How to Repair an Engine Block

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How to Repair an Engine Block

For a motor enthusiast, one of the worst things that can happen is a cracked or broken engine block. While a person with a new or used car only a few years old can usually find repair parts for an engine block, those with vintage cars, boats and other motor vehicles usually can’t find a replacement and must repair their engine block on their own.

Obviously, if you are a novice and don’t work on cars, you should find a mechanic in your area or a specialist to repair your engine block. However, it can be expensive and time consuming.

A Note about Welding

Many people immediately think that repairing an engine blockis best done by welding it. This is not usually true. In fact, welding an engine block can cause the engine block to fail in a short period of time and even create more damage than initially. The only time when welding is an option is when the engine block has holes in it and not cracks. For best results, most experts choose to metal stitch or metal lock cracked engine blocks.

Metal Stitching

Metal stitching is sometimes referred to as metal locking. They are the same process; however they are called different names depending on the region where you live. Metal stitching is a process of fixing a crack in an engine block without welding. Welding as stated above is not used for most engine block repairs because of the difficulty and the time it takes to weld cast iron. Cast iron needs very high temperatures to weld properly, plus a specific and time intensive technique is used to weld cast iron engine blocks.

Metal stitching is a far simpler and a cost effective technique. In fact, you can literally metal stitch a cracked head in only a few minutes. Metal stitching uses stitching pins. Most stitching pins or bolts that are used are composed of copper and zinc plating, threaded rods, tapered plugs, dowels, etc. It is said that anything that can be hammered into place can work. If you would like to metal stitch a cracked engine block, your best bet is to purchase a metal stitching kit. These kits include all the materials you need to execute a quality metal stitch and repair an engine block.

Basically, when repairing a cracked engine block with a stitch, you will place a stitch within the crack using a hammer, torque wrench or drill bit. With certain kits, specific types of stitches that have shoulders are included. Shoulders allow a stitch to be driven into the crack deeply so that the threads aren’t exposed at the surface. This way you can get a good-looking finish. Some stitches also come with pre-defined break off groove. When used with a torque wrench, these bolts will break off at a set torque.

In addition to inserting stitching, it is possible that your metal stitching kit will require you to insert some type of sealant or epoxy. Not all metal stitching kits require this added feature.

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  1. Tim Maness said,

    on February 10th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I have a Chevrolet 350 Engine block that has a broken motor mount hole, and the lower left corner of the block (bolt hole under dowel pin where transmission is bolted) is broken off. Can these be repaired? Please email me with any tips. Thank you.

  2. cikal said,

    on April 22nd, 2009 at 6:19 am

    i am a machinist. this article very important,and help me in my activity.