Honing is the machining process to improve the cylinder's interior surface. If the hone marks get faded or glaze builds up in there, you need to hone the cylinder. Don't worry. You don't need to take help from any professional to do so. With a honing tool achieving a perfect cross-hatching pattern is a breeze for anyone.
But not all the hone tools are made equal. Poorly made one can ruin your cylinder. So, in this article, I'm going to review the best cylinder honing tool for you. I gave some honing tips and a buying guide for the beginner. Let's get started.
Quick look at all of my top picked products below:
1. YOTOO Hone Tool ”“ Best Engine Honing Machine
Holes for 2”-7” diameter, 4inch stone, self-centering, 220 grit replacement stones, easy operating, adjustable stone pressure, heavy-duty flexible shaft.
2. Flex-Hone Tool – BC10012 ”“ High-Speed Hone Tool
Silicon Carbide construction, 10 different abrasive types, 11 grit selections, 120 grit, speed up to 800 rpm, suitable for 1” holes, self-centering, self-aligning, self-compensating.
3. ABN Brake Cylinder Hone ”“ Best Budget for Small Cylinder
2-inch stone, medium 220 grit, self-centering shaft, 1.25-3.5 inch diameter cylinder usage, maximum strength, superior maneuverability.
4. Brush Research FLEX-HONE ”“ Precision Control Finishing Parameters
Holes for 3.5” diameter, 3(1 )/2inch size, Silicon Carbide grit material, 120 grit size, maximum speed 700 rpm.
5. Weiler 34289 Crossflex ”“ Heavy-Duty Bore Brush
5-inch size, 320 Coarseness rating, Silicon Carbide build material, Speed up to 600 rpm, 320 grit stones, 3-6 inch hole sizes, Heavy Burr Removal.
6. Alltrade 648439 -All-Rounder Glaze Breaker
2-7 inch diameter cylinder, Durable flex shaft, Adjustable stone pressure, 4-inch grit stones, 220 medium grit.
7. YOTOO 2-Piece Hone Set ”“ Combo Pack of Two
2 pieces combo pack, flexible and self-centering shaft, 3 replaceable grit stones, 2-inch long stones, 220 medium grit, suitable for 11/4 to 31/2 inch diameter cylinder.
What Happens If You Don't Hone A Cylinder?
Honing is done using a suitable abrasive gritstone on the interior of the tubing or cylinder bores. It is done to achieve the desired finishing pattern which is widely known as cross-hatching. This pattern is essential for oil retention, it keeps the cylinder interior lubricated by holding oil.
When the cylinder wall needs honing, skipping it is not recommended. The rings will wear out soon because of not enough lubrication. Again, it might put oil on your rear bumper. So, when you can barely see the cross-hatching pattern or feel it using the fingernail that's when you should carry out the honing process without any delay.
How I Picked the Best Cylinder Honing Tool
Choosing the best engine honing tool was not easy at all. My topmost selecting priority was the ease of use so that even an occasional mechanic with little prior experience can do the job without taking any professional help. Besides, I considered their durability too. You don't want the honing tool to break down after honing one or two cylinders if your one is bigger than a dual cylinder engine.
Different piston ring needs different grit type. While picking the cylinder honing tool, I took that into consideration and tried to cover every required size and type of stone in my review. Lastly, I prioritize the ones with high user ratings too. Some other factors were in my mind too, I addressed them in the buying guide section for you to read. All I can say, you can trust my selection and pick any of them without any doubt.
Just in case if you're in a hurry”¦.
Check these two best tools for honing cylinders from my review unit. If you are in a hurry, you can trust my recommendation and thank me later.
Best Engine Honing Machine
”¢ Deglazing Holes: 2-7 inch diameter
”¢ Number of Grit Stone: 3
”¢ Grit Type: 220
”¢ Stone Length: 4 inch
”¢ Material: Silicon Carbide
Best Budget for Small Engine Cylinder
- Deglazing Holes: 1.25-3.5 inch diameter
- Number of Grit Stone: 3
- Grit Type: 220
- Stone Length: 2 inch
- Material: Carbide
How to Choose the Best Engine Honing Tool? (The Buying Guide)
With so many types of hone machines available in the market, it is easy to get confused about which one to choose. Basically checking these five features down below can make sure you have got the right tool for yourself.
The first thing you need to consider before purchasing a bore brush is its diameter. If its diameter is oversized or undersized for your cylinder's interior, then it will be of no use. So, get yourself familiar with your engine, its cylinder before getting a hone machine for it. Check its size from the owner's manual. If you have lost the user guide, don't panic. Just google it inputting your vehicle's make, model, and year. Some bore brush manufacturers provide excellent customer support where you can consult them about the right size to get for your car.
A rigid shaft can withstand the pressure from the honing process. It doesn't break off after getting done with one cylinder or two. Usually, silicon carbide construction provides the ultimate strength with long operational life. Don't go for the cheap-made one for saving some bucks. They might fall off even before you're done with the honing process!
Get the one with a flexible nylon stem as the abrasive stones are attached to the end of them, which is why each of them has individual suspension. This makes the bore brush tool rotate in the true center and evenly make hone marks on the interior surface. Furthermore, they are self-aligning to the bore, preventing excessive metal deburring.
The grit type of the stones also matters as it indicates how coarse the abrasive stone will be. A higher number means finer grit. Different piston rings require different grit types. So, the safest bet is to check what's your piston rings are made of and purchase hone tools accordingly.
An adjustable stone pressure just makes the honing process a breeze. It lets you control the pressure on which the abrasive stones are going to scrub against the surface. On top of that, it increases efficiency which is why every premium hone tool has this feature. So, before buying a bore brush make sure it has this adjustable pressure functionality.
Best Cylinder Honing Tool Reviews: My Top 5 Picks
Here are my honest reviews of the best tool for honing cylinders. Let's see why and how they made the top list and what features and functionalities they have got to offer.
1. YOTOO Hone Tool ”“ Best Engine Honing Machine
More features: Durable self-centering shaft, Adjustable stone pressure, Ease of operation.
OVERALL RATING: 9.8 out of 10
Coming at an affordable price point this honing machine surprised me with all of its premium functionalities. This tool is built to last, unlike other cheap-made ones it doesn't break down after cross-hatching one or two cylinders. So, no matter if your engine has single, dual or more cylinders it can hone them all. This is why I have selected it as my top pick.
Heavy Duty Shaft
The machine has a durable yet flexible shaft for smooth glaze breaking capability. For its superior strength, it can withstand the pressure and doesn't break down or fall apart in the process. The powerful arm design keeps the abrasives accurately in line which is why it’s self-centering. So, even cross-hatching across the interior surface is guaranteed.
Adjustable Spring Pressure
The knurled wheel adds further efficiency and convenience. It allows you to adjust the spring pressure of the stones at all speeds. I love how easy it is to use- just turn clockwise to increase the pressure when necessary. Again, if you turn it in the opposite direction, meaning anticlockwise, the pressure will drop off.
220 Grit Stones
The kit comes with 3 pieces of replaceable grit stones. They are of medium size, 220. The length of them is 4 inches. Usually, most ring manufacturers suggest using this sized stone for faster deposits and corrosion removal in engines, brakes, and all types of cylinders. They can be operated with any standard drill of 2 to 7-inch diameter.
I was impressed this machine included three pieces of replaceable 220 grit stones. This size is perfect for most of the vehicle's engine having plain cast iron or chrome rings. Again, it can be used for a wide range of diameter in cylinders starting from 2 inches all the way to 7 inches. Users loved how affordable yet well-made it is.
This hones the surface in a slow cutting action. It is not a high-speed one. Again, a lock in the closing position would be welcome.
2. Flex-Hone Tool – BC10012 ”“ High-Speed Hone Tool
More features: 10 different abrasive types, 11 grit selections, Cross-hatching and plateaued finishing
OVERALL RATING: 9.8 out of 10
This machine is made of abrasive globules laminated onto the ends of flexible nylon filaments. For this exceptional construction, it allows the tool to be self-aligning, self-centering and self-compensating for wear.
Again, it gives you great flexibility to choose from ten different abrasive types and eleven grit choices. You can improve the cylinder wall by cross-hatching and deburring the slot.
Plateaued and Crosshatch Finishes
A 45-degree crosshatch finish helps to seat piston rings more securely. Again, it works for oil lubrication, valve guides, cam bearing bores, piston pin bores, and more. This tool can help you successfully achieve that consistent plateaued and cross-hatch finishing without taking help from any professional mechanic.
Unlike my top pick, the YOTOO hone tool, this one has more speed. Its maximum rotational speed is up to 800 rpm, which is greater than any cylinder honing tool I have mentioned in my review. So, for those who want a speedy performance, you know which one to go for!
I was quite impressed by its 800 rpm speed. This USA-made machine provides a wide variety of combinations to choose the abrasive type and the grit. Again, its ability to perform consistent plateaued and crosshatch finishing on the cylinder interior is just flawless. It can deburr cleanly too which is really useful.
The grit type is 120. So those whose engine's cylinder requires 220 or more like moly piston rings, won't be able to use this.
3. ABN Brake Cylinder Hone ”“ Best Budget for Small Engine Cylinder
More features: Self-centering shaft, Spring Tension Adjusting Nut, Ease of use
OVERALL RATING: 9.7 out of 10
If you have got a small engine, then this tool is everything you need. Don't let the small size fool you. Being built with premium carbide metal, it features maximum strength, durability, and longevity. The flexible shaft self centers the piston brake honing tool for increased speed and maneuverability.
Rigid Honing Stones
The three carbide stone features a 220 medium grit which is why it polishes away any glaze build-up. On top of that, because of the self-centering shaft, it makes an even and consistent cross-hatching pattern that keeps the cylinder interior lubricated.
Ease of Use
Users sang its praise highly reporting they loved how straightforward this machine is to use. You can easily adjust the pressure against the surface for better control and maximum effectiveness. Spring and knurled adjusting nut help you to fine-tune the pressure. Again, it's compatible with the electric drills.
I loved how small, compact yet so rigid this tool is. It's a pretty straightforward small engine cylinder hone tool without any bells and whistles. Three 220 grit stones do their job fantastically minus excessive material removal. Considering its low price point, it's worth it to give it a try.
There is some vibration to it. However, as the tool is self-centering this doesn't cause many problems.
4. Brush Research FLEX-HONE – Precision Control Finishing Parameters
More features: 10 Abrasive types, 11 grit selections, both cross-hatch and plateaued finishing, slot deburring
OVERALL RATING: 9.7 out of 10
This Flex-Hone offers ten abrasive types for you to choose from including aluminum oxide, boron carbide, silicon carbide, and even diamond. This allows the tool to be tailored so that it can improve the finishing of any base material. To precisely control these finishing parameters, one can select from eleven different grit choices.
Plateaued Crosshatch Finishes
This glaze breaker tool is capable of making an oil-holding crosshatching pattern and a true plateau finish that is free from cut, torn, and folded metal. As a result, it guarantees rapid ring seating, better oil control, reduced seepage in hydraulic and pneumatic applications.
On a related note, it also provides enhanced sealing performance and long-lasting seal life.
Not only making crosshatch patterns or breaking glaze buildup but also this hone tool efficiently gets rid of burr. It can deburr for cross-drilled holes, port radius, and edge blending.
The cutting action of this hone machine is quite fast. Their customer service is excellent. If you're unsure of the right size for yourself, just knock them and consult about it. Users commented it does what it’s intended to do and shared pictures showing perfect hone marks with true plateau finish.
There are some complaints that some customers got the product with inconsistent ball size. However, you can simply ask for a replacement or return if you are not happy with the received product.
5. Weiler 34289 Crossflex -Heavy-Duty Bore Brush
More features: Heavy burr removal, Flexible Nylon stem, consistent cross-hatch pattern
OVERALL RATING: 9.7 out of 10
With 320 grit type and 5 inches diameter, this one is a heavy-duty flex hone for engine cylinders. So, if you own a racing car or a performance car this is the one you should consider purchasing.
Desired Surface Finish
Whether you are a professional mechanic or a weekend DIY enthusiast, this tool is suitable for you offering a wide range of grits and sizes. It's able to produce the perfectly done consistent cross-hatch finish on the surface no matter what the base material is made of. Because of using Silicon Carbide material this machine has achieved superior strength to outperform other bore brushes.
Flexible Nylon Stem
The abrasive globular is connected to the ends of flexible nylon filaments. Each of them has independent suspension which is why this hone tool delivers a true center rotation, self-aligning to the bore and self-compensating for any wear and tear. This nylon stem uniformly distributes pressure, making a consistent crosshatch pattern.
Heavy Burr Removal
Burr removal is more crucial than you think, as it can interrupt a smooth operation if not done flawlessly. This machine features an increased brush that's capable of removing even the heaviest burrs. So, it outperforms the standard nylon tube brushes, leaving a smooth and even surface, absolutely free from metal burrs.
The use of nylon stem is appreciable as it provides an exceptional brush balance. 320 grit replacement stones are capable of making the perfect hone marks for helping piston rings seat securely and holding oil for lubrication in the combustion cylinder. For its heavy-duty construction, it’s guaranteed to have a longer operational life than similar available products in the market, saving you the money to buy a new one for every use.
Honestly, I didn't find anything I disliked about it. It's a heavy-duty hone machine for a performance car that does its job fantastically.
How to Use A Cylinder Honing Tool?
For this process, you will need a flex hone tool, a hone brush, flex hone oil, and a compatible electric drill.
Before starting the process, you need to lubricate both the hone machine and the cylinder's interior surface. Apply oil on them generously because you are going to scrub abrasive stones against the cylinder walls. Check the owner's manual for recommended honing instructions and intervals. You can search for the soft copy of the manual if you have lost the printed copy.
Now, select a slow speed, you only need it to spin between 500-1200 rpm. stroke it quickly. The goal is to make a 45 degree angled cross-hatch. 6 strokes are enough. Clean it off using the brush and hot soapy water. Rinse it out and leave it for drying. After that apply a light coat of oil to prevent oxidization.
If you are a bike owner, you might be wondering, how to hone a motorcycle cylinder? Well, the aforementioned cylinder honing tips applies to the motorbike cylinder too.
Those who don't have a drill might ask, how to hone a 2 stroke cylinder by hand? Though I don't recommend doing it freehand, you can follow the same process. You need to be quick and careful while making the strokes as you need a 45-degree cross-hatch pattern.
What Grit Should I Use to Hone Cylinder?
The different ring requires different grit stones. For example, moly-faced rings need 280 grit stones, whereas cast-iron or chrome rings require 220 medium grit stones. For the old cast, iron piston rings 120 grit type will be enough. Again, if it's a racing car having moly-faced rings then you will need grit stones with 320 to 400 size.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Does honing a cylinder make it bigger?
Honing is a machining process to make a cross-hatching finish on the cylinder interior surface. It also gets rid of the glaze buildups. The boring process makes the diameter bigger, not honing. So, a few strokes of hone won't make it bigger and require a larger piston ring.
2. Can you hone a cylinder by hand?
Yes, honing can be done freehand, without using drilling machines. Even in factories, it is done by hand, so there is no problem if you do it by hand. However, my personal recommendation is to use a machine to get an even and consistent surface. Moreover, it carries out deburring flawlessly too.
3. What lubricant to use when honing a cylinder?
Honing needs a generous amount of lubrication because you are going to scrub abrasive stones against the cylinder walls. So, before starting the process use 10-30 weight motor oil. You can use u003ca href=u0022https://amzn.to/3ygYCO1u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eBRM's flex hone oilu003c/au003e specifically made for this purpose. If you are working with a hydraulic brake cylinder, apply u003ca href=u0022https://amzn.to/2Obgusau0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003ehydraulic brake fluidu003c/au003e instead.
4. How much can you hone a cylinder?
6 strokes for each cylinder is perfect for honing them. Remember to do make a 45-degree cross-hatch pattern.
So, which flex hone tool you are going to buy? In my personal opinion, YOTOO Hone Tool is the best of them having all the premium functionalities. Brush Research flex hone offers you various abrasive and grit choices. ABN Brake Cylinder Hone is the most affordable one using which is a breeze.
If the other mentioned product on my list meets your requirements, you can go for them too without a second thought.