(Image/Wayne Scraba)

Securely holding a connecting rod to do simple things like removing the rod bolts, removing the caps, torquing bolts and measuring bearing clearances in the bore cannot be accomplished without the use of a tool of some sort.

Sure, a couple of chunks of wood strapped to the jaws of a vise might work in a pinch, but with today’s (often) expensive connecting rods, that could be recipe for failure.

Rather than risking damage to a set of rods, the best bet is to secure them with a rod vise. They’re been around for a while in a wide range of configurations.

A good example is the Mr. Gasket connecting rod vise (part number 33290G) shown in the accompanying photos. It’s constructed from billet aluminum and then black anodized. Because of the aluminum construction, the vise is suitable for use with both steel and aluminum connecting rods.

In either case (aluminum rods or steel rods), the vise is large enough and stout enough to hold multiple rods securely. FYI, the working area inside this vise measures 4.75-inches by 2-inches. That’s perfectly suitable for two connecting rods, mounted side-by-side.

In order to use the vise, you can mount it directly on your bench or (our choice) insert it in your bench vise.

The base of the rod vise features a step engineered to fit into the jaws of a bench vise. Given the steel threads of the adjustment bolt running through billet aluminum, it’s a good idea to lube the threads carefully (anti-seize is perfect here). Ditto with lube on the pair of sprung guide pins on either end.

Using the vise is dirt simple. After it has been clamped in a bench vise or mounted permanently on your workbench, insert a connecting rod (or two) in the rod vise jaws.

Tighten the upper T-bolt to secure the connecting rod(s). At this point, you’re ready to go to work.

You’ll find it makes chores such as loosening or tightening (torque/stretch/torque-angle) rod bolts super easy. Vise squad? You bet!

For a closer look, check out the accompanying photos:

In terms of external size, the Mr. Gasket rod vise measures 10-inches tall by 7-inches wide by 2-inches deep. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
The jaws of the rod vise measure 4.75-inches X 2-inches (7-inches wide on the outside); suitable for two conventional big block connecting rods, mounted side-by-side. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
It’s a good idea to carefully lube both the large center screw as well as the pair of guide pins before use. Otherwise, you run the risk of galling the dissimilar materials during use. We used anti-seize compound on the screw and assembly oil on the guide pins. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
The vise can be bolted directly to a workbench. For our purposes though, we use the bench vise feature included into the base of the tool. Once we’re finished, the tool can go back into the tool cabinet. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
Here’s a look at a one of my Molnar BBC connecting rods inserted in the vise. It allows for super-easy access to the rod bolts. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
The jaws of the tool are sufficiently large so that two of these BBC rods can be accomodated. Additionally, the aluminum body of the tool also allows you work on aluminum rods easily too. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
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Author: Wayne Scraba

Wayne Scraba is a diehard car guy and regular contributor to OnAllCylinders. He’s owned his own speed shop, built race cars, street rods, and custom motorcycles, and restored muscle cars. He’s authored five how-to books and written over 4,500 tech articles that have appeared in sixty different high performance automotive, motorcycle and aviation magazines worldwide.