Shop Solutions December 2023 - Engine Builder Magazine

Shop Solutions December 2023

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

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.


In most cases, when I top down a sleeve, I put a piece of masking tape next to the sleeve. The tape I have is .005″ thick, so when my tooling touches the tape I have right around that .005″ left to file if I’m not decking. If you have fine feed with an indicator, you can take it a bit closer safely, after hitting the tape.

Randy Torvinen
Torvinen’s Machine
Menahga, MN


On my line honing machine, I machined the threaded hold down rods for 3/8” cap screws. This makes adjusting them much faster, using a cordless drill. Just machine the face flat, and drill and tap on the lathe. It’s a super time saver when switching from mains to cam tunnels and you have to adjust them a long distance.

Ron Flood
Cedar Machine
North Branch, MN


This is a quick and easy way to clean 3-jaw crankshaft grinder and lathe chuck scrolls.
– Make a stubby chuck key driver for use in a cordless drill; quickly remove the jaws.
– Insert a toothbrush in one of the jaw slots, then run the drill-driver to spin the scroll while spraying carb cleaner on it. Repeat as needed until scroll grooves are clean.
– Clean and coat the toothbrush with oil; insert the brush in a jaw slot and spin scroll with drill-driver until grooves are lubed.
– Use drill-driver to replace jaws.

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


We can all relate to trying to remove a nut that is well bonded to a stud. You have heated the nut to glowing red hot and it will move, but it is snapping, and you know you’re going to break the stud. What do you use for penetrating oil? Oils just turn to smoke and flame. Enter the humble bee. Beeswax is a superior high-temp penetrating lube. Touch the heated part with beeswax and it will flow through the threads and presto, the nut comes off.

Peter vanSneidern
Kidder Mtn Restoration 
Temple, NH


We all know the older we get the smarter we need to work. Plus, we have to take care of our backs. I designed a simple lifting hook to move engine blocks with, plus it works well to grab the turn table of the jet washer for easy removal access from the machine.

Hillsboro Racing Engines
Bruce Serene
Hillsboro, KS


I have made a quick-change for going between surfacing aluminum and cast iron heads. For aluminum heads, I use a PCD plate and 750 tr/min on an arm with 2-strong bolts with guiding in a stone head. For steel, I use grinding stones and 1800 tr/min with water cooling. I also made a measuring tool to set the head flat.

Joris Deckers
Belgium, EU

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Shop Solutions March 2023

If I’m not using torque plates, I tape up both sides and trim out the bores. I use painter’s tape, which comes off easily and doesn’t leave any glue residue. I get much less oil in the spray washer this way.

Shop Solutions February 2023

Check out February’s shop tips and tricks.

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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.

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

November 2022 Shop Solutions

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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.