Shop Solutions March 2022 - Engine Builder Magazine
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Shop Solutions

Shop Solutions

Shop Solutions March 2022

Priming Pump

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You can make a GMmLS engine priming tool using just about any oil pump. I used a new, big block Chevy M77 pump that I already had. I tapped the inlet and outlet to NPT threads and installed fittings to adapt to rubber hoses. The pressure side needs to thread into the galley behind the LS oil pump. It is M16x1.5 thread. The suction hose side will need to sleeve down to a 1/4˝ tube, which will go down the dip stick tube. Run the pump with a 1/2˝ drill. Now you can prime without using pressurized canisters, refilling or the mess.

Dave Sarno, SCH Racing Heads, Arvada, CO

Use Those Holes

Most people use just the outer two bolt holes when fastening a cylinder head to a mounting fixture. If there are additional holes in the plate that line up with the threads in the fixture, then consider using the extra threads for increased rigidity. 

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

Catalog Six-Pack

I know catalogs are online, but most of us would rather use paper catalogs. Hang on to those old catalogs, because some companies are not printing them anymore. Our solution is to use beer boxes to file them. They are available for free at any drive-thru beverage store or bar. We just paint the end of the box (silver spray paint works great), and then we write on it what’s in the box. Valvetrain, Heads, Air fuel, etc. This works great for us.  

Jim Wright, Motorheads Garage, Elyria, OH

Travel Dial

For lathes without a DRO, a 2˝ travel dial indicator to measure carriage travel is handy. I quickly made this simple compact indicator mount clamp from two pieces of scrap aluminum. To eliminate the need for a wrench to tighten or loosen it when re-positioning, I used a bicycle seat clamp “cam-action” lever-bolt and nut. The black zip-tie in the picture keeps the bottom clamp piece from twisting when sliding the indicator mount along the lathe bed. When I made this clamp three years ago, I was rushed for time, so I chose the zip-tie. Alternatively, the two pieces of the mount could be drilled for a small roll pin next to the clamping bolt. The indicator can be installed from the left or right, depending on which side of the carriage it’s located. In use, I snug the bottom knurled nut so the mount clamps to the lathe bed enough to resist the indicator’s spring force, but still loose enough it will slip if the carriage bottoms out the indicator. A long 3/8˝ dowel pin can be substituted for the indicator if the mount is to be used as a “hard” stop. When used as a “hard” stop, adjust the knurled nut so the cam-lever firmly locks the mount to the lathe bed and firmly tighten the slotted screw holding the dowel pin. Bicycle seat clamps can be found online for $3 or less.

Tom Nichols, Automotive Machine & Supply, Inc, Joshua, TX

Back Tracking

To save my old shoulders and back, I had to come up with a way to get the big diesel blocks in and out of the spray washer. This track, with short pieces of angle iron welded on, catches on a brace. It lets me pry them in and out until the chain hoist can reach. It certainly is much better on my body and works well.

Randy Torvinen, Torvinen’s Machine Shop, Menahga, MN

Magnetic Indicator

On my surfacer, I use a simple, popular, universal magnetic base with a dial indicator to tram my work piece or index fixture. This dials the actual head in dead on and works great for machines without an indicator rail.  It also allows you to tram blocks and see how far they’re out of index end-to-end very easily. 


Ron Flood, Cedar Machine, North Branch, MN

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