Here is the final product, a blocking plate that took less than a half an hour to make, didn’t cost more than some scrap metal lying around the shop and some extra gasket material. It looks good, is lighter than the OEM equipment, and does the job of plugging holes in the intake manifold.

Racecars created from production vehicles have all sorts of extra amenities we don’t need at the racetrack. Vanity mirror? Nope? Cupholders? Nope? Windshield wipers? Well, sometimes. Anyone who has built a racecar from scratch has gone through the process of getting rid of some things and modifying others.

Recently, I was building a car and wanted to remove the EGR valve. This valve, which is designed to recirculate engine exhaust back into the intake manifold, was only going to hurt horsepower. Being a guy who is a “bolt on” car builder, I was looking for an EGR blocking plate I could buy. That was when I was reminded by some friends, who are much more talented than I am, that we could fabricate the part instead of waiting for it to be shipped to us.

Dan “Gadget” Bordeau, who works at Performance In-Frame Tuning, can build anything. When I said I needed to find an EGR delete blocking plate on the Internet for a car we were working on, he asked, “Why do you need to order, pay, and wait for something to be shipped to us when I can just build it in a few minutes?” I didn’t have an answer.
Using skills we all learned in kindergarten, Gadget traced the shape of the blocking plate on a piece of paper and then used household scissors to cut it out.
This is one of two OEM pieces we decided our racecar no longer needed. We used this piece to create a shape for our blocking plate and to determine where the holes needed to be in the blocking plate to mount it to the intake manifold. Notice the two inset rubber O-rings inside the OEM piece. We would need to use gasket material to seal our blocking plate to the manifold.

Dan “Gadget” Bordeau works at Performance In-Frame Tuning, a tuner shop in Napa, Calif., owned by NASA racer, AJ Gracy. Gadget earned his nickname by solving problems and building insane rides out of nothing more than hard work and ingenuity. Every time I am at Performance In-Frame Tuning, I learn something new about racecars and fabricating from AJ and Gadget. This particular visit I learned that we could create a blocking plate out of nothing more than some scrap metal lying on the ground and a band saw.

Once our template was cut out, Gadget spray-painted our metal with Steel Blue, a layout fluid that allowed us to score our design on the metal. I had never heard of this stuff, but it worked great.
Using the template we cut out, Gadget traced the template with a punch scoring the Steel Blue layout fluid on the metal. Again, using skills learned in grade school.

Gadget removed the part we wanted to block on the intake manifold, traced it, created a template, and then used Steel Blue layout fluid on the metal to score a perfect line to cut out our steel. Then he expertly ran the metal through a band saw, and then used a belt sander to create the perfect size blocking plate. Then he used a drill press to punch a few mounting holes and this part was done. It was much faster than ordering a part from eBay. He used scissors to cut the universal gasket material and then bolted the blocking plate onto the intake manifold. He literally built this project in less than 30 minutes. I probably delayed the process by asking him to slow down so I could take some pictures for Speed News magazine.

You can see in this photo the easy-to-discern line the scribe left in the Steel Blue layout fluid. We used this line to cut the blocking plate out with a band saw to the perfect size.
A band saw is a handy thing to have at the shop. It is a super versatile tool for fabrication. Here you can see Gadget slicing out the perfect blocking plate.
The most important thing to remember is that a band saw can slice your fingers off in an instant. I had a middle school shop teacher who only had four fingers from a band saw mishap. It scared the hell out of me every time I looked at his mangled hand.
Here is our blocking plate in rough form. To make it work well and look sharp on our intake manifold, Gadget will hold this thing with pliers and make the magic happen on the belt sander by rounding the corners and removing the Steel Blue layout fluid.
After belt sanding our blocking plate, we set it on the original piece to ensure it would be a perfect fit to block the passageways on the intake manifold. Since we took the time to trace everything and make templates, this piece was a perfect fit on the first try.
Quick work with a drill press dialed in the holes we would need to mount the blocking plate to the intake manifold. Every shop needs a drill press. Gadget took the time to countersink these holes for heat expansion.
Using gasket material — where you cut your own gasket shape — Gadget simply trimmed the gasket size around the blocking plate. This would ensure the intake manifold would not have any vacuum leaks.
Here is the final product, a blocking plate that took less than a half an hour to make, didn’t cost more than some scrap metal lying around the shop and some extra gasket material. It looks good, is lighter than the OEM equipment, and does the job of plugging holes in the intake manifold.
Here is the second blocking plate we created for our intake manifold. This one was smaller, but built with the same methodology we used for our first piece. It’s a super simple, easy fabrication project to solve a problem for racers.

So, next time you think you need to scour the Internet for something, take a step back and think, “Can I just fabricate this?” If your nick name is Gadget, chances are you probably can.

To read more from Rob Krider, or to contact him, go to

Image courtesy of Rob Krider

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