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Engine prep and assembly aids

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Engine prep and assembly aids

Goodson Shop Supplies offers every tool and shop supply item required for engine builders/rebuilders.

Whenever you’re prepping an engine block for assembly (after all machining work has been performed), it’s critical to wash out all of the bores, including mains, cylinders, lifters and the cam tunnel.

In this review, I tried out their 2-inch camshaft bore brush and their 4 1/2-inch cylinder washing brush.

In addition, I also tried out their new urethane piston hammer during an engine assembly.

Washing cam bores and cylinders

When washing an engine block, hot soapy water is need to remove machining oils and metal particulates from bore surfaces. Cleaning the camshaft bores is critical not only to remove particles that might contaminate the engine’s oiling system, but to provide a clean surface for cam bearing installation.

Any buildup of contaminants on the cam bore surfaces can lead to excessive interference fitting of the cam bearings, which can result in slight out-of-round in the installed bearings.

The need to clean cylinder bores should be obvious. Any and all particulates must be removed from the microscopic valleys created by the honing process in order to provide proper piston ring seating and operation.

By using a dedicated-diameter (the brush diameter is larger than the bore to be washed), the dense mix of bristles provides an interference fit into the bore, allowing the dense interlaced matrix of bristles to flex and apply slight pressure, cleansing out contaminants from even the finest machined/honed surfaces.

All of the washing brushes feature long stems/handles to allow easy full-reach cleaning through the bore. After dipping the brush into a clean container of hot soapy water (my personal preference is Dawn dish washing liquid), run the brush through the bore fully, in a repetitive stroke and varying clock/rotational movement. After an initial wash of the bores, rinse with hot water and repeat the hot soapy water washing/rinsing several times (rinsing the brush in-between wash cycles).

Once all bores are thoroughly cleaned and rinsed, the bores are then air dried using compressed air. Once the surfaces are dry, you must immediately apply a light coat of oil to the bare cast iron surfaces to prevent surface rust (which will occur very quickly if not lightly lubed). While we’re only reviewing cylinder and cam bore brushes here, naturally the entire block must be washed at this point including lifter bores, oil passages, decks, mains, exterior, etc.

The Goodson brushes, designed specifically for dedicated bore diameters, did a great job of cleaning machined bore surfaces. The nylon bristles are sturdy and should provide a long usable life. (I have Goodson bore brushes that I’ve used for the past six years and are still going strong.) Goodson’s array of brush diameters and lengths are dedicated specifically for engine cleaning, and are not generic bristle brushes that might be available at hardware stores. These are designed by engine pros for engine pros.

Camshaft bore brushes are offered in both 2 1/4-inch and 2 1/2-inch diameters. Cylinder washing brushes are offered in an array of diameters including 2 3/4-inch, 3 1/2-inch, 4 1/2-inch and 5 inch. Remember that the brushes are intentionally larger in diameter than the bore in question. For instance, when cleaning a 4-inch bore, the 4 1/2-inch bore brush would apply. Brush lengths are also designed for engine cleaning.

The cam bore brush allows a maximum reach of 34 inches, and the cylinder brushes offer 16 inches of reach.

Driving the piston

Anyone who has assembled engines knows that a blunt instrument is usually required to nudge a piston (fitted with rings) into a cylinder, as the piston/ring package transitions from the piston ring compressor into the bore, and often to gently move the piston/rod assembly further down the bore in order for the connecting rod upper bearing/saddle to contact the crankshaft journal. Most commonly, the blunt end of a hammer handle is used to accomplish this. Well, here’s a better idea.

In order to provide engine builders with a dedicated purpose-designed tool for this task, Goodson introduced their PK-200 piston installing hammer. Made from dense urethane (non-splitting, non-mushrooming material), the piston hammer features an extended nose that allows a deep reach into the cylinder. The overall length (top of head to tip of the handle) is 13 inches. The head features two noses, including a short 2-inch-long head and the extended 5 1/4-inch-long head.

Instead of using the hammer handle-end to tap the piston, the operator can maintain a proper grip on the handle while using the extended convex-faced nose to nudge the piston. I tried this hammer on two recent engine assemblies, and fell in love with this design. This hammer should be wiped clean and stored in a clean drawer, and reserved for piston work only. It’s one of the “clean” tools that aids in engine assembly and deserves to be treated as such.

In addition to the design (the wonderfully convenient extended nose) of the piston hammer, the dense urethane construction offers a no-worry cleanliness aspect. As compared to a wooden hammer handle or rubber-coated hammer handle, the urethane material is easy to clean, and will not introduce contaminants to the piston and bore area. A wooden handle can easily leave splinters/wood particles in the bore, and a rubber handle could easily contain small dirt or metal particles that can be deposited onto the piston dome. The PK-200 isn’t just a hammer, it’s a dedicated engine assembly tool.   ●


• CBB-200 (2-inch camshaft bore brush)

• CWB-45 (4 1/2-inch cylinder washing brush)

• PK-200 (piston installing hammer)


Goodson Tools & Supplies

156 Galewski Dr.

Winona, MN 55987-0847

(800) 533-8010

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