Your work area doesn't have to be as nice as this, but to properly build race engines, you
Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from Jeff Huneycutt's latest book, How to Build Chevy Small-Block Circle-Track Racing Engines. Huneycutt is a veteran motorsports writer and a regular contributor to Stock Car Racing. The book can be purchased by calling CarTech at 1-800-551-4754 or by going online at www.cartechbooks.com.
When planning your engine build, one of the first items to address must be the location where the work will be performed. For most non-professional engine builders, a corner of the garage or workshop winds up as the engine assembly area. This is fine, but if you are going to experience any measure of success, there are a few requirements for you to keep in mind.
The most important thing is that the area is absolutely clean. You cannot be too meticulous in making sure all your engine parts are clean during the assembly process, and this is impossible in a dirty work area. Your assembly area must be separated from dirty work areas to keep contaminants off of your parts. This may sound obvious, but it's a bad idea to try to assemble a race engine in the main area of your racecar shop. There's just too much dust and trash that gets blown around during the day-to-day process of maintaining a racecar. Find an area that you can clean to your standards and keep it that way.
A good engine stand is one of the keys to a stress-free engine build. Try to find one that
Be sure your shop area has enough room for you to work comfortably. We're not talking about an aircraft hangar here, but a clear floor space of at least 6x10 feet is the minimum required for an engine assembly stand and for you to comfortably work around it. You will also need a workbench or countertop to work from as well as a place to store your tools and engine components. A solid, smooth floor is nice, as well as a large entrance door for rolling your engines in and out.
Finally, don't forget that you need plenty of good lighting. This may sound more like a luxury than a necessity, but building a quality engine means being able to take accurate measurements and carefully inspect the quality of fit between components. This is difficult to do in poor lighting, and struggling to see is tiring and often leads to mistakes.
It doesn't have to be in your assembly area, but you will need easy access to a cleaning area and an air compressor. Most engine builders prefer to use a solvent tank for component cleaning, and this is definitely the best option. You can also get away with a workbench, a bucket of solvent, and a few brushes in a pinch. It is important that you do not combine cleaning and assembly on the same workbench.
Access to a compressed air supply will come in handy for everything from blowing water or solvent off of freshly washed components, to operating air tools. Most shops already have an air compressor. If you do, be sure you can reach your assembly area with an air hose. If you don't already own an air compressor, consider purchasing a small 110-volt unit. These are available from many home improvement stores for just a few hundred dollars. They can plug into a standard wall outlet and come in handy for a multitude of jobs-not just engine building. Look for a compressor capable of maintaining five or six scfm at 90 psi.
A good air compressor will find a multitude of uses in engine building and other tasks aro
You will need an engine hoist, or "cherry picker," for handling completed engines. It make
When building a race engine, you will spend almost as much time at the cleaning tank as yo