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Antique Gas Engine Discussion

How would you repair this piston???


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  #1  
Old 05-23-2005, 10:38:07 PM
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Default How would you repair this piston???

I am working on a 3hp Rumely Olds engine and the piston ring grooves are so worn out that I can't even get the smallest amount of compression out of it. The rings are 1/2" wide and my first thought was to widen the grooves to 5/8" and install two 5/16" rings in each groove. Well, that wouldn't leave but a sliver of metal between the rings on the upper part of the piston. I'm wondering now if I should have the piston built up in some fashion and then have new ring grooves cut to 1/2" wide or maybe narrower to fit more common and less expensive rings. I need some input on which way to go with this and also who might be able to get the job done right for me.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 05-23-2005, 10:55:18 PM
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JBarnes JBarnes is offline
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Default Re: How would you repair this piston???

On a 1906 Cadillac 1 cylinder engine I am restoring I had a lot more wear on the sides of the piston ring grooves. I simply cut them in the lathe till they all trued up. I don't know about the other piston ring guys, but Joe Sykes at Niagara Piston Ring is able to make ANY size you request. Just cut them enough to true them up and get the rings made to match would be my advice.

Jason
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Old 05-23-2005, 11:01:46 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: How would you repair this piston???

Joe can resize the piston for you.
Andrew
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Old 05-24-2005, 12:37:56 AM
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Default Re: How would you repair this piston???

The old machinist here used to be able to get ring spacers-real narrow rings to put in beside the ring to take up the space. I think he trued up the grooves & used a spacer wide enough to fit. I have no idea if they're still around. He got me some for a John Deere years ago...I can ask him if you want, may still be available.
Ron in CO...
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Old 05-24-2005, 12:46:26 AM
Kevin O. Pulver Kevin O. Pulver is offline
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Default Re: How would you repair this piston???

Otto Sideshaft made a believer out of me. He can give you great advice and great rings to match. My only complaint is that 12HP Herc rings are mighty tough on the thumbs and mighty nerve racking to install at about a hundred bucks per set, but I was mighty glad to get 'em and they worked great!
New sleeve and new rings are worthless if those grooves are tapered and loose instead of snug and square. I would build the piston up and cut the grooves back to stock. Or possibly cut them out to a common, more reasonably priced or more dependable, better engineered size if there is such a thing. Kevin
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Old 05-24-2005, 01:22:53 AM
BobRR BobRR is offline
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Default Re: How would you repair this piston???

Mike talk to Dave Reed at Otto gas engine. He has ring spacers as well as the rings. He will be able to tell ya the best way to go.BobRR
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Old 05-24-2005, 03:41:08 AM
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Default Re: How would you repair this piston???

Concur on the advice to communicate with Dave Reed. He has helped me a couple of time before, right on target each time. In my situations it has worked best to cut enough material out of the top ring grooves to true them up, measure, and then get Dave to provide custom rings to match the "as trued up" dimension, whatever that might be.

He also has good advice on honing (or not as the case often should be), etc.
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Old 05-24-2005, 11:50:01 AM
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Default Re: How would you repair this piston???

Hi Mike-
There are several ways to attack the problem. Some may not fit your plans. You could make a new piston, which is expensive and a lot of work. Another alternative is to fill the old ring grooves with brazing and recut grooves. My favorite is to straighten the grooves and fix what you have. On the top 3 rings put the piston in a lathe and straighten the grooves so that the ring lands are parallel. See where you need to be to get a ring that will fit. Since you did not tell me your bore I am going to assume that your Olds has a 4" bore like some others that I have provided rings for in the past. Since 1/2" rings are currently not being made in 4" you can use two 1/4" rings and a .030" spacer. If the .030" will not clean up the groove there are 1.5mm (.059") and 1/16" (.062") rings available to use instead of the spacers. Another possibility is to use a 3/8" ring and a 3/16" ring for a ring groove width of 9/16". Or if you do not need a full 1/16" overwidth use a 5/32" and a 3/8" ring for a finished groove width of .530". If you have to take extra metal out of the ring lands to get the spacers or double rings to fit the trick is to take the most material off the top side of the top groove and take the most off the bottom side of the bottom (3rd) groove. The material removed from the center groove can be split between the two sides. This will conserve the maximum of the ring lands. Of course custom made rings can be made to fit right in after the grooves are straightened but they are more expensive and require a month or more wait to get. Doubled rings will follow a worn and tapered cylinder better than a single wide ring due to the narrower ring face surface presented to the cylinder.
Thank you,
Dave Reed
Otto Gas Engine Works
2167 Blue Ball Road
Elkton MD 21921-3330
phone 410-398-7340 http://www.pistonrings.net
http://www.pistonring.net

ps. Please don't confuse me with "Otto Sideshaft". I never met the man before. He is a collector in Ohio that makes engine parts on the side according to his website. Maybe his middle name is Otto, I don't know. I do have what tooling, parts, and records that are left of the Otto Gas Engine Works company formerly in Philadelphia. The remains are now here in Maryland. Otto did make sideshaft engines but has no connection with this guy.

pss. Thanks Harry for providing the behind the scenes elbow grease that gives us a place to exchange information that will help the hobby.
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Old 05-24-2005, 11:47:16 PM
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Default Re: How would you repair this piston???

Thanks all, for the info! Looks like I just got to get the piston in the lathe to see what it will take to clean up the grooves and figure out the right combination of rings and spacers to do the job.

Mike
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Old 05-25-2005, 12:17:18 PM
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Cool Re: How would you repair this piston???

Mike- I have bought several sets of spacers from Dave and they work great for stopping blowby and oil slobbering. I am guessing the spacers go on TOP?? Dave, let us know.
Very important you have the lathe cutters dressed or made to get the sharp corners on the ring groove bottoms and that the cutter not want to go burrowing into the bottom when you get to the end of the cut. Also helps to have a dial indicator on the compound to double check the amount of the cut you are making. Measure, measure, measure cause that oh-so-schweet 1-2 thou clearance comes goes by FAST!
Go slow, double check your centering and measure often.
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Old 05-25-2005, 10:13:31 PM
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Default Re: How would you repair this piston???

Thanks, Paul. Good info!

Mike
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Old 05-26-2005, 12:15:53 AM
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Default Re: How would you repair this piston??? Now: How piston rings work.

Paul and Mike-
Right, the spacers always go on top.
The sealing surfaces on a piston ring are the top outside corner of the ring to seal to the cylinder and the flat bottom side of the ring to seal to the bottom flat side of the ring land on the piston. This is how a piston ring "works". As long as the piston ring "sees" the right side clearance it will seat in the bore and do what you want it to do. The spacer just goes along for the ride and gives you the right side clearance.
By putting spacers on the top the spacer just takes up the "space" and does not rub the cylinder wall. The spacer virtually becomes part of the piston residing above the ring in the ring land.
Another tip for when making pistons or machining ring grooves: Always take the most pains with the lower side surface of the ring land. This is the side closest to the crankcase. If the top side is rough or not quite perfect it won't matter near as much. Always machine the lower side to be the smoothest finish you can get and get it the straightest. This is your ring sealing surface. The top side can be rough as a cob and as long as the clearance is right it won't make any difference.
A couple of sidebar notes on this topic. Never install pins to keep rings from turning touching the lower ring land. Always put them in the center or top side of ring land. Compression will leak by the space between the pin and the ring if the pin is touching the lower ring land. Remember the lower ring land is the sealing surface.
Also when prying stuck rusted or corroded rings from their grooves, always keep damage away from the lower side of the ring land. Make your marks, scrapes and boo boos on the top side and dress it up with a file and you won't hurt the ring seal. The bottom side is what gives you half of the piston ring's seal and is as critical to have as having a good looking cylinder bore if you want compression to be coming your way soon to an engine near you. May the compression be with you. Ha Ha. Maybe I should leave the comedy to the comedians and stick to something that I am better at like piston rings huh?
Thank you,
Dave Reed
Otto Gas Engine Works
2167 Blue Ball Road
Elkton MD 21921-3330
phone 410-398-7340 http://www.pistonrings.net
http://www.pistonring.net
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