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Engine Assembly Tools - Tool Time

All About Cool Engine Assembly Tools

By Dakota Wentz, Photography by Dakota Wentz

Let's take a few seconds here to think. If you played baseball, would you show up to a game without a set of cleats? If you went to the lake, would you forget the boat? No, of course not. Why, then, would you take on the task of building a motor for your ride without the proper tools? Although you may be able to assemble your engine without the proper tools, it's kind of like running bases wearing a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors. To aid in your quest to build the baddest, most efficient motor, we laid out a floor plan to introduce you to some of the various engine assembly tool manufacturers out there. Take a look.

Mr. Gasket
Mr. Gasket (10601 Memphis Ave. #12, Dept. SC, Cleveland, OH 44144, www.mrgasket.com) Balancer Timing Tape is a convenient way to avoid the expense of having the harmonic balancer degreed. Mr. Gasket's precision-timing tapes are precisely accurate in calibration. They are designed for timing high-performance engines for increased performance and setting valve lash at the proper timing.

Moroso
Moroso (80 Carter Dr., Dept. SC, Guilford, CT 06437, 203/453-6571, www.moroso.com) offers this Harmonic Balancer Installation Tool. The 7/16-inch balancer install tool is heat-treated for strength and durability. It is CNC-machined, and provides a larger contact area to keep the harmonic balancer perpendicular with the centerline of the crankshaft for bind-free action. It comes with a black-oxide finish.

Permatex
Permatex (10 Columbus Blvd., Dept. SC, Hartford, CT 06106, 860/543-7500, www.permatex.com) Belt Dressing helps extend belt life. The dressing penetrates the cord fibers of V-belts to restore pliability and flexibility. It also prevents belt slippage due to heat, cold, dampness, dust, and glazing, and helps eliminate squeaking and slipping.

Pro-Blend
Pro Blend (800/331-9520, Dept SC, www.pro-blend.com) drag racing assembly lube helps eliminate galling, blueing, metal transfer, and oil starvation during break-in. It adheres to metal surfaces, will not drain off, and is designed to double valvespring life, stop cam and lifter failure, and stop pushrod tip wear.

Proform
Proform (P.O. Box 306, Dept. SC, Roseville, MI 48066, 586/774-2500, www.proformparts.com) offers a heavy-duty Rod Splitting Fixture tool. The tool is designed to separate the cap from the rod without damage. It operates by simply loosening the rod nuts by a couple of turns, then placing the rod onto the splitting fixture, and pulling the handle. The tool is portable for use with your benchtop vise.

SA Design Books
From SA Design Books (Available at Jeg's, 800/345-4545, Dept SC, www.jegs.com) is the Rebuilding The Small-Block Chevy Step-By-Step Videobook. The videobook shows the reader, in both book and video form, how to build a street or racing small-block. Rebuilding the Small-Block Chevy Step-by-Step Videobook is a step-by-step workbench book and DVD combination that shows you how to build a street or racing small-block Chevy in your own garage. The book includes over 600 photos and easy-to-read text that explains every procedure that a professional builder uses to assemble an engine from crankshaft to carburetor. The DVD includes over two hours of coverage, showing all the procedures that the book describes. Detailed sections show you how to disassemble a used engine, inspect for signs of damage, choose replacement parts, buy machine work, check critical component fit, and much more.

Standard Abrasive
Standard Abrasives (4201 Guardian St, Dept. SC, Simi Valley, CA 93063, 800/423-5444, www.standardabrasives.com) Engine Valley Trays keep gasket debris from entering the engine when cleaning off the old intake gaskets of your heads. Each kit includes a custom fit, reusable Valley Tray, eight foam intake port plugs, a gasket removal disc, and a holder pad with 1/4-inch diameter mandrel for your drill or air-powered die grinder.

Sunpro
The Sunpro (15825 Industrial Pkwy., Dept. SC, Cleveland, OH 44135, 216/898-9200, www.sunpro.com) Compression Tester kits feature a full 2 1/2-inch diameter gauge with an easy-to-read face with U.S. and metric scales, a 14-inch flexible oil and grease-resistant hose with 14 and 18mm ends that fit most spark plug holes. The kit also includes an external pressure relief valve. The kit helps the user to detect worn-out rings, burnt valves, and blown head gaskets.

Tavia Performance Products
Tavia Performance Products' (800/281-0767, Dept. SC, www.tavia.com) compact damper/gear puller bushings provide added protection to the internal thread on the crankshaft snout when using a puller to remove the damper or lower timing gear. Its dual-recessed design accommodates both flat-nosed and 90-degree pointed-end pullers. The puller is manufactured from alloy steel with a gold iridite corrosion-resistant finish.

Total Seal
Total Seal (22642 N. 15th Ave., Dept. SC, Phoenix, AZ 85027, 800/874-2753, www.totalseal.com) Quickseat Dry Film Powder is a powder that Total Seal has developed for quicker, more effective ring seating. It's used by spreading Quickseat on the cylinders and then assembling the engine as you usually would. In extensive dyno testing, the use of Quickseat in conjunction with Total Seal Gapless piston rings allowed for leakage rates to be 0-1 percent after about five minutes of break-in time on the engine.

VHT
VHT (PJH Brands, 8747 E. Via de Commercio, Dept. SC, Scottsdale, AZ 85258, 480/991-3137, www.pj1.com) Engine Assembly Lube is a special blend of high-grade protective lubricants formulated to drastically reduce friction on internal engine components. This unique, extreme-pressure formula eliminates the damage caused by initial startup in new and rebuilt high-performance engines. This easy-to-use spray reaches difficult-to-coat areas. It is also excellent for transmission overhauls and bearing replacements.

Milodon
From Milodon (2250 Agate Ct., Dept SC, Simi Valley, CA 93065, 805/577-5950, www.milodon.com) comes the Crankshaft Socket. This crankshaft-rotating socket slips over the crank snout and enables the builder to rotate a complete engine for assembly with ease. The socket is CNC-machined and gold irridited, and only works when the dampener is removed.

Manley Performance Products
Correct-length pushrods keep rockers centered on the valve tip and reduce stem and guide wear. That's why Manley Performance Products (1960 Swarthimore Ave., Dept. SC, Lakewood, NJ 08701, 732/905-3366, www.manleyperformance.com) developed this pushrod length checker. The checker instantly tells the engine builder what pushrod length is required.

Lakewood
The Lakewood (Mr. Gasket, 10601 Memphis Ave. #12, Dept. SC, Cleveland, OH 44144, 216/688-8300, www.mrgasket.com) Moto-Lift Plate is designed to help remove and install V-type internal combustion engines. The compact precision tool allows for various weights to keep the engine balanced, and is fabricated from a heavy-gauge steel plate.

Powerhouse Products
Powerhouse Products (800/872-7223, Dept. SC, www.powerhouseproducts.com) introduces their Pro Pushrod Length Checker. The checker works by installing the checker in place of a pushrod, and unscrewing it until the correct length and geometry is achieved. Correct length is measured by reading the height from the etched markings on the side of the tool, with each revolution equal to 0.050 inch.

B&B Performance Products
B&B Performance Products (693 Cross St, Dept. SC, Lakewood, NJ 08701, 732/364- 6700, www.stefs.com) Dial Caliper with Gauge precisely measures bores to 0.0005 inch. The range capacity is 2-6 inches, which accommodates the full spectrum of performance engine assembly requirements, including rod and crank bearings and piston bores. The tool also has a 6-inch depth capacity that lets you check bore tapers. The tool includes 11 anvils, a dial indicator, and a case.

ARP
ARP's (1863 Eastman Ave., Dept. SC, Ventura, CA 93003, 800/826-3045, www.arp-bolts.com) new ring compressors are CNC-machined from 6061-T6 billet tube material, and feature a true radius for each different bore diameter. They are relieved for wire O-rings on bottom, and Type 3 anodizing is used for long life. The bore size is prominently engraved in 3/4-inch high numbers for easy identification. Standard stocking sizes are from 4 to 4.65 inches. Non-stock sizes are also available.

Red Line Oil
Red Line Oil (6100 Egret Ct., Dept. SC, Benicia, CA 94510, 707/745-6100, www.redlineoil.com) Assembly Lube is designed for application to potential wear surfaces before assembly in order to prevent metal contact upon startup before adequate lubrication is supplied. Red Line Assembly Lube will mix with the oil and not plug filters. Red Line Assembly Lube can be used on all lubricated parts such as cams, followers, pistons, and bearings, and bolt threads.

Royal Purple
Royal Purple's (One Royal Purple Ln., Dept. SC, Porter, TX 77365, 888/382-6300, www.royalpurple.com) Max-Tuff assembly lube utilizes synthetic molecules that tenaciously adhere to metal surfaces to create a formidable, load-bearing physical barrier between surfaces. This minimizes the possibility of boundary conditions (metal-to-metal contact) while providing excellent protection to both ferrous and nonferrous metals against rust and corrosion.

Isky Racing Cams
From Isky Racing Cams (16020 S. Broadway, Dept. SC, Gardena, CA 90248, 323/770-0930, www.iskycams.com) is the degree wheel. The Isky degree wheel features permanent anodized calibrations in one-degree increments. It's made from heavy-gauge aluminum and instructions for finding T.D.C. are permanently etched on the face of the wheel. The wheel is 7 inches in diameter and has a 7/16-inch diameter center hole.

Lunati
The Lunati (A Holley Company, 11126 Willow Ridge Dr., Dept SC, Olive Branch, MS 38654, 662/892-1500, www.holley.com) Degree Wheel is CNC-machined with a 10-inch diameter and a 1.250-inch mounting hole. It comes complete with mounting hub and adapters for both 1/2-inch and 7/16-inch crankshaft bolts. The wheel is degreed on both sides. Side A is used for checking lobe centers and side B is for checking cam duration. Instructions are included. In addition, they have a Degree Wheel Kit that includes a 10-inch diameter degree wheel; a steel deck strap and a 1-inch dial indicator with magnetic base stand for easy use.

Crane Cams
Crane Cam's (530 Fentress Blvd., Dept. SC, Daytona Beach, FL 32114, 386/252-1151, www.cranecams.com) Cam Degreeing Tool is designed to degree the camshaft directly from the cam lobes. The accuracy of this tool eliminates the possibility of error from deflection in the mounting stand or indicator extensions. It's designed to work with 0.842-inch (GM) lifter bores. The tool includes adapters to work with hydraulic, solid, and roller cams and also uses a standard 1-inch travel dial indicator.

Harbor Freight Tools
From Harbor Freight Tools (800/423-2567, Dept. SC, www.harborfreight.com) is this heavy-duty steel frame engine stand which folds down to a compact size to conserve shop space when not in use. The stand features a 360-degree swivel head, five smooth rolling casters for easy maneuvering, and has a weight capacity of 2000 pounds.

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By Dakota Wentz
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