12. Cam Bearing Installation Tool
Every engine builder should own one of these. While this tool is only used for a single assembly process, it's essential if the user is going to build more than one engine. Progressing from the front of the engine to the distributor, each camshaft-bearing orifice diameter is slightly larger than the previous one, which allows several bearings to be paced on one parallel axis inside the cylinder block. A special tool with specific sliders must be used to install each of the bearings. Each slider matches up to the individual bearing size and allows the engine builder to gently knock the camshaft bearings into place. This cam-bearing installation tool is a great choice for the garage enthusiast who plans on building a few engines a year and doesn't want to wait for the machine shop.
13. Rod Bolt Stretch Gauge
When a bolt is tightened, its threads are pulled against the receiving threads to create a fastening effect as the material stretches a minute amount. Bolt torque is a measurement of thread resistance, while bolt stretch is the actual amount of the bolt clamping. In order to properly fasten a bolt, you can't strictly rely on a torque reading. If possible, each rod bolt should be stretched to the manufacturer's tolerance regardless of the torque rating. By torqueing each bolt, the engine builder may gain peace of mind knowing that the rod bolts will not loosen during operation. Proform Products offers this handheld rod bolt stretch gauge that uses a dial indicator to determine before and after (stretched) readings.
14. Rod Vise
Engine building requires the measuring of bearing clearances, which means the connecting rod caps must be removed and torqued into place several times before the engine reaches final assembly. This connecting rod vise allows the engine builder to support the rod safely by making sure the rod does not experience torsional twist as the cap bolts are tightened or loosened.
15. Rod Splitting Fixture
As mentioned in the previous rod vise section, removing connecting rod caps can be quite difficult. Instead of pulling and twisting something out of shape, it's a good idea to invest in a rod-splitting fixture. This simple tool places its expanding jaws inside the rod's big end before a leveraged arm expands its jaws. Once expanded, the cap is separated from the rod main body without any harm. Using the right tools for the job not only makes things easier, it can keep from damaging valuable engine parts as well.
16. Valve Height Micrometer
Camshaft lobe lift, rocker arm ratio, and valvespring setup must all work together in order to make sure there is enough clearance for each of these valvetrain parts to operate properly. As the lift of the valve increases, valvespring height decreases, which makes it very important that the distance from the valvespring retainer to the cylinder head spring seat is predetermined before the engine runs. A valve height micrometer measures the total valvespring retainer travel before the engine is even turned over. Collapsed seals, binding springs, and worn metal pieces are all problems you can avoid ahead of time with a height micrometer.
17. Valvespring Compressor
If you'll be doing cylinder head work in the garage, a heavy-duty Proform valvespring compressor is a must. Once the cylinder heads are off the engine, this tool is extremely useful in the removal of valves, locks, retainers, and springs. Its hand-operated design and the extendable arm allow it to be used on a variety of cylinder head designs. As long as the collapsed valvespring tension does not peak beyond the user's ability to compress the valvespring by hand, this tool will work well for the average garage enthusiast.
18. Leak Down Gauge
Cylinder pressure can be lost due to improper ring seating, broken rings, worn valve seats/guides, a burned piston, or a blown head gasket. All of these problems snuff power and in some cases they will lower engine vacuum. In order to diagnose them, you must perform a cylinder leak-down test. Proform offers its dual leak-down cylinder pressure tester that requires an adapter fitting in a spark-plug hole. Once compressed air fills a cylinder, the gauge is calibrated to a manufacturer's pre-set position before providing the percentage of leakage. While Proform recommends using its pre-calibrated set position as the starting point, the industry leak-down incoming air standard usually allows 80 psi in the cylinder before the test is preformed.
19. Cranking Compression Gauge
In order to make considerable horsepower, four major ingredients are required: air, fuel, spark, and compression. While the first three variables can be diagnosed as external factors, the process of compression is mainly an internal function. This requires a cranking compression tester that uses an adapter fitting threaded into a spark-plug hole that connects the gauge to the cylinder. Once connected to the cylinder, the engine is turned over using the starter motor. After a few crankshaft revolutions, the gauge will display the amount of compression inside the cylinder. Street and strip engines running a 9:1 compression ratio and a healthy but streetable camshaft sporting less than 235 degrees of duration at 0.05 inches should read somewhere between 165 psi and 200 psi, depending on the application.
20. Torque Wrench 1/2-inch Drive
All bolts require a recommended torque specification (a measurement of resistance) that should be considered when fastening threads (see "Rod Bolt Stretch Gauge" in this section). Some bolts cannot be accessed from the bottom side to measure stretch, which leaves the engine builder with only one option. Our Craftsman torque wrench is designed to fasten bolt threads to a predetermined torsional load. When using a torque wrench, be sure to lubricate the bolt threads and face to ensure as little resistance as possible. TIP: After using this tool, remove all tension from the internal torque regulating spring by placing the torque setting at zero. This will ensure that the torque wrench reads accurately the next time it is used.
21. Dampener Puller
In order to remove the timing cover (special covers excluded), the harmonic dampener must come off first. Due to the press-fit design, it can only be removed using a specifically designed pulling tool. This Matco Tools harmonic dampening puller kit allows the removal of just about any dampener imaginable. Course threads, fine threads, and thick and thin dampeners will all come off with a breeze. Even though the kit is designed to remove dampeners, it will also pull a few other pressed-on items as well. For a complete professional kit for less than a $100, this Matco item is top-notch piece.