It is vital to have piston rings that fit well in order for your car to perform optimally. Changing piston rings is a big job and most people will take their cars to a garage to have the work done. However, you can still do it by yourself. You only need some basic tools and a little time, along with the service manual for your car.

Get to the Piston Rings

In order to access the piston rings, you’re going to have to take off the cylinder head. This is not an easy process, as you’ll be required to disconnect many things before you can even remove the part itself. Begin  by removing the exhaust manifold. Loosen the bolts holding it to the head with your wrench, and draw it away. Then, you’ll need to disconnect the distributor from the intake manifold. There will be spark plug wires linked to it, so pull these out of place before you loosen the nut holding the distributor on top of the intake manifold. Another set of spark plug wires will have to be disconnected before you can unbolt both the valve corners and the intake manifold itself.

The rocker arms and pushrods are your last obstacle before you get to take care of the head itself. Fortunately, all you need to do is remove the single nut on top of each rocker arm in order to pull it away; there will be one rocker arm and pushrod per valve. Once the rocker arms are lift away, you can pull the pushrods up through the head.

There’s a procedure for taking out the cylinder head’s retaining bolts, start with the bolts on the outside. When this is finally off, you’ll have to start cleaning the top of each cylinder. Ensure that there is no grease or dirt around so you’ll be prepared to replace the cylinder head when you’re finished.

Clean the Piston

Before you can change the piston rings, it’s vital to fully clean the piston. Cover all the cylinder holes to keep debris from the piston from falling inside. Then, simply scrape off the dirt until enough is removed that you can take out the piston.

Remove Piston Rings

Before you can replace the piston rings, you’ll need to remove each of the cylinders. This will change from make to make, so you’ll have to consult your service manual. When you’ve removed the cylinders, they will also have to be cleaned. Do this by soaking them in kerosene before letting them to dry completely. Carry this out in a well-ventilated area.

You’ll have to use your piston ring tool to remove the old piston rings. Before changing them, check each of the ring grooves on the piston for wear by using a feeler gauge to see if they still up to the proper specifications. If the grooves have worn too much, changing the piston rings won’t be enough; you’ll require a complete new piston. If the rings don’t want to move, you can loosen them by soaking them overnight in diesel oil.

Install the New Piston Rings

When you’re set to put on the replacements, you need to stretch them with your piston ring tool as you fit them over the piston. However, you need to be very careful that you don’t stretch them so much that they break (however if they do, new piston rings are very cheap).

Ensure that the piston rings are secure in the ring grooves. When you’ve done that, check the piston once more before changing it along with the connecting rods. Reverse the process you used to remove them. Then, before replacing the cylinder head, check the head gasket. In most cases, you should replace it while working on the piston rings.

Lastly, put on the cylinder head and reattach all the other items to the engine block to finish.