Using a Ball-Hone to Deglaze your cylinders

The Ball-Hone is self-centering, self-aligning to the bore, and self-compensating for wear, Ball-hones provide great surface finish and will make your next re-ring job a success !

The Ball-Hone tool, is great if you are only trying to freshen a cylinder prior to re-ringing because it is not a material removal tool. It is also self centering as it follows the existing bore geometry.  It will not correct out of roundness or remove taper from a cylinder.


The Ball-Hone diameter is determined by the nominal bore size in which the tool is to be operated. A Ball-hone is always produced and used in an oversize condition. The degree of oversize creates pressure and a soft cutting action on cylinder walls.


Hone grit is one of those topics that will vary vastly from the many ring designers and many materials they are made from. For a basic re-ring job just use the grit recommended by the ring manufacturer you are using. They will suggest the proper grit for ring type you are using. ( Ring Types: Iron rings-Chrome rings-Moly Rings-Plasma Rings )

Ball-Honing Cylinder
Ball-Honing Cylinder


The first of course is to remove all bearings leaving a bare block. The metal from the honing or deglazing process with go everywhere. Note that the worst thing about honing is the block cleanup. You can never spend to much time cleaning your block. With the engine bare and cylinder ridged reamed (if necessary) place the Ball-Hone in a hand drill or drill press. Lubricate the cylinder with 10-30wt oil or Ball-Hone honing oil (recommended). Spread the lubricant in the bore with a brush or your fingers. Make sure the cylinder is completely covered. For the first use of a new hone lubricate the bore several times as the hone itself will absorb some of the oil. Future cylinder honing will not require as much oil as the first was with a dry hone. Insert the hone with the drill rotating slowly while inserting in to the bore.

Ball-Hone Cylinder
Ball-Hone Cylinder


Another misunderstood and highly discussed topic is the subject of cross hatch angle. The resulting cross hath angle produced by the Ball-Hone is strictly a function of stroke rate versus RPM. Most OEMs and ring manufacturers state the angle of the scratches in the crosshatch pattern should be about 27 – 45 degrees with 45 degrees the optimum. This angle is referenced from the top of the deck.

The crosshatch angle should be consistent throughout the cylinder walls.

  • If the crosshatch angle is too steep the cylinder walls will not retain sufficient oil to aid in the rings seating process. The problem is that the rings will pump oil and rings will rotate too quickly leading to accelerated ring and ring groove wear.
  • Too shallow of a angle can cause a chattering affect as the ring passes over the valley preventing the ring from receiving proper lubrication again, leading to excessive ring wear, excessive ring break in time and the possibility of engine smoking with no ring seating.

To achieve the desired 45 degree crosshatch run the drill at 600-800 rpm and vigorously run the drill up and down in the bore. This vigorous movement of your arm is exhausting but you only need to run the tool in the bore for 10-15 seconds. Then inspect the cylinder surface. If you see a dull grey surface that indicates the hone was ineffective in that area thus continue to run the hone until the complete bore looks exhibits a fresh cut with a cross hatch pattern.

Cleaning Engine Block
Cleaning Engine Block


Use a nylon cylinder wash brush or a clean cloth soaked in warm soapy water and run up and down the bore. Continue this process while flushing the bore with warm soapy water. The goal is to remove every microscopic particle that is embedded in the cylinder wall grooves. After extensive scrubbing take a clean white lint free cloth with warm water and wipe up and down the cylinder bore with force. Inspect the cloth, if you see grey on the cloth, and most likely you will, you need to go back and clean the bore again. Repeat until you see no grey on the white cloth. Once each and every bore is perfectly clean then coat each cylinder with oil to preserve until piston placement. Once again the bores must be clean or you just left lapping compound in your engine.

The Ball-Hone is self-centering, self-aligning to the bore, and self-compensating for wear. Ball-hones provide great surface finish and will make your next re-ring job a success !


About Danny Bender 104 Articles Is The Premier Automotive Engine Troubleshooting Resource Site. Shares Information On Engine Troubleshooting, Engine Rebuilding, Engine Repair Tips, Tech Info, Basic Machining, Automotive Testing, In addition To Possible Solutions.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply