Shop Solutions – January 2024 - Engine Builder Magazine

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.


Before installing cam bearings, make sure to chamfer any oil holes and clean up back grooves of any sharp edges. This is especially critical with aluminum blocks. I like to give these areas a little buff on the mounted wheel to finish. This will prevent pulling or peeling that could contaminate an oil galley.

Ron Flood
Cedar Machine
North Branch, MN


When I need to mill something that’s hard to set-up and hold, I use this 19″ 3″x4″ 3/8″ thick angle iron. I just bolt on the head, ex manifold or whatever won’t work out on the machine’s mounting plate. I’ll mill slots for even more universal mounting if I make another one. Mine has many holes, slotted holes and whatever it takes to get the job done. I’ve even milled piston domes by setting them on a ring and a round bar thru the pin bore with a redi-rod threaded into that.

Randy Torvinen
Torvinen’s Machine
Menahga, MN


I made this drill guide to quickly center existing lug stud holes when upgrading to larger lug studs in axles. To begin, the round bar needs to be approximately 2″ long, and approximately 1/4″ larger in diameter than the drill bit’s size. Drill 1″deep into the short length of steel round bar. Taper the other end ~10 degrees. To use, slide the tool over the drill bit, then insert the tapered end into the existing hole to accurately center the drill bit.

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


We made our own reluctor wheel installation tool for LS engines, and it works like a charm. We used junk materials from around the shop, including an old valve stem, and have about 2 hours of labor into making it. A chunk of 1/2″ plate steel drilled to fit the flexplate/flywheel register on the crank, a valve stem that fits the locating hole on the reluctor wheel, and a pin that fits the blank hole on the flexplate/flywheel flange. It would be just as easy to make the same for other engines such as the Mopar Gen III Hemi.

Rich Jones
Redline Automotive, Inc.
Davie, FL


Sometimes, it is better to suck at your job instead of using an air blow gun to remove debris or chips away from your work piece. Using a vacuum will keep your work area cleaner along with reducing air borne irritants and possible eye damage.  I rigged up this foot switch operated vacuum to save time and my back. I have placed a vacuum by every “dirty” machine, which encourages cleanliness without the hassle of moving one around the shop.

Josh Mitchell
Mitchell Machine Works & Custom
Neligh, NE


My head porter and I developed this tool to keep all valve job bowl cuts identical. Very simple to make and quickly scribes exactly where to make cuts. Scribe is made from a carbide point from pocket metal scribe. It is epoxied into a drilled hole in the adjusting screw. An assortment of cut valve stems allow the tool to be used in a variety of different guides.

Eric Gartner
Performance Off Road
Shadyside, OH

You May Also Like

Shop Solutions June 2023

Engine and machine shop tips and tricks.


For a quick check or if I don't have a spring height mic that is small enough, I use a telescoping gauge to get the height off the head. Then I have various valve adjustment discs I use to simulate the retainer thickness and I don't have to re-adjust the snap gauge for the retainer thickness. I just set the gauge on the disc.  

May Shop Solutions 2023

Engine and machine shop tips and tricks.

April Shop Solutions 2023

Engine and machine shop tips and tricks.

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.

Other Posts

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.