Shop Solutions - August 2019
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Shop Solutions

Shop Solutions – August 2019

Industry Tips and Tricks



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I needed to change out the cam in a new 351W build. I used 16, 5/16˝ rocker arm bolts and left the lifters and pushrods in place. I rolled the engine upside down and turned the cam around once. I pulled the cam out with the engine upside down and just as easily installed the new cam. I turned the engine right side up and changed back to the stock rocker arm bolts. I didn’t have to remove the intake manifold and saved time and money. This will work on any Ford engine with bolt-down rocker arms including the 302, 351 and 460 cid engines, and possibly others. 

Aaron Lindberg

Aaron’s Precision Machine

Scandia, MN


I started making custom pressure testing plates out of 1˝ thick HDPE high-density polyethylene (same material as a kitchen cutting board). This stuff is cheap, machines like butter and can be worked like wood. I cut it with a table saw and used a head gasket as a template. I use 1/8˝ thick rubber sheet to seal it. A couple hours of labor and it pays for itself.

Scott Ouellette, 

Powerplay Machine

Wilmington, MA


If you don’t have a thread chaser for the right bolt hole size, it’s pretty easy to make one. You can modify a bolt of the correct size and thread pitch. Cut the head off and cut a groove in the threads, length wise. Now put it in a drill motor to chase the threads. If it breaks off, it’s easier to drill the bolt out than a broken tap or regular thread chaser.

Rick Lake

Lake’s Machine Shop

Needmore, PA 


For those who don’t have a pressure tester, torque plates work great. I use it along with homemade block off plates for the other holes and expandable rubber core plugs to seal up the block. I use them in cylinder heads as well. Have a selection of threaded rods and wing nuts to clamp it down quickly. A head gasket will seal them right up if you don’t want to make rubber gaskets. 


Ron Flood

Cedar Machine

North Branch, MN


I have muscled crankshafts into place and used various methods of “slinging” them. I found this sling to be simple and easy. I built the hooks out of 1/2˝ steel rod and slid some heater hose over them to protect the crank’s bearing surfaces. I found two 18˝ rubber bungee cords that work well to hang the hooks from and I turned it into a deluxe model by having a permanent ring for the crane hook. What’s really nice is how easy it makes alignment. You can crane the crankshaft to within a couple of inches of the centers or chucks, then simply move the ends up or down with light hand pressure to the centers.

Robert Cull

Cull Enterprises Ltd.

Creston, B.C.


I made many different sized tools for quick and easy piston ring squaring when end gapping. I used scraps from leftover cylinder sleeves and turned them to size on my lathe. They don’t take up much space for storage even with more than a dozen in the box.

Randy Torvinen

Torvinen’s Machine Shop

Menahga, MN

Engine Builder Magazine