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Milling Engine Blocks On Home Mill

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  • #16
    Im referring to anything abrasive that uses a circular motion to remove old head gasket material that's been under compression and heat for a long time especially on aluminum surfaces,,, Im referring to anything that leaves a physical "dish" around coolant jackets and between cylinder bridges and the like - so much so that you can tell the direction in which the abrasive disc was running as it will eat into the leading edge of the head or block interruption,
    Besides some kind of chemical gasket removal that takes along time the only real safe way to do it is with a scraper - ESPECIALLY with aluminum,
    I do not give a rat's arss what brand of "disc" you have, if it's abrasive enough to remove cooked on head gaskets then it's abrasive enough to erode head and block material...
    Get a high quality scraper and keep it sharp and at the proper angle of attack - do not ram it into any studs or alignment dowels and hold it at the proper angle and you will get near perfect results - if you don't then your doing something wrong,

    this is not an area in proper engine assembly to try and beat "flat rate" - do not erode block or head material in order to "save time"

    a well tuned scraper followed by a quick hand buff up of scotch bright that develops a light grain around the block and heads parameter is the habit iv done for years - and that equates to hundreds of rebuilds without issue.

    many a hack may have gotten away with this type of bad practice in the past but the rules have changed, the big old thick compressible head gasket is on it's way out,
    multi-plate thin steel with very thin sealing material sprayed on is what's being used on most of the vehicles iv been working on - they will not conform to the types of deviation that iv been accustomed to seeing over the years...
    It's not a "short cut" if you have to do the job over again - and it's certainly not when messing with coolant system failure and extreme meltdown of engine components. take the time and do it right.

    some head gaskets are over .030" or more thick - half may stick to the head and half to the block - if your too lazy to try and remove the gasket properly then this means that your trying to wear it down with abrasive right next to area's that are bare metal... that's the very definition of "hack" especially if the engines material is aluminum...

    at least the new gaskets don't have much but a little sealing layer to remove so lazy non-thinking people will not be able to erode blocks and heads as bad as they used to - but this also means clean up with a scraper is a breeze so why not use one...

    the worst case scenario is happening right now - there are allot of gasket "upgrades" for different engines of the past that used the old gasket tech. --------- so you got hacks tearing the engines down and literally "grinding" off the old thick gaskets whilst creating incredible amounts of deviation on both block and head, then their installing the very unforgiving newer style gaskets, and the nature of the pattern of both block and head is such that many of these deviations are compound deviations from the hacks grinding just as hard on smaller bridge areas as they do on the broader surfaces - generally what Iv found is if someone is irresponsible enough to use an abrasive disc in the first place their sure not going to put this "two and two" part of the equation together , so you have this compound error - coupled to the fact that this particular type of deviation is terrible,,,
    it's not something like the length of the head or block - it's 10 times more critical - it's very close knit and there will be no room for "conformity" as in heads slightly flexing and such - so you think that the engine manufacturer's specs about the overall length is critical think again about what's going on a smaller scale - much more crucial.

    then a week later the car comes in on the hook and the hack mechanic looks under the hood and tells the people he's not going to warranty the engine because someone else has worked on it - then the customer says no-one else has touched the engine since, then the mechanic states that that's impossible because the timing cover is missing, then the customer does not even say a word - goes into the cars trunk and gets out a glob of 1lb smelly plastic and tells Mr. goodwrench he picked it up off the ground as soon as the tow truck left...

    If I sound a little perturbed about the whole thing It's because iv had to take care of countless repairs this way due to some hacks not having the foresight, it's the engine blocks that upset me the most... heads can be pulled and dealt with - but to do that with a block is a major event... iv come up with some ingenious ways of taking care of the problem with the engine still in the car... but it's still very time consuming and although a fraction of the cost still expensive...

    All because someone was trying to save a little time but not thinking about the consequences in the process, bad combination when it comes to major engine repair...

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    • #17
      Using abrasives on an assembled short block is sure to deposit grit in the engine.

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      • #18
        3M Rolocs have been responsible for more warranty claims and come-backs than possibly any type of gasket removal scheme ever attempted in the automotive industry. When I worked for a Chevrolet dealer out on the "left coast", GM sent a memo to all dealers stating that the use of these abrasive disc grinders was forbidden on warranty repairs. And that if their use had been instrumental in a component failure, the dealer would be charged accordingly....I think I still have a couple of them, new, and unused in my tool-box.
        No good deed goes unpunished.

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        • #19
          Im glad to hear you guys say that and that im not alone on this one, very important issue that iv had to deal with for decades and needed to rant about it so thanks for the back-up.

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          • #20
            Beats resurfacing engine parts by dragging them behind a car, with a couple of cinder blocks piled on.
            No good deed goes unpunished.

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            • #21
              I've considered loading engine and parts and dumping it but body's still great not much rust and I just drove 1450 kilometres and back for 200 dollars and filled once at the beginning and made it there and back on one tank full, how many big block trucks do you know of can do that/ Anyhow was out in shop again all night fiddling with some engines, than x Mike

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              • #22
                I would like to clarify I stuck a 81.4 gallon propane tank in the truck bed and there is a 90 litre one under the rear bumper, with the trucks new 2013 tssa certification sticker (only cost me 1640 dollars??) it now has a effective range of 1452 kilometers on propane and then on gasoline a couple hundred miles. Fill is rated at 80 percent hence the reduced capacity as to when I would just jam those tanks right full till the propane fill pump would stop, Its a big block 460 on .58 cent a litre propane. Runs well unfortunately all aopart now again for a fresh engine rebuild and some mods. Thanx all again Mike

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                • #23
                  That's a lot of propane, Mike. My 10-year-old American car would only do 4824.08 Km on that much fuel. And my motorbike would only manage 6837.27 Km out of the same amount. BTW, 58ยข per litre for propane works out to about $2.90 a gallon. And remember, propane has a lower BTU content than gasoline, so, you have to burn more of it to produce the equivalent power, which is probably why propane has never taken off like it has in Canada and the UK.
                  No good deed goes unpunished.

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                  • #24
                    You fellows are over looking one great attribute of a Bridgeport,
                    You can run the ram out and swivel the turret to mill over the table ends .
                    This is not as good as having the block in a planner or boring mill with support legs, but it works
                    I did a 18 by 24 casting this way on a 9 inch BP and short table .

                    " use the Force Luke, use the Force"
                    but first check your table to ram variations ....and proper tram !

                    Rich
                    Green Bay, WI

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                    • #25
                      HA hA I use it for towing only, its not a race truck?? Anyhow cheaper than any diesel out there, My friends have diesels and after loading them down with a big camper and a Boat my 460 is still cheaper to use,. Its a keeper .

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