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Technical Re-Ring it and send it?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 57JoeFoMoPar, Jun 20, 2023.

  1. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,974


    Looking for thoughts on this one.

    I have an engine (in this instance, a B Mopar 383) that is running in a car. It leaks like a bastard out of the rear main. It smokes and has lots of blow-by to the point that I and my passengers stink of exhaust after riding in it. It doesn't really smoke too bad out of the tail pipes at idle or under normal driving conditons, but if you hammer the gas, it will fog for mosquitos. As expected, it will consume some oil. It does not foul plugs, still has excellent oil pressure, does not run hot or overheat, starts easy and has tugboat grunt and ample power. Honestly, the engine runs fine.

    The car it's in is a driver at this point (at best). I don't really want to go through the time and expense of a complete overhaul that includes complete new machine work, pistons, etc. The symptoms I'm getting are telling me the rings are bad. I can get a full re-ring setup with new bearings, rear main seal, rings, and all new gaskets for like $250 and probably knock the job out in a day. I'm not looking to go racing. But if that could solve my smoking, leaking and oil consumption issues, it's a home run.

    Have any of you guys just done a quickie, hi-how-ya-doin engine re-ring on the existing bores, a few passes with a hone and just sent it? If so, how'd that work out? What would be the most wear on the bores where you'd consider it and where you'd consider needing to bore?
    OahuEli likes this.
  2. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,693


    You'd probably need to check bore wear/taper/out of round before really knowing if that is feasible, but if you're replacing the bearings it's not that much more to do it right..
    57JoeFoMoPar likes this.
  3. I haven't done it, but I've seen David Freiburger do it several times during his automotive escapades on the motortrend app/channel.

    Your plan sounds good and logical to me, engine runs great and has good oil pressure but there's oil getting past the rings. Go for it!

    I might actually be doing that myself on a good running 327 Chevy that I'm doing a top end kit, but might go ahead and do rings and bearings since it'll be out of the car.
    loudbang and 57JoeFoMoPar like this.
  4. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,974


    Except the cost of pistons, machine work, balancing, etc. It's a lot more to do it right.

  5. BadgeZ28
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,150

    from Oregon

    If you go that route consider a valve job and valve seals.
  6. Joe, we did that all the time back in the '40s/'50s. Cars then needed rings at around 60 to 70 thousand. Rings, bearings, valve grind if needed, and good for another 70,000 . Not perfect , but worth a gamble.

  7. I "dingle-balled" a SBC and ended up with piston slap/rock. I dingle-balled another block, with a lot less cylinder ridge, and it's running fine in my daily with ton of miles on it now.

    I discussed my piston slap issue on this site and was told I should have had the pistons knurled and I would have been fine.

    So ... open it up and check your ridge, if it's a rather large ridge, consider knurling.

    Good time to change the timing chain too.
    Atwater Mike and 57JoeFoMoPar like this.
  8. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,974


    A fair point, but the heads actually have been redone not that many miles ago. That's why I didn't identify them as a point of failure here.

    Just by way of background, in 2001 my buddy and I built a real nice 383 and stuck it in my Ford. Like, a complete build from top-to-bottom with redone heads, fresh .030 pistons... the works. It ran GREAT, and as a 19 year old kid with ~350 horsepower on tap, I beat the bejeezus out of that engine and after a few years, wiped the #1 main out of it. Being broke and in college, I had no money for a proper rebuild. A friend of a friend had a "good used" 383 sitting under a workbench that he had used for mockup on a GTX project he was working on. It was old, crusty, and filled with metal shavings, but it turned and was $300. So I bought it. I took all of the ancillary parts off of my blown engine, plus the top end, and swapped them all onto the short block that I cleaned out. Basically made 1 good engine out of the 2. That was 16 years ago.
    OahuEli, Squablow and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  9. Been done a million times.
    It’s your ride.
  10. I did it on the 350 in my old 54 Chevy. Borrowed some snap gauges to check taper. Did a nice hone in the shop. Cleaned everything up real good. Would have been fine until I dropped a piston and broke a skirt so I popped for new pistons and had them and the rods reconned and balanced. Engine ran like a new crate motor.
    57JoeFoMoPar likes this.
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 10,038


    Those old B Mopars are pretty stable. The holes are probably still round enough to get away with it. Someone said valve seals and you said the heads were done, but at least you'll be able to see if they haven't prematurely failed before you go all the way in. FWIW Mopar B and L motors were the power of choice for lighter duty gasoline powered cranes and such like Lull and Link Belt. Ran hard and forever. Let us know.
    Desoto291Hemi, 57JoeFoMoPar and Tman like this.
  12. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 55,018


    I've done a few recently, most recent was the Rambler, nice quiet smooth running engine that ate a quart of oil every 200 or 300 miles. I pulled it out, put rings and gaskets in it, lapped the valves, and back on the road...with 1/10th the oil consumption.

    I've also done several others in recent years, including a Y block ford that wouldn't even run, just put rings, cam bearings, gaskets, and timing chain in it. Plus a Corvair and a Hudson, but they both had issues with scored cylinder walls, so they went from 50 miles per quart, up to 300 or so miles. They needed more work, but did OK for the 5k miles I intended to drive them.

    Of course if you do this approach, you need to inspect everything, and replace stuff that looks like it won't last the 10k or 20k miles you hope the new rings will last.
  13. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,974


    The B/RB Mopar has to be one of the toughest engines I've ever seen. It's just designed with common sense. Fully forged rotating assembly, shaft mounted rockers, external oil pump... Just a great engine. Even in this case, sure the engine smokes and leaks, but it runs, and has run reliably for many years. $300 well spent.
    Algoma56, das858, VANDENPLAS and 3 others like this.
  14. There’s a truck running around town. We “built” the engine in 1988.
    Turned the crank, honed the cyls, had the heads worked.
    Still cruising
  15. tim troutman
    Joined: Aug 6, 2012
    Posts: 764

    tim troutman

    I might just pull the valve covers to look at the valve seals replaced a set on a car that were desinigrated made a big difference
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2023
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  16. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 33,381


    I've done it a bunch of times. no you aren't going to get 150 K out of a ring, bearing and valve job but it's usually good for another 60/70K or more. If the taper isn't too much in the cylinders I don't see a thing wrong with doing it. The 350 that was in my 48 at the time the avatar photo was taken had 34 miles on a fresh ring, bearing and valve job on it when I left for Texas on Vacation in it in 1981 and the engine worked perfect the whole trip and a lot of miles after that.
    X-cpe, bantam and VANDENPLAS like this.
  17. scofflaw
    Joined: Jul 26, 2006
    Posts: 121

    from Ohio

    I'm notorious for project creep and end usually up with a full blown blueprinted high dollar rebuild before I know what's happened, but I've done a few like that with a 220ish grit hone and iron rings. My F100's tired 390 is still going strong 10 years after the last quickie ring overhaul. If you hone just make sure you clean all the grit out of the cylinders.
    X-cpe, osage orange and Chavezk21 like this.
  18. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 6,532

    from Berry, AL

    What, there's some other way to do it? Learn something new every day!

    Done a many of them at home. Haven't got one of those dingle berry hones, do have one of the three shoe type. Slap that puppy in there, lube it up with some brake fluid and go to town with the 3/8" drill. Wash it down when you get through, oil it up and slap it together.

    No telling how many bangers, flatheads, and farm tractors have been done that way, some out in the dirty field.
  19. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 12,765


    If you’re just doctoring up the engine to sell the car (assuming by “send it down the road”) I’d just get what’s needed to keep the oil in it and rings, since it has good oil pressure, runs well, etc.
    assuming as mentioned it’s not just stem seals.
  20. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 1,067

    from TX

    While myself I have never did this, but how I will approach it when it is my turn to try new rings in my old flat 6.

    With the pistons/rods out, take a ring & put it in the cylinder .... use a piston to square it up.
    Then with a light in the bottom of the cylinder, check for any light coming through the ring/cylinder wall. Also measure the ring gap. Do this in 3 spots top, middle, bottom.

    If you see light then the cylinder would be out of round. New rings may slow down the smoking but not stop it.
    Measuring the ring gap & watching how the gap changes from top to bottom will show you the taper on your cylinders. .... Think it is common for them to get egg shaped from the way the pistons rotate on the rods in up/down stroke.

    Not something a machinist would do, but a quick & dirty way to check the condition of your cylinders at home in your garage.
    If they are too bad, you might abandon the ring & go job.

    If you see a couple cylinders with a small amount of light coming through, you still need to hone the cylinders. ..... Possible you can hone most or all of it out, if not too bad.

    As far as hone goes, I'm not a mechanic but I do not understand the use of a dingle ball?
    I think you want a good hone with the 3 stones.
    They are rigid 4" long, the stones are replaceable with different grits rough, medium, fine.
    you could probably correct some minor issues with the stones .... making the cylinders round again.
    You probably want a medium grit stone to get a nice cross hatch, A rough stone might remove too much material. ...... A fine stone is probably better for modern cars with tight tolerances & rings that require a smooth bore.

    Your question can only be answered by you after you tear it down & inspect it.
    Tow Truck Tom likes this.
  21. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,585


    When I was in the Army years ago I had a '63 Chevy 4x4 Carryall with a 230 straight six and 3 on the tree. I drove it 500 miles home on a 3 day pass and burnt a hole in a piston. I asked the automotive machinist at the parts house I traded at if he thought I could make it back to my post the way it was. He told me to go home, pull the head, drop the pan, and pull the bad piston and rod and bring to him. A couple of hours later with the help of a buddy the piston and rod was out and I was on the way back to the shop. I get there and he tells me to go back and get the rod cap and bearing. When I go back he went over to a core exchange short block he had in the corner.A quick check to confirm the bores were the same and a "good" piston from the core was swapped for mine with the hole in the top. I put the "new" piston and rod in the truck and made it back to post no problem. Ran so well I did a return trip on another 3 day pass before swapping the six out for a 327 that I bought as a core from the junk yard next to the Mustang Ranch in Sparks, NV. After I replaced the six with the new rebuilt 327 I sold the six to a another GI and it was still running when I left.
  22. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 11,625

    Atwater Mike

    Joe... DON'T just guess at it.
    Before blindly honing, check for taper. Take a ring off a piston, slip it in the bore just under the worn-in ring ridge.
    Measure the gap. (stack feeler gauges, add 'em up) Now take a piston (w/o rings) and push the test ring down to the bottom of the bore, about 3.75".
    Measure gap, record it. Now subtract the lower number from the top one. The difference is now divided by 3.
    (Difference is in thousandths, but that is circumference. Need difference in diameter, so 3.14 (pi) is simply 3.)
    So...if the diameter difference is LESS than .008", you are good to Ball-Hone.
    Best to check more than just one, obviously...they don't always wear all the same!
    Good hunting.
    57JoeFoMoPar likes this.
  23. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 55,018


    Lack of taper is important for long ring life...but you can get by for many thousands of miles if it has up to about .005" taper. You kind of have to weigh the cost/benefit of boring, new pistons, and doing all the other stuff while you're in there.

    btw I recently got sticker shock, the bill for doing 3/4 of the machine work and most of the parts to rebuild my 327 was over $3k. Fortunately the seller paid for it, out of the money I gave him for the car.
  24. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 1,067

    from TX

    I agree, it is simply crazy today. Was not too many years ago I dropped my wife car at the garage, they pulled the engine sent it to the machine shop for complete rebuild then returned the car with new engine for $2200. ..... you will not see that today.

    Now my wife current car has a low mileage engine that runs really good .... 80k-100k smooth & powerful & a rod knocking.
    Minimum I need the crank turned .... 2.5 hour drive to the nearest machine shop there is very few of them around here .... so 5 hour round trip to drop it off then to pick it up another 5 hours.

    A new crank ordered online is less then $300.
    ffr1222k and TrailerTrashToo like this.
  25. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 14,220

    jimmy six

    Get some Hastings rebuilder rings (cast iron) and a glaze breaker hone. Clean the piston ring lands. Clean all the carbon from the head, lap the valves after you clean them on a wire wheel. I’d put new positive seals. Good luck
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2023
  26. hemihotrod66
    Joined: May 5, 2019
    Posts: 968


    If it has a ridge at the top of the cylinders make sure you ream that out to keep from hurting the piston ring lands on disassembly...
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  27. I’ve done it a few times, my O/T Ford Ranger for starters. The replacement engine had 235,000 miles on it (the original blew a head gasket when they let the water, yes , water level get too low, then they let it sit with water inside of it). I had a valve job done on the heads, honed the cylinders, new rings, bearings, cam bearings, timing set, and oil pump. It still has the original cam, roller lifters, and pistons in it. Runs like a top and it goes 80 miles a day to the city and back. So far, I’ve put 22-23,000 miles on the engine and it doesn’t burn a drop of oil.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2023
  28. bill gruendeman
    Joined: Jun 18, 2019
    Posts: 748

    bill gruendeman

    With used bores I would cast iron rings. Rings, bearings, gaskets, oil pump and timing chain, that way you are well lubed and will not self destruct, maybe use a little oil.
  29. 327Eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,088


    Lots of guys say machine and rebuild it. They aren't wrong. Guys say worry about taper.they aren't wrong. Don't re ring a single cylinder, don't swap a used cam into another engine(only works if you Don't mix up the lifters). I've done all the above. Doing another one soon, Virgin 327. It has always worked for me. Chevy sixes and eights, Ford sixes and eights, Mopar , Studebaker, etc. Opinions on whether I'm wrong may vary but I would say do it. MY not be a 100, 000 mile engine, but few of our classic cars were either.
  30. bigdog
    Joined: Oct 30, 2002
    Posts: 756


    Back 40 years ago in my stock car racing days we did it all the time. Just called it "freshening" the motor. Run a hone down the cylinders, check the bearings and replace if necessary, cast iron rings and go. I'd probably replace valve seals even if I did nothing else to the heads. 425 cubic inch Olds motor.

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