When building an engine, it's understandable how the sight of all those parts laid across the workbench can be a bit intimidating to most novice engine builders. After having the block freshly machined and the rotating assembly balanced, the biggest challenge left is to assemble it into a smooth running engine. One of the challenges includes installing the piston rings and spiro loxs. Tackling this small procedure doesn't have to be frustrating though. Instead, gaining a few insightful tips from the pros can make the job easier and ensure that your engine is operating at peak form.

So what's the big deal? Installing the piston rings correctly will provide you with a more efficient engine. Conversely, any mistakes here can potentially cause issues down the road such as piston blow-by. Now we're talking an excessive amount of leakage past the rings, loss of cranking compression, loss of power, smoking, and undue oil consumption.

Another important thing to take into consideration is whether your engine is being built for the street or strip, inhale nitrous, feed on alcohol, or run boost; all of which will ultimately dictate the piston ring gap. The good news is that with most off-the-shelf piston and ring assemblies, the hard work involved with pairing the rings to the pistons is generally handled for you. The only thing left to do is assemble the rings onto the pistons.

To get the complete lowdown, we stopped by Quarter Mile Performance in Chatsworth, California, to install a fresh set of Total Seal rings onto a set of LS pistons and showed what it takes to install the spiro lox.

Quick Notes

What We Did
Install new rings and lox

Bottom Line
Prevent piston blow-by and keep your engine running strong

Cost (Approx)
Just a little sweat equity

APPLICATION
MIN. TOP RING
SECOND RING OIL RING RAIL
STREET, STRIP, CIRCLE BORE X 0.0065
Bore x 0.0056 Min. 0.015
NITROUS UP TO 150HP BORE X 0.007
Bore x 0.006 Min. 0.015
NITROUS OVER 150HP BORE X 0.009
Bore x 0.008 Min. 0.015
BLOWN GAS BORE X .007
Bore x 0.006 Min. 0.015
BLOWN ALCOHOL BORE X 0.008
Bore x 0.007 Min. 0.015
BLOWN NITRO BORE X 0.0085
Bore x 0.007 Min. 0.015

CHART While ring gaps vary from builder to builder. If you're unsure, you'll be happy to know that Total Seal includes a ring gap sheet that illustrates what gaps to use for a variety of engine combinations.

SOURCE
QMP Racing Engines
9530 Owensmouth Ave. #2
Chatsworth
CA  91311
818-576-0816
www.qmpracing.com
Total Seal Inc
22642 North 15th Avenue
Phoenix
AZ  85027
800-874-2753
www.totalseal.com