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Old 11-14-2002, 07:41 PM
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Angry what's wrong with Claimer Pistons?

Does anyone know anything about Silv-o-lite Claimer pistons? I built a chevy 400 bored 40 over. I bought a set of what was advertised as claimer pistons from a well known performance catalog. For one thing I couldn't get a straight answer about what the title Claimer meant. I knew they where flat top, high compression. and thats all. When installing them the top folded up on 1. I ordered another. It came with the wall from the oil ring groove above the wrist pin broke. I despretly ordered another. Finally I got a full set. And yes I did get the top ring end space right. Got it runnin about 3 weeks ago. While passing a semi today I saw a puff of black smoke behind me and it started runnin like crap. I had a knock that would come and go. I then found the gap in #2 spark plug smashed flat. I then checked compression and found only 55 lbs. I'm guessing a piece of the top folded up and is bouncing around in there.I don't know any other damage yet. I'll find out this weekend. Any suggestions? Advise? Info about Silv-o-lite Claimer pistons?

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Old 11-14-2002, 08:05 PM
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Doesn't "claimer" refer to a stock car class.I was under the impression that they were some kinda legal stock replacement piston for dirt track racing.
The only motor I ever built with non-stock pistons,I put TRW's in.Silvo-lite is sposed to be a good company I'd call them and have a little talk.If everything was spec then they better do something.
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Old 11-14-2002, 08:27 PM
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http://www.kb-silvolite.com/speclear.htm I dunno if you`ve read this, but maybe it`ll help you some.

[ November 14, 2002: Message edited by: DoubleVision ]</p>
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Old 11-15-2002, 08:56 AM
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"For one thing I couldn't get a straight answer about what the title Claimer meant...."

Well, I can explain that. Claimer parts are inexpensive, almost stock or less than stock quality parts used on IMCA Modified Stock Cars, (Dirt cars here in CNY), because the rules allow "Claiming" an opponents engine for the paltry fee of $525 dollars. Basically this is intended to discourage guys from running 3000 dollar motors and even out the competition for everyone. Basically to win consistantly at IMCA you must have a consistant car that can handle versus horsepower. On any given night you might see BB Chevy, SBC or any other type of engine in the same race, but all of the bodies and frames are the same make and type. At least thats how it works in NY and Penn, I can't speak for everywhere else. I know this sounds different and it surely is, but truthfully I've only seen 3 engines claimed in the last several years. You can read more about the rules here:

<a href="http://www.imca.com/rules/modrules.html" target="_blank">http://www.imca.com/rules/modrules.html</a>

Generally speaking Claimer parts are cheap, common
parts that aren't really meant to last more than a season under racing conditions, usually a few races, but I have seen exceptions (or crap as I call them). I personally wouldn't use them in a street car under any circumstances, because the quality isn't up to par compared to regular cast pistons, let alone forged ones. The only reason they are used is to build a cheap motor that will finish a few races, and they should be considered "disposable parts" used only because anyone can claim your engine. :-)

[ November 15, 2002: Message edited by: Airport Towing ]</p>
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Old 11-15-2002, 11:16 AM
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Airport Towing: thanks for that answer. I have seen that term many times and wondered as well.
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Old 11-15-2002, 01:25 PM
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The silvo-lite is a very fragle piston very cheap made and are good for your lawnmower!!!I have seen alot of these that have gone to pieces in a very a short time.
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Old 11-15-2002, 03:42 PM
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claimer parts are inexpensive because of the rules used in certain classes of circle track racing. Some rules state that if a losing driver appeals a win thinking that the winner has cheated in some way by using parts not legal for that class, the winner, if vindicated claims the losers motor.
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Old 11-15-2002, 03:58 PM
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I've built many engines with "claimer" pistons, both silvolite and ohio piston, have had no problems, these are designed as inexpensive pistons, they work well on street or mild track conditions if they are set up correctly, most times that i see problems with these pistons it is because the installer hasen't followed basic procedures. these pistons need more top ring gap, they transfer heat to the top ring, gaps in the .030"s are not uncommon. if you just install rings out of the box you will take the tops off the pistons, same as with a keith black. these pistons have certain limits,they are made for inexpensive stock car claimer classes, where your opponent can buy your motor for a set price if there is a question of legality.
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Old 11-15-2002, 05:22 PM
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Thanks for all the feed back. I did install them the claimers like the instructions called for. I set my end gag for street/towing at .0025 top ring end gap. They are a higher than stock compression piston with a flat top, only 2 valve releifs and a higher deck height. I have called silv-o-lite and left a message on their machine indicating I would appreciate a return call from them,but haven't received it. I leaning towards beleiving the opinion thet they might be ok in a lawn mower, but not mine. I'm probably going back to stock dish pistons. The claimers seemed to require more than premium gas could give. The only I could keep it from pinging was to burn halk premium and 112 octain racing fuel. Ran great though. But I need something that will last more than 3 weeks.
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Old 11-15-2002, 07:58 PM
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Greg56 you just answered why the piston failed, it was your responsibility to time the engine properly and or adjust for fuel conditions, not the piston company's. nobodys products will last under those conditions.
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Old 11-16-2002, 08:10 PM
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Well, hate to tell you this BOB, but timing was the first thing I thought of when I heard this pinging. I went all over with the timing for a week and a half. And although I've only been driving a car for a mere 30 years I've had many cars. I along with many of my friends have experimented with differant fuel grades, and carb mixtures, all of them pump gas which was what I was running at the time. I have not had ,nor has anyone I've known had pistons come apart because of it. By the way I tore it down today, #2 had a chunk broke out of the top. #6 had a piece broken out between the oil ring and the wrist pin. And thats not counting the 2 that were broken in the same way before they were installed. I don't beleive timing and fuel mixture was an issue in the box that they were shipped in. I appriciate all the helpful advice from everyone who has it to offer. I tend to beleive what another gentleman wrote about them being cheap and fragile.
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Old 11-16-2002, 09:19 PM
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Greg, If you don't get anything done from the factory and give up could you send the pistons to me to take a look at? I will return them the same day. I have used these same pistons a few times and haven't had a problem.Knock on wood. I hate to hear of your luck. What was the piston to wall clearance? What cc head? Total time @ 3000? Rear gear? Weight of car? Trans? I have always set these pistons very tight (.0015-.0018) some might think that isn't enough but haven't had any problems. These pistons don't expandlike a forged does. If you answer my questions I can and will help you. Where do you live? Let me know. Ryan
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Old 11-17-2002, 08:39 PM
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Ryan, Jegs is going to refund my money for the pistons. Silv-o-lite won't even return a call though. I not sure of the exact clearnce, but they were a snug fit. thats the way they say they are supposed to fit because of the material used and the expansion of it. The rear gears are 373 locking differential, the trans is a 350 th. The weight I'm not sure of, I could go look but it's an 85 SWB GMC. So it's not real heavy. I will take some pics and send them to ya though. It turns out that the one that broke the top out was the least of the problem. although it was a problem. The one that broke off the bottom below the oil ring groove spread small bits of material all through the pil passages, that includes between the bearings and crank. Made quite a mess. I live in Hot Springs AR. not that far from you.. I think that the manufacturer must have got a batch off bad material the way they come apart. That can happen in any field. Hope none of you get any from the same batch.
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Old 11-17-2002, 09:13 PM
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Greg, sorry to hear about the bearings. I'm glad that Sum. is standing behind it at least. Are they sending you a new set of 8? The reason I asked about gearing and such is you can get away with abit more advance with a light car with gears than one without. Are they sending you bearings and rings? I wouldn't reuse any of the rings. If you get the machine work that you may need done and get the stuff here by the and of the month I'll help you get it together. I'm going in for shoulder replacement on the 3rd of December so I'll be down for abit. I feel bad for you and would like to help if I can. You can pay me by saying a prayer for m on my surgery. Let me know soon. Ryan
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Old 11-18-2002, 08:12 AM
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Hi Greg, I hope that .0025 was just a typo and you meant .025
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