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Old 12-28-2007, 06:49 PM
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Gapless Piston Rings - Do I Need Them?

Hi guys

you may have seen my earlier posts. Currently overhauling a 454 with 2000 miles on it since last rebuild. Had some problems and had to take her apart. The previous owner did the last rebuild - I have no idea what he did.

Anyway: Looks like I will need new piston rings. Summit Has piston ring set from about $45 up to about $250 for the set.

The "Total Seal" brand of "gapless" rings are the $250 set. I called them today. the guy on the phone was polite and helpful. He recommend them for my performance street engine.

My question to you guys is, Do I need them? Or can I just use good ductile iron "normal" piston rings - with a gap?

The guy at Total Seal says I should expect a 10-20 HP increase by using his "gapless" rings on my 454 compared to standard rings. Is that true?

Lee

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Old 12-28-2007, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leejoy
The guy at Total Seal says I should expect a 10-20 HP increase by using his "gapless" rings on my 454 compared to standard rings. Is that true?

Lee
I'm sure he did tell you that! LOL There is quite a bit of "this and that" on the total seal "gapless rings". I don't know, some swear by them, some don't.

Personally, I'd just get a good set of chrome moly top rings, cast middle and standard oil control rings.
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:15 PM
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leejoy,

Here's the thing. These gapless rings are for squeezing out every little bit of power you can from your engine as is possible. If you are planning on using the engine in a race car where money is not important but horespower is the goal, then gapless rings are for you. But then so would felpro "shim" head gaskets, windage tray, having your engine block decked by .050, anything goes, because horsepower is THE goal. But if you only want to freshen-up your engine then putting in these rings is like throwing money down a rat hole. If you are just freshing-up your engine and want it to run well and last a long and useful life then put in the less expensive rings.

Have Fun

Scholman
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Old 12-28-2007, 11:10 PM
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Lee, you won't see 20 HP with the total seal rings. Not knocking the Total Seal folks as I just spent well over an hour talking with their lead engineer in Fla less than a month ago on ring pack options surface finish and honing.

In your situation you made one fatal mistake, you are floundering around with this ring situation because you did not leak down the motor prior to taking it apart. That would have told you the condition of the rings and given you the correct answer.

I know it has been mentioned that rings can't be reinstalled. That's simply not true. If the rings are in good shape with a correct edge that's not worn it is fine to reinstall the rings on the same piston in the same hole. Been done a thousand times just this past year across the country. Simply taking the pistons out of the bore does not affect the rings at all. If it sealed prior to teardown it's likely the rings are still in good shape. No oil buring, smoke or obvious signs of issues, likely rings are still good. Why wouldn't they be?

The ring edge is a key. Any good machine shop/rebuilder should be able to inspect the rings as well as take a quick measure of the bores to make sure all is good.

If you want to replace rings to just replace them, the $45 jobbies are all you need. Dingle ball the cylinders and slap the new rings in.

The logic in the $45 rings is simple. For a top dollar ring to do any good the pistons need to be sized correctly and the rings need to be installed in a bore that is absolutely round. Unless you are going to take the time and pay the expense to do it all correctly why invest in an extremely precise and high technology ring pack?
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Old 12-29-2007, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmark
I'm sure he did tell you that! LOL There is quite a bit of "this and that" on the total seal "gapless rings". I don't know, some swear by them, some don't.

Personally, I'd just get a good set of chrome moly top rings, cast middle and standard oil control rings.
No such thing as a chrome moly ring as its either chrome ,moly or a cast ring!!
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Old 12-29-2007, 03:02 PM
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There are rings called "chrome moly" just like "plasma moly" I would NEVER use "chrome moly" rings in a chevy street engine though.

Total Seal rings are an amazing thing (I'm one of the guys that swears by them) They allow you to run a larger cam because they have less leakage and therefor more compression and vacuum- though it is only a few %. I alwasy use them because I like to use nice parts. You could buy a "el cheapo" set of cast rings and they'll run fine, but not as well as a set of Gapless.
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Old 12-29-2007, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ap72
There are rings called "chrome moly" just like "plasma moly" I would NEVER use "chrome moly" rings in a chevy street engine though.

Total Seal rings are an amazing thing (I'm one of the guys that swears by them) They allow you to run a larger cam because they have less leakage and therefor more compression and vacuum- though it is only a few %. I alwasy use them because I like to use nice parts. You could buy a "el cheapo" set of cast rings and they'll run fine, but not as well as a set of Gapless.
Again who makes a chrome moly rings and whats the part number as this is new to me as we have used chrome rings in some industrial engines before.
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick WI
Lee, you won't see 20 HP with the total seal rings. Not knocking the Total Seal folks as I just spent well over an hour talking with their lead engineer in Fla less than a month ago on ring pack options surface finish and honing.

In your situation you made one fatal mistake, you are floundering around with this ring situation because you did not leak down the motor prior to taking it apart. That would have told you the condition of the rings and given you the correct answer.

I know it has been mentioned that rings can't be reinstalled. That's simply not true. If the rings are in good shape with a correct edge that's not worn it is fine to reinstall the rings on the same piston in the same hole. Been done a thousand times just this past year across the country. Simply taking the pistons out of the bore does not affect the rings at all. If it sealed prior to teardown it's likely the rings are still in good shape. No oil buring, smoke or obvious signs of issues, likely rings are still good. Why wouldn't they be?

The ring edge is a key. Any good machine shop/rebuilder should be able to inspect the rings as well as take a quick measure of the bores to make sure all is good.

If you want to replace rings to just replace them, the $45 jobbies are all you need. Dingle ball the cylinders and slap the new rings in.

The logic in the $45 rings is simple. For a top dollar ring to do any good the pistons need to be sized correctly and the rings need to be installed in a bore that is absolutely round. Unless you are going to take the time and pay the expense to do it all correctly why invest in an extremely precise and high technology ring pack?

i agree. and caution should be used in removing those pistons from the bore. also, the ridge at the top of the bore needs to be looked at.
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Old 12-30-2007, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CNC BLOCKS N/E
Again who makes a chrome moly rings and whats the part number as this is new to me as we have used chrome rings in some industrial engines before.
Forget it, Carl. Chalk it up to Legends that Will Never Die.

I have seen ring sets (OEM) that had chrome top rings and moly second rings. Perhaps that's where the myth started.

tom
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Old 12-30-2007, 03:46 PM
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Ya I have always heard about chrome moly but never seen one yet, I just thought after 28 years now I thought I may have missed something but I guess not.
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Old 12-30-2007, 08:02 PM
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that's the set... they're often callen "chrome moly" rings... but like I said chrome rings do not belong on 90% of street cars.
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Old 12-30-2007, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ap72
that's the set... they're often callen "chrome moly" rings... but like I said chrome rings do not belong on 90% of street cars.
Chrome rings are very very pricey and have not seen them offered in any of the applictions we build engines for only industrial applications infact its new to me about a second moly as those are a scraper ring and they are tapered so its hard to believe they would offer that in a moly.
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Old 12-30-2007, 08:50 PM
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A lot of the foreign-made trucks and some cars are produced from the factory with chrome rings. Most of the 3-piece oil scraper rings have chrome-plated rails.

tom
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Old 12-31-2007, 07:37 AM
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I know alot of foriegn cars carry chrome rings- as do a lot of motorcycles. They work good in small displacement high RPM engines (most foriegn jobs) but they rarely seal correctly in a soft block 350 chevy which almost never even sees 4,000 RPM on the street.

With a high nickle block, high RPM usage, or perhaps turbo'ed setups they work great... but they need a good amount of heat to seal correctly.
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