Tech Solutions: Tips for Performance Engine Builders

Sep 17, 2009

Tech Solutions is a section that runs in select issues of Hotrod & Restoration, providing an opportunity for our readers who are professional performance engine builders to share their expertise with other builders.

To submit a Tech Solution, email Mike Mavrigian at Tech Solutions is sponsored by MAHLE.

Eliminate Manifold End Seal Leaks

Frustrated by intake manifold end seal leaks? Drill 1/8-in. holes in the front and rear rail surfaces. Then push round toothpicks through the rubber or cork end seals and cut off the excess toothpicks with a side cutter. This will eliminate oil leaks caused by pushed-over rail seals. Ben L. Gregory Carolina Engine Exchange Charlotte, North Carolina

Salvage a Chevy Head with Cracked Bolt Holes

Don’t junk a Chevy head because of cracks in the bolt holes. While the head is on a seat and guide machine, drill out the hole for a 391 Ford guide. Install a guide with the excess sticking out about 0.020-in. on the head surface. Cut the top flush and chamfer and surface the head. James McClendon B & A Precision Engine Rebuilders Van Buren, Arkansas

Easily Remove Exhaust Manifold Studs

To remove stubborn exhaust manifold studs in cast iron heads, heat up the area around the stud. Using a garden hose or a bucket of cold water, cool the manifold quickly. We’ve found that the studs will remove easily and the manifold won’t crack. Chuck Ashley CA Machine Shop Waterbury, Vermont

Quick Verification Check

Here’s a quick check during assembly for bent/tight connecting rods, out-of-place insert tabs or tight wrist pins. Just before the pin is installed, place the crank key way at 12- o’clock. Then “rattle” each rod side-to-side. Rotate the crank 90 degrees and rattle the rods again. Repeat two more times at 90-degree position intervals of the crank. If any rod is tight or does not rattle, check for a bent rod, tight wrist pin or an out-of-place insert tab. Robert E. Lee Capps, Jr. Capps and Capps Denton, Texas

Easy Port Matching

When gasket-matching intake ports on heads, make a few stepped dowels for registration purposes. One end of the dowels should be stepped to fit into the threaded holes on the intake side of the head. The other end of the dowels should precisely fit the bolt holes in the intake gasket. This allows you to slip the intake gasket perfectly into place on the head so that you can scribe around the port to match the gasket to the intake ports. Len Morgan Everything Automotive Wapwallopen, Pennsylvania