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Old 13-03-23, 04:35
Tony Smith's Avatar
Tony Smith Tony Smith is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Lithgow, NSW, Australia
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Default Engine builder recommendation

I had recently purchased some engine parts in Canada that required some machining and fitting. I was referred to a business in Ontario, and had the work done by the extremely skilled and competent Theo at Around The Block Engine Machining in Beamsville, Ont. (Beamsville is a small rural area between Hamilton and Niagara Falls, about a hour from downtown Toronto).

For a very rare moment, I was talking to an engine machinist who was not fazed by the mention of "Full floating rod bearings" or "Poured Babbitt". For a young machinist and engine builder, Theo has done extensive work on several types of vintage engines and is happy to restore to standard specs or tweak them a little for performance or full hot-rodding, and his rates were (to me) very reasonable for the quality of work. Ford V8, Chev 6 and Dodge 6 engines found in WW2 vehicles are his bread and butter compared to the some of the projects he has worked on.

He may not be local to many on this forum, but he will receive engines or parts by freight and is prepared to ship them back to you complete (even to Australia!). I would have no hesitation to have purchases from anywhere in North America needing work shipped to him before being sent Down Under. If you are talking to him, mention that "Tony from Australia" referred you, and he will glad talk 10% longer at no additional cost!

His website is (Word of advice. The site comes up with an "Expired Security Certificate" warning, and cautions that the site is not secure. It is a legit site, and I have told Theo to have his web host sort it out.) Check out the pages of photos and projects. While many Old School mechanics have retired and their experience and skills lost, I am happy to support young craftsmen and their developing businesses (His Shop is in a barn at the back of his home!) when they continue to provide vintage skills that are not widely available, and at a very reasonable cost.
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Old 13-03-23, 10:24
Hanno Spoelstra's Avatar
Hanno Spoelstra Hanno Spoelstra is online now
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Always good to hear about people who understand the technology of our old vehicles and can help keeping them on the road.
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Old 14-03-23, 04:28
Mike Kelly's Avatar
Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Victoria Australia
Posts: 5,556
Default Engine shops

Engine machine shops are fast becoming a thing of the past. Around this immediate district they have all closed down. A problem arises because of the lack of competition, the few remaining shops ( that you drive a decent distance to ) charge like a wounded bull.

I won't go into this too deeply but I currently have a Jeep engine block that has been at a engine shop for 3 years and 4 months. All I asked for was boring, head and block decking and crank grind and valve seat inserts. They don't give a stuff. why ? nobody else is doing this kind of work in the Valley.

As for poured bearings and lost skills . Think there is only one business in Dandenong that still does it and they charge $$$$$ per bearing. A chap in QLD with a vintage Hudson car learnt how to do poured bearings and he did it himself. This is a good starting point:

A post from the metalwork forum
"No experience but I've talked to a couple of my fellow Hudson owners in SE Qld who have recently remetalled big ends in the home workshop, these were 30s conrods that originally had poured bearings. The set up to melt the babbit and pour the bearings was straightforward, with the usual caveats about cleanliness and tinning the conrod and cap. After pouring the rods and caps were assembled and fixed in a jig that was then mounted in the 4 jaw and they were bored to size.

Slow work, they figured about 2 hours per journal from go to whoa, so yes, expensive if you are paying someone to do it. And both elected to use the more expensive diesel babbit.

The main bearings on these engines were removable, they had thick steel backs that were also originally white metalled, I imagine they would need to be line bored after pouring.

I would be hesitant about remetalling modern slipper bearings if that is your intention"
1940 cab 11 C8
1940 Morris-Commercial PU
1941 Morris-Commercial CS8
1940 Chev. 15cwt GS Van ( Aust.)
1942-45 Jeep salad

Last edited by Mike Kelly; 14-03-23 at 04:37.
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Old 14-03-23, 14:12
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Philliphastings Philliphastings is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Sunny Australia
Posts: 525
Default Engine rebuilders

Stories of good reliable engine rebuilders are becoming scarce. Good to know there are still some out there.

About 25 years ago when I was still restoring Model T and Model A Fords there was a company in Victoria, Egge machinery who were the go-to for poured babbit bearings etc.

I never used them myself but several fellow club members had their Tin Lizzies engines rebuilt by them.

Also, regarding Jeep engine builders - a good friend here in NSW has been waiting a similar length of time for a tradie to return his GPW Block and an early falcon motor as well. Plenty of excuses but not delivering any results.

I try to do absolutely everything I possibly can myself, even buying specialist tooling to avoid being let down by a third party, but line boring and block decking are beyond me.


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Old 15-03-23, 04:14
Mike Kelly's Avatar
Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
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Default Line boring

Originally Posted by Philliphastings View Post
I try to do absolutely everything I possibly can myself, even buying specialist tooling to avoid being let down by a third party, but line boring and block decking are beyond me.


I agree do it yourself and at least then you know if it's a bad job !

There was a guy with a engine block line boring demonstration set up at the Melbourne show grounds swap meet many years ago. He demonstrated how the cutter travels down the length of the block through the bearings, it was actually a simple setup and not beyond anybody with machining skills to do.

Egge machining were well known in vintage car circles , located at Dookie near Shepparton. It is now usually around $400 per bearing for poured bearings. They were still in business 7 years ago. Now ?

Egge Machining
2 Forer Street
03 58286250

George R. at the The Basin in the Dandenongs used to do line boring but he is long gone. George was a vintage car specialist , living just down the road from him I called in many times to see him at work i.e. surfacing a head from a 1915 Cadillac or similar car. He was an old school machinist , really knew his stuff.

Apparently the guys in the VMVC use a engine machining mob at Carrum Downs which is where I should have gone with my jeep engine block but it's a long drive through Melbourne's horrid traffic. The guy I went to does Ford Cleveland and Windsor blocks for the racing fraternity, I should have known he has nil experience with a WW2 jeep engine, he asked me for the jeep crank journal size which shows how little he knows about older engines.
1940 cab 11 C8
1940 Morris-Commercial PU
1941 Morris-Commercial CS8
1940 Chev. 15cwt GS Van ( Aust.)
1942-45 Jeep salad

Last edited by Mike Kelly; 15-03-23 at 04:52.
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Old 28-03-23, 16:17
svdwal svdwal is offline
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Location: Renkum Heath (The Netherlands)
Posts: 57

It seems i'm rather lucky with the machinist that i use for my business.
Depending on the work that has to be done it takes between 2 and 5 weeks before i can collect it to start the rebuild.
1943 Morris Commercial C8 4x4 GS
1939 Morris 8 E series staffcar (In Restoration)
1936 DKW RT98
1936 DKW SB200 Wehrmacht motorcycle (SOLD)
1959 DKW Hummel Type 113 moped (In Restoration)
1944 Canadian Generator/Chorehorse
Pegasus Oldtimers, specialised in maintenance and repairs of pre1950 (military) oldtimers.
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Old 17-04-23, 05:52
Bob Carriere Bob Carriere is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Hammond, Ontario
Posts: 5,117
Default Sad to see the skill set disappear......

What do we have here in Canada that has a good reputation, skilled staff and fair prices???? Would be interesting to about Canadian experience in engine rebuilding.

For example in Ottawa, to my knowledge we have NO engine rebuilders, Babbitt or not, ......lots of shop will take on the job but apart from the optional local re-assembly all the dirty work is done in TO or Montreal........ the safety regulation for hot tanking blocks, special spill kits, the aging skill set and the low volume does not allow to keep experienced staff busy, and the fact that very few engines ever get rebuilt has killed the business. I have heard sad stories of engine returning from the BIG machine shops with mix parts from other engines and in my case the oil outlet and inlet of my 261 had been seriously plugged with sealer and painted over........ which would have killed the engine in the very first test runs.
......... or upon close examination the rods and caps had all been renumbered/stamped and rod cast numbers did not all match...... with dribbled red silicon inside the oil pan and side valve cover on a Dodge. However the engines did run.......

what do we have in Eastern Canada????? East Coast??? Western area and over the hill in BC......?

I can start from my experience and highly recommend the OAK Brothers in Toronto - Weston Ontario for Carburetor rebuilding......including racing and antiques..... they still have an old fashion flow bench tester that they use to preset the mixture which uses uses kerosene as fluid.... and a huge external Vacuum set up...... in every instant the vehicle starts on first try and only needs very minor adjustments. They will buy your good surplus vintage cores and credit for the rebuilding of your good one.

What else we got????

Bob Carriere....B.T.B
C15a Cab 11
Hammond, Ontario

Last edited by Bob Carriere; 17-04-23 at 06:00.
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