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Engine builders NOT created equal

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by gands, May 19, 2011.

  1. gands
    Joined: Mar 10, 2011
    Posts: 34

    gands
    Member
    from arkansas

    Update: Been awhile since I started this adventure, the day job has made for slow progress. The roller sounds sweet on the run stand, and I might even get the rest of the car done by the time the track opens. P.S. the huge breather will not be run, it's only to keep squirels out.
     

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  2. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    I've learned the hard way that not all machine shops are created equal either. I have used the same machine shop for over 25 years but in the past few years I have had some issues with work they have done for us. So I started looking around and found a local shop that only builds high performance motors and have been using them for the past couple of motors.

    The first day I walked in I knew they were going to do good work. They have a 3300 hp dyno and had a 2200 hp BBC sitting on it. The shop was spotless and had every piece of good equipment a guy could want. When the first motor we sent them came back for us to assemble we could see they took extra pains to make it perfect, even grinding the oil return holes smooth and aligning the writing on the brass freeze plugs so they all sat the same way. Might be a little thing but it shows attention to detail.

    They were a little more money, but not bad, and certainly worth every cent. Oh, and as for the 60 over thing, the 351 engine they are doing for me right now has to go 60 over and I asked the owner of the shop if that was a problem. He said "No, we do it all the time and if you think about it that is only 30 over per side on the piston."

    Don
     
  3. mike hohnstein
    Joined: Dec 4, 2011
    Posts: 262

    mike hohnstein
    BANNED
    from wisconsin

    Built a 455 for a guys GTO, a couple years after the fact asked him WTF, if he got it on the road or what. Said he fires it and lets it IDLE for a half hour then revs it up 'real good'. Does that once a month. Deal is it needs serious body work and he made poor choice on body shops, probably get it done some day, cam will be flat and I'll be a the 'poor choice' of engine men.
     
  4. ray-jay
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 200

    ray-jay
    Member
    from Buford GA

    I consider an engine test stand as a necessity for anybody building engines for money. The test stand is just cheap insurance against the dummies you run up against on occasion [ not saying the op is a dummy in this instance ]. With a test stand the builder AND the buyer know the engine is ready to install with no surprises. The cam is broken in, heads retorqued, valves hot lashed, timing set, good oil pressure, no leaks, etc etc.

    I once helped a bud assemble a motor that was prepped by a "name" builder. The "name" builder had double nutted the main studs down into their holes which is a complete no no. Of course the crank wouldn't turn when you started torquing the mains.

    Another BIG name mopar shop here in Atlanta took a Fluiddamper and hit the bore with a carbide burr to make it slide onto the [high dollar ] crank snout of a 396" stroker 340. The snout was the perfect size and the new fluiddamper went on normally. I did heat the damper lightly and chilled the snout with some ice but it was really not necessary.
     
  5. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,884

    dirty old man
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Don't want to steal this thread, but I'm still trying to figger out what you mean by an oil plug under the driver's side head????????????
    Dave
     
  6. sbin
    Joined: Mar 30, 2011
    Posts: 100

    sbin
    Member

    Getting ready to build my first Nailhead.Have spent hours researching the engine and assembling specs and torque values.
    Stopped by the machine shop I deal with and talked with the owner about the work.The guy has ground crankshafts and done machine work for 40 years.
    His answers matched and were more detailed than some of the best I found on the web.
    After he finishes the block, crank and head work I will check everything with micrometer, dial indicator and other measuring devices before assembling.
    Trust but verify!
    Lots of hacks and a few quality artisans who can have a bad day.
    Have a plan listen to quality advice and don't go cheap on the mechanical to buy shiny bolt on crap.
    Can't tell you how many billet/chrome barges with top if the line paint I have seen that couldn't get out of their own way or couldn't be driven any distance reliably.
     
  7. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,854

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    Had a 351-W built by a shop that specialized in Ford motors,specified a rv grind cam but has one that starts making power around 2000 rpms and was promised the exhaust port would have some port work done to them but probably not done. Due to all the horror stories I heard I am probably the lucky one that got a motor that lasted enough to put about 18,000 miles on it,going to change the heads and install a stock 351 cam to get rid of the valvetrain noise it had from day one.
     
  8. dutch rudder
    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 146

    dutch rudder
    Member
    from houston

    people around houston:
    i have a FANTASTIC machinist, who builds race engines for a living, and has a in-house dyno. I also have a FANTASTIC carb builder, who will test on a live engine before giving it back, or test it on your engine if you bring the car buy. Both are top notch- i have built 7 or so engines with them easy, and 3-4 carbs. all run like fuel injection.

    from american V8's to import 6 cylinders, i have done them all there.
    turned a 351M into a 409 that made 360 hp and 490 ft/tq, made 3-4 BMW engines there, one makes over 600 hp.
    Ill get you hooked up with them if you need it!
    tot zeins!
     
  9. 150hp??? ...I got 171 hp ARW out of that engine and it ran for 3 seasons at langley speedway. Never freshened up and won track champion the last year :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  10. as a full time professional engine builder and machinist, this thread was a real interesting read.
     
  11. fortynut
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,038

    fortynut
    Member

    I want to point out one thing: most machine shops hang or fall not on the folks you see, but those you don't. The 'face' you talk to when you 'splain how you want your machine work done, is not always the mule who plows the field. Having worked in a machine shop, briefly though it was, I realized mistakes are made by 'the little people' whose jobs are in the balance if they screw-up. And oft times, when they do, mum's the word, leaving the customer the first to know. An' I ain't confessin', or rattin' out nobody. Even if I saw it my own eyes.
     
  12. I use a couple of local guys for my machining. They both build highly regarded race motors. I do my own assembly. I do agree. Talk to the racers.
     
  13. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,919

    partsdawg
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Minnesota

    There is a small engine shop I use 30 miles from me and plenty of shops in between I wont use.1 man shop with a good reputation.After 3 engines that took abuse and had no issues I am dropping off another block next week.What I like is his hands are the only ones touching the engine.A well known shop near me does a lot of engines and the owner built his rep on engines he built.Now he runs the shop,is on the phone and b.s.'s with customers out front but builds no engines.His novices build the engines which to me isnt the same.If it's a XXX engine I want XXX and his experience building it.
     

  14. Go back and take a look at the picture in post #23.

    At the back of the engine you can see the horizontal, machined surface where the rear edge of the intake manifold sits on the block (this is where you usually use silicone to seal the end of the intake to the block) ... there is also a hole on that same surface for the oil pressure sender ... now, if you look at the deck surface the drivers side head sits on (not just around the cylinders but look up near where the deck surface meets the surface the intake end sits on) there is a a hole on the deck surface, right up near where the intake manifold sits ... this hole is supposed to be fitted with a plug. The hole can still be seen when a head is installed BUT the hole is also partially covered by the head, so the plug can not be added after the head has been installed.
     

  15. The arrow shows the hole for the plug ...
     

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  16. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,884

    dirty old man
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Your pic is none too clear, but are you maybe talking about the holes in the intake manifold mounting surface in some blocks that were put there to accept studs molded into the rubber gaskets for the ends of the intake manifold?
    Really, I'm not trying to be a smartass, just never found an oil hole back there except the one for the oil pressure sending unit or line to a mechanical gauge. And I've built literally dozens of these engines.
    Dave

    On edit: OK, I went back thru the thread and found another pic you posted that was more clear and in focus. You're talking about a galley plug that is driven in rather than a screw in plug that I was envisioning! Yeah, there needs to be an expansion plug in that hole for sure, and I would be concerned about an engine builder that left it out!
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012

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