Checking crankshaft thrust endplay is a basic engine building step that is sometimes frustrated by finding a convenient place to anchor the magnetic dial indicator stand. Builders generally check crank endplay with the dial indicator reading off the front of the crank snout and the magnetic dial indicator stand affixed to the timing cover mounting surface.
Checking crankshaft end thrust with a dial indicator at the rear crank throw.
Another convenient way to do it from above is to mount the stand on the oil pan rail and rig the indicator to read off a crank throw. With the short block upside down on the engine stand it is easy to set this up and even easier to read the indicator as you pry the crank back and forth with a small pry bar. Typical readings are in the .005-.008-inch range.