When is it time to change your engine's piston rings?
The piston rings are a necessary and vital part of your engine. They keep the engine from burning oil and deposits that might otherwise enter the combustion chamber and damage other engine components. If your engine is burning oil, which is a primary cause of dark, sooty exhaust smoke, a common cause is piston rings that need to be replaced. In addition to causing foul exhaust fumes, an engine burning oil will run poorly and would need constant refills of engine oil. For this reason it is advised to change the rings to avoid a more costly repair later.
Why do we need piston rings anyway?
The piston rings are affixed to each piston in an engine around the circumference, and they're usually positioned closer to the top edge nearest the combustion chamber. The job of the piston rings is to sweep the inside of the engine block cylinders on each down stroke so there isn't any oil left above the piston during the compression and power stroke cycles. The oil is necessary behind the piston to keep all the moving parts lubricated, however oil left in the upper portion of the cylinders is not good. Most piston rings are cast iron with carbon materials added for strength, and have three or four rings per cylinder that work in conjunction to sweep away as much oil as possible. In the beginning of the internal combustion engine, the tolerances for these kinds of parts were very high and the engines were very inefficient compared to modern engines. As technology progressed, and the machining required to make low-tolerance parts became much more precise. This resulted in a dramatic boost to efficiency and power.
D.I.Y. replacement procedure & video.
Taking out the old piston rings and replacing them with new ones is no easy task. Whenever faced with a job like this, we recommend professional installation. However, here are some general guidelines to follow:
First, disconnect any ancillary components that would get in the way of removing the cylinder head. Once you have access to it, unbolt it and lift it off the block.
Next, remove your oil pan and other bottom end components. This will give you access to the main caps and connecting rods.
You will have to rotate each piston to bottom dead center position in order to expose the rod and unbolt it from the crankshaft. Remove each piston, and keep track of the cylinder it came from.
You can pry each ring off the piston from the top down, and replace them from the bottom up. Make sure the rings are clocked so you don't lose pressure, and also make sure the catch guard on each ring faces down.
Finally, install your pistons and connecting rods through the top of the block. You can now reassemble the rest of your engine and get going.
Engine internals and parts you can trust.
Changing the piston rings becomes necessary later in a vehicles life to keep the engine running smoothly and as efficiently as possible. Generally speaking, if the piston rings need to be changed, it a good idea to either rebuild the whole engine, or purchase a rebuilt engine for your vehicle. Because the mechanic is going very deep into the engine, you may as well take advantage of the access and have the entire engine rebuilt. If the rings need replacing, it's not a far cry to say that other parts need replacing or machining as well. We carry piston rings for a variety of cars and trucks, and even for some popular rebuilding vehicle in different sizes.