Shop Solutions May 2022 - Engine Builder Magazine

Shop Solutions May 2022

Check out these Shop Solutions from builders across the country!


Smaller crankshafts and camshafts are so “springy” they can resist straightening and can be hard to straighten by peening. I prefer to use a peening technique on all the crankshafts and camshafts that come through the shop. When on the straightener, these parts will typically bend several thousandths with just a slight push of the hand. A couple of 2˝ x 4˝ boards perpendicularly screwed together provides greater support for these smaller parts and makes the straightening process easier. I like to lay the boards between the V-blocks on the straightener so it’s easy to transition.

Trevor Wells, Schmidt Automotive, Indianapolis, IN 


Due to a recent addition of shop equipment, all our machines were moved to make room. To help keep close or neighboring machines from getting each other dirty from flying debris, I used an inexpensive shower liner as a wall between them. Hung with a scrap piece of conduit and zip ties, the installation took only a few minutes. The clear liner still allows shop light to shine through so there are no shadows on the work piece.

Josh Mitchell, Mitchell Machine Works & Custom, Neligh, NE


The diameter of a diesel engine oil filter was larger than my biggest filter wrench, so I made this strap wrench from an old spark plug socket, worn-out poly-V serpentine belt, and a short length of PVC 1/2˝ schedule 40 pipe. I used an angle grinder to quickly slot opposite sides of the socket. I fit the belt through the slots and then tapped a short length of PVC pipe into the socket. You want just enough to keep the belt in place, but not enough to prevent the belt from sliding. Slide the belt in the slot to adjust for size. Trim the belt’s length as desired.

Tom Nichols, Automotive Machine & Supply, Joshua, TX 


It’s tough to end gap rings in a canted deck engine such as a 409 Chevy. Turn a scrap piece of cylinder sleeve to about .003˝ smaller than the bore. Make sure it’s long enough. Use that and it will allow you to push the rings down the bore square. You can also do this with a conventional deck to push the ring past the torque plate distortion if you want to get really nitpicky.

Randy Torvinen, Torvinen’s Machine, Menahga, MN


When trying to determine if an iron head has a false seat ring in, we have found the fastest method is to mag-check the head. If it has a false seat in it, you will know instantly.

Adney Brown, Performance Crankshaft, Ferndale, MI 


When surfacing blocks or heads, it’s a good idea to deburr all the water jacket and bolt holes before making cuts. Many heads have scale and residue on those areas that can cause “drag” marks when the tool bit passes over. Marine heads, or any head that’s not thoroughly blasted can give problems. It reduces tool wear as well. Of course, a quick final deburr or chamfer is a nice finishing touch. 

Ron Flood, Cedar Machine, North Branch, MN

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Shop Solutions – January 2024

Before installing cam bearings, make sure to chamfer any oil holes and clean up back grooves of any sharp edges.

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 December 2023

Check out the latest shop solutions from builders around the country.

The Impact of Fuel Type on Engine Performance

When it comes to choosing the right fuel for your vehicle, several factors should be taken into consideration. These factors include the vehicle’s engine design, manufacturer recommendations, intended usage, and personal preferences.

Component Cleanliness

It can’t be overstated how important the cleaning machines are in the modern engine shop. Shop owners who prioritize effective and efficient cleaning techniques will find success in a more streamlined process.

Billet Blocks and Heads vs. Cast Iron

Billet aluminum has a lower yield strength or higher modulus of elasticity, meaning it will flex, or absorb energy easier under tension or stress than cast aluminum, without incurring permanent damage.

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Shop Solutions November 2023

Many times, the flange diameter of the rod nuts will contact the radius around the nut seat on some rods. Some jobs may not warrant the expense of spot facing the nut seat on the connecting rods. In that case, it can be quicker and more effective to just machine a chamfer on the ARP rod nuts.

The CNC Landscape Continues to Grow Inside Engine Shops

Several manufacturers named automation as one of the biggest continuing trends surrounding CNC equipment these days, and it’s clearly a key contributor to a CNC machine’s ability to do more without human interference.

Crankshaft Counterweights

Most engines are internally balanced, meaning all weight adjustment is done on the crankshaft counterweights. However, some stock and modified engines require external balancing due to an increased stroke or larger pistons, and the crankshaft counterweights that would be required to offset the increased inertia simply don’t fit inside the crankcase.

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.