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Old 03-03-2008, 05:40 PM   #1
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Default Piston rings and Rods

Some background first. I've got a 96 with 63,000 miles on it which I bought when it had 59,000 miles and I'm pretty sure the previous owner was very ---- about keeping the car in good condition even though he never made one single mod to the car.

I've faced cooling issues ever since I first bought the car; in fact I've already blown 2 headgaskets . So far, I've installed a PWR radiator and the FCM fan shroud (shitty investments if you ask me). I've already ordered the new Qmax system and I figure I will be getting my kit by mid April. I've also already ordered and I'm waiting to receive the new Autonexion hood (this wasn't so much due to the fact that I thought it would improve my engine temps but because I had a small accident which affected the original OEM hood).

I turboed my car a while ago (I think it was the end of November if my memory serves me well) and can finally control at what temp my fans come in.

I was at the shop today and my tuner suggested that we get some piston rings for the car when we open the engine to correct a small oil leak it has. I decided to follow his advice on my own terms. I'm going to change the rings and get some rods when the Qmax is here (mid April). I went back and reread samnavy's thread on his rebuild and got some ideas (thank you) but I still need some assistance.

Let me state what my plans are:

1) New piston rings
2) Rods
3) ARP studs?
4) Metal headgasket

And I need assistance as to where to buy the different items mentioned and also specifications (in the case of the piston rings).

I really would prefer not to change pistons since I don't think there's any damage in my case but if I had to I wouldn't want to buy forged ones.

I consider this project more like getting some safety margin than anything else. I don't see this becoming a major engine overhaul.

BTW, the head was slightly ported about 1 month ago and they installed new valve seals.

Thanks,

Rafa
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:23 PM   #2
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Rafa, I will follow your build/parts gathering since im in a very similar situation, except i have a major oil leak/consumption now

-note to self-must do leakdown test asap
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:02 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by whaaamx5 View Post
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Rafa, I will follow your build/parts gathering since im in a very similar situation,
+1 - I don't have the urgency, but plan a rebuild in the next 2-3 years and am in the process of gathering the knowledge and parts needed.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:08 PM   #4
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are you sure you dont just want to use a new tuner? like one that knows how to set the timing on the car so you dont keep blowing headgaskets?
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by whaaamx5 View Post
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Rafa, I will follow your build/parts gathering since im in a very similar situation, except i have a major oil leak/consumption now

-note to self-must do leakdown test asap
****... thanks Dan, I knew I was forgetting something to do tomorrow I need to do a compression and leakdown test.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:20 PM   #6
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I'm in the same boat, and about to rebuild a 1.8. Samnavy's thread was helpful but 1.6 specific. I could not find that Toga made rings for the 1.8.

949Racing dropped the H-beams that I wanted to use. Belfab still has H-beams, but I think they have gone up in price. Are there anymore choices?

For rings I was looking at the Ross Racing Rings
http://www.importperformanceparts.ne...portrings.html

Summit has one of the better deals I have seen on ARP hardware. My question is how much of the need is marketing? At what point do they start to stretch (I am assuming thats what the ARPs cure)? Or are there other fasteners just as good as ARP at better price?
http://store.summitracing.com/partde...1&autoview=sku
http://store.summitracing.com/partde...1&autoview=sku

Update- Froogle found them cheaper here, but not by much.
http://www.carshopinc.com/product_in...74938/218-4701
http://www.carshopinc.com/product_in...74939/218-5401
I can't vouch for this company either. I just found them.

On the head gasket, no one seems to sell an upgraded option. Apparently the stock gasket is more than sufficient. Anyone know anything different?

I am posting this to show what I was thinking about doing not necessarily to say this is how to do it. I want to see what others are thinking too.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
are you sure you dont just want to use a new tuner? like one that knows how to set the timing on the car so you dont keep blowing headgaskets?
lol; that's a good point but I blew the first one even before I ever took my car to his shop and completely NA with the stock ECU.

FWIW, I wish I lived in the States just to be able to get access to good shops. In the meantime, I have to play with the hand I was dealt.

Who would've told me 1 year ago I would had to read and learn so much mechanical stuff.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jsisco View Post
I'm in the same boat, and about to rebuild a 1.8. Samnavy's thread was helpful but 1.6 specific. I could not find that Toga made rings for the 1.8.

949Racing dropped the H-beams that I wanted to use. Belfab still has H-beams, but I think they have gone up in price. Are there anymore choices?

For rings I was looking at the Ross Racing Rings
http://www.importperformanceparts.ne...portrings.html

Summit has one of the better deals I have seen on ARP hardware. My question is how much of the need is marketing? At what point do they start to stretch (I am assuming thats what the ARPs cure)? Or are there other fasteners just as good as ARP at better price?
http://store.summitracing.com/partde...1&autoview=sku
http://store.summitracing.com/partde...1&autoview=sku

Update- Froogle found them cheaper here, but not by much.
http://www.carshopinc.com/product_in...74938/218-4701
http://www.carshopinc.com/product_in...74939/218-5401
I can't vouch for this company either. I just found them.

On the head gasket, no one seems to sell an upgraded option. Apparently the stock gasket is more than sufficient. Anyone know anything different?

I am posting this to show what I was thinking about doing not necessarily to say this is how to do it. I want to see what others are thinking too.

jsisco, great info there. I'm with you regarding the ARP studs. I also want to know if it's marketing hype or if not I would like some of the gurus to give me the reason to buy them.

BTW, FM does sell a metal headgasket for $85 I think. So far I plan to buy that one if I can't find a cheaper one.

How about the rods that Emilio is selling?

Many thanks,

Rafa
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:40 PM   #9
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Emilio is the guy at 949Racing and he posted they were having problems with the manufacturer.

https://www.miataturbo.net/forum/sho...t=16570&page=2

I was under the impression that the head gasket at FM was just for the 1.6?

Jon

Last edited by jsisco; 03-03-2008 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:43 PM   #10
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Rafa, you don't really need any better head gasket, just make sure the head is tourqed down right and that your head bolts didnt stretch, maybe thats why you blew the second gasket...ARP is well worth it, they wont stretch (to my knowledge)

Emilio is no longer selling those rods...
Bellfab still carries them
Ask Ben if he is planing another GB in the future for us, i may be in later this year
Miata is on hold, i just bought a house...me so sad now
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:47 PM   #11
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Another issue; if I buy the ARP studs I have to then buy 2 sets (1 for the bottom and 1 for the head) right? What happens if I cheap out and stick with regular ones? BTW, if I have to buy new ones anyways I would rather go all out and buy the ARP ones.

For me, the crucial issues are the rings and rods. I more or less have the rods covered but I need additional info on which would be the best rings for my case and why?

One thing I was forgetting to mention is that I'm going to be balancing the crank (some local racer has a really updated machine that does precisely that and he charges around $85 to do it). If anyone wants additional info on what precisely is the machine he's got I can pay him a visit tomorrow and get the name. I know about it because I went to see how he balanced a friend's crank from an EVO VI (all I know is that it's controlled via a PC). The guy put the crank in it and the program would show how many ounces to take out .
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whaaamx5 View Post
Rafa, you don't really need any better head gasket, just make sure the head is tourqed down right and that your head bolts didnt stretch, maybe thats why you blew the second gasket...ARP is well worth it, they wont stretch (to my knowledge)

Emilio is no longer selling those rods...
Bellfab still carries them
Ask Ben if he is planing another GB in the future for us, i may be in later this year
Miata is on hold, i just bought a house...me so sad now
I'll have to check on the FM headgasket. I'll be contacting them tomorrow to verify whether it's only for 1.6L. I'll keep you posted jon. BTW, thanks for the heads up!

Did Mark sell all the sets he had? I think Magna bought the last one.

I'm not sad about that news Dan. Buying a house is always a good thing and I think in the case of those living in the States, this is precisely the time to do it!
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Old 03-03-2008, 11:57 PM   #13
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how much HP can the stock rods take? what is the weak point of the stock motor? i need to do a rebuild too :(
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:01 AM   #14
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Stock 1.8 headgaskets are all metal, I have no idea how in the hell you blew a headgasket, there are some aftermarket options but they usually go for around $200+ and are either too thin or thick I think.
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:03 AM   #15
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how much HP can the stock rods take? what is the weak point of the stock motor? i need to do a rebuild too :(
Most people say 300hp is where the rods start to go after some miles, and they are the first to break at high power, so I guess you can say that they're the weakest point.
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:13 AM   #16
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rings and rods are supposedly the first things to go in the high 200 hp.
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:24 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafa View Post
jsisco, great info there. I'm with you regarding the ARP studs. I also want to know if it's marketing hype or if not I would like some of the gurus to give me the reason to buy them.

BTW, FM does sell a metal headgasket for $85 I think. So far I plan to buy that one if I can't find a cheaper one.

How about the rods that Emilio is selling?

Many thanks,

Rafa
If you have reused your head bolts once, I would not reuse them a second time. That said, head studs are a big upgrade. They allow you to run more torque on the head, and that keeps that head gasket sandwiched even tighter.

When you install a bolt and torque the head, the bolt pulls up on the block, the threads pull down on the bolt. There is friction of course, but the main idea is that these two push/pull forces are equal. The more you tighten the bolt, the more the threads are "pulled up" and this distorts the surface of the block, as it pulls that area around the threads up. As this surface is pulled up, there is less pressure on the head gasket in this area, which can lead to a head gasket failure.

The threads the studs screw into are chamfered, then the stud is installed and torqued down. When it's torqued down, the stud is pushing the surface of the block "down" where it screws in. The stud pushes on the block, the block pushes on the stud. Then, you drop a head on there and tighten up the nuts to secure the head. Now the stud is pulling up on the block and pushing down on the block, and these forces cancel out. The deck surface is relatively flat now, rather than distorted upward.

You can use a stock head gasket they are good and you will be fine, just use head studs, make sure they are installed correctly, and torque everything using the correct lubes to the specified torques and you'll be fine.
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Old 03-04-2008, 01:38 AM   #18
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the head studs dont run more torque I dont think. they do, however, allow you to be more consistent from bolt to bolt. and they also eliminate the torsional strain on the bolt. this means greater useable tensile strength. It works like the traction circle...
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Old 03-04-2008, 08:55 AM   #19
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I still have some Rods for Sale I will still do $320 with shipping and insurance for the next few sets. PM me for details.
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:20 PM   #20
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Hey guys, many thanks for the different suggestions! I left the car at the shop this morning and plan to go back this afternoon after work to check on things. I figure they'll have already done the compression and leakdown test by then. I'll post figures and decide then.

BTW, Mark I shot you a pm. Many thanks.

Since I already committed to buying the rods from Mark, I still need additional info on which rings to buy and why.

I also see that once I proceed with this project I really need to also buy and install the ARP studs.

I plan to also ask some stupid questions about some pistons that were previously discussed in Samnavy's thread.

Many thanks to all.

Rafa
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