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TracTuff K Engine Claying Kit


The K Series Engine Claying Kit is simple and all inclusive... so you don't need to scramble to put it together yourself.

Claying your engine is an essential step in the engine building/ blueprinting process (scroll down to see our "How 2") and should be done with any long-block purchase, unfortunately many would be "engine builders" skip this crucial step because they dont know what it or it's significance is. Others simply dont know how or where to source the stuff to properly perform the job. Which ever it is... we'd sure hate to think its straight up laziness because the process may be mundane but it's definitely not hard!! When you have the right tools of course.

Our kit starts with the correct type of clay, not some rubberized product that rebounds once pressure has been take off the material. Two precision machined pins that allow you to easily lock the motor/ rockers into VTEC. Our VTC Limiter Kit ($70.00 value) to limit the VTC to 30°, 35°, or 40° of cam advance. Three locking/ shimming pins (one for each VTC limiter) to keep the gear from moving backwards while rotating the engine.

Complete Kit Contents:

  • Engine Builders Clay
  • 2 VTEC Rocker Locks
  • 3 VTC Limiting Pins (30°, 35°, and 40°)
  • 3 VTC Locking Pins
  • 1 T30 Torx Bit
  • 1 Tube of Loctite®

K Series Engine Claying - How To

Let us start by saying that there are several ways to perform this task and that our way is not the ONLY way. We put this together because nothing else is available to help the average enthusiast and our product should eliminate doubt/ confusion!

Engine Claying is part of the blueprinting process and is generally performed to find critical information such as piston to valve clearance, piston to head clearance, and / or piston to plug clearance. The process can be started at any point in the building process or even on an already running engine; however, we firmly recommend that this process be conducted prior to final assembly of the cylinder head and short-block. Doing so can save you time and money as well as help you make more power!! 

Our "How To" is based on the use of a completed short-block and cylinder head. If you are performing this task prior to final assembly... the short-block only needs the crank with two sets of main bearings (journals #1 & #5) and installing the main girdle (without Hondabond) and just a few main bolts that are just hand tight. Only one piston (with rings) and connecting rod (with bearings) needs to be hung on the crank hand tight and you can follow the "how to" as shown below.

1. Install the two rocker shaft into the lower portion of the #1 cam tower. Locate and set aside two outer rocker arms.

2. Lightly lubricate the rocker shafts near the #1 cam tower and install one outer rocker arm on each rocker shaft. Locate and set aside two middle/ VTEC rocker arms.

3. Lightly lubricate the rocker shafts near the outer rocker arm and install one middle/ VTEC rocker arm on each rocker shaft. Locate and set aside the two rocker arm locking pins from the TracTuff kit.

4. Install each of the rocker arm locking pins into each pair of rocker arms. Install the lower portion of the #2  and #5 cam towers.

5. Lightly lubricate each of the intake and exhaust camshaft journals and install the intake camshaft/ cam gear and exhaust camshaft/ gear combo.

6. Moving on to the cylinder head... flip it on its side and lightly lubricate the #1 intake and exhaust valves with WD-40 or something similar. The lubricant will help to keep the clay from sticking to the valve(s) after they have left their impression(s).

7. Prep the short-block by loosely installing the timing chain tensioner, lower and middle bolts on the static timing chain guide, the lower timing 
chain gear and crank bolt. If you dont have head bolts... install four head studs around cylinder #1 now.

8. Spin the motor until the lower timing chain gears TDC mark lines up with the pointer on the block.

9. Confirm that the piston in cylinder #1 is at TDC. Now that the piston is at TDC lightly lubricate the left-most intake and exhaust valve pockets with WD-40 or something similar. The lubricant will help to keep the clay from sticking to the piston after the valves have left their impression(s).

10. Install your cylinder head gasket and dowels.

11. Grab the clay from the TracTuff kit and roll two balls. One should be approx. 3/4" in dia. and the second should be approx. 3/8" in dia.

12. Take something flat and press the balls into discs approx. 1/4" thick.

13. Place the larger clay disc in the left-most intake valve pocket and the smaller clay disc in the left-most exhaust valve pocket.

14. Set the cylinder head on the block and hand tighten the head bolts/ nuts. Dont torque to spec. as this can ruin you gasket as well as warp the cylinder head being we are only using four.

15. Hang the timing chain tensioner side guide.

16. Take the #1, #2, and #5 cam tower caps and complete the cam tower assembly from step #7. Install the complete cam tower assembly on the 
cylinder head and hand tighten hardware.

17. Break the intake valve adjuster lock-nut loose and set the adjuster to zero lash. Lightly tighten the lock nut. 

18. Break the exhaust valve adjuster lock-nut loose and set the adjuster to zero lash. Lightly tighten the lock nut.

19. Remove the VTC gear cover and set the cover, spring plunger, spring, and locking pin aside. Run the bolts back into the gear and hand tighten.
Now install the timing chain on the cam gears and match up the colored links as shown.

20. Remove the lower bolt from the timing chain tensioner.

21. Make sure the timing marks have not moved. and with the the timing chain tensioner hanging... move the guide and wrap the the timing chain around the lower the timing gear.

22. Line up the colored link with the mark on the lower timing gear and hold in place.

23. Press timing chain guide against timing chain and swing the tensioner back up and tighten.

24. Pull the timing chain tensioner pin to put tension on the timing chain.

25. The long-block should look like this.
Now we can get into the meat of the process! Being the VTC gear sweeps from -25° to +25° and you cant really tell where 30°, 35°, and 40° positions are... TracTuff offers VTC Limiters that mechanically limit the gears advance and solves this problem of guessing. The Claying kit includes all three pins as well as locks, so once you have checked... you can 
decide if you want to leave any of the pins in to mechanically limit VTC advance.

26. Using a ratchet, rotate the camshaft clockwise, reducing the space in this cavity.

27. Select the VTC Limiter you would like to start with; in this picture you can see we started with the 40° pin. With one hand holding the 40° in the cavity, use your free hand to continue rotating the camshaft clockwise until it stops against the limiter.

28. Select the short locking pin that fits into any of the cavities opposite of the VTC Limiter. The locking pins will sometimes be a tight fit and may require you to put constant pressure against the 40° pin using the ratchet or wrench. The locking pin is critical... it keeps the gear and your valves from crashing closed once the valve sees max lift. The lock also keeps the cam in position in the event you dont have enough clearance at that given position. Without the lock... the cam might retard and give a false clearance.

29. With the VTC Limiter and Locking Pin installed you are now ready to start rotating the crankshaft. 

30. Rotate the engine clockwise slowly... 

31. The closer you get to max lift the greater the chance the valve will make contact with the piston. Go slow... you want to leave a good impression in the clay. If you feel heavy resistance, stop. The piston is most likely hitting the valve(s) and will not allow you to continue. If this is the case rotate the engine counter-clockwise back to TDC and move to step 34.

32. If the motor continues to rotate without issue... rotate it until you get back to TDC. 

33. Now that the engine is back at TDC, push the guide into the tensioner as shown 

34. Reinstall the locking pin in the tensioner, loosen the upper timing chain tensioner bolt slightly and remove the lower bolt completely, and remove the timing chain.

35. Loosen all cam tower hardware and gently pry up to remove the cam tower assembly.

36. Pry here...

37. And pry here...

38. Remove the cam tower assembly as a whole.

39. Remove the timing chain tensioner side guide, loosen, and remove head bolts/ nuts.

40. Remove cylinder head assembly and gasket.

41. Sometimes the clay squished into the quench and/ or the gasket area. You may see some marks in the clay and that is ok... just be care when you remove the head gasket.

42. Take a nice clean / sharp razor and lightly spray it with WD-40. Take you time and cut the clay in half, make sure to follow the shape of the valve relief.

43. With light pressure, slide the razor away from the other piece of clay.

44. Measure the thinnest point in the clay with something accurate, like a set of dial calipers. Record the results on a piece of paper. 

45. Perform steps 46-48 on the exhaust side.

Depending on the results you may find yourself repeating the process with the 35° and/ or 30° limiting pins... in which case you would simply repeat steps 3 through 48. You wont need to clay the exhaust valve unless your clearance was tight and/ or you have an adjustable gear and made changes in its settings. You may however want to take advantage of the effort and place a piece of clay on the quench to find piston to head clearance or near the plug to find piston to spark plug clearance.

Thank you for taking the time to review our process as well as your interest in our products, please feel free to contact us at with any questions, comments, or concerns regarding this How To or our products.