How To Properly Gap Piston Rings

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Piston ring gap is critical to the operation of your engine. Especially if it’s a performance, or boosted application like mine. In this video, Kevin Frische of Kalvinator Engines goes over the process and how to set your piston ring gap properly. Kevin has been doing this for several years and really knows what he’s talking about. I hope this video helps if you’re going to be installing piston rings on your engine.

My pistons and rotating assembly:

Thanks to Kevin Frische for his help in this video.

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Camera: Brian Kast

Thanks for watching!

Discussion about this video:


Ring Square Tool:

Electric Ring File:

Engine Details

Displacement: 363cid

The Block:

The Crank:

The Heads:
Compression: 8.9:1

The Cam: Comp Cams custom grind: 222@.050″ 222@.050 .357″lobe lift .571″ valve lift (1.6 rocker) .351″ lobe lift .562″ valve lift (1.6 rocker) 114º separation 4ºadvance

Modified: Edelbrock Performer RPM intake

The Carburetor:

The Distributor:

The Ignition:

The turbo Kit:

Related Videos

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Engine Balancing Video:

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45 thoughts on “How To Properly Gap Piston Rings

  1. I was wondering if you would want to square the ring and make the gap measurement with a torque plate bolted to the block to simulate the stress of having the head installed?

  2. I have seen what the rings do to pistons if you don't gap your rings when you add nitrous or turbo/supercharger and break the pistons

  3. Okay I did my math and now I’m stuck, I’ve got a bore size of 3.760 x 0.0050 = .0188 for my top ring and then I’ve 3.760 x 0.0055 = .02068 , now would you take .018 as your top ring and .020 for your second ring or am I doing this wrong? This is my first time gapping, thank you for your time

  4. damn I just installed everything and noticed the fsm for my engine (gf kia rio) wanted me to do the ring gap at bdc and I did it around a inch from the top,the engine has 100k miles should I worry because I see people tend to only do the top for ring gap?This was a cylinder that was not machined just honed for crosshatch

  5. What about a turbo engine on pump gas with water/meth injection? Would it still simply use the gap for turbo/blown, gas? I would assume the water/meth wouldn't play any major role(if any) in the gap.
    If anyone knows that would be great. I am about to send my block off to my local machine shop.

  6. Whe putting in new oem rings do we normally check the top and bootom oil rail rings that are above and below the expander/oil control ring?Same goes for the oil expander/control ring does it need to be clerarenced and if so is it done just like we do the compression rings because i didnt see any info on this but need to be sure and thanks?

  7. I'm all confused. He said not to file outwards not to scrap off the chromoly coating then scrapes the rings up and down and every which way. Only file downward please and check to file in a way to make the gap parallel. Not just one side. Many times the ring gaps don't come parallel from the factory. Did he say the rings rotate as the engine is running? So I guess there's no need to clock the rings correctly like the manufacturer say because they are just going to rotate anyways. Hold on now, he said as they freshen up a block taking a half a thousandth or a thousandth out of the bore it makes the ring gap grow. True, I get that but how in the hell can you set that ring gap BACK to what you want? Add more material back on to the ring?! He must be magic.

  8. When rings lose the seal and blowby occurs and loss of compression is it against the cylinder wall or is it the gap that becomes too large?

  9. Doing it that way is hit or miss. What they are not showing you is how uneven the gap is, in the restrained position
    in the cylinder bore.

  10. My buddy as nitrous to one of his cars…he just bolted everything in and thought he was a badass..told him you need to take your motor apart and gap your piston rings, you're gona blow your motor. Didn't listen to me, sure enough he blew his shit because of the stock rings butting up from the expansion.

  11. Hello , just a question I have a problem with my wv sirocco i had lost compresion in two cylinders and the mechanic told me that two pistons were damaged and i need to change all four of them. After removing the piston head the only thing wrong with it was a broken piston ring. Did they scum me ?Thank you for your answer.

  12. So, why even bother with ring gaps? Total Seal Gapless Rings. Been using them for decades and there’re other similar brands but I don’t know why the industry doesn’t advocate gapless rings! Should be a no-brainer than deal with excessive blow-by. Check out gapless piston rings.

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