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Technical Doing a ring job the old way

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by squirrel, May 19, 2019.

  1. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 1,634


    Did this on my '51 Plymouth when I was a kid. Went to the parts store and just made a wild guess as to what size engine I had. Guessed wrong and filed a whole bunch to get a ring gap. Had to push start to get it to turn over the first time but it worked. Been told that Hudson engine blocks had a lot of carbon in them and that the cylinders didn't wear out. Go for it.

    Sent from my SM-T350 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  2. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 9,912

    from Missouri

    I am doing one now on an OT car, the last one I remember had to be around 1978. Boss wouldn't let me hone the cylinders using a moly ring, guess what, had to do it again still no hone but used cast iron rings that time.
  3. tub1
    Joined: May 29, 2010
    Posts: 427

    from tasmania

    Hasn't a 308 got poured bigends that are machined to suit the crank with no shims ,but if your in tollerence is OK good to go
  4. This was a common trick at used car dealers when I was a kid. I saw it done, but never had the nerve to do it myself. Do not use anything other than Bonami. Chlorox or Ajax will ruin the engine.
    I have done a few inframe rebuilds. I have a ridge remover and an excellent stone hone that does a supurb job of deglazing the cylinders.
  5. David Chandler
    Joined: Jan 27, 2007
    Posts: 1,101

    David Chandler

    I had a neighbor who did it to a Ford Pickup back in the mid 70's. It had a straight 223 six in it. He had to ridge ream it to get it apart. Then he honed it and installed new rings. The thing ran good after that. I doubt if he checked it for wear. I'll guess and say he slapped a new set of rod bearings in too.
    My first SBC build was similar, but out of the car. I traded the engine for a stock four barrel intake manifold. It was laying in the dirt when I got it. And the kid who had it beat it to death. I used the pistons over after cleaning the ring groves out. I did measure the crank, and put in stock bearings. Put in a new cam - lifters - and timing chain. Lapped the valves using compound and an cordless drill to spin them. Other than that I replaced the oil pump as well, and the water and fuel pumps for good measure, and rebuilt the 2 barrel carb. It was a very nice running 305 after thawt. I used to let him know that it was still alive and well, every time I saw him. He had cooked the replacement 400 engine by then.
    alanp561 likes this.
  6. bigdog
    Joined: Oct 30, 2002
    Posts: 520


    Did it a lot back in the '70s and '80s. Did it all the time at the dealership I worked at, did it on my dirt track car too. We called it "freshening the motor". Hone the cylinders, new rings and bearings, valve grind if needed.
    tractorguy likes this.
  7. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,663


    Apparently back in the day Caterpillar had a part number for what was just BonAmi.
    Caterpillar Part No.7F5225 Break-in Powder
    Atwater Mike, Bearcat_V8 and j-jock like this.
  8. hemihotrod66
    Joined: May 5, 2019
    Posts: 101


    I remember my dad honing a Model A to put 20 over pistons in it....Went thru a few sets of stones but it worked fine...It was still in the car too.
  9. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,147

    from Minn. uSA

    Up 'till ~late '60s at least, maybe early '70s; it was a matter of pride that the "engine's never been out of the frame". Small shops n backyard mechs would do the in-frame o'-haul, as described by others. One secret was to use soft cast iron rings w/a somewhat coarse honing grit. Old intake & head gaskets can be used if not damaged, esp iffen they're metal. Good cleaning/wire brushing, coated w/ alum or copper paint & assmbled wet worked too. Does work well for ~ 50-70K miles. Not hot-rod stuff, fix-it-cheap stuff. Also not cobbled if done right. Back then, only problems that really needed fixing got fixed, not imaginary ones.
  10. PackardV8
    Joined: Jun 7, 2007
    Posts: 885


    Andy, Vince and Joe Granatelli got their start doing V8 Ford overhauls on the curb in Chicago. Jack it up, pull the pan, new rings and bearings, grind the valves and have it back together on the same day.

    jack vines
  11. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,116

    from NKy

    When I was a little kid , my neighbor was a diesel marine mechanic in the US Navy . He had a term “ GI “ the rings and bearings . I suppose this was the definition of in the frame rebuild for him . Not sure what the meaning was . He had on of the sweetest military surplus 45 Harleys I can ever remember .
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  12. railcarmover
    Joined: Apr 30, 2017
    Posts: 301


    This started as an old fashioned in frame ring and valve job/bearing reshim till we pulled it down and found the center main hammered..
    so we pulled one out of the shed,epoxied the loose thrust bearing and did this one the same way,low ball old time overhaul...runs good.
    My advice? yard it out,work standing up,way more pleasant..
  13. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,984

    from Ioway

    I'm curious, did you make a slurry with water, or start chuckin' dry powder down the carb?
  14. I did it last year on the car in my avatar. 2.0 Ford 4 cyl. Honed the cylinders, new rings, bearings, and did the head. I just pulled the head back off last month to clean up a few things with the cooling system, and am in the process of putting it back together now. Didn't have any issues with the rings or bearings.
  15. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,171

    from illinois

  16. Never done it, but I assume would would take a pinch in your fingers, rev it up good , and drop some in each carb barrel. Once, twice maybe. Wouldn't want too much to get in the oil, I wouldn't think.
  17. old gezzer
    Joined: Oct 25, 2012
    Posts: 23

    old gezzer

    Jim it's been a long time since I did a ring job in the car. However Hudsons used pinned rings like a 2 stroke motorcycle. I don't know if they were used in 54's. If they are used the band type ring compressor will break rings. The kind with a band that you use a kind of pliers on works fine-don't ask how I know!! The 6 cylinder engines after 47 all had inserts. Don't forget Hudsons used a wet clutch that required Hudsonite oil. I understand that you can use atf instead.
    loudbang likes this.
  18. This is how I saw it being done.
    With the engine running at a fast idle, the (mechanic) would slowly sprinkle about two teaspoons full of the powder into the carb. Then they would let the car continue to idle at a fast idle for about 30 minutes.

    tractorguy and Truck64 like this.
  19. railcarmover
    Joined: Apr 30, 2017
    Posts: 301


    To de-carbon an engine we used to sprinkle uncooked rice in the same fashion
  20. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 45,343


    thanks for the tip about the ring compressor, I have a band/pliers type like that, which is what I usually use. I checked the clutch oil early on in this project, replaced what was left of the old oil with ATF. Fortunately the manuals are all available as pdf files on the HET club web page
  21. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 3,474


    As a kid with ambition, not much money, rebuilt (ball hone, a rebuild kit, w/plastic gauge) a few laying on cardboard on ground in backyard as I did not have an engine stand or garage to work in, also changed cams, lifters in car, removed heads, changed intakes, etc, never did a ring job in car. With all the kool stuff you've built/done I'm sure you will "Git R Dun"
    loudbang and Unique Rustorations like this.
    Joined: May 5, 2015
    Posts: 613


    Work one cylinder at a time with the crank at bottom center, move to the next cylinder and rotate the crank again to bottom center for that cylinder.
  23. I once owned a OT Camaro that had a 350 that had just been installed from a wrecked car that had been setting. the engine ran fine but burned oil on one cyl. fouled the plug on number 8. I pulled the one head and pan. and installed new rings and honed just one cyl. It worked fine. The reason it was burning oil on that cyl. was stuck rings. appeared to have got water or mouse piss in there sometime.
  24. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,704


    Never done a car engine refresh in-chassis, I was "helper" on this endeavor on a backhoe engine refresh. That meant I got to sit in the mud, this was done outside. We used diesel from the tank to clean everything and flush it all out.
    Its still running 25 years later, snow plowing and driveway grading.
  25. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,082

    dan c

    when chevy introduced the 265, they had BIG problems with oil consumption. bon ami was the way it was solved!
    6-bangertim likes this.
  26. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,082

    dan c

    of course, "ring jobs" were common in the old days. "steel section" piston rings were used if the cylinders were out of round or had taper. i've seen them on ebay.
    loudbang likes this.
  27. I did that I can recall. One in a '49 Dodge the other in a '48 Plymouth. The Dodge we did in a friend's driveway, he worked in a parts store and got a good break. The shop had the number for a guy that came around and would service the seats and valves. The Plymouth we did at work for a guy I worked with. The shop foreman had the valve and seat tools at home, he brought them in and I helped him. Both jobs... messy and dirty.
  28. In 1970 during my 3rd year of college, I rebuilt a 283 in a '64 Chevy II Nova in an apartment parking lot, summertime in Texas. I honed the cylinders, replaced the rings, rod bearings and even managed to remove all the main caps and slip new bearings in all of the journals. Used a flat blade screw driver to push the upper caps around the journals (didn't scratch them up too much). Started it up with no leaks, no smoke , and 25 psi at idle. Used a quart of oil every 1000 miles or so. I drove the car another year or so and then gave it to my brother for high school.
    craig b blue, indyjps and squirrel like this.
  29. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    "in the car" stuff used to be common and routine, and I've done a bit. On a flathead Ford leaving the car attached might actually be an advantage for valve jobs...some of the leverage I've applied to stuck guides seemed almost enough to tip over the car, never mind an engine stand. No chain fall or hoist, you learn to get along with gravity and work on valves right where they live.
    There used to be a rod journal kit for 6 cylinder chevies in every serious garage. The things had poured rod bearings and an oil deliver system that fired low velocity oil through the air towards passing rod scoops...beyond Rube Goldberg! The service kit clamped around the ruined (Ruint, in those days!)rod journal with a blade that was tightened down as you turned the rig round and round the journal until* it was right (Meaning shiney) all the way around. Then the dead rod was exchanged at the parts store for a "Semi", babbited to precisely realdamnthick so it could be hogged out until it would fit around the precision butchered journal. The forces of nature finished the job for a perfect finish.
    (* if you can't visualize this...think of the rigs sold to scrape out carboned ring grooves. Same idea, stouter construction and bigger blade.)
    There is a wartime manual that I found online showing how to set up an overhaul facility for flathead ford engines using the familiar Clayborne stand...picture stolen online from someone's HAMB posting.

    Each engine in the plant was bolted to one of these and apparently entirely overhauled right on the stand, bolted down as it came in the front door and left there until it rolled out the back.
    Boring was done as was then normal with the sort of boring bars that bolted to the deck, in this case using the cast stands that raised the bottom of the bar ABOVE the studs. No need to fight 48 stuck studs! this was normal fairly high tech...and note that it would have worked fine with engine in car. Valves done also by the normal practice of a Sioux or whatever similar seat grander cleaning up the stock hardened seats, again normal and fully do-able in the car.
    Too much for me...I did valve seats with a handful of hand-turned abrasives and crude cutters that cost I think about $10.00 at JC Whitney! Scraper blades, chucks that held emery cloth at 45 degrees, Clover brand, suction cup!
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  30. Fill all the cylinders with Half atf and half acetone, let it sit a week, turn it over with the plugs out, should free up rings stuck on the pistons. Drain and replace the oil and drive around for an hour, check it again, should be better.
    squirrel and tractorguy like this.

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