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Old 07-12-2009, 09:46 PM
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Beginner needs help with tool decisions

I'm about to buy a boatload of tools to properly rebuild my motor. There are however, few tools that intimidate my lack of engine building experience. I'm trying to find a comprehensive piston ring compressor set, and I've turned to powerhouse tools. Unfortunately they do not sell a kit of any sort, only individual tapered ring compressors. The vast variety of sizes really confuses me. If I have a 4.00 inch pistons, should I buy the 4.000 or the 4.005? Answer me this please. Is it really necessary to buy precise tapered compressors for a one time use? What if I decide to bore to 4.020, will the 4.005 become useless? I'm really looking for a universal set.

Another tool question. My project currently as a beginner is checking the condition of this 1969 Windsor, and I need to check for collapsed piston skirts. Should I purchase the 4-5 micrometer to check this condition? Or will the 3-4 be acceptable? how often do you experienced folk use a 4-5 micrometer?

I've opted telescoping gauges as opposed to inside mikes. Is this an unwise decision?

These are all my questions. You can tell I'm a newbie. Thank you for your time. Appreciated.

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Old 07-12-2009, 09:59 PM
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If this really is for a one time use you should be able to get by with Harbor Freight tools but if you intend to use them again later the HF stuff is not a good idea. In this area Advance Auto parts and Auto Zone has a tool "loaner" program, you just pay a deposit and return it when finished and get ALL of your money back, every cent of it! Maybe something like that where you live?

One word of advice however DON'T use a rental or a Harbor Freight torque wrench! A rental torque wrench is VERY likely to have been abused and in all probability out of calibration, don't even consider using one, and the HF wrench simply is not to be trusted. I like HF for some things but I would never buy a critical tool from them.
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:37 AM
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They make a universal piston ring compressor.
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:22 AM
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I made the leap long ago an bought a Snap-On ring compressor. It's the one that looks like corrugated metal. I have had it for eons and it still works perfectly. Nothing to switch out and is fast and efficient, doesn't have lots of parts to get lost in the tool box.


Vince
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:07 PM
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any idea where I could purchase such a compressor? Powerhouse tools is too daunting.
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:26 AM
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Here's the cheap one I use.
I've had no problems with it.

Click
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittlePwny
Is it really necessary to buy precise tapered compressors for a one time use? What if I decide to bore to 4.020, will the 4.005 become useless?
Interestingly I just asked a couple of my engine builder friends this very question a couple weeks ago (they assemble motorcycles, RV's and snowmobiles for one of the area's larges dealers) and they said, yes, you need the cone for the exact bore size AND you will need a separate one should you ever have it over bored.

I don't do all that much engine building so I just use the type like Pugsy mentioned (similar to Vince's but smooth sided). These require a bit more care as you are pushing in the piston (if they are not absolutely square to the block a ring can sometimes pop out just enough to catch the top of the bore) so you don't want to whack them too hard if they bind up during the process. Over time, they can also get worn and/or a little beat up on the edges. But they do an adequate job as long as you are careful during the install. Also, you want to keep them lubricated (and possibly in a baggie) between uses so they don't develop any rust.
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:47 AM
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KD tools are like the early Fords: cheaper than most, but get the job done. The tool that Pugsy referenced has been with me for about 40 years and has come through on a variety of motors up to Cat Diesels and if I have broken a ring, I don't remember it or never knew of it.

Trees
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Old 07-15-2009, 10:30 AM
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They do have tapered ring compressors that are slightly adjustable - they can adjust a couple of hundredth's or so, so vastly different bore sizes will need their own compressor. Good thing about these is they'll adjust to fit an overbore without having to buy a new compressor.

I picked up this one from Summit Racing and I had no difficulties with it at all:
Summit 4.000 - 4.090 ring compressor
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trees
KD tools are like the early Fords: cheaper than most, but get the job done. The tool that Pugsy referenced has been with me for about 40 years and has come through on a variety of motors up to Cat Diesels and if I have broken a ring, I don't remember it or never knew of it.

Trees


I agree 100%, that type ring compressor is probably the most popular out there and for a good reason. I bought mine from Snap-On back in 1973 and, like you, I have ever had a problem using it and never met an engine it would not fit. As many times as I have used this thing I can't ever remember wishing I had anything better, KD tools, Snap-On, Craftsman, etc all have this style and they work just fine.
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:04 PM
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If you decide you want a Snap-on or Mac compressor or would like to see one, ask your local repair shop when the tool truck stops by and be there. I use the KD tool and have done so for 27 years with no problems.
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:42 PM
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Thank you everyone for the help. I will try the type you have suggested. I'm so glad the less expensive variety pulls through. Thanks again everyone, you saved me some money.
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