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Budget Race Engines - Build Your Own Race Engine, Part 2
Completing The Foundation
By Jeff Huneycutt, Photography by Jeff Huneycutt
January 01, 2009
The easiest way to install the piston rings is to lightly clamp the connecting rod in a vise to hold the piston steady. It's a good idea to wrap the rod with a shop rag to keep it from getting scratched. Also, use a ring spreader for installing the rings. You can install them by hand but they are more likely to develop a "twist" if you do. Begin with the oil ring and work your way up.
The easiest way to install the piston rings is to lightly clamp the connecting rod in a vi
When installing the oil ring, make sure to install the center expander ring first. This is because it not only acts as a separator between the upper and lower sections of the oil ring, but it also has portions that sit on the inside diameter of the rings and push them outward, which you can see here.
When installing the oil ring, make sure to install the center expander ring first. This is
When all the rings are in place, make sure none of the gaps line up. You can spin the rings until there are at least 30 degrees of separation between each of the gaps.
When all the rings are in place, make sure none of the gaps line up. You can spin the ring
If the bearings aren't still in place, make sure they are clean and install them now. Lubricate both halves with assembly lube. Use a thicker lube-not motor oil-to ensure the bearings will be protected during startup.
If the bearings aren't still in place, make sure they are clean and install them now. Lubr
Before installing the pistons, take a moment to reclean and lubricate the cylinder bores. Wipe down the bores with a rag soaked in automatic transmission fluid (ATF). This works well because the ingredients in ATF not only lubricate the cylinder walls, but they also break down any residual oils and contaminants. Make sure to turn the rag often so that you aren't simply moving contaminants from one cylinder to another.
Before installing the pistons, take a moment to reclean and lubricate the cylinder bores.
Lubricate the piston's rings and skirts with motor oil before installing them in the cylinder bores. Old-school engine builders will tell you to dunk the entire assembly in a bucket of motor oil, but this isn't necessary and just causes a mess.
Lubricate the piston's rings and skirts with motor oil before installing them in the cylin
Using a quality ring compressor will make your life a lot easier when installing pistons. If you scribed numbers on each of the rods (one through eight), drop them into the correct cylinder bore. Once the piston is in position (the valve reliefs should be toward the lifter valley), gently tap it into the hole with a clean rubber mallet until all three rings are completely inside the cylinder bore. Never use a steel hammer. If anything more than light taps are necessary, check to make sure a ring hasn't popped out between the ring compressor and the deck of the block.
Using a quality ring compressor will make your life a lot easier when installing pistons.
Once the piston is completely inside the bore, you can set the ring compressor aside and push the piston in the rest of the way by hand. But before you have even installed the rod and piston, you should make sure the crank's rod journal for the cylinder you are working on is turned so it's as far away from the cylinder as you can get it. Be careful to guide the end of the rod over the journal so you don't scar the rod journal. Alternatively, you can also use a 3 or 4 inch length of plastic tubing placed over the rod bolts to protect and guide the rod end so as not to scar or scratch the rod journal.
Once the piston is completely inside the bore, you can set the ring compressor aside and p
On a Chevy small-block, the cylinders are numbered so that all the odd numbers are on the right bank of cylinders (when looking at the front of the engine) and the evens are on the left. If you look closely, you will notice the first cylinder bore on the right is a little bit forward of the first cylinder on the left. This is why it's numbered as the first cylinder.
On a Chevy small-block, the cylinders are numbered so that all the odd numbers are on the
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By Jeff Huneycutt
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