Shop Solutions July 2022 - Engine Builder Magazine

Shop Solutions July 2022

When the timing cover or block has no dowel pins, or the dowel holes do not fit snug on the pins. Take an old damper and hone the center so that it is now a slip fit onto the crank snout. Use it to hold the cover in place while tightening the bolts.


Solid, smaller-sized dowel pins can be stubborn sometimes. One of the most useful ways I’ve found to deal with the really stubborn ones is to start by putting a heavy chamfer on the outside edge of the dowel with a grinder. Then, I run a die on it. In this case, the dowel is 1/4” OD and the die used was a 1/4-20 NC. Run the die on it as far as you can and then remove it. Lay a washer over the dowel, turn a nut on the dowel until it stops. Take the nut back off, add another washer and repeat until the dowel comes out.

Joshua Hartmann Hartmann Racing and Development Gerald, MO


I made a valve tool to measure valve tip height as shown in the picture. I use it before cutting and write it down and check it after valve job. It is also very handy when setting new valve seats. It is easy to make. Take a digital caliper, a pipe and screw the two together as shown.

Joris Decker Deckers Motorenrevisie Belgium, Europe


I grind exhaust manifolds on a dry belt surface grinder. Before I grind them, I bead blast the manifold surfaces to clean off the hard rust and carbon build up first. By doing 

this the manifolds grind easier and the belts last longer.

Wes Schell Schell Engine and Machine Gregory, SD


Here’s a trick to help center the timing cover crankshaft seal, when the timing cover or block has no dowel pins, or the dowel holes do not fit snug on the pins. Take an old damper and hone the center so that it is now a slip fit onto the crank snout. Use it to hold the cover in place while tightening the bolts. Then, simply slide the damper back off. I use an old aluminum crank hub for big block Chevys, which is lightweight and easy to handle. I save other hubs from balancers that have come apart. 

Rich Jones Redline Automotive Competition Engines Davie, FL


 I have several balancer hubs that I’ve honed for slip fit tools. If you have an engine where there is a timing cover index issue from either poor dowel pin alignment or a crank centerline issue, you can still locate it properly. Remove the dowel pins or drill out the holes in the cover for clearance. Then, loosely install the cover and slide the balancer hub on. Finally, tighten the bolts and check for proper seal interface by applying a little assembly grease all the way around the hub’s seal surface. Then, slide it on and back off. You’ll see if the seal witness marks are contacting all the way around. Having external balance hubs with zero press is great for balancing cranks too. 

Ron Flood Cedar Machine North Branch, MN


When I restore an early Chevy V8 that used a cannister oil filter, I like to update for a late-style, spin-on filter. I machine up a ring 3.800” OD with a 3.075” ID, .300” thick. I bore out the block to except it. I’ve used aluminum and bronze and just plan so the top of the ring is the same height as a late 350. I also rethread the adapter mounting holes for a 5/16” bolt. I can then use the late spin on oil filter adapter. I like it better than the oil filter adapter commonly used, and customers do too.

Randy Torvinen Torvinen’s Machine Shop Menahga, MN

You May Also Like

LTR Engine Build

This Late Model Engines build is centered around Concept Performance’s new LTR block, which is the first aftermarket as-cast aluminum Gen V LT block. 

The Chevrolet LT engine family from General Motors is rooted in the early ‘70s, when the LT1 was featured in the Corvette and Camaro Z28. After a 20-year hiatus, GM reintroduced the platform in the early ‘90s. The “LT1 350” came out in 1991, and was distinct from the high-output Gen I LT1 of the 1970s. It displaced 5.7L (350 cu in), and was a two-valve per cylinder pushrod design. The LT1 used a reverse-flow cooling system, which cooled the cylinder heads first, maintaining lower combustion chamber temperatures and allowing the engine to run at a higher compression than its immediate predecessors.

Shop Solutions January 2023

Next time you have set of large journal small block Chevy connecting rods to resize, consider honing the big ends of them for a +.002” outside diameter bearing that the LS engines with fracture cap rods use.

Shop Solutions December 2022

Everyone misses occasionally, and this helps avoid dents and damage.

November 2022 Shop Solutions

November tricks and tips for the shop!

Shop Solutions October 2022

When machining on the CNC mill, it’s necessary to blow the flood coolant and chips off the parts for inspection. I tried a tool holder mounted fan, but it wouldn’t get all the chips and coolant out of the deeper areas.

Other Posts

LS Intake Manifolds

LS swaps are popular for many reasons, but there are a lot of variations and details to sort through – more of them than you may expect – and many of them are associated with the intake manifold.

LS Cylinder Heads

The LS engine is known for its cylinder heads, and there are tons of options available to upgrade the factory components.

Choosing the Correct Block for Your LS Engine Build

Whether you’re scouring junkyards, ordering cores, investigating factory options, looking at aftermarket cast iron or aluminum blocks, or spending big bucks on billet LS blocks, you’ve probably noticed it’s been harder to find exactly what you want for the foundation of your LS build than it historically has.

Open Loop/Closed Loop and Learning

Closed-loop control can be programmed to either add or subtract up to a certain percentage of fuel in order for the engine to reach the target air/fuel ratio.