Engine Building Fundamentals: Dial Gauge and Magnetic Base
Dial Gauge and Magnetic Base
- A common piece of specialised equipment that you'll be using during performance engine building is a dial gauge or DTI gauge, as they're also referred to.
These gauges are used to precisely measure small distances or movement and are available in a variety of measurement ranges, as well as both metric and imperial scales.
A couple of practical uses for a dial gauge would include measuring the thrust movement of the crankshaft which is the longitudinal movement of the crankshaft from the front to the back of the engine block or measuring the valve movement in the cylinder head which is a critical part of degreeing a camshaft or dialling in a camshaft.
You're going to need to select a dial gauge with a suitable measurement range for the task at hand.
And, for example, a dial gauge with a measurement range of zero to 10 millimetres may be fine for measuring crankshaft thrust movement, but might not be sufficient for measuring valve movement in some engines.
The dial gauge is used in conjunction with a magnetic base which can be conveniently located and attached to any ferrous metals, such as a cast iron block or a steel plate.
These magnetic bases will also include an adjustable arm that allows the location and angle of the dial gauge to be easily and accurately adjusted to suit whatever you're currently measuring.
The magnetic base won't work on aluminium materials, such as an alloy cylinder head, but I just keep a couple of steel plates handy with holes drilled in them that I can temporarily bolt to the cylinder head, or perhaps the cam caps, and I can then attach the magnetic base to this plate.