Once we’d lifted our shop truck’s motor we knew we’d have to pay some serious attention to it to get it up to ‘workhorse’ status again. Because we’d blown our wad on parts for the motor, we decided not to spring for an engine stand but build one ourselves from a few casters and some plywood.
We bought six 125lb-capacity casters at Harbor Freight for a few bucks a pop so we could support a total of 750 lbs — more of a load than our small block was going to put on them. Next we made a 32”x20” frame with some 2×4’s, and we ran three casters down each side.
Before setting the engine on its new rolling stand we hosed the entire block down with de-gunk so it would stink less and not be as nasty to work on. It may seem like an easy step to skip, but you’ll deal with it every time you touch the motor if you don’t take care of the dirt and grease before you put it on the stand.
Next we made supports for the motor to rest on. Every motor is different and the contact points will be different as well — we started by adding a beam across the left side to catch the lip of the block.
We took measurements for the motor mounts and upright supports that would take the front half of the motor’s weight. We also wanted the motor to tilt up a tiny bit at the front for easy access to the harmonic balancer, ’cause we knew we’d have to turn the crank later during the valve timing setup.
We found that the motor mounts needed to be 10″ high, so after a careful double-check we cut the supports and mounted them to the runners of the base to fit inside the pockets of the mounts on the block.
The right rear corner also needed support, so we mounted a small brace to catch the lip of the block back there, and the stand was complete. We thought about adding another support in the front, but decided against it because it restricted access and we just would’ve ended up knocking it off later.
We spent less than $20 on our engine stand, including lumber — which isn’t bad considering the casters are completely recyclable into another project after the build is done. The stand took about an hour and change to throw together, and a chunk of that was spent cleaning the motor. Our homebrew rig is cheap and mobile — there might be better rigs out there, but we’re happy with the amount of time and cash we invested in the project.