Shop Solutions – February 2024 - Engine Builder Magazine

Shop Solutions – February 2024

Submit your Shop Solution at [email protected].

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.

Modified Mic

To quickly and easily measure the lash caps on late 2.0L and 2.5L Subarus with chain drive timing, I disassembled a 0″-1” micrometer and turned down the measuring side of the spindle so it will fit inside the lash caps. Having this measure makes final shim adjustment much quicker and easier.

mic for measuring

Tom Prodahl, Cylinder Head Service in Minneapolis, MN

Lifter Bushing

When it comes to installing lifter bushings, here’s a couple tips; Always deburr the top and bottom of the host bore, as well as any oil holes that intersect. This will prevent the dragging of material as the bushing is pressed in. A bearing scraper works excellent. Only use a light lubricating oil for install, as press fit lube can trap machining chips and honing grit and does not dissolve or flush out easily. This is mandatory with any bushing that has backside oil circuitry. In addition, make sure to polish and deburr any machining done to the lifter bushing. This is especially important with aluminum blocks, as any burrs can tear up the soft aluminum.

lifter bushings

Ron Flood, Cedar Machine in North Branch, MN

The Four-Way Slide

We often times trust our senses. I trust my sense of touch in what I call, The Four-Way Slide. The bounce test works, but this concentricity test tells you more. I slide the valve against the seat to the back, right, left, and back towards me. If the feel and movement is the same, the seat is very concentric to the valve guide. I manipulate the valve stem at the spring side with my other fingers and with practice it’s second nature. 

valve guide and seats

I always check each one when I’m cutting the seats. If it isn’t good, I influence the spindle on the Serdi or VGS20 toward the side with the biggest slide while floating to the center the spindle. If it starts cutting on what you found was the high side of the slide, it’ll be better.

Randy Torvinen, Torvinen’s Machine in Menahga, MN

The Wiggler

When using a wiggler to center a mill spindle on a center punch mark or layout lines, many machinists use a pencil to push on the wiggler’s pointer, until it runs true. However, risk of injury occurs when the pointer is pushed a tiny bit too far, and suddenly “kicks,” spinning while sticking out at 90-degrees. Avoid this risk by using a small box end wrench to gently push the stem. The wrench will contain the pointer if it should try to “kick.”


Tom Nichols, Automotive Machine & Supply, Inc in Cleburne, TX

Blending Cylinder Sleeves

In order to blend the bottom of a cylinder repair sleeve to the step, I have found it best to indicate the boring bar on the lower portion of the old cylinder that is left from leaving a bottom step. After installing the sleeve, the ID needs to be bored and honed to size. By indicating the machine to the bottom portion, rather than the sleeve ID, this will blend the sleeve to the old cylinder perfectly.

cylinder sleeve

Nick Jones, Automotive Machine in Fraser, MI

Make it Taller

Frustrated with my dowel pin puller not always working to remove the stubborn deck pins, I will put a few tack welds on an old rocker stud placed on top of the dowel pin. Anything would work, though a length of all thread might be best. Then, I take a socket, or once they are long enough, I’ll use a wrist pin with a washer and a nut and just jack them right out.

dowel puller

Big Don, Big Don’s Racing Engines in Point, TX

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