What Is A Piston Ring Compressor?
A Piston ring compressor might look quite small, but it’s a very important tool that helps you to install new pistons (and rings) in a liner or cylinder bore. It comes in the form of a thin, cylindrical metal sheet clamped with a ratchet belt lock.
Just as the name suggests, piston ring compressors are designed to compress the rings to ensure they are properly aligned inside the cylinder. An incorrectly aligned piston ring cannot maintain the proper quantity of oil between the piston and the cylinder wall. It also can’t regulate oil consumption by scraping oil from the cylinder walls back to the sump. Therefore the operational efficacy of the combustion chamber largely depends on the quality of installation — thanks to the piston ring compressor.
Although piston ring compressors are generally designed to do the same job, they come in different types and models. This implies that they are used differently to achieve the same goal and their functionalities vary from type to type.
The four most common types of compressors include,
- The Ratchet Roll
- The Wrinkle Band
- The Taper, and
- The Piston Ring Pliers
Let’s take them one after the other:
1. The Ratchet Roll
The ratchet roll is one very common type of piston ring compressor tool because of the budget price. But that doesn’t imply it’s not up with the very best in terms of functionality.
You can typically operate this compressor by turning the handle once the piston is inside. This will fasten the roll and a ratchet will hold it to prevent the ring from expanding again.
But then, you have to be careful when using this type of compressor since fastening the roll could result in an overlap. Should this happen, the piston rings will be dislodged from their ideal positions.
Another amazing thing about the ratchet roll piston ring compressor is that it is adaptable to all sizes of pistons. Hence, you won’t have to worry about compatibility.
2. The Wrinkle Band
The wrinkle band compressor is designed to be overlap and adjustable, meaning that it can match a wide range of bore sizes. It also comes with a screw with which you can tighten the adjustments you choose.
Another thing that makes the wrinkle band a very good piston ring compressor is the fact that it can fit 3-5″ pistons with little or no friction.
3. The Taper
One thing about the tapered piston ring compressor is that they are mostly manufactured by top brands to deliver nothing but EFFICIENCY! It is far easier than the clamping installation method and reduces the chance of breaking the rings.
As you would expect, they come in different sizes that would fit metric bites and other sizes for imperial bores.
The tapered compressor tool normally has an opening of the same size as the bore at the bottom but is slightly wider at the top. You simply need to align the ring into the piston grooves, apply some lubricant, place the tool above the cylinder bore, then place the piston (and ring) assembly into the tool, and carefully push it into the cylinder bore.
Despite the numerous advantages of this compressor type, such as easier piston installation, the downside remains that you would require a different compressor for any bore size you work with.
4. The Piston Ring Pliers
One advantage of the ring pliers compressor types is that they feel very handy. It features a kit of different adaptive attachments that can fit into most bores.
To install your piston assembly, you’d have to select the most suitable attachment for your cylinder bore and compress it over the piston rings. You will need a ratchet to keep it compressed as you set the piston into the bore and shove it down.
People who prefer this particular tool do so because it maintains a reasonable piston ring alignment across various sizes and comes at a very affordable price.