Why Use a Torque Plate?Even though an engine block looks like a big, invincible chunk of machined iron, it's sensitive to virtually everything, including heat and stress. Install and torque a pair of cylinder heads and your block "moves" to that shape and union. Think about it--when you torque cylinder heads, you're "moving" bolt holes, decks, and cylinder bores. These elements change shape and dimension. We fire the engine and they change yet again with heat.
When your machine shop finish-hones cylinder bores, they must be the same shape they would be with the cylinder heads torqued in place. That's why reputable machine shops use torque plates that are torqued to specs for honing operations. This allows the cylinders and block to conform to the installed shape. Savvy machinists also understand there needs to be a cooldown period between honing phases because honing generates heat, which alters cylinder dimensions. Jim Grubbs hones a little, then checks dimensions top, center, and bottom before and after cool down.
Oiling-System ImprovementsEven if you're building a stone-stocker, you should always be thinking about oiling-system improvements. All oil passages should be chamfered to reduce fluid turbulence and improve flow. Pressure is important, however volume is more important to not only lubrication, but also to heat transfer. Did you know oil does more than just lubricate? It also carries heat away from hot engine parts. Improving return oil flow to the pan is just as important. Chamfer oil-return holes and use red GE Glyptal paint in all oil flow areas--valley, heads, timing set region in front, even the inside of your oil pan. Before application of GE Glyptal, surfaces must be hospital clean or it will peel off. You can find GE Glyptal at Eastwood.