite, Cometic, and now as president of Engine Parts Group (EPG) and Engine Pro. In this episode of Industry Insiders, we

Shop Solutions February 2022

Whether you own a shop or work in a shop, take care of your investment in measuring tools.

Shop Solutions January 2022

Check out these Shop Solutions from builders across the country!

Shop Solutions
Shop Solutions December 2021

Check out these Shop Solutions from builders across the country!

Shop Solutions December 2021