Connecting Rod Tools Than Some Guys May Want


The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
I recently stopped at a buddy's shop where he has a couple of connecting rods he
was having issues with removing the rod caps on a set of connecting rods he purchased,
you can,t just beat on a connecting rod with a ball peen hammer, and expect it to remain in good condition
this is a precision component,that can be rather easily damaged.
this is unusual on new connecting rods as most are not shipped with the rods torqued in place,
honestly, I've rarely had an issue in 50 plus years that a couple easy wacks with the connecting rod upper in a rod vise with a plastic dead blow mallet ,
if you don,t have a plastic mallet a 24" long section of 2" diam. pvc pipe,
can be inserted mid way through the rod with the upper rod in as vise
(padded with two sections of wood) and used as a lever
(rock gently back and forth under the rod cap,)
to pop the cap off the rod.:D

you can get the mallet for under $9 at harbor freight,
the 24" section of 2" diam, pvc pipe from home depot for under $5

btw, if you buy an engine you did not assemble and you have the oil pan off,
before you re-install the oil pan, on any reasonably newly rebuilt engine,
get out your torque wrench and verify the rod bolt torque is consistent,
its not all that rare for someone to forget to go back over the rod bolts torqueing them to a consistent value,
or for a bolt to loosen a bit if it was not properly torqued,
this may prevent future issues you could easily prevent in doing so.
just start tightening a couple and see if they are consistently torqued.
don,t get crazy just verify
many guys prefer to use a torque beam deflection torque wrench to check that.
you may want to look up the correct torque value for the rods used if you know.
but its likely close to 55 ft lbs, as you check, they should all be consistently torqued to a similar value








there's zero doubt that having the correct tools and the skills to use them,
makes a huge difference in the quality and durability of your engine build

connecting rods and the rod bolts that hold them together are some of the higher stressed components in any performance engine, and knowing that it really tends to require the engine builder to look into his options, and do the required research.
I generally look at SBC connecting rods a bit like fan belts and clutch discs , they are simply a component that's reasonably inexpensive in most cases and since they take a great deal of excessive stress they are best replaced when any engine is rebuilt, especially considering the fact that the cost incurred for a skilled machine shop to resize, mag check the rods for stress cracks, and replace the rod bolts easily exceeds the cost of the better aftermarket connecting rods with in most cases much stronger rod bolts and a easily demonstrable, increase of at least 50% or up to 200% in strength, in the better designed name brand rods.
there are a few OEM BIG BLOCK CONNECTING RODS that are worth rebuilding, but even there, the better aftermarket rods hold some significant advantages in strength, and clearance.
considering the extensive damage that can and usually does result if a rod bends or a rod bolt fails, its well worth the builders time and the required effort to buy, inspect and install stronger connecting rods, rather than just reinstall OEM rods with millions of compression & stretch stress cycles already endured.

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