Racers are always looking for an edge to outperform their competition and run quicker at the track. If a racer understands how to get the most out of his or her engine, that will make it much easier to maximize their potential, so any little tip can help. A great engine builder’s tech tip is to check the free gap measurement on piston rings — it’s an excellent way to see if all is well inside your engine. In this video from Total Seal Piston Rings, we get some insight as to why this is important to the overall health of your high performance motor.
Checking the free gap is a way to tell how the rings are holding up in the engine, and a racer can see if the tune is where it should be overall. The best way to find out what the free gap is on a piston ring is to file fit the ring ends, and then measure the open gap on your piston ring. This will be the base number you use to evaluate the performance of the piston ring after normal use.
After the engine has been run under expected operating conditions it can be expected to see the gap to close by a few thousandths, but nothing excessive. After the engine has been run, and there is a significant closure in the gap there could be an issue with the piston ring that needs examined.
Check out this great video from Total Seal that gives an excellent explanation of what free gap is, how to measure it, and what to look for when examining your piston rings.