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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Default Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    I finally have my 401 back from the machine shop and it's time to assemble. After lots of cleaning, cam bearing and crank install, I am on to the pistons. I went to install the oil rings and noticed I could not get the oil ring rails to seat all the way into the piston groove. The oil ring assemblies are designed so the rails ride on tabs on the expander, which helps keep the rails tight against the cylinder walls. Before I can fully compress the rails into the groove, the expander ends butt against each other. There is more than enough back clearance in the groove for everything to fit.

    I dropped one rail into the cylinder to make sure they are the right size and they fit fine, with almost no gap. When I installed in the groove, I assume I would see a similar tiny gap, but I cannot compress enough as the expander is holding the rails out too far. I even took out my piston ring compressor and noted there is no way I will be able to compress the oil assembly to fit into the cylinder. I am guessing I need to reduce the diameter of the expander, but want to be sure I am thinking about this correctly. Anyone use these rings before? Am I supposed to fit the expander to the piston? If so, how is it done (remove material, bend ends)?

    Thanks
    Dougphoto.jpgphoto2.jpg
    Doug from Vermont
    1965 Riviera Project
    1974 Ford Bronco

    ROA #12554

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Napier, New Zealand
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    273

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Doug

    To me the ring in the bore looks like it needs the ends filed to allow more gap. I'm not sure what the Buick specification for ring clearance is but I was taught at least .003" per inch of cylinder bore diameter, so somewhere around .015".

    Hopefully someone with more Nailhead experienced can confirm.
    Ross

    56 Buick 2 door sedan
    425 SP400 Buick Posi hopefully
    Work in progress

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    DFW area Texas
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Several years ago I bought an engine kit with Hastings rings, wasn't a Buick, had same problem with compression rings, very poor quality. If I remember correctly I junked them and bought another brand. I swore then that I would NEVER buy another set of Hastings rings, and I won't. Rings manufactured to fit a certain size bore should NEVER need to be filed or deburred, that is just POOR QUALITY. I have built many engines with other brands and never had an issue with fit or ring gap. Just my opinion.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2009
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    154

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Ross, I understand the gap on the rail is to tight. I believe Buick spec is .015" to .035" and the spec I have from the piston manufacturer is .015". The problem is, even if I file the rail to the correct gap I won't be able to compress it to that gap on the piston as the expander is too big. I assume I need to cut down the expander, but wanted to verify first.

    Unfortunately, the pistons were manufactured around the specs for these rings so I would rather not switch brands.

    So, nobody has assembled an engine with these before?
    Doug from Vermont
    1965 Riviera Project
    1974 Ford Bronco

    ROA #12554

  5. #5
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    Jul 2007
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    central,ny
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    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Quote Originally Posted by KDML View Post
    Ross, I understand the gap on the rail is to tight. I believe Buick spec is .015" to .035" and the spec I have from the piston manufacturer is .015". The problem is, even if I file the rail to the correct gap I won't be able to compress it to that gap on the piston as the expander is too big. I assume I need to cut down the expander, but wanted to verify first.

    Unfortunately, the pistons were manufactured around the specs for these rings so I would rather not switch brands.

    So, nobody has assembled an engine with these before?
    what did you bore the engine out to? what is the thickness of your rings like 1/16s ?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    DFW area Texas
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Either the pistons are bad, machined incorrectly or the rings are bad, take your pick. Are you really going to cut and trim all your expanders to fit? You need to try another brand ring set or another brand piston. On a stock design piston in a standard size bore (std, .010,.020,.030 etc) you should not have to cut and trim anything. The pistons are NOT manufactured to accomodate HASTING rings only.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    central,ny
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    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Quote Originally Posted by TexasJohn55 View Post
    Either the pistons are bad, machined incorrectly or the rings are bad, take your pick. Are you really going to cut and trim all your expanders to fit? You need to try another brand ring set or another brand piston. On a stock design piston in a standard size bore (std, .010,.020,.030 etc) you should not have to cut and trim anything. The pistons are NOT manufactured to accomodate HASTING rings only.
    am wondering if there custom made rings just to fit that bore size?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    mass
    Posts
    702

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Quote Originally Posted by gsgtx View Post
    am wondering if there custom made rings just to fit that bore size?
    I know with my motor I had to go .037 or.038 to get a good quality ring. I think with my ross pistons we did total seal with a turbo ring. I know my rings are file fit but we did not need to touch the scrapers. Did you ever put the piston together with the expander and the oil scraper rings in a ring compressor??

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    154

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Engine was bored .020". Ring heights are 5/64 (top and second) and 3/16 (oil). The pistons are from JE and were machined with all of the rings specs (height and width) from Hastings. Something is not right and it better not be the pistons as they would be alot more expensive to replace than the rings.

    I am going to take another look at everything tonight and contact Hastings tomorrow to discuss what I am seeing
    Doug from Vermont
    1965 Riviera Project
    1974 Ford Bronco

    ROA #12554

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lawrenceburg, Tn.
    Posts
    7,041

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    sounds like the expander rings are too long.... and,,,, the guys are right ,,, Hastings does not enjoy a good reputation...i would go to another brand,,, sealed power, perfect circle,,, or some such.... total seal is the best I have used.... sometimes if the bores are right you can juggle rings to custom fit....
    but TxJohn is right ... rings should just fit.... and at the most you should only have to file the gaps to spec....
    Doc "Widely unknown"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Bucks County, Pa
    Posts
    5,715

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    I used a Hastings set in my 0.020" over 401. Install went smoothly.

    The Moly set was pn 2M437 020 and included the following:
    #327 top ring 5/32"
    #126 2nd ring 5/32"
    #860 and #732 3/16" oil rings

    The Chrysler 413 has the same bore as our 401. They might be easier to locate using that application.
    Walt K
    (1)'66 GS Astro Blue, 13.41 et (2)'66 GS Saddle Mist, L76 Q-jet option, 1 of 132 (3)'66 GS Flame Red, Calif car (4)'66 GS Silver Mist, 4 speed (5)'66 Special, Flame Red, 300 (6)'79 Turbo Regal, 14.1 et (7)'65 GS 4 speed 'vert

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    154

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Quick update

    Sent some pictures to Hastings and spoke with them on the phone. They agreed it does not look right. They are sending me another set of oil rings to test. They believe someone may have packed the box wrong. I am not sure I will ultimately use their rings, but would like to see if this resolves the issue first. I did download a catalog for sealed power rings and noticed they did not sell rings for a 401 with a moly top ring and carried nothing for a .020 overbore (I checked under the Chrysler 413 and the same was true). Hopefully, another manufacturer carries comparable rings for my application.

    While I am waiting for the new rings to show, I figured I would ask a somewhat related question. What spec does everyone follow when checking ring end gaps? When I spoke to Hastings on the phone they mentioned their rings are manufactured for a .012 to .022 end gap and should not need to be filed. JE Pistons provided a guideline for a naturally aspirated street car of bore x.0045 for top ring; bore x.0050 for the second ring; and .015 for the oil ring rail; that would be .019, .021 and .015 for my engine. My Buick service manual listed the spec as .010 to .020 for the top and second rings and .015 to .035 for the oil ring. They're all fairly close, but who should I follow? I checked a few rings and I will definitely be on the higher end of the ranges for the top and second rings.

    Thanks
    Doug from Vermont
    1965 Riviera Project
    1974 Ford Bronco

    ROA #12554

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    MI.
    Posts
    1,178

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    430 BBB rings should be the same dia as a 401 Nail Head. BBB 430 = 4.187 Nail Head 401 = 4.187 standard bore size.
    64 Skylark,401 Nailhead,ST400,3.23:1Posi
    64 Skylark,305Vortec sbc,700R4,12blt Posi 3.73,low 14s. A sbb 300 stroker planned for it.
    72 Skylark Convert. in progress, Not yet assembled 455 .020 over,70 heads with stage1 valves,gasket matched and bowl blended,transmission to be determined.
    65 Chevy Impala,4,400lbs,383sbc,700R4,3.07posi,1.80 60' foot time low 13s @101mph,15mpg city,24mpg highway

    Edit Signature


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    East Coast
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    1,108

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Doug, I would use JE's specs if file fitting. The second ring has a little more gap and that is thought to prevent ring flutter. Perhaps the most important thing is that the gap is not too small. The rings can butt if there is a tight gap and rapid expansion (heating). Piston and cylinder wall damage will result. Larger gaps are not likely to loose much compression or burn oil unless extremely wide (IE: our supercharged application with a 3.57" bore uses a .025" top ring gap and a .027" second ring gap with no oil burn or compression loss).

    Cheryl
    12 Nissan Leaf SL (100% Electric Vehicle)
    05 Toyota Prius
    95 Suburban Turbo Diesel 2500

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    central,ny
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    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Quote Originally Posted by Babeola View Post
    Doug, I would use JE's specs if file fitting. The second ring has a little more gap and that is thought to prevent ring flutter. Perhaps the most important thing is that the gap is not too small. The rings can butt if there is a tight gap and rapid expansion (heating). Piston and cylinder wall damage will result. Larger gaps are not likely to loose much compression or burn oil unless extremely wide (IE: our supercharged application with a 3.57" bore uses a .025" top ring gap and a .027" second ring gap with no oil burn or compression loss).

    Cheryl
    yes je specs

  16. #16
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    Dec 2002
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    Bucks County, Pa
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    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Quote Originally Posted by KDML View Post
    When I spoke to Hastings on the phone they mentioned their rings are manufactured for a .012 to .022 end gap and should not need to be filed.
    JE Pistons ... bore x.0045 for top ring; bore x.0050 for the second ring; and .015 for the oil ring rail; that would be .019, .021 and .015 for my engine.
    Out of the box, my Hastings set was 0.018" to 0.020" for the top ring and 0.020" to 0.022" for the second ring.

    I had a hard time finding the 0.020" over set....which is why I went with Hastings. The old school machine shop I used recommended them as well.

    For a ring compressor, I highly recommend a tapered bore installer. Summit has one that's adjustable which accommodates the 4.20" bore.
    Walt K
    (1)'66 GS Astro Blue, 13.41 et (2)'66 GS Saddle Mist, L76 Q-jet option, 1 of 132 (3)'66 GS Flame Red, Calif car (4)'66 GS Silver Mist, 4 speed (5)'66 Special, Flame Red, 300 (6)'79 Turbo Regal, 14.1 et (7)'65 GS 4 speed 'vert

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Northeast Kansas
    Posts
    600

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    [/COLOR]
    Quote Originally Posted by 300sbb_overkill View Post
    430 BBB rings should be the same dia as a 401 Nail Head. BBB 430 = 4.187 Nail Head 401 = 4.187 standard bore size.
    Along with the 430 BBB and 401Nailheads sharing bore sizes, the 455 BBB and the 425 nailhead also share the same bore size. I believe that when I overhauled my 425 some time ago, the rings for the 430/401 and the 455/425 shared part numbers.

    Ed
    The Nailhead Nut

    '63 Riviera - Original black w/ white leather
    '64 Riviera - Tastefully tweaked
    '93 Riviera - Saphire Blue Metallic w/ white leather

  18. #18
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    Sep 2012
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    MI.
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    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    He can try 390/401 AMC .040" over rings(4.165" standard bore),would be 4.205",within .002" of the 4.207" .020" over 401 Nail Head Buick.And don't forget the Chysler 413,with a standard bore size of 4.1875,that should offer oversize rings.And there is the standard bore size of the 455 Pontiac of 4.210",with a little filing,can get the gap perfect.
    64 Skylark,401 Nailhead,ST400,3.23:1Posi
    64 Skylark,305Vortec sbc,700R4,12blt Posi 3.73,low 14s. A sbb 300 stroker planned for it.
    72 Skylark Convert. in progress, Not yet assembled 455 .020 over,70 heads with stage1 valves,gasket matched and bowl blended,transmission to be determined.
    65 Chevy Impala,4,400lbs,383sbc,700R4,3.07posi,1.80 60' foot time low 13s @101mph,15mpg city,24mpg highway

    Edit Signature


  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    St.Petersburg, Russia
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    I got Grants rings, and Carmen Faso said that those are not really good. And a friend from Florida recommended me to get moly rings for the 401 +0.030 over. I was up to buy Hastings moly sprayed rings from TA, but stopped for a second. Are those really bad!?

  20. #20
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    Dec 2002
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    Bucks County, Pa
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    5,715

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    Hastings ..... Are those really bad!?
    After A quick Google search, the consensus seems to be that Hastings are a high-quality ring. You could try searching an engine-builders site such as www.speedtalk.com for more opinions.
    For a piston ring to work well, proper cylinder wall finish and ring installation is very important!
    Walt K
    (1)'66 GS Astro Blue, 13.41 et (2)'66 GS Saddle Mist, L76 Q-jet option, 1 of 132 (3)'66 GS Flame Red, Calif car (4)'66 GS Silver Mist, 4 speed (5)'66 Special, Flame Red, 300 (6)'79 Turbo Regal, 14.1 et (7)'65 GS 4 speed 'vert

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    154

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    I received the second set of oil rings from Hastings and they fit just like the previous set.

    I was wondering if what I was seeing was a matter of piston taper with the ring area being narrower then the skirt, as expected. This would cause the oil rings to look as if the rings where sticking out beyond the ring groove. I looked at the original pistons which still have the rings installed and saw the oil rings sticking out in a similar fashion, even though the originals are a completely different design.

    I then took one set of oil rings and placed them on a piston and installed the piston in a cylinder with only oil rings. Well, it did go in and seemed to fit well. The piston moved up and down in the cylinder. I did not have anything to measure resistance, but it did not appear to be extreme.

    At this point I need to make a decision as to whether I am going to use these rings or not. I still can't get over the difference in gaps between the oil rail in the cylinder and on the piston. I may order another brand of ring and see if there is a difference.

    ---------- Post added at 08:33 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:53 PM ----------

    Just doing a little research on other ring options. I see Total Seal has a set for a .020 over 401 with a gapless second ring (part #S7340). Anyone ever use these before? Any opinions? They also have a conventional ring set (#C7340). I don't see any description as to whether the top ring is moly ring, like the Hastings rings.

    Also, when the engine was balanced the machine shop took the rings into account. I assume there should not be a problem switching to a different set of rings - correct?

    Thanks again for all the advice
    Doug from Vermont
    1965 Riviera Project
    1974 Ford Bronco

    ROA #12554

  22. #22
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    central,ny
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    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Quote Originally Posted by KDML View Post
    I received the second set of oil rings from Hastings and they fit just like the previous set.

    I was wondering if what I was seeing was a matter of piston taper with the ring area being narrower then the skirt, as expected. This would cause the oil rings to look as if the rings where sticking out beyond the ring groove. I looked at the original pistons which still have the rings installed and saw the oil rings sticking out in a similar fashion, even though the originals are a completely different design.

    I then took one set of oil rings and placed them on a piston and installed the piston in a cylinder with only oil rings. Well, it did go in and seemed to fit well. The piston moved up and down in the cylinder. I did not have anything to measure resistance, but it did not appear to be extreme.

    At this point I need to make a decision as to whether I am going to use these rings or not. I still can't get over the difference in gaps between the oil rail in the cylinder and on the piston. I may order another brand of ring and see if there is a difference.

    ---------- Post added at 08:33 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:53 PM ----------

    Just doing a little research on other ring options. I see Total Seal has a set for a .020 over 401 with a gapless second ring (part #S7340). Anyone ever use these before? Any opinions? They also have a conventional ring set (#C7340). I don't see any description as to whether the top ring is moly ring, like the Hastings rings.

    Also, when the engine was balanced the machine shop took the rings into account. I assume there should not be a problem switching to a different set of rings - correct?

    Thanks again for all the advice
    I would not go with a gapless ring. as far as balance that should not be a problem at all. why did you go with the 5/64 rings and not the 1/16 rings when pistons were made. I would really let a machine put together the short block and the cam, the cam bearings most of time have to have more clearance or the cam journals ground down. you can put the heads on and the rest of it together your self.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    154

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    What's wrong with the gapless rings?

    When I was ordering parts for the build I ordered most parts from TA, so I went with the rings they had.

    I have already installed the cam bearings and reamed them with the old cam.
    Doug from Vermont
    1965 Riviera Project
    1974 Ford Bronco

    ROA #12554

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Quote Originally Posted by KDML View Post
    What's wrong with the gapless rings?

    When I was ordering parts for the build I ordered most parts from TA, so I went with the rings they had.

    I have already installed the cam bearings and reamed them with the old cam.
    good job on the cam bearings are talking just the top ring gapless or second ring too. the pistons must have been made for the 5/64 rings right?

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    154

    Default Re: Hastings Piston Oil Ring Install

    Total Seals website indicates second ring is gapless. They also have a conventional set. Just trying to gather opinions at this point. Obviously, Total Seals website talks up the gapless design so I am looking for some real world experiences.

    Yes, pistons were machined for 5/64 top and second rings
    Doug from Vermont
    1965 Riviera Project
    1974 Ford Bronco

    ROA #12554

 

 
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