Shop Solutions October 2021 - Engine Builder Magazine

Shop Solutions October 2021

When installing a shorter connecting rod than a crankshaft was meant for, it is sometimes necessary to clearance the counterweights.


Shallow head fasteners like flywheel bolts can be a challenge to remove without rounding the head off. I place a socket in my metal lathe and face it flat to eliminate the chamfer. I get full contact with the fastener and fewer stripped heads. 

Dave Matton, D and D auto Machine, Bloomington, MN


Every couple of months I repair a transmission gear. The people install the transmissions out of alignment and attempt to pull them in using the mounting bolts. Part of my repair includes donating a couple simple alignment pins fabricated from bolts to ensure the gearbox goes in straight. Once set in place, two or more bolts are installed and tightened, and the alignment pins simply remove with a screwdriver. 

Archie Frangoudis, Archie’s Racing Service, Nashua, NH


When fabricating gaskets, exhaust flanges, etc., a set of hole transfer punches can make the job easier. However if you do not have transfer punches, or if they’re always at the other end of the shop, this little trick comes in handy. Set the tool of your lathe a little below center line, face the back end of a drill bit, leaving a pointed “pip.” Use the bit as a transfer punch by tapping the other end of the bit with a soft leather or plastic mallet. We make this easy modification to the bits in all our drill indexes.

Eric Nichols, Moto Machine & Supply, Cleburne, TX 


When installing a shorter connecting rod than a crankshaft was meant for, it is sometimes necessary to clearance the counterweights. A quick reference we do is to use the shorter connecting rod as a guide to mark how much counterweight needs to be removed. 

First, with your piston installed on the rod, mark the point on the counterweight that first contacts the bottom of the piston as you rotate it around the rod journal. 

Next, with the piston removed, place your sharpie at the point that was clearing and hold your sharpie in that position on the rod. Now, as you rotate the rod the rest of the way around the rod journal, it will mark the counterweight showing you how much you need to remove to have that same amount of clearance the rest of the way around.

Adam Cofer, Don Ott Racing Engines, York Springs, PA


When I disassemble an engine, I always leave it upright until I’ve removed and dropped the oil pan. The rest of the disassembly will be much cleaner as the parts won’t be dripping with the remaining tramp oil that doesn’t all get fully drained. More importantly, that last residual/unfiltered oil should not be allowed to contaminate the other critical parts above it, such as lifters, piston pins and rocker gear.

It will take a lot less time cleaning if it’s going to be a relatively non-evasive freshen up. This is even more important if the engine is just getting an inspection and won’t be fully disassembled.

Ron Flood, Cedar Machine, North Branch, MN


When I check deck height, the caliper pads can be hard to hold in the correct spot. I use the appropriate parallel to rest the caliper on, making the measuring process much easier.

Randy Torvinen, Torvinen’s Machine, Menahga, MN

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

Valve Springs

High-frequency fatigue, also known as harmonics, are a ubiquitous challenge in racing engines and can potentially wreak havoc on the valvetrain if left unchecked. Well-designed valve springs play a pivotal role in managing this, ensuring essential stability, and minimizing wear on valvetrain components.

The Latest on Lifters

For racing, a common trend to eliminate the problems associated with hydraulic lifters are the use of limited or short-travel hydraulic lifters. A reduction in plunger travel, which is usually about half that of a traditional full-travel lifter, reduces the amount of oil required to fill the lifter, which in turn reduces the compression of aerated oil.

What to Consider When Selecting Pushrods

Determining the correct pushrod length is often regarded as one of the most intricate aspects of the selection process due to the variability in valvetrain geometry and design.

Rocker Arm Update

Not only are customers asking for higher quality, they’re also becoming accustomed to having to wait a little while longer to get it. And, on the aluminum rocker side of things, the trend for customers has been a desire for lighter rocker designs.