Our New Engine Assembly Room (Part 2)


If you have the budget, adding a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) air filtration system is a great idea. A HEPA filter is designed to trap at least 99.7 percent of airborne particles down to 0.3 microns in size. A HEPA filter approach for a ceiling tile application includes a series of overhead HEPA filters with motorized fans (these mount in the ceiling tile areas in the ceiling grid, just as the tiles mount). The fans are located overhead of the filters. These draw air that is filtered and clean into the room. In order to balance room pressure, you also need vents to draw air out of the room.

The vents can be wall-mounted and should feature adjustable louvers to allow you to adjust room pressure. The HEPA filters aren't cheap, at about $650 each. According to industry experts, you should install enough HEPA filter units to cover about 20 percent of the ceiling area. Our room, for instance, measures 16' x 20' for a ceiling square footage of 320 sq. ft. In this example, we would need about 64 sq. ft. of HEPA filters, which translates into eight 2 x 4 HEPA filters (for a total of about $5,200 for the filter units). I didn't have that kind of budget, but if you can afford it, this is a nice way to go to minimize airborne particulates. The HEPA filter units should tie into your overhead heating/AC ductwork. Innotech also offers these HEPA filters. According to Nelson Werkema at Clean Rooms International, here are some guidelines relative to air filtration for our sample room, which measures 16' x 20' x 12' high. Nelson noted that class 10,000 is designed to meet the standards of hospital surgical rooms and similar clean room applications, which is likely overkill for an engine assembly room. He suggested that class 100,000 would be more than sufficient. In addition to the HEPA motorized filter units (which will push air into the room), two outgoing vents are required in order to maintain a positive air pressure within the room. He suggested adjustable louver vents of approximately 18" square, mounted on two opposing walls. This setup would provide an efficient air travel through the room area.

In order to meet clean room class 100,000:

• 2 HEPA units would provide 18 air changes per hour

• 3 HEPA units would provide 26 air changes per hour

• 4 HEPA units would provide 35 air changes per hour

In order to meet clean room class 10,000:

• 5 HEPA units would provide 50 air changes per hour

• 7 HEPA units would provide 70 air changes per hour

• 9 HEPA units would provide 90 air changes per hour


Yes, it's probably overkill, but we added a PC computer and state-of-the-art wall-mounted flat-screen monitor. Why? Instead of leaving the engine room, trekking back to my office to look up engine specs or to make notes, etc., this allows us to conveniently reference information and to record data at the workstation. The engine room computer will connect to the main office computer via a wireless router. For the monitor, I wanted a high-quality flat-screen unit that is wall-mounted to avoid taking up worktable space. The monitor of choice is made by Lenovo (the company makes IBM's monitors). This is a 22" ThinkVision, Model L220x, offering a viewable screen area of 18.7" x 11.65". It features two separate connectors for digital or analog video input, and two inputs for connection to two individual computers if desired. A very cool feature is the dual-format screen, allowing the screen to be rotated horizontally or vertically (landscape or portrait). A USB 2.0 hub is included (one port into the PC and four ports for accessories). Maximum resolution is a whopping 1,920 x 1,200 pixels. The screen is anti-glare, which is great for a room with as much lighting as ours. I mounted the monitor to the wall at the center of our Lista cabinets using a Peerless PA730 wall mount (this allows the monitor to be pushed back against the wall), placing the monitor face 4.5" from the wall or pulled out another 13" due to the pivoting articulated arm, and is easily pivoted up-down and left/right. Very handy. Hey, if the NASCAR Cup teams can have flat-screen monitors built into their pit carts, why not use one in an engine assembly room? Is this absolutely necessary? Of course not. But if it's worth doing, it's worth doing to excess.


When it came to choosing our primary tool cabinets, I didn't mess around. I chose Lista storage cabinets for our main workstation area. After all, for our baby, only the best will do. Our multi-drawer cabinets (P/N MW0750-0604F-FT-KA) feature six drawers of graduating height (from top to bottom: 2", 3", 3", 4", 5" and 7" high). Each drawer's foot print measures a whopping 42 13/16" x 24". Our cabinets (P/N MW0750-0201D-FT-KA) feature two doors with two very heavy duty roll-out trays (definitely strong enough to handle iron cylinder heads without a whimper). Outside cabinet dimensions are 47" wide x 28.5" deep x 33.5" high. The FT designation denotes a fork truck base (allowing movement using a fork truck, with base covers installed after the cabinets are in place). The KA designation means that all of our cabinets share the same keys for their locks (keyed alike). Lista offers several options in terms of base designs and key setups. Various base designs accommodate floor mounting or cabinet stacking. While I selected white as our color of choice, standard colors include white, light blue and red. Optional colors include bright blue, beige, black, burgundy, classic blue, green, dark gray, pearl gray and sand. Custom colors are also available to match specific requirements. The quality of these cabinets is absolutely outstanding. Drawer fronts feature integral full-width handles that are welded to the bottom of the drawers for maximum durability. They also feature very cool clear covers, allowing you to easily slide drawer labels into the handles. High quality steel roller bearings glide effortlessly on Z-bar guides, even when fully loaded (drawer action is so smooth that I found myself repeatedly opening and closing drawers just for the fun of it-they feel that good). Although I haven't tried it, my guess is that you could stand on these drawers without a whimper-they're that well-designed. According to Lista, continuous drawer extension is possible even with a 440-pound load. Also, the drawers fully extend for 100 percent access even to the very rear of the drawers (no digging around with your fingers to find something in the rear). Each drawer features a series of slots spaced at 1" increments, to allow the use of partitions if you want to compartmentalize drawer space. A very nice safety feature is the patented drawer locking system that ensures that when one drawer is open, all other drawers are locked closed to prevent accidental tip-over. Lista offers its cabinets in a wide variety of sizes and features (basically, they probably offer any size, number of drawers, etc. that you could possibly imagine). For our project, we installed two of the drawer units and two of the door units, topped off with Lista's hardwood butcher block worktops. These are real hardwood tops, not some compressed fake stuff. The tops are 1.75" thick and are dressed in a very durable satin finish. We used two tops at 72" wide and one at 90" wide for our setup. The tops are secured with supplied screws (installed from underneath). Lista also offers worktops in plastic laminate, phenolic and stainless steel. I'm so impressed with the quality of these cabinets that mere words fail me. My impression is that the only way you'd experience a problem with these units is to drive a 1-ton truck head-on into the cabinets at full throttle (OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but you get the drift). There is no way that anyone could possibly complain about the quality of these units. Absolutely top-notch and designed to last a lifetime. It simply doesn't get any better. Lista storage units are in use by top Cup, Indy and F-1 teams and the aerospace industry. That alone gives you a hint of how superb these cabinets are. It just doesn't get any better than this. These cabinets represent an investment that will last longer than any human lifetime. An additional stand-along cabinet, provided by the kind folks at CWT, is dedicated for cylinder head inspection and assembly. The two-door, heavy-duty steel cabinet allows plenty of room for head tools and chemicals, while the top provides ample room for head stands and a Goodson burette (for measuring cylinder head chamber volume). This will be our cylinder head inspection and assembly station. For added storage (mostly for chemicals, towels, gloves, manuals, etc.), I purchased white melamine overhead wall-mount cabinets. Each unit features three doors and two internal shelves. Our units are made by Prepac, model WEW-5424, at $185.34 each. Eventually I plan to add a dedicated -AN hose assembly station and a room-dedicated vacuum system for bench and floor cleanup.


Our concrete floor is 4.5" thick. When the shop was first built, I coated the floor with a two-part epoxy floor paint from Pratt & Lambert. Since the engine room area already had this coating, I took advantage of the epoxy (instead of stripping it off), which provided a good base for my final desired coating. After scuffing and cleaning the epoxy coating, we applied a two-part high-gloss urethane floor paint from ICI. This is the No. 379 high-solids urethane, in a light gray color. Our room required three kits of urethane (each kit includes one gallon of paint and one quart of activator, at about $60 per kit). The urethane was applied in two coats using paint rollers. The epoxy base provides strength, and the urethane topcoat provides excellent fade and chemical resistance. If you want to go to the bother and expense, this epoxy base and urethane topcoat combination is a great approach. I'm told that this is the method used on high-level military airplane hangar floors. Our new engine room will be featured in every engine-build project that we perform. I'll continue to point out any new features that we add as the room continues to evolve.


CWT INDUSTRIES (stand-alone cabinet) 4708 S. Old Peachtree Rd.. Unit 300 Norcross, GA 30071 (800) 652-0406, ext. 17417

FRAGOLA PERFORMANCE SYSTEMS (aluminum -AN wrench set) 888 W. Queen St. Southington, CT 06489 (800) 652-0406, ext. 17418

GEARHEAD TOOLS (rod vise, rod splitter, rod bolt stretch gauge) 3350 Centennial Park Dr. Carson City, NV 89706 (800) 652-0406, ext. 17419

GOODSON SHOP SUPPLIES (engine carts, burette kit, 300MPH towel holder, micrometers, valve spring height gauge) 156 Galewski Dr. Winona, MN 55987 (800) 652-0406, ext. 17420

LENOVO (flat-screen monitor) 1009 Think Place, Bldg. 500 Morrisville, NC 27560 (800) 652-0406, ext. 17421

LISTA INTERNATIONAL CORP. (drawer and door cabinets and worktops) 106 Lowland St. Holliston, MA 01746-2094 (800) 652-0406, ext. 17422

MAC TOOLS (wrenches) 505 N. Cleveland Ave. Westerville, OH 43082 (800) 652-0406, ext. 17423

PRW INDUSTRIES (damper tool kit) 193 West Orangethorpe Ave. Placentia, CA 92870 (800) 652-0406, ext. 17424

TRICK FLOW SPECIALTIES (ring filer, piston ring squaring tool) 1248 Southeast Ave. Tallmadge, OH 44278 (800) 652-0406, ext. 17425