August 2022 Shop Solutions - Engine Builder Magazine

August 2022 Shop Solutions

August tips and tricks for the shop!


I line up the oil stream on my rod machine to where I want to stop the stroke. I try to over stroke approximately 1/2 of the rod width to keep the shoes from wearing unevenly.

Randy Torvinen
Torvinen’s Machine Shop
Menahga, MN


When honing some parts on the rod machine, I use an o-ring on the mandrel as a visual end stop for proper over stroke. This really helps on things like motorcycle cases and multi-rod assemblies to ensure proper mandrel over-stroke coverage. It also helps with pistons when they’re upside down and you can’t see the inside end of the stone.

Ron Flood
Cedar Machine
North Branch, MN


When tapping tapered pipe thread for oil or coolant passage plugs in blocks and cylinder heads,
it is important not to tap too shallow nor too deep. A length of soft copper wire, twisted around the tap,
works much better than tape or a Sharpie mark to indicate the proper depth.
The copper wire stays in-place for hundreds of uses, saving engine builders time and frustration.

Tom Nichols
Automotive Machine & Supply
Joshua, TX 


One of the most challenging jobs is the 302-351W cylinder head stud removal that fastens down the intake manifold. It rusts and sits at an angle, which makes it almost impossible to center a drill bit for removal. The solution is to drive a 1/4-inch roll pin under the cylinder head, this will make passing a 5/32 drill bit through perfectly centered. Then you can try an “easy-out” or an E-drill bit to get most of the material left. Then pass the 5/16 tap, as shown in the picture.

Luis Guzman
El Paso, TX


The harmonic balancers on the 5.0L Fords are deep and need extra space. I used a small PVC pipe coupler to extend the reach of the installer. It is cheap, lightweight and works great.

Pete Ross
Petes Car Care
Rochester, IL


After file-fitting piston rings to get the perfect end gaps, we need to remove all burrs left from the filing process. Despite all our best efforts, sometimes we install a ring on the piston and still notice a little drag when testing for rotation. I like to test fit my ring chamfering and rotation on a smaller bore piston with the same ring thickness to check for drag so that I am not removing, reinstalling and overextending the rings for a second time if I must touch up my ring chamfer.  

Dave Matton
D and D Auto Machine
Bloomington, MN

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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.

Shop Solutions June 2022

I needed a narrow grooving tool to quickly clean carbon from piston ring grooves for an engine restoration project. All the usual grooving tools were too wide.

Shop Solutions May 2022

Check out these Shop Solutions from builders across the country!

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Shop Solutions April 2022

Check out these Shop Solutions from builders across the country!

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Shop Solutions March 2022

Check out these Shop Solutions from builders across the country!

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