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Old 12-13-2008, 10:45 PM
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Ring groover spacers?

A friend asked me if I ever heard of piston ring groove spacers. I told him I didn't. A machine shop gave him these spacers for the upper ring grooves in a sbc 327 he was building. I assume the pistons have a little wear and they are for making the upper ring groove spacing correct. Is this right? Is this a common practice or a bandaid? Should he put new pistons in or just use these with the spacers? Do they go above or below the upper ring?

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Old 12-14-2008, 12:56 AM
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Ring spacers are band aids. When the cost of replacement pistons isn`t that high I would rather go the new piston route.
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Old 12-15-2008, 12:46 PM
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Does anyone use them? Are there downfalls or is it 'just not done'?
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxpower_454
Does anyone use them? Are there downfalls or is it 'just not done'?
It's done when the ring grooves are re-machined on a used piston or to correct machining errors on new pistons or when running a newer narrow rings in a piston machined for wide rings.

It's a practice I never subscribed to so I can't give you any insight as to how long its good for. My assumption has been that it's a band aid solution from a century ago when vehicles didn't go far nor fast and keeping things running cheaply thru the depression was the paramount concern. I see it as a "Grapes of Wrath" era thing like knurling pistons to run in ridge reamed bores, grinding valves and seats with gritty oily compounds, and shimming bearings are remnant processes from that era designed to keep an engine limping long enough to get from Oklahoma to California.

Bogie
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbogie
It's done when the ring grooves are re-machined on a used piston or to correct machining errors on new pistons or when running a newer narrow rings in a piston machined for wide rings.

It's a practice I never subscribed to so I can't give you any insight as to how long its good for. My assumption has been that it's a band aid solution from a century ago when vehicles didn't go far nor fast and keeping things running cheaply thru the depression was the paramount concern. I see it as a "Grapes of Wrath" era thing like knurling pistons to run in ridge reamed bores, grinding valves and seats with gritty oily compounds, and shimming bearings are remnant processes from that era designed to keep an engine limping long enough to get from Oklahoma to California.

Bogie
Bogie you are right on the money!
My father told me when in my pre-teen years I started to work on motors that him and my mother drove a Model T from Oklahoma/Kansas to central Texas.He bought a stripped model T off of a farm for 15 dollars.He tore in to the motor, cut thin strips of leather and fit them behind the rings and fit thin ring spacers on the ring lands.He cut up leather belts(the kind that holds you pants up!)soaked them in motor oil and fit them to the rods because the Babbitt was gone.They could make 20-30 miles a day down roads that were basically cow trails.They would stop a camp on the side of the road each night and my father would drop the pan and replace the leather in the rods that were loose .The last few days of the trip he ran out of leather so he used some canvas that was on the seat of the T.It toke them about a month to drive about 700 miles and the motor did fine as long as he didn't push the RPM'S much past idle.
So I guess if you put your mind to it you can do about anything.


Kenny

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Keep buying foreign.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:13 AM
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I'm not entirely sure what the need for spacers is in your application maxpower but not all instances of using spacers are for "band aid" fixes. Maybe in your case it is but there are quite a few applications where spacers are required and are used quite successfully. Often if using long connecting rods with increased stroke a spacer is needed under the oil rings due to the wrist pin encroaching into the oil ring groove. Or if a particular rules package dictates the use of stock pistons we've used spacers so that we could use the thinnest rings possible. Also Total Seal rings are really just a ring with a thin spacer to block off the ring gap.
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