Looking for opinions on piston ring gap

SlipperySnake

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Thanks for the replies. I have done a lot of reading and seems this is my issue. Has oil on my intake valves and figured it was bad valve stem seals or excessive guide to stem clearance but the heads are brand new and reworked, also has viton seals . I talked to a gentlemen at Ross racing pistons which are the pistons I have and he was telling me there are two kinds of people with gapless rings. People that swear by them or people that swear at them. The gapless top ring prevents adequate cylinder pressure from getting behind the 2nd compression ring to seal against the cylinder wall to scrape oil away. Frustrating this is a brand new engine and I have it all apart now to replace rings. It smokes so much at idle it’s embarrassing to even drive. Really glad I found this thread. Been battling this issue for months.
 

pridemore54

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I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread, especially MalcomV8 for coming back with all of the info. I intend to start building a long block on the side soon-ish and this has been a very educating read.

Hope your setup is still going strong
 

MalcolmV8

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Thanks for the replies. I have done a lot of reading and seems this is my issue. Has oil on my intake valves and figured it was bad valve stem seals or excessive guide to stem clearance but the heads are brand new and reworked, also has viton seals . I talked to a gentlemen at Ross racing pistons which are the pistons I have and he was telling me there are two kinds of people with gapless rings. People that swear by them or people that swear at them. The gapless top ring prevents adequate cylinder pressure from getting behind the 2nd compression ring to seal against the cylinder wall to scrape oil away. Frustrating this is a brand new engine and I have it all apart now to replace rings. It smokes so much at idle it’s embarrassing to even drive. Really glad I found this thread. Been battling this issue for months.

I feel your pain. I'm sure it's up in this thread from years ago but Total Seal swore by those rings and had me doing all kinds of work arounds. Oil level in pan, install a vacuum pump on the valve covers to pull a vacuum under the pistons etc. Then they swore it was faulty heads / seals. I yanked my heads TWICE to get rebuilt, valve guides, valve seats, seals etc. It is beyond frustrating. I eventually pulled those rings and went to conventional rings and boom all was fixed and good.
Hence my comment above about throwing those things in the trash lol :)

It's unfortunate but the only fix I know of is to tear down and re-ring the motor. That means a bare block to the machine shop, light hone job to prep surface and reassemble with conventional rings.

I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread, especially MalcomV8 for coming back with all of the info. I intend to start building a long block on the side soon-ish and this has been a very educating read.

Hope your setup is still going strong

You're welcome and unless you know some tricks to make them work I'd stay away from the gapless issues.
 

SlipperySnake

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I feel your pain. I'm sure it's up in this thread from years ago but Total Seal swore by those rings and had me doing all kinds of work arounds. Oil level in pan, install a vacuum pump on the valve covers to pull a vacuum under the pistons etc. Then they swore it was faulty heads / seals. I yanked my heads TWICE to get rebuilt, valve guides, valve seats, seals etc. It is beyond frustrating. I eventually pulled those rings and went to conventional rings and boom all was fixed and good.
Hence my comment above about throwing those things in the trash lol :)

It's unfortunate but the only fix I know of is to tear down and re-ring the motor. That means a bare block to the machine shop, light hone job to prep surface and reassemble with conventional rings.



You're welcome and unless you know some tricks to make them work I'd stay away from the gapless issues.
Ya I spoke with total seal yesterday and got the same sort of push of these rings are great blah blah. The guy I spoke with even said he had them in his v10 triton modular, I didn't really care lol. Did you or juiced 4.6 try different kinds of cylinder finishes and checking them with a profilometer to eliminate that from the mix of why the rings weren't working? I'm going to contradict myself here and say I don't think that's the issue because my rings are seated, car has great power and leak down is 1%, but of course it is rings are gapless... Just curious if the cylinder finish was considered at all. Only thing I can come up with is that the increased vacuum due to the better ring seal is enough to effect the stem seals just due to their design I guess. The guy at total seal even said just put a conventional ring in it if you think it's the vacuum issue. Like you mentioned I think I'm going to strip the block and re-hone it for a new set of stainless conventional rings. Due to the oil burning the cylinder walls are a little glazed over in my opinion. After I read this thread I am really convinced the rings are the issue and I don't even want to take the chance with another set of gapless rings. I'll take blow by and changing my oil more often all day over James Bond smoke screen at the stop light. lol.

I got my heads off and they're going to Kris Starnes for inspection regardless. I'm gonna wait to hear back from him before I tear it apart. If he says they're fine then it's gotta be the rings 100%.
 

SlipperySnake

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Here are some pics of the situation lol. Hopefully they upload. Yes that’s liquid oil in the exhaust manifold.
 

gimmie11s

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So frustrating... hope you get it figured out!
 

MalcolmV8

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Ya I spoke with total seal yesterday and got the same sort of push of these rings are great blah blah. The guy I spoke with even said he had them in his v10 triton modular, I didn't really care lol. Did you or juiced 4.6 try different kinds of cylinder finishes and checking them with a profilometer to eliminate that from the mix of why the rings weren't working? I'm going to contradict myself here and say I don't think that's the issue because my rings are seated, car has great power and leak down is 1%, but of course it is rings are gapless... Just curious if the cylinder finish was considered at all. Only thing I can come up with is that the increased vacuum due to the better ring seal is enough to effect the stem seals just due to their design I guess. The guy at total seal even said just put a conventional ring in it if you think it's the vacuum issue. Like you mentioned I think I'm going to strip the block and re-hone it for a new set of stainless conventional rings. Due to the oil burning the cylinder walls are a little glazed over in my opinion. After I read this thread I am really convinced the rings are the issue and I don't even want to take the chance with another set of gapless rings. I'll take blow by and changing my oil more often all day over James Bond smoke screen at the stop light. lol.

I got my heads off and they're going to Kris Starnes for inspection regardless. I'm gonna wait to hear back from him before I tear it apart. If he says they're fine then it's gotta be the rings 100%.
I did not try different cylinder finishes with the gapless rings. They were seated and sealing very well as are yours. I actually got 0% on my leak down tests which is mind blowing. I'd never seen anything like it. However I don't believe the 2nd set of rings (mostly for oil control) were doing much of anything. Just a theory. Total Seal initially said it was my heads but after pulling them twice and having everything redone at the machine shops I'm just not buying it. The story kept evolving, then it was my crank case pressure, my oil level in the pan etc. etc. I gave up and moved on.

To quote myself from 7 tears ago "Since day 1 of firing up this motor it's burnt oil, lots of it. I'm talking about 1 quart every 250 miles or so. Piston tops are black, exhaust looks like diesel soot, O2 sensors get trashed to non working in about 800 miles, plugs look oily, wet on threads"

who's got time for that? lol.

Standard ring gaps are not an issue. Spend the time to be overly specific on filing them and ensuring the ring gaps are parallel. Extremely parallel and accurate, measure with a feeler gauge. I'm super particular about that. I use the Total Seal power ring filer that accounts for the curve of the ring and it takes me about 8 hours to do all the rings because I'm super specific about.
The result is no blow by, my catch cans get nothing by moisture in them.

Best of luck, those pics look similar.

Malcolm
 

SlipperySnake

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I did not try different cylinder finishes with the gapless rings. They were seated and sealing very well as are yours. I actually got 0% on my leak down tests which is mind blowing. I'd never seen anything like it. However I don't believe the 2nd set of rings (mostly for oil control) were doing much of anything. Just a theory. Total Seal initially said it was my heads but after pulling them twice and having everything redone at the machine shops I'm just not buying it. The story kept evolving, then it was my crank case pressure, my oil level in the pan etc. etc. I gave up and moved on.

To quote myself from 7 tears ago "Since day 1 of firing up this motor it's burnt oil, lots of it. I'm talking about 1 quart every 250 miles or so. Piston tops are black, exhaust looks like diesel soot, O2 sensors get trashed to non working in about 800 miles, plugs look oily, wet on threads"

who's got time for that? lol.

Standard ring gaps are not an issue. Spend the time to be overly specific on filing them and ensuring the ring gaps are parallel. Extremely parallel and accurate, measure with a feeler gauge. I'm super particular about that. I use the Total Seal power ring filer that accounts for the curve of the ring and it takes me about 8 hours to do all the rings because I'm super specific about.
The result is no blow by, my catch cans get nothing by moisture in them.

Best of luck, those pics look similar.

Malcolm
Good to know your motor looked similar to this. I appreciate all the feedback and will update the thread as the engine gets reassembled.
 

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