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Shop Solutions – August 2019

Industry Tips and Tricks

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EASY CAM CHANGE 

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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

PLASTIC PRESSURE TEST PLATES  

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

CHASING DOWN NEW THREADS  

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 

PRESSURE TORQUE PLATE  

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. 

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Ron Flood

Cedar Machine

North Branch, MN

SLING YOUR SHAFT 

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.

CHEAP AND EASY RING SQUARING TOOLS 

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

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