Getting the Most Performance out of Your Flywheel Grinder

By | November 7, 2019

A flywheel grinder is an essential tool to have in your automotive shop. Anytime you’re working on a vehicle’s clutch, you’ll probably need to resurface the flywheel. Some manufacturers even require it to maintain the warranty.

Having an in-house grinder allows you to handle this job yourself. You can even take on extra work from other shops that don’t have their own grinder. As such, a flywheel grinder is an excellent investment.

Thus, you want to take good care of your grinder. You want to get good performance out of it and you want it to last a long time. Let’s look at a few things you can do to make that happen.

Choose the Correct Stone

You will get better performance from your grinder if you choose the correct stone for working with the material that you will be grinding.

Flywheels typically come in three different materials. Most American-made automobile flywheels are made from cast iron. Trucks, buses, and agricultural equipment flywheels are often made from cast steel. High-performance flywheels come in billet steel.

The hardness of each material varies with cast iron being the softest and billet steel the hardest. 

General-purpose silicon carbide grinding stones are dark gray or black. These work well for soft cast iron flywheels. Aluminum oxide grinding stones are best for harder materials. 

You can adapt your grinding pressure as you work to compensate for harder or softer materials. However, to get the best performance from your machine, it’s better to use the correct stone in the first place.

Have Your Pre-mixed Coolant Ready 

As you might imagine, things heat up considerably due to friction during the grinding process. It isn’t enough to simply fill the reservoir and start grinding.

Coolant evaporates quickly and adding a little extra water here or some more concentrate there will soon knock your ratio out of balance. Watery coolant can cause your machine to rust and coolant that is too concentrated will diminish the performance of your grinder. 

To prevent this problem pre-mix your coolant and have it handy in a container with a lid. As you need coolant you can simply pour it in and keep grinding.

Keep Your Coolant Clean

It’s also vitally important to keep your coolant clean. Change your coolant regularly, but also keep an eye on it. Warnings signs that your coolant needs to be changed include:

  • Dirty coolant that you can’t see through
  • Needing to dress the stone more often
  • The sludge in the container is more than an inch deep

Stress to all your employees the importance of keeping other chemicals away from the flywheel grinder. It’s deceptively easy to contaminate the coolant and negatively affect the performance of your grinder.

One cool trick for keeping your coolant clean is by using a strong magnet. Drop it in the reservoir as far from the pump as possible and it will attract metal fragments and keep them from circulating through the coolant.

Mount and Dress the Stone

There are two types of dressers you can use to dress the stone. One is a star dresser and the other is a diamond dresser. Properly dressing the stone takes experience. 

Check the stone’s mount before you begin dressing to ensure stability. Also, it is extremely important to remember your eye protection at this stage.

Now, turn on the machine and bring up the dresser to touch the stone. The speed at which you traverse the stone is important. Go too slow and you’ll close up the grains of the stone and cause premature loading. 

It’s better to traverse the stone faster. This will open up the grains of the stone and let the stone be free-cutting. As you can see, correctly dressing the stone is an important step to getting the best performance from your flywheel grinder.

Mount the Flywheel

Once your machine is ready, it’s time to mount the workpiece. Remove the dowel pins, but don’t lose them. They’ll need to go back to the customer once the job is done. 

Before mounting the flywheel, make sure that the crankshaft-mounting flange and the table surface are both clean and free of burrs. Use the flange to guide you as you mount the workpiece. It will help you to position it correctly.

Rotate the table and watch the grinding wheel. It’s important to make sure it isn’t touching anything that it shouldn’t be. 

Keep Your Flywheel Grinder Level

A Van Norman Flywheel Grinder table actually floats on a lubricant. This means that keeping your flywheel grinder perfectly level when in use is a must. An uneven table can leak lubricant as well as wear unevenly — both of which will negatively affect the performance of your grinder.

Keep it Clean  

Obviously, flywheel grinding is dirty work. Tiny shards of metal and dust are flying everywhere as you’re grinding. However, you can keep the work area as clean as possible by wiping everything down between each job. Waxing painted surfaces will make this easier.

Mounting the workpieces can often cause tiny dings or burrs in the table. Have a deburring stone on hand to take care of those immediately.

Lubricant Is Your Friend

There are a lot of parts on the grinder that should always have proper lubricant. Check the owner’s manual for your grinder to learn the specifics for your machine and perform regular inspections and top-ups. 

Just Keep Grinding! 

There you have it. It isn’t particularly difficult to get the best performance out of your flywheel grinder. It just requires a little attention to detail.

Ready to add a grinder to your shop? Request a quote today! We offer quality flywheel grinders made in the USA and will happily help you find the perfect one for your needs.

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