When something goes wrong with our vehicle’s engine, we know where to take it. Mechanics are there to look after the vehicular issues most of us can’t handle ourselves. But where does a mechanic take an engine when they aren’t able to repair it? They call on automotive machinists, highly-skilled engine specialists offering extremely niche repairs and engine rebuilding. This article takes a look at what separates mechanics from automotive machinists, and five tasks machinists undertake as part of their day to day work responsibilities:
Mechanic vs. Automotive Machinist
A mechanic can be described as an automotive worker who is able to perform general engine services, maintenance and repairs. They can assess general engine damage, order replacement parts, and install them correctly. Mechanics usually partner with automotive machinists, having them on call to look after more serious vehicle engine issues.
Automotive machinists, on the other hand, are what we can call engine specialists. They aren’t involved with planned vehicular maintenance, servicing, and other minor repairs. Instead, automotive machinists focus their work on engines – having specialist machines and tools (that mechanic workshops usually don’t have) to refurbish engine components exactly to manufacturer specifications.
Common automotive machinist tasks
We are a team of automotive machinists at Eagleharm Engineering, with the tools and equipment to deliver a comprehensive engine reconditioning service offering. The common tasks we perform as part of our automotive machining activities include:
- Engine block repairs
With the powerful TS1000 BlockMaster Automated CNC machine, engine block repairs can be performed on any engine block – V8, V6, inline, 90 degree or 60 degree. Our specialist engine block repairs involve reboring the engine block, surface milling, honing the engine block, and line boring.
- Cylinder head repairs
Specialist repairs to cylinder heads involve chemically cleaning, crack detection and pressure testing to test for leaks and other faults. Valves are refaced where required, with worn valve guides being replaced and reamed exactly to factory specification. Valve seats are carefully machined, and the cylinder head repairs process also includes surface milling the cylinder head surface until smooth.
- Crankshaft repairs
An automotive machinist can perform specialist crankshaft repairs, including UV crack detection and checking the crankshaft for alignment and ‘run out’ in a crankshaft grinding machine. Once all the damage assessments have been completed, the crankshaft’s main and bigend journals can be machined to manufacturer specs.
- Conrod repairs
Conrods are important engine components, and automotive machinists know just how to perform expert conrod repairs. They are first checked for alignment, to see if they can be machined or not. Smallend bushes are replaced with new semi-finished bushes, which are machined to ensure the right piston pin clearance, and then the bigend housing is machined to finished size.
- Engine rebuilding
As part of our engine rebuilding offering, our automotive machinists can accommodate an entire engine overhaul or focus in on one component. We can resleeve and engine block, or just overhaul a cylinder head, depending on the client’s needs. Engine rebuilding by automotive machinists will extend the life of any engine, leaving it functioning better than before.