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Rings not seating?

General engine tech -- Drag Racing to Circle Track

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Re: Block Density

Postby RW TECH » Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:33 pm

Hardcore wrote:Due to the density of most aftermarket blocks, combined with the added wall and deck thickness, most of our blocks we deliver we have found
don't respond to a block plate with most standard measuring equipment. You will not be able to measure any bore distortion.

As bore size decreases, 4.250, that same distortion would be all but entirely eliminated. Even when using the max size, 4.625, there would be about a .300 thick wall remaining. It would be next to impossible for a .437 fastener to make a difference.

All our blocks, regardless, receive the plate/gasket combination.


Have you ever had any of these blocks inspected on a PAT machine? Curious what the results would be (true cylindricity) with and without the plates, using the PAT machine.
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Re: Rings not seating?

Postby Keith Morganstein » Sun Jun 25, 2006 10:03 am

engineer wrote:I recently rebuilt a BBC for a friend that does not seem to have seated the rings. The engine had about 900 miles on it and two cam lobes had worn off. He brought it to me and I put a hydraulic roller in it. The bores looked good, still showing the cross hatch, so everything was cleaned, new bearings put in and reassembled. The rings were removed and cleaned well during the cleaning process. Now the engine puffs smoke out the left side and is using a lot of oil. It has less than 500 miles since it was put back in. Should I have put new rings and rehoned the block? What can be done short of tearing it back apart and doing that?
I know this is pretty simple for this board, but I am looking for good advice, so this is the place.



Were new pistons and fresh bore/hone done at the first rebuild?

Almost certainly needs a re-hone and new rings. It should be easy enough to rule out valve seals or faulty PCV (if so equipped before you pull the engine again)

Pull the intake and look at the valve stems. look for oil in the manifold if a faulty PCV is suspected. Replace /install valve seals of PC design if the seals are suspect.

I could tell you about the bon ami procedure, but I'll probablly take a beating for that one.

Even diesel Blocks of parent bore design (no liners) are torque plate honed now, and those blocks are very thick to deal with the high cylinder pressures.

Yes OEM's got by without torque plate honong, but they weren't looking for the results performance engine builders are.
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Postby moper » Sun Jun 25, 2006 10:27 am

Can someone fill in why one shouldnt be oiling the rings during assembly? I know that holds true for 0 gap designs, using that "magic powder" and stuff. I'm talking about either stock replacement, or performance file-to-fit rings ina street/light race engine. I'm asking because I have a 383 Mopar, tq plate used for honing, plateau honed, using factory replacement type moly top rings. It runs great, has leak down averaging 5-6%, but smokes at idle when hot. No oil visible on guides or valves, and guide clearances were checked anyway. No issues on the heads. I assembled it 4 years ago, and it was fine after 50-60 miles or so when I delvered the car. It only got about 300 miles since then. Mostly start and stops to wash it, local trips, etc over 4 years. I'm thinking fuel wash from cold starts and little real driving. Sorry to highjack...but as it came up..
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Postby bill jones » Sun Jun 25, 2006 11:49 am

-I'm curious as to whether this engine was OK--didn't smoke during the first 900 miles.
-I'd think that since the engine is smoking on the left bank now---that the manifold is allowing oil to be sucked in at the intake gasket or the pvc is sucking oil because of poor baffling----or could be the oil level is too high inside the pan and the crank could be whipping the oil up into the left side cylinder bores.
-There's been no mention of what type of oil is being used.
-I've seen where the exhaust system could have gotten oil and or antifreeze in the pipes during disassembly---and that takes a few good hot sessions to burn it all out.
-Where oil smoke is visible I'd be for looking at the sparkplugs---to see if you can find a clue in the plug color----and installing new plugs maybe several times just so that you know the plugs are NOT fouled---until you find the problem.
-Concerning oiling the pistons and rings during assembly: I personally use a very small amount of oil on the pistons and the cylinder walls.
-I don't want liquid oil in the ring grooves or between the rings on the lands----because that liquid can have a hydraulicing affect.
-I put one or two drops of oil on each cylinder wall---and wipe/spread that oil up and down right where the piston skirt rides first--then spread that oil out to get the rest of the upper portion of the bore moist with oil---and then finish off by trying to get the residual oil spread over lower side portions of the walls.
-So the cylinders walls actually have about as thin a coating of oil as I can get on'm and know they are slightly moist.
-On the pistons I use one drop of oil on one skirt---spread that out on that one skirt with my fingers and then wipe my wet fingers across the other skirt.
-I also like to lightly oil the rings with the residual oil from my fingers---not dripping wet but a very thin coloring of oil so that I know the ring surfaces are moist.
-Then after I have the pistons in----and I'm rotating the shorblock components I wipe the upper part of the bores with paper towels several times to remove most of what little oil is there.
-Years ago when I first started building engines I didn't know any better and I tried dunking the piston and rings into a pan of oil---and I used STP on a lot of parts----but it only took about 2 engines doing that before I realized that wasn't right.
-I've heard of guys using ATF, WD-40, Marvel mystery oil and other magic elixers---and of installing the pistons and rings dry----but I have settled in on using just a drop of oil like I described and I use a conventional 10/30 or 30 weight oil for that
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Postby Barry_R » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:35 am

I use oil. I don't dunk 'em - but I likely use a little bit more that the one drop per skirt. They will spend the rest of their lives lubed by oil - why would you want anything else? And I feel that assembling any moving metal parts dry is just wrong...

A lot of the goofy stuff was started by a company with a ring design that did not do a good job of oil management - they wanted to blame anything else possible other than the rings...

If you have gummed up deposits I can bet you that they were not from a rational amount of assembly lube - - but from oil migrating up from the sump or down through the overhead during operation.
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Postby moper » Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:03 am

I havent gotten the pistons out of the block yet, so I can see what the rings look like now. The bores are clean, shiney, a small amount of visible crosshatch. I assemble using straight 30W oil, a small amount (maybe 1/2 teaspoon?) of it squirted onto the top and 2nd rings, and that I wipe around onto the oil rings, makine sure to rotate the rings in the lands, getting oil all the way around, and on the skirts. I'll also wipe away the excess on the top of the cylinders. I figured if the engine sat for a month, it would still not be dry per se. It's worked for all of them..but this 383...lol.
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Postby mtkawboy » Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:29 pm

In the early 60's I was in the pits at Daytona and stood dumbfounded as I watched Smokey Yunick seat the rings in a SD 421 Pontiac motor by holding it at 5000 and dusting a can of Bon Ami cleanser over the carb. I realise this has nothing to do with todays technology but I never forgot that pricelss moment in my life as a young kid. Times and technology sure have changed along with ring sealing techniques.
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Postby Ed-vancedEngines » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:04 pm

The Bon-Ami trick is a last resort when all else fails. It is an old circle track trick that is seldom ever talked about.

What you are doing is using the abrasiveness in the Bon-Ami to remove the glaze on rings and cylinder wall to hopefully get them to try to re-seat themselves. Does not always work and usually is the last attempt before having to tear down, so nothing is really lost if it does not work, because you were ready to be freshened anyway.

Oil on rings is not good for getting a good seat. Will not argue. I am 60 yrs old and have been through quite many of the tricks of the year. For years I soaked my piston tops with instlled rings in a galon bucket of ATF because that was just what we all did. Next came keeping them dry but spraying light coat of Wd-40 on them. Next came keeping rings dry but spraying WD-40 on hand and wiping in piston skirts and all over cylinders and wiping with a lint free shop towel.

Next came and this is my current proceedure as I was instructed by Kieth Jones of Total Seal. I get better seal quicker and quick good leak downs with this. I use this proceedure no matter whose ring or ring material. I buy from Total Seal a product called Quick-Seat. I call it black Gold, as much as it costs. Clean the cylinders as good as I know how and then clean some more with Lacquer Thinner. Then very lightly wipe cylinder with WD-40 with a Blue Lint free paper shop towel and very lightly use Quick Seat as recommended which means to lightly wipe it all over the cylinder and watch for the colors to change. If the color is a gray=greenish color it is clean to install pistons and rings just as it is. If it changes to a black color it is not clean enough so all must be removed to clean again. Doesn't take long to learn that what I was calling clean the chemical disputed. Now I get it right everytime and I am very happy with quick good ring seating. Also I quit using light tension racing oil rings in 1980, and like the standard tension rings better.

Postby mtkawboy » Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:20 am

Smokey was using chrome rings then too and had to get them seated fast. Had a friend from Miami , no longer with us, who ran a 56 ford convertable on the beach and they drove it from Miami with straight pipes to break it in up US 1, ran the race and drove it home. Think the 1 engine rule now is tough in Nextel Cup?
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Postby katman » Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:07 pm

Ed-vancedEngines wrote:The Bon-Ami trick is a last resort when all else fails. It is an old circle track trick that is seldom ever talked about.

What you are doing is using the abrasiveness in the Bon-Ami to remove the glaze on rings and cylinder wall to hopefully get them to try to re-seat themselves.

I find this very strange as Bon-Ami is about the only NON- ABRASIVE cleaner on the market. It's the only cleaner recommended for thoroughly cleaning windshields.
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Postby Ed-vancedEngines » Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:01 am

Maybe it does contain some abrasives but not like other cleaners? Or the detergent agants in it are cleaning the oil and glaze off the ring sealing surfaces?

I do know this, anytime I have heard mention of the Bon-Ami trick, the instructions are to bring engine rpm up and lightly dust the powder in the intake using no more than a table spoonful. I have never done it yet. Even my Ring Ghuru did suggest it to me one time with a customer that no mater what we did he was plagued with blow-by because of running his engine in with to uch oil in the pan. Those riings never seated in right. That was also when I was oiling the rings before putting piston in the hole too. He ended up seelling the truck to another customer and that customer wanted the engine freshened so I do not know if the Bon-Ami trick would have helped or not.


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