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Technical Easy, cheap engine test stand?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by vintage44, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. vintage44
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 280

    from NY
    1. New York H.A.M.B.ers

    Ok, guys. I'd like to be able to just bolt my SBC to something to get it started and run for no more than a minute or so to see if it's operational. No running long enough to get it too hot, just long enough to make sure it does run. I have a rotating head engine stand and I know it will hold up to a non-running engine, but would it stand up to a RUNNING engine (no 6k rpms, now). I have also looked at JEGS 2 pc engine storage stand as well as their (APPEARING, at least) strong welded one piece stands (the lower profile ones) with and without casters. I know there are top of the line ones out there for $1000 -$2500, but on SS they're a bit out of my price range. I've even heard of using wooden planks to create one - just can't remember where I came across that. Well, that's my dilemma (current dilemma, anyway). Suggestions? Thanks for any help.
  2. for a minute or so? a tire will work fine. i have tested engines sitting on just the y-pipe.
  3. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,660

    from Quincy, IL

    ^^^^^^^^^^this........and it is traditional!! :D

    I was about 12 years old, in the mid '50s, and saw that being done in a 'junk yard' and was kind of amazed at the time. No doubt that has been going on for a very long time before I stumbled onto it.

  4. That's a wood box around the oil pan on wheels. Full break in on this.
    I've ran them on the ground too,
    anthony myrick and LOU WELLS like this.

  5. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,350


    I know a lot of guys that fire them up sitting on the floor, or resting in a tire, still lightly hung from the picker.
    Another option would be a cradle, the ones used for storage.
    Id imagine one would work for a quick fire up providing the flywheel/starter clears the rear mount.
    One like these
  6. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    If you are going to only do it for a minute, the guys are right, do it on the garage floor with something under it for a cushion. For a longer period of time, a friend of mine's Brother in Law built a really nice test stand out of lumber. Crazy as it sounds, he actually did a nice job of it. He used 2 x 6 for the main rails, strengthened the joints with those metal plates they use to join roof trusses, and he put casters under it.

    When my buddy told me about it I thought it would be a hokey looking deal, but we all stood around in amazement when we actually saw it. He used drag car front and mid plates for the mounts, put a radiator on it, a battery tray, and gauges. He fired up the sbc and it sat there running as if it was on an expensive break in stand.

    My buddy said "If he put a driveshaft on it he could drive it around !" :D:D

  7. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,710

    seb fontana
    from ct

    Something i made years ago..

    Attached Files:

  8. elba
    Joined: Feb 9, 2013
    Posts: 618


    I have run SBC on regular engine stand many times. Put a water hose in it and crank r up . I always let my neighbors know first. Many would come to watch.
  9. just block it up on the floor or on an old tire, hook a come-a-long or chainhoist and hook to something overhead, so if you goose the throttle it won't torque and roll over on it's side.
  10. If that stand will hold a 800 lb Jag V12, it should hold anything.... LOL!
  11. MeanGene427
    Joined: Dec 15, 2010
    Posts: 1,487

    from Napa

    I built my test/ run-in stand for my 427 Fords from a simple Stumpy's holding stand- I got the "W" type, wider so it will clear T-pans. I bolted it to an old strong warehouse cart with HD casters, made a mount on the front to hold a big station wagon radiator with a WallyWorld $20 box fan in front of it, and simple adjustable mounts to tie a bellhousing on the other end. The whole thing sits up on another steel table with casters while I work on it, then set it on the floor to fire it off.
  12. I'm in the process of making my own (for my A banger) out of a spare T frame & A cross member (so I can mount a radiator)...just need to add casters, battery box, fuel tank, and paint.


    Total cost - $65
    Martin Harris likes this.
  13. with a coat of asphaltom [sp] it will look like a million bucks.
    gwhite likes this.
  14. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,445


    I know a guy who uses an old cast iron SBC bellhousing/starter, and angle iron cut/welded/bolted to the bellhousing and the front of the engine. He also uses a garden hose connected to the intake manifold water neck, and just lets water run out the water pump to the driveway/street. A battery, some cables, and a few wire leads he throws together gets it all done. He sells a lot of stuff, and people almost always want to hear an engine run. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
  15. 97
    Joined: May 18, 2005
    Posts: 1,628


    Shopping trolley
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
  16. GearheadsQCE
    Joined: Mar 23, 2011
    Posts: 2,622


    I just did this with my Chevy 6. Bought it as a non-running engine. Mounted it to my swivel engine stand, left the cherry picker hooked up for safety, filled it with water and fired it up. (Left belt off) Added a battery tray and switch panel for future use. You can run like this for at least 5 minutes. The water gets warm but not boiling. Have done the tire thing too, but now I'm bucks up:p
  17. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,118

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    That's Killer! Once you add a radiator, you should add a T or A grille shell and headlights.
    Dig Nerbal Kint's foldable setup. Hang it on the shop wall when not in use.
  18. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,645


    Homeless person engine stand.
  19. bob cutler
    Joined: Jul 8, 2009
    Posts: 291

    bob cutler

    001.JPG Here's mine, put together with scrap parts. Its broke in a lot of cams, got the junk yard dog motor on it today running, this motor has been in 6-8 different cars and trucks that me and my friends have, nice to have a spare running small block around!
    fiftyv8 likes this.
  20. Nice units if you're doing more than one.
    My grandpa and uncle had a wrecking yard- lots of "see, it runs!" sitting on the ground, blub blub blub. It works fine for that and it's as cheap as dirt!
  21. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,907


    This is the video I took while test firing my Cad 500 for my haul everything here and there truck.

    When I was teaching auto shop we had test stands that were basically the framework for a table with a rectangle of angle iron and four legs with casters. Mounts to fit the engine we had in that stand, brackets for a radiator and a small dash with an ignition switch and temp and oil pressure gauges.
  22. Nice idea, They are respectfully called " Buggies" in the south.
  23. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,991


    I've built 2 run in stands both are gone now. Both take up too much room unless you can throw them out behind a barn.
    1st was a torched off frame clip from an 80's monte carlo, long as the rear of the block and added uprights to the bellhousing bolts, the front went to a cut down radiator support, all suspension was torched off. Just rails and a radiator, mounted gages on the rad support, great for breaking in cams With a set of manifolds bolted on.
    2nd was same idea built from tubing, battery, full guages, alternator, to do cam breakins and basic tuning.
    I was selling a lot of street performance rebuilds and circle track claimer engines at the time so it was very useful to get it up to temp and set the valves on solid cams, and do a basic tune for other guys. The circle track guys were really rough on things cam break in was a suggestion to them.

    Test fire stand like your talking about could just be a tire.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
  24. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,305

    Atwater Mike

    When I had my shop, lots of room afforded me the space to have a stationary engine stand that would accommodate a variety of engines.
    Turlock swap meet (1980) I found some guys with the front half of a '32 Ford frame, stock front and center crossmembers.
    I used the front rails and front member, straight tube at rear, 56" back. 3 sets of frame mounts fit Chrys hemi, flathead V8, small & big block Chev., and small block Ford.
    Nice sandblasted rails were painted by my bodyman next door, stood on strong 4X4 square tube legs, with casters.
  25. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,304

    from USA

  26. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,808

    Blue One
    from Alberta

  27. ski
    Joined: Jan 21, 2008
    Posts: 104

    from San Diego

    For just checking the condition of a newly acquired engine I just start them up on the floor with a hose and no thermostat for cooling. I block them or bolt a 4 foot 4X4 to the trans mount or let the exhaust stabilize it like in this case. When I had a big tree in my yard I used to just hang them. I'd really like to build a universal run stand for more permanent use.
  28. ski
    Joined: Jan 21, 2008
    Posts: 104

    from San Diego

    Now that I look at the video I remember I had this one strapped to a harbor freight wheel dolly which is what I usually store them on. I probably have a dozen of those things and can never scrape up four at a time for their intended use. I've seen guys weld attachment points and brackets to these dollys as well to make them a bit more specific to certain engines.
  29. Lungfish
    Joined: Aug 15, 2019
    Posts: 12


    Hello. I thought I’d add to an older thread instead of starting a new one. I’m coming down the home stretch on my 6 cylinder in-line engine rebuild, but the replica car kit is delayed by the whole Coronavirus thing. So I’m thinking of testing and tuning on a DIY run stand in the meantime.

    For longer running, can any basic radiator be used for the run stand? Or should it be one that will be used in the actual car?

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