TOUGH GUY TECH TIPS

Ring Installation: How to Install Piston Rings

All piston ring sets contain information relative to the proper installation of the rings packaged in the set.

Three Piece Flex Vent

First, place the spacer in the grove. Then spiral the first rail into the groove below the spacer followed by the remaining rail into the groove above the spacer.

One & Two Piece Oil Rings

Using a proper ring installation tool, open the oil ring just enough to allow the ring to go over the top diameter of the piston. Work the opened ring down from the top of the piston to the oil groove. Place the ring squarely into the piston groove, taking care to keep it flat. Release the tension of the ring installer tool.

When using a two piece oil, install the hump style spring in the groove then follow the above instructions.

Compression Rings

Although in many cases most compression rings appear similar to the mechanic installing them, there are, however, many subtle design changes which dictate how the ring is correctly installed.

Not only must the ring be installed with the proper side toward the top of the piston, but it is also imperative that the ring be installed in the proper groove.

Rings installed in the wrong groove or wrong side up can lead to excessive oil pumping, excessive blow-by, and in some cases completely dry up the bore, causing ring and cylinder scuffing as well as accelerated wear. Any of these problems, of course, constitute a failure as far as an engine overhaul or rebuild is concerned.

Lay the rings out in groups of tops ring and 2nd rings on the bench.
Check for TOP marks (DOT or lasor marks).

With the oil control rings loaded on the piston, using a  proper  ring installation tool,  open the second groove rings with the top mark up, just enough to allow the ring to go over the top diameter of the piston. Work the opened ring down from the top of the piston to the second groove, place the ring squarely into the piston groove taking care to keep it flat, release the tension of the ring installer tool (ring is now installed).

Repeat this same process with the Top groove rings.
(Compression rings must never be spiraled on the piston.)

Final Steps

Once the piston rings are on the piston, “stagger” the end gaps. It is important that the ring end gaps are not lined up.  This prevents oil flow past the rings.


Rings installed in the wrong grooves or the wrong side up can lead to excessive oil consumption and blow-by and possible scuffing of the cylinders.
These problems can cause engine failure.

Tough Guy Tech Tips: Piston Rings

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