September 2022 Shop Solutions – Engine Builder Magazine

I like to use reamers to clean out oil passages in old engine blocks that have been sitting around for a long time and are rusty. If you use an oversized +.001″ reamer, you will have perfectly clean oil passages.

Dave Matton D and D Auto Machine Bloomington, MN


I often feel like people will space the oil ring top rail wrong. The upper scraper ring rail should have the same clearance as the 2nd (scraper) ring above it at operating temperature. Spreading it the same way is a secure fit. The conical gap in the second ring will open when the face is seated, but will close at operating temperature. This completes the path for any “pressure spike” to escape via the oil ring groove drain holes. If the upper oil rail is tight, it will effectively have the same detrimental effect as having the wiper ring tighter than the upper ring (compression), upsetting the seal. A properly functioning ring assembly needs a controlled path for pressure spikes to escape, to avoid disturbing the seal. This is especially important with gas pistons or rings. Bonus tip, grind 3-4 at a time to increase stability and not have a lot of fly end trailing. This way they won’t grab the wheel and bend.

Ron Flood
cedar machine
North Branch, MN


When square decking blocks, I simply take a measurement from each corner of the decking to the parallel support bar. Choose the lowest side and bridge it first. Then roll the block and even out that side.

Bruce Serene
Hillsboro Race Engines
Hillsboro, KS


To facilitate and speed up the assembly of the cranks in the grinder, and especially the lathe for polishing, I have made inserts for different engine families. Delron, or that type of material, works great, and I give them about 0.001 inches of clearance so they’re reasonably stable.

Randy Torvinen
Torvinen machine
Menahga, MN


I like to keep my super scrapers sharp. Here’s an easy little way to touch them up. I squared off a piece of scrap in my factory and drilled the hole in the same pattern, so it’s nicely square. I drilled the hole just below the .375 tool post size for my boring bar diamond lathe, then trimmed it down to size for a good snug fit. Place the fixture on the pole, place the scraper on the diamond overlay so it lays flat, then tighten the clamp. Swipe it back and forth with the wheel running a few times and check your edge. It doesn’t take long and they’ll scratch like new again!

Jake Samson
Sampson racing engines
Inver Grove Heights, MN


I created this simple chuck holder to make it easier to change chucks on my lathe and hand crank grinder. Made from PVC pipe, a farm gate post bolt (or fully threaded rod), and hardware, this adjustable chuck holder allows the chuck to slide easily over the spindle. Used with a wooden board to protect machine tracks, changing chucks is quick and effortless. No more struggling to lift and hold a heavy 6-12 inch chuck to the spindle. The gate bolt is hand tightened to bring the two PVC pipes together, by raising the chuck or loosened to allow the PVC pipes to separate, by lowering the chuck. PVC pipe moves relatively easily from side to side of wood, allowing for effortless alignment and support when installing or removing the mandrel. Clamping a length of tubing into the chuck provides a convenient handle for safer handling of the chuck to and from the machine.

Tom Nichols
Machine and Automotive Supply, Inc
Joshua, Texas

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