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Generators & Motors General Discussion Antique Generators, Light Plants and Old Electric Motors: Questions and answers about restoring and showing old power generation systems.

Generators & Motors General Discussion

Freeing a Stuck Piston Ring


I am working thru my Kohler D Light Plant engine, and I have one piston ring that is stuck TIGHT in...

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  #1  
Old 04-17-2012, 10:41 PM
SteveJ SteveJ is offline
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Default Freeing a Stuck Piston Ring

I am working thru my Kohler D Light Plant engine, and I have one piston ring that is stuck TIGHT in the groove. I have already tried soaking it for a while in carb cleaner, and picking at the end gap to try to spread the ring in the groove, but it seems to be glued in pretty well. I can't get a feeler gauge into the ring groove, so I guess that the ring is pretty well baked into the groove with carbon.

Right now, I have the piston soaking overnight in the carb cleaner bath. In the meantime, are there any sure-fire recommended suggestions on how to break down the carbon in the groove and free up the ring without damaging it or the piston?

Steve
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:47 PM
J.B. Castagnos J.B. Castagnos is offline
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Default Re: Freeing a Stuck Piston Ring

I heat the piston from the inside, try to expand it without heat the ring too much.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:01 PM
SteveJ SteveJ is offline
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Default Re: Freeing a Stuck Piston Ring

I have also read about the "antifreeze stew" method using an old crock pot, cooking the offending piston/ring for several hours - I wonder about that - anyway, it seems that heat may be more effective than some super-duper solvent method to free up the stuck ring.

Steve
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:34 PM
oldproff oldproff is offline
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Default Re: Freeing a Stuck Piston Ring

After soaking it like you are doing. I wet with pbblaster take my brass hammer and tap lightly on the ring, all the way around the ring several times. Keep it wet with pb. Tapping it around breaks up the carbon and rust and frees the ring. It works for me every time. Bill K
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:59 PM
Kevin O. Pulver Kevin O. Pulver is offline
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Default Re: Freeing a Stuck Piston Ring

I use a hybrid method of two above
Heat it up, and beat the ring with a hard block of wood like a hammer handle. You might not see it moving for a while, even though it might be. Then you'll see it move just a bit and begin to move further as you work it.
Of course you'll want some PB Blaster on it as you go, and you might try prying the end, but that's pretty risky business.
KEvin
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:18 AM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Freeing a Stuck Piston Ring

Plastic or wood, gentle taps, do not beat it. Lots of PB Blaster, especially once it tries to free up.Patience! It did not get stuck in a day, and beating it in frustration wil only break it. DON"T pry on it! Just gentle taps, working your way all around the piston. If it frees at one end, a gentle tap on the end may speed its loosening, but EASY does it. Does your D use 3 compesssion and an oil ring, or 4 compression rings?
Andrew
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:21 AM
SteveJ SteveJ is offline
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Default Re: Freeing a Stuck Piston Ring

My D has three rings per piston: two above the pin and one below. They all three appear to be basically alike; that is , the bottom ring that performs the "oil ring" function looks just like the two upper "compression" rings (although I *am* keeping them in their original upper-lower order and top-bottom orientation as I clean up and reassemble things).

The piston / stuck ring will have been sitting in the bath of spray-on carb cleaner for about 24 hours when I get back on it tonight. I'll go out to Wally World today and get some PBlaster, and start that spray/tap/spray/tap process tonight and see what happens.

Thanks to all for the help!
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:38 AM
Robsdom Robsdom is offline
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Default Re: Freeing a Stuck Piston Ring

Grab some super clean while your there I'v had reasonable success with that product recently, it actually breaks down the oil red like the stuff they used in the gulf. A good soaking in PB Blaster usually does the trick, when that doesn't work I'll shoot for oven cleaner (Used to use this to break down carbon deposits in heat exchangers) and believe it or not Meguires wheel cleaner the stuff they use on mag wheels. Tough jobs usually end in a stew, not know which product actually worked the best. Last I would use heat. Good Luck
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:07 PM
Ironsides Ironsides is offline
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Default Re: Freeing a Stuck Piston Ring

I have had good success with most of what fellow stakers have said above.When you get 1 end of the ring free,use your thumb or a finger to ease it back into the groove,plenty of degreaser works for me then holding the end of the ring down into the groove very gently start tapping on the expopsed "bump"of the ring,gently gently.No matter how careful you are some rings will break boo hoo,Norm
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:51 PM
SteveJ SteveJ is offline
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Default Re: Freeing a Stuck Piston Ring

Well, I finally got the offending ring out - in about 5 pieces. Does anyone know a good source for rings for the little 2" pistons in the Kohler D light plant engine? I'll just need the one, or better still I suppose, a set of three (they all look identical) for the piston.

Steve
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:05 PM
SteveJ SteveJ is offline
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Default Re: Freeing a Stuck Piston Ring

I found Dave's Otto Gas Engines site for piston rings, and emailed him re: the Kohler rings. Is Ed Wright still doing the old Kohler light plant OEM parts?

Steve
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