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  Low Tension oil rings...street/strip usage?

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Author Topic:   Low Tension oil rings...street/strip usage?
blackford
Journeyman

Posts: 76
From: Corona, Ca
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 12-01-2006 03:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blackford        Reply w/Quote
I can't find much discussion here or at other sites I visit about this subject.

A mechanic on another site that has considerable experience with Total Seal's Gold Power oil rings strongly suggests I use them to free up some otherwise lost power. He has used them on race and street engines with very good results. Here is how Total Seal's oil rings break down:

Stock - 20 lbs tension
Low Tension - 16 lbs tension
Gold Power - 11 lbs tension

He also suggests I use gapless 2nd ring, but cautions me on eliminating my PCV valve if I go with gapless and just using a breather in it's place. The gapless ring, due to it's design, also reduces friction.

Honing is apparently very critical with these rings. I'm having my block honed professionally by a top notch shop so there should be no worries there.

The set i'm considering is TG9090 with ductile iron conventional top ring, gapless 2nd ring, and gold power oil ring. They also have cast moly top rings...is ductile iron OK or should I use cast moly? My old top rings were cast moly.

Total Seal recommends the low tension rings for race usage only, but is this a CYA? IOW, let's say they wear out after 30,000 miles...it will take me 10+ years to drive this car that much. Are there other issues I should be aware of?

In my pursuit of freeing up lost HP, i'm at it again.

Thanks

------------------
Tracy Blackford
'65 "Black" ford FB, 331 with H beam 289 rods, KB322s, fully prepped 351w heads, 282S cam, T5z, 3.50 9" posi. Many Suspension and handling mods. 335 SAE RWHP @ 6400. Currently under rebuild due to road racing oil starvation issue.

indyphil
Gearhead

Posts: 3394
From: Senoia, G.A. USA
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 12-01-2006 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indyphil        Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by blackford:
Honing is apparently very critical with these rings. I'm having my block honed professionally by a top notch shop so there should be no worries there.

Total Seal recommends the low tension rings for race usage only, but is this a CYA? IOW, let's say they wear out after 30,000 miles...it will take me 10+ years to drive this car that much. Are there other issues I should be aware of?


first
The honing may be professional but is he going to use torque plates? If not he can do a great job but you still may not see any benefit from a low tension ring package. Ive heard differing opinions about torque plate honing too but the idea is to make the bore as straight as possible and reduce friction and improve compression.

from I know about rings and friction, you will really see the benefits of reduced friction at high RPMs Probably why they recommend for race applications. Not much point in throwing away compression and oil control if you dont spin your engine fast enough to actually see the benefit.

Ive also heard stories of low tension ring packages that smoke real bad - presumably from poor oil control.

Another thing to consider is how the piston itself is ported. Most of what keeps the ring pressed against the wall is the gas pressure thats behind the ring. 2nd ring grooves may or may not be ported.

Im not an expert but looking at your current specs im not sure this an area that will yield much for you.

Im always hesitant to believe people who make big claims about ring packages. How much does he claim he picked up by using low tension oil rings? - Confine your answer to street engines since your engine resembles a street engine (even if you do use it to race). Im not trying to discourage but I dont think this is as simple as it seems.

Id like to hear what the experts have seen on dynos and at the track. Ive not seen many recommendations for gapless rings anywhere but magazines...

blackford
Journeyman

Posts: 76
From: Corona, Ca
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 12-01-2006 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blackford        Reply w/Quote
Yes, torque plates are in the picture.

The car will be used on the street and at road courses a few times a year. RPMs will be 7000 max. Modifications this time around are single plane intake ported and port matched, a bit more head work was done, 1.7 probe shaft mount rockers (mainly because I found a wonderful price on them), and beehive springs. I'm shooting for 360 RWHP or a 25 HP increase from what I had before.

No claims were made about HP gains except that there would be some. I doubt my KB322 pistons are ported except for the oil groove. I've heard good and bad about porting so i'd like to hear more about that.

You may be right why the low tension rings are not recommended for the street. Another may be that they are not for the novice and must be installed properly and honing must be done right.


------------------
Tracy Blackford
'65 "Black" ford FB, 331 with H beam 289 rods, KB322s, fully prepped 351w heads, 282S cam, T5z, 3.50 9" posi. Many Suspension and handling mods. 335 SAE RWHP @ 6400. Currently under rebuild due to road racing oil starvation issue.

[This message has been edited by blackford (edited 12-01-2006).]

kid vishus
Gearhead

Posts: 7251
From: middle of NC
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 12-01-2006 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kid vishus        Reply w/Quote
Here's what I found with gapless rings, zero increase in ET or mph, plus a lighter wallet. And the shop that was doing my block work at the time built more race winning motors than anyone else in the area and had been in business since 1976 (and still are in business and just as backlogged with work now as they have been for the last 20 yrs.)


There are A LOT of well respected engine builders that will not use gapless second rings (the shop owner recommended against them, but I had already bought them so I used them.) They beleive that at higher rpm, gases gets to that ring and forces itself behind it, and since it has no way to escape, it causes the ring to unseat from the cylinder wall and ~flutter~ in the bore reducing ring seal. At static, they show great leak down numbers, but thats not the same conditions as a running motor. Thats the reason they came out with gapless top rings. You could gas port the top ring and actually use the gases to press out, instead of the gases ~getting in the way.~

Personally, I wont use gapless rings anymore. With what I was doing, I was making the same power with moly file fit rings.

------------------
Rob Hetzler
M&M member #773
'69 mustang, 351C, best 9.97 @ 133 mph 1/4, 6.18 @ 110.4 1/8 (til it blew up), now 402" clevor powered, 6.144 @ 112 mph
'93 F150 Lightning 15.33 @ 87 mph, completely stock with 209k miles
'04 F350 dually quad cab powerstroke (tow truck for the racecars)
'60 Falcon wagon project car
'99 Pro Et track champion
'00 Mod ET R-up (with new car)

My Photo Page

afret
Gearhead

Posts: 243
From: Lancaster, CA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 12-01-2006 06:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for afret        Reply w/Quote
You could ask Barry Rabotnick - I think he was in charge of the Hi Perf section at Federal Mogul and knows a bunch about rings. He hangs out on the FE Forum a lot. IIRC he doesn't care much for gapless rings just like Kid V.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/74182/

Moneymaker
Administrator

Posts: 29200
From: Lyons, IL, USA
Registered: May 99

posted 12-01-2006 08:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Moneymaker        Reply w/Quote
Good hone job absolutely.
Torque plates absolutely.
Low tension oil rings, absolutely. (OEM on every 5.0 roller motor since 1986)

Gapless rings, useless!
None used on any of our record setting Ford or GM engines.
(yes, I have a few GM record holding motors out there)

------------------
Alex Denysenko
Co-Administrator and Moderator

NHRA/SRA member and licensed Superstock driver
NHRA and IHRA SS/LA & SS/MA National Record Holder '00,'01,'02,'03,'04 &'05
First NHRA & IHRA 289 automatic Superstock Mustang in the TENS 06-99
First SS/MA in the TENS 04-03
IHRA division 5 Superstock Champion
Fleet of FoMoCo products including 88 ASC McLaren Mustang #28

The Barry of BarrysGrrl

Quote #1: "I never met a magazine mechanic I liked."
Quote #2: "Make sure brain is in gear before engaging mouth!"
Quote #3: "If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch!"
www.moneymakerracing.com

Buster
Gearhead

Posts: 1821
From: Hurricane alley
Registered: May 2002

posted 12-01-2006 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Buster        Reply w/Quote
From my experience I wouldn't use anything other the normal performance low tension rings. Why waver from something that works.

I've seen factory engines with well over 400k miles and you could still see the factory hone marks on the cylinder walls with no loss of oil control or compression. Iíve also seen race engines that have 2 full seasons that looked like the day it was assembled.

Stick with whatís been working for everyone else.

Mark Ugrich
Gearhead

Posts: 351
From: Waukesha, Wisconsin,U.S.A.
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 12-02-2006 12:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mark Ugrich        Reply w/Quote
I agree with Buster. Use the standard low tension rings, not the race version.Low tension oil rings may require the use of a vacuum pump and can still allow some oil into the combustion chamber.
I think you could find some power by gas porting the pistons.I don't know of anybody using them on the street, but it will definately increase the ring seal.Nascar guys use them for 500 miles at a time. How bad could it be?
I have Childs and Albert "zero gap second" rings in my own engine.I can't say they make any more horsepower, but they don't seem to hurt anything either.If I had it to do over again, I'd use standard gap second rings.
Along with boring and honing with torque plates ,make sure that the cylinder wall finish is compatable with the type rings use decide to use.Although I've never seen this first hand, I've been told that in a properly machined cylinder the rings will actually rotate in the bore while the engine is running.

kid vishus
Gearhead

Posts: 7251
From: middle of NC
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 12-02-2006 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kid vishus        Reply w/Quote
I ran the C&A gapless second ring in one motor (might have been two actually, cant remember though,) and the only thing about it that was better than the Total Seal rings was since it was a stepped design and not a two peice ring, the gaps never lined up (but they still didnt run any faster than a good file fit ring.) Every single time I built a motor using Total Seal gapless second rings, when I would pull the motor down at the end of the year, the gaps would have lined up. And I know for a fact that each time I stuck it together, I put the gaps 180* apart from one another. And if they lined up that quickly on a drag race motor that in the all actuallity never saw many miles, I cant beleive they would work any better in a street motor.

blackford
Journeyman

Posts: 76
From: Corona, Ca
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 12-02-2006 02:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blackford        Reply w/Quote
The 16lb and 11lb low tension oil rings mentioned in my original post are for wet sump engines that don't require constant vacuum. Total seal also has Ultra Low tension oil rings which are for dry sump engines with constant vacuum.

I'm starting to take a conservative stance on this and am now considering conventional 1st and 2nd rings and the 16lb low tension oil ring as my choice. I'd hate to put the 11lb gold power oil rings in and then have oil control problems.

------------------
Tracy Blackford
'65 "Black" ford FB, 331 with H beam 289 rods, KB322s, fully prepped 351w heads, 282S cam, T5z, 3.50 9" posi. Many Suspension and handling mods. 335 SAE RWHP @ 6400. Currently under rebuild due to road racing oil starvation issue.

[This message has been edited by blackford (edited 12-02-2006).]

kid vishus
Gearhead

Posts: 7251
From: middle of NC
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 12-02-2006 02:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kid vishus        Reply w/Quote
The last motor my uncle built for their limited late model dirt track car used the really light oil control rings and was a wet sump motor. BUT, it had a vacuum pump on it and was pulling 14" of vacuum.

Moneymaker
Administrator

Posts: 29200
From: Lyons, IL, USA
Registered: May 99

posted 12-02-2006 07:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Moneymaker        Reply w/Quote
I use the really low tension rings in MM without a vacuum pump as it is not legal.
I do have a very good pan evac system though.
Never had any issues.

------------------
Alex Denysenko
Co-Administrator and Moderator

NHRA/SRA member and licensed Superstock driver
NHRA and IHRA SS/LA & SS/MA National Record Holder '00,'01,'02,'03,'04 &'05
First NHRA & IHRA 289 automatic Superstock Mustang in the TENS 06-99
First SS/MA in the TENS 04-03
IHRA division 5 Superstock Champion
Fleet of FoMoCo products including 88 ASC McLaren Mustang #28

The Barry of BarrysGrrl

Quote #1: "I never met a magazine mechanic I liked."
Quote #2: "Make sure brain is in gear before engaging mouth!"
Quote #3: "If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch!"
www.moneymakerracing.com

n2oMike
Gearhead

Posts: 3058
From: Spencer, WV
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 12-03-2006 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for n2oMike        Reply w/Quote
Barry Rabotnik, who worked for Federal Mogul as an Engineer for a long time, and who has competed in the Engine Masters series the last few years had this to say on another message board....

Try to get oil rings with a reduced radial wall thickness - roughly .155 versus the normal .210. This is the measurement from inside diameter to outside. The reduction in radial wall allows the ring to better conform to the bore requiring less tension. This strategy is used on all newer engines. The LS1 and 4.6 run between 8 and 11 lbs for 100,000 miles...

And as long as we are on the subject of piston rings, Joe Sherman left some advice about the top rings and gas ports. He recommended reduced radial wall thinckness and tighter clearances top to bottom when using gas ports. The tighter clearance seals the ring better, keeping the pressure from the gas ports from escaping, and the reduced radial wall thickness makes the ring more compliant to the cylinder.

Barry R. can provide a lot of these specialty parts for those who are interested. http://www.survivalmotorsports.com Give him a call, he's a GREAT guy to work with. He was able to supply me with a set of long discontinued 0.020" 3/4 groove FE engine bearings not too long ago.

Good Luck!


------------------
Mike Burch
66 mustang real street
302 4-speed 289 heads
10.63 @ 129.3
http://www.geocities.com/carbedstangs/cmml_mburch.html
http://www.fortunecity.com/silverstone/healey/367
http://www.mustangworks.com/cgi-bin/moi-display.cgi?220

[This message has been edited by n2oMike (edited 12-03-2006).]

89_coupe
Gearhead

Posts: 281
From: Ontario (Upstate), NY
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 12-05-2006 01:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 89_coupe        Reply w/Quote
What LB rating would be equivelant to the 5.0s of the late '80s-mid '90s? 16lb or 11lb?

I accidentally went with Total Seal gapless 2nd rings because I already had them (given to me for free) and any time I run full throttle over 6500 to the 7800RPM shift point I have it blows oil out the front main, rear main, and oil dipstick. I put 2 breathers in each valve cover and that almost cured the problem but a little still goes out the rear main and out the breathers some. I never had this much blowby with using conventional Sealed Power rings. I did opt for the std tension oil ring which I will not do next time and I don't like these thick heavy 5/64th rings in my engine but I may change pistons this winter to some forged this time with 1/16th rings, 100-150 grams less, and low tension 11lb oil rings for a little more power and quicker reving. I am not using an evac system at all and want to continue to use a full exhaust. Is the 11lb oil rings too light to control the oil for me or will it work fine with my new combo? I have no windage tray either. It may run 8000RPM shift points with the new cam I am getting. What oil ring tension should I use?

BTW, I have seen the gold power 11lb used in many 302/351s with no evac systems and have no oil control issues. Just none in 13:1 or more compression 7500+ RPM conditions like I am doing.

------------------
Kent

'68 Falcon wagon stock 289/C4
'68 Falcon wagon 200-6/C4
'65 Fairlane 500 wagon 10.5:1 351W/C4
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