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Old 07-08-2011, 10:59 AM   #21
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

That was a very good move. There are lots of good old boys that can build a killer Chevy 350 or Ford 302 but should never touch an aluminum engine.

The trick is to find the shop who works with your engine type.

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Old 07-08-2011, 11:15 AM   #22
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

The difference between the two places is night and day, and I'm sure, a few $$.
Storefront <-> Home garage
Website <-> Craigslist ad
Orgainized <-> Disorganized
Intake forms <-> Can barely write
Clean <-> Dirty
Rolling Carts <-> Block is sitting on a 5 gallon pail

Yes, it feels good to have moved my stuff to the new place, despite the additional cost. They won't get a chance to look at it until next week, but I have plenty of other things to do in the meantime.

...
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#5, 1998 SW2m, rebuilt at 126K, Totaled at 205K miles.
#6 1997 SC2a, 179K, Needs a new head.

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Old 07-08-2011, 12:27 PM   #23
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

Yes, there are garage shops that are top notch but you can tell when you find one in about 10 seconds of walking in the door. A place with a real storefront and paperwork is a very good sign.

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Old 07-08-2011, 01:01 PM   #24
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

Quote:
Originally Posted by macbox View Post
For honing, they are using a 280 grit straight hone, in fact they had one on the machine when I was there and I took the picture below. Seems a little rough to me, is the end result of a straight hone different than a ball hone? I know FSM calls for 320 grit ball hone.
Their other option is a 400 grit hone, which for my cylinders may be all it needs.
What grit hone you use depends on what rings you're going to use. Hastings recommends 220 to 280 grit stone or ball hone for all of their "normal" rings (from what they told me, a stone hone is best if you're working with perfect cylinder walls (freshly machined or very little wear), but a ball hone is the only option if things are not perfect (which is typically the case)).

A good stone hone (not the garbage you see in auto stores) is much more expensive than a ball hone, and a ball hone is more likely to yield decent results, given normal (not necessarily proper) use, so for most people, it's the best choice. However, if the work is being done at a competent machine shop, and they recommend a stone hone, there's no reason to complain.

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Old 07-08-2011, 01:25 PM   #25
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

There is a major difference surface finish between a stone and a ball hone. Even of the same grit. Several ring manufacturers state to use a ball hone. If you want the rings to seat properly then you follow the recommendation of the ring manufacturer. Any shop worth the powder to blow to H... is aware of this and will follow those recommendations. Furthermore most ring manufacturers have several different ring lines and they are not all the same prep process..

Have you ever heard of the AERA?

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Old 07-08-2011, 02:40 PM   #26
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

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most ring manufacturers have several different ring lines and they are not all the same prep process..
I always thought that too; apparently Hastings is a bit different these days. I called them again, to double check, and they told me the same thing: 220-280, with either type hone, at a 45 degree angle). (It's obviously a scripted response.)

This is only Hastings; many other ring manufacturers may have different recommendations best suited for their specific rings (you should always check with the company that made the rings).

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Old 07-08-2011, 03:19 PM   #27
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

Hastings is unique in many ways. They are the only source for many antique engine rings.

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Old 07-09-2011, 12:21 AM   #28
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticCarsRock View Post
What grit hone you use depends on what rings you're going to use. Hastings recommends 220 to 280 grit stone or ball hone for all of their "normal" rings (from what they told me, a stone hone is best if you're working with perfect cylinder walls (freshly machined or very little wear), but a ball hone is the only option if things are not perfect (which is typically the case)).
Thus, prevailing wisdom is to measure first, look at the measurements and see what you are working with, and based on that decide what rings to use. Once the type of ring to use is decided, then the type and grit of hone is selected. My friend said by the looks of one of the pistons that there was some blow by, so I am curious what the measurements might be in light of the compression rings being springy when they came out of the cylinder. I will know next week.

Quote:
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There is a major difference surface finish between a stone and a ball hone. Even of the same grit. Several ring manufacturers state to use a ball hone. If you want the rings to seat properly then you follow the recommendation of the ring manufacturer. Any shop worth the powder to blow to H... is aware of this and will follow those recommendations. Furthermore most ring manufacturers have several different ring lines and they are not all the same prep process..

Have you ever heard of the AERA?
That is what I was thinking, thanks for the confirmation. A straight stone and ball are two very different animals, in shape and surface results. I've started to check out ring choices online, hastings would be the fallback but I know there are other choices as well. The measurements will tell what the next step is.

This shop is not an average shop, I found headwerks online and knew they were not exactly mid-priced and was looking for something mid-priced, however, both my friend and another Saturn community member have pointed me their way. Down the slippery slope of a total rebuild I went. Yes, I've heard of AERA, headwerks are members.

I expect pistons to have some life in them, so they will get the drainback holes drilled, and the head will have the knob machined off to enable the intake cam mod. I need to clean the sealant off the oil pan this weekend.

...
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#5, 1998 SW2m, rebuilt at 126K, Totaled at 205K miles.
#6 1997 SC2a, 179K, Needs a new head.

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Old 07-09-2011, 12:34 AM   #29
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

If you do business with a shop that is a member of AERA you will not have any problems.
Sealed power pistons and rings are good. Mahle Perfect Circle rings are also good. For teh cost of the Sealed Power pistons I would not bother trying to squeeze more life from the OEM pistons. I tried that once and the piston broke through the wrist pin and the rod went through the water jacket. That was not convenient and after it broke I found out that breaking pistons was a feature of that particular vintage of the engine. Would have been nice to know that before recycling the pistons.

The AERA question was directed to PlasticCars...

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Old 07-23-2011, 06:20 AM   #30
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

I talked to the shop the other day, they ordered the Keith Black/Silv-o-lite pistons. I asked why and they said that they have seen inconsistent quality with the FM/Sealed Power pistons. I am performing my research on the Keith Black pistons and I am seeing stories of failures from to thermal expansion, the reason is that they like a little more room on top since they expand more, and this also means that the top ring needs a bit more end gap than normal.

Any opinions on the KB pistons?

Rings are Hastings so far.

...
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#5, 1998 SW2m, rebuilt at 126K, Totaled at 205K miles.
#6 1997 SC2a, 179K, Needs a new head.

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Old 07-23-2011, 07:09 AM   #31
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

Inconsistencies in the manufacture of any piston is a common problem today. The only concern between the 2 different pistons is the oil drain back holes or slots. As long as the specific Silv-o-Lite piston chosen has drain back then it is perfectly OK. The Silv-O-Lite is commonly used in high performance applications and when this is the case it is very important to take all reports of failure with a very large grain of salt. When of the tings that occurs when aftermarket performance increasing is being done is the engineering and design advice is obtained from some rather shaky sources. This results in spectacular failures.
Your concern is the proper fitting of the cylinder bore to the piston in an accordance with the piston manufacturer's instructions and that the piston has the correct oil control drain holes/slots.

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Old 07-23-2011, 08:24 AM   #32
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

And when you say take it with a grain of salt, then you mean that the performance market puts extra stresses on the product which results in the failures.
Still, on the other forum, the wisdom is that the heads of the pistons have a high silica content and while they get hotter they don't expand as much, but with the higher heat rings do expand, and even with extra gap at the end the rings expand enough to cause the top ring land to break. The educated guess is that QC issues leading to inconsistency cause different heat/expansion coefficents, so that one piston may be different than another.
Being that you are wise in metallurgy, and the explanation above makes sense to me, I am interested in your thoughts on this.
I will most likely hear from the shop on Monday.

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#6 1997 SC2a, 179K, Needs a new head.

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Old 07-23-2011, 10:18 AM   #33
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

Quote:
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And when you say take it with a grain of salt, then you mean that the performance market puts extra stresses on the product which results in the failures.
Usually after installing a performance piston set people expect magic and in the process have increased the compression ratio, advanced the timing, and fiddled with the fuel map. And then decided that as gas is expensive they will run the 87 or 89 octane stuff. If they happen to get the ethanol enriched stuff they are in better shape but they should be running nothing but high test, which they usually refuse to do. This is almost guaranteed to take the top off the piston, any piston. The Silv-O-Lite web sit has specific fitting instructions and probably has specific ring recommendations. These are also usually ignored which is a recipe for disaster. What you need to be aware of is that there are different clearance specifications for #4 as opposed to the other 3 cylinders due to the presence of the EGR port along the side of the head. Your rebuilder should be aware of this but it never hurts to ask.
Still, on the other forum, the wisdom is that the heads of the pistons have a high silica content and while they get hotter they don't expand as much, but with the higher heat rings do expand, and even with extra gap at the end the rings expand enough to cause the top ring land to break. The educated guess is that QC issues leading to inconsistency cause different heat/expansion coefficents, so that one piston may be different than another.
I would be asking the usual questions about preignition before jumping on ring bind. Pre-ignition at higher RPM does not make any noise. This is the phenomena that is usually the cause of the top land snapping off the piston.
Being that you are wise in metallurgy, and the explanation above makes sense to me, I am interested in your thoughts on this.
I will most likely hear from the shop on Monday.
It sounds like they are planning on installing the base Silv-O-Lite pistons and they understand what they are doing. Trying to claim that ring expansion snapped the top land off of a piston is going to be tough to sell without much more information. Remember there is clearance between the side of the ring for a reason and even taking into consideration all the various expansion coefficients it is hard to run out of clearance before the piston melts.
High performance or marine use is very hard on engines and what happens there does not directly play in a small diameter bore engine. You mention another site, are any of these failures in Saturn engines? Pistons are easy to fail in EFI ECU engines when you bump up performance. There is also the issue of using the proper engine coolant which has a huge impact on piston life.

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Old 07-23-2011, 10:29 AM   #34
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

More...

Any time you buy a matched set of anything you check that they are actually matched. The majority of these pistons are made outside the USA, dimensional and weight QC can be a problem with any of them. Alloy issues should be non existent though.

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Old 07-23-2011, 04:56 PM   #35
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

Other site is 6S, if there is a weakness somewhere it is usually discovered. That said, this will be nothing special for the most part, but I do expect to put the engine through its paces for the fun of it.
From the best I can gather, some did have some failures a few years back, but I don't know what kind of power they were running and at what revs. There is a lack of detail combined with a learning curve on my part that makes things really interesting, which is part of the fun, but I don't want this thing blowing up on me because of a piston.

The coolant will be the Peak Global Lifetime, 1 gallon + topoff.
Good info about piston #4, I will be talking to them on monday.

...
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#5, 1998 SW2m, rebuilt at 126K, Totaled at 205K miles.
#6 1997 SC2a, 179K, Needs a new head.

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Old 07-23-2011, 07:03 PM   #36
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

I checked the Silv-O-Lite catalog and it specifically states that the pistons are not for racing. So, based on the catalog I would assume that any racing type activity may lead to failure and turbocharging, megasqurt tuning, incorrect fuel octane for the compression, and inadequate cooling would result in failure. Vigorous highway motoring should cause no adverse effects. The Silv-O-Lite piston is the general service piston of the product line. I did not check but they either catalog or will make racing grade pistons. The FM pistons are also high silica content alloy. If the builder has better luck with brand B over brand A then I would trust the builder.

Somehow I suspected it was 6S.

When you attempt to push an engine to a power output that is beyond design you break things, it is to be expected. Some people just do not accept this as a fact.

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Old 08-03-2011, 10:59 PM   #37
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

Here is a progress update:

I am now stumped by the tranny seals, I can't seem to get them out. Nothing seems to work, I've pried, using fulcrums and everything, they won't budge. I'm starting to think I should just wrap up the tranny and take it somewhere to have the seals taken out. For the RTV for the seals, should I go with permatex ultra copper or 518?

I went with the KB/Silv-O-Lite pistons. Since the shop says they have had serious issues getting consistent product from Federal Mogul/Sealed Power, such as inconsistent sizing, I went with the KB and we will see how they run.

The last week or so has been taken up by rust remediation and painting places that could use the extra protection, and also, tons of reading about what to do next. I POR-15d the subframe and the subframe attachment points on the frame, sway bar, parts of the frame, oil pan, tranny mount and torque strut bracket, antenna and windshield wipers, and at the top of the liftgate where the water collects. Yeah.

Block and head are back from the shop and look really good. Hone was 320 grit. Crank was polished. Rings are Hastings and are the correct size for the pistons. I should check the end gap on the rings - not sure if the shop did but I can call them.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 98SW2allTornApart.jpg (78.0 KB, 50 views)
File Type: jpg SubframePOR15d.jpg (41.1 KB, 42 views)
File Type: jpg Cowl_beforePOR15.jpg (48.8 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg Cowl_afterPOR15.jpg (66.5 KB, 39 views)

...
#4, 1995 SC2m, 163K, 400 Miles per quart. Garage queen. Currently in 1000 pieces for a rebuild.
#5, 1998 SW2m, rebuilt at 126K, Totaled at 205K miles.
#6 1997 SC2a, 179K, Needs a new head.

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Old 08-03-2011, 11:03 PM   #38
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

Call shop and check as checking end gap can damage the bore and in most cases is an exercise in futility.

What trans seals are not coming out, axle seals? Did you remove the little wire retainer ring?

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Old 08-03-2011, 11:28 PM   #39
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

The snap ring on the drivers side was a piece of cake, it is the seals that won't move. I'm doing both of them while the system is apart, and am surprised by how well they are stuck in there. I've got the seals and seal install tools (exhaust adapters) already so as soon as I can get these buggers out, I can make progress again.

Is there a three jaw puller that will work on these?

...
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#5, 1998 SW2m, rebuilt at 126K, Totaled at 205K miles.
#6 1997 SC2a, 179K, Needs a new head.

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Old 08-04-2011, 12:35 AM   #40
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Default Re: 98SW2 Re-Ring project

Pictures are worth several thousand words.

There is a commercial tool that will do it but you have to walk around the thing a couple of times to get it out. Google seal puller or seal remover. You can reverse the hooks on a slide hammer puller and it may come out, or bend impressively.
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File Type: jpeg Selection_148.jpeg (46.8 KB, 13 views)

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