How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, How do you clean ring grooves on pistons? in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; My 2000 STS engine is apart, waiting for me to get things clean for reassembly. This includes new rings. The ...
  1. #1
    eyewonder is online now Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    My 2000 STS engine is apart, waiting for me to get things clean for reassembly. This includes new rings. The old groves are all yucky looking with baked-on oil, etc and I would like to have them clean for the new rings.

    I did not, and don't want to use any type of scrapping or metalic wire brushes, etc. I tried cleaning one piston using an ultrasonic cleaner that I built, with some solvent for the liquid. Let it work for 4 hours. It did succeed in making the entire house smell like solvent, but didn't clean the piston like I had wanted.

    My next thought is going to the local car wash & blasting the pistons with the high pressure washer. The next thought would be to go buy some carburetor cleaner (liquid in the gallon cans) and dip the pistons in there, one at a time.

    What are methods you have used that gave good results?

    Cheers,
    Steve

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    JoeTahoe is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    i have always taken and old ring and broke it in half, then use the factory end (were the ring gap would be not the broke end) and just gently pull the ring threw the gap. Be careful if you use this methed the rings are very sharp.

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    eyewonder is online now Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    I have thought of using that sort of technique, but was (am still) concerned about taking away 'piston' instead of the baked-on oil that I want to get rid of.

    I will keep that as a possibility, but will probably try the car wash thing tonight after work.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  5. #4
    98eldo32v's Avatar
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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    Buy a can of Gunk carberutor cleaner, set the piston in the gunk four a few minutes/ hours. Let the solvent dissolve the baked on oil/grease. If need be, use an old ring to clean out the groves, carefully then on to next piston.

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    bill buttermore is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    I have always used a piece of the old ring that came out of that groove as Joe described. I can almost assure you the high pressure car wash will mostly make you wet, while doing little or nothing to the carbon in the grooves.

    There is a commercial product called Piston Kleen that makes a lot of claims. If you try it and it works, let us know.

    There is a tool made for the purpose, but they are awkward to use.

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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    Don't bother with car wash. Either buy a ring groove cleaner(15-20 ) or do as others have said and use an old ring. If you get some carb cleaner you can bag the piston to let it work better if you only have the spray kind.

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    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    Old, broken ring and common sense. Dirty deeds done dirt cheap.

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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    http://www.google.com/search?q=pisto...ient=firefox-a
    There is a tool for every job, but the broken ring is cheaper.

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    eyewonder is online now Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    OK, trying to keep things straight and understand. Several posts have indicated that wire brushing the top of pistons is bad ju-ju. OK, I can deal with that. You don't want to start small scratches in the piston that turn into BIG scratches, and possibly big pieces.

    Way back-in-the-day when working on small- block chevys, we used to use a ring groove cleaning tool, similar to the ones in the above post. That tool actually cut into the piston when cleaning out the carbon, just a small amount, but it was cutting aluminum piston. If that is the case with the current tools, that would be putting more stress risers/cracks in the grove. Which doesn't sound like a good thing.

    There must be something I am missing.

    And by the way, I tried the car wash on one piston tonight, and it did a reasonable job. I would probably feel good about using that piston, as is.

    Cheers,
    Steve

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    bill buttermore is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    Quote Originally Posted by eyewonder View Post
    O.....And by the way, I tried the car wash on one piston tonight, and it did a reasonable job. I would probably feel good about using that piston, as is.

    Cheers,
    Steve
    Well, spray me down and make me cleaner! Thanks for letting us know how it worked.

  12. #11
    stoveguyy is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    New rings,bearings, oil control plate sounds nice but I would be somewhat bummed that motor was so crudded up to start with. Sure, any motor can be freshened up but if motor has 100k miles and looks like hell inside than it was probably abused. Or not.

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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    Have you ever overhauled a typical American daily driver internal combustion engine with high mileage ?? (75,000+) Even with regular maintenance and oil/filter changes the entire inside is a light tan to brown color from oil contaminants, the piston crowns are covered with a .010" layer of "carbon", valves are dirty, EGR passages are filthy, bearings are worn, seals are hard/cracked, valve guides may be worn, valve seals are on their last legs, valve springs are no longer useful, hydraulic lifters and/or cams are probably well worn, piston rings/grooves are filthy - the list goes on and on, but every bit of it is perfectly normal.

    The fact than an engine even runs and supplies motive power is a miracle in itself, but combine that with burning thousands of gallons of gasoline and some wild amount of lube oil in a metal-to-metal high temperature/pressure environment and it's a wonder the thing goes past 100 miles. Back in the 50's most European cars came with an Owner's Manual that fully explained how to "decarbonise" an engine - top overhaul - and it was done by the owner every 6 months !!! Truth. And we now rely on lights and messages because NO ONE ever looks under the hood or at the brakes until something lights up and says "HELP !" for the car. "My Cadillac runs forever and doesn't need maintenance. It's a Cadillac...." Yeah, right.

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    stoveguyy is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    why is motor tore down? headgaskets? you don't pull pistons to check rings cuz your bored. oil consumption issue?

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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    Quote Originally Posted by stoveguyy View Post
    why is motor tore down? headgaskets? you don't pull pistons to check rings cuz your bored. oil consumption issue?
    He's basically in the middle of a rebuild prompted by head gasket failure. I think there are 4 of us right now doing similar projects.

  16. #15
    eyewonder is online now Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: How do you clean ring grooves on pistons?

    Quote Originally Posted by stoveguyy View Post
    why is motor tore down? headgaskets? you don't pull pistons to check rings cuz your bored. oil consumption issue?
    I intentionally got this car, good body & interior, with bad head gasket, so that I could repair the engine & have a nice car. The first inclination was to just repair the head gasket problem. After getting the cradle out, the engine was completely covered in oil, everywhere. I tend to keep a car for at least 10 years, so I wanted a reliable car.

    So .... in for a penny, in for a pound. Thus the full rebuild.

    Cheers,
    Steve

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