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Installing a Press-in Sleeve


Machining a cylinder block to accept a repair sleeve is an excellent way to salvage an otherwise junk block. Most cylinder damage is in the form of a crack, vertical scratches or dents and can be restored to normal service by installing a sleeve.


Measure the sleeve top-middle-bottom, rotate the sleeve 90 degrees, and measure again top-middle-bottom. The average measurement is the size of the sleeve. This measurement is what is used to calculate press or interference fit. Some minor sleeve distortion may have occurred during shipment, however the sleeve will conform to the shape it is pressed into. A little trick to aid in pressing in a sleeve is to refrigerate or freeze the sleeve to shrink it slightly. So stick the sleeve into the freezer AFTER you measure it.

Determine the amount of press needed for the application.

Cylinder Bore
Maximum Press
2.00" to 5-1/8"
5-1/8" to 6-1/2"
6-1/2 to 8-1/2"

The above figures are for perfect to normal conditions, not for use in all applications. Please keep in mind that the machinist's past experiences should also be considered. There are numerous factors that will effect the amount of press that should be used.

Some of these factors include but are not limited to:
  • The location of the damage: crack or hole.
  • A long crack or a large chunk missing will reduce press because the damage will open under stress. Increase or decrease the amount of press according to what will seal the damage. Pressure testing recommended.
  • The material and strength integrity of the block (an air cooled aluminum jug vs. a high nickel block and a lightweight design vs. a rigid type block casting).
  • If the remaining cylinders are going to be bored or not. (Remember, the more press - the greater the distortion to the surrounding cylinders. This distortion may not become round with just finish honing.
  • Not using a step at the bottom of the cylinder means more press should be used to help keep the sleeve from dropping.
Stop the boring tool 1/8" to 1/2" (depending on type of block, piston travel, oil ring location, length of crack, etc.) from the bottom of the cylinder to leave a step (ledge) for the sleeve to sit on. The cylinder head will hold the sleeve from the top. When the block has been bored to size to accept the sleeve, change the boring machine cutter to a pointed tool. In order to square the step/ledge, set the tool about .010" (per side) less than the block has been bored to. Lightly cut away some of the chamfer until the cutter reaches the flat, or the top of the step/ledge. This allows the sleeve to sit fully on the step/edge, not partially on the chamfered edges.

Apply a sleeve retainer compound of your choice (optional if not repairing a cracked block) to the outside diameter of the sleeve, then either press or carefully drive the sleeve into the block. Make sure the sleeve is all the way down and bottomed on the step/ledge. Trim the excess sleeve material from the top of the block (with the bottom flat of the boring tool if there is substantial material). Bore the sleeve to required inside diameter size. With a long sharp file, remove any sleeve protrusion that would cause head gasket problems, or deck the block with a mill. If you don't want to mill the block you might try stoning the top deck of the block as a finishing touch. I like to use a hard griddle stone or a soft knife sharpening stone. Finally, chamfer the top inside diameter of the sleeve.