PRI 2011: Total Seal Piston Rings Latest Material Technology

Checking in with our friends at Total Seal Piston Rings during the 2011 PRI trade show, we noticed a brand new line of piston rings from the Arizona based company. We talked with Keith Jones, Total Seal’s Technical Expert, to get the low down on the latest updates to the Total Seal Piston Ring lineup.

We noticed that every request had one thing in common. Nobody is ever asking for less power.

“We get many requests for special ring packages,” says Jones, “and we noticed that every request had one thing in common. Nobody is ever asking for less power. We’ve never had anyone come to us and ask for a piston ring that could made less power for them.”

With that thought in mind, Total Seal’s research and development department is always looking to expand their product line by new designs and new materials that provide more power or durability in high horsepower environments. “When these racers are going out and doing everything they can do to make the most power, things like running on the ragged edge of lean, they are finding out that standard components are not holding up. These engines are creating a lot of power, but along with that, the natural by-product of heat comes into play,” explains Jones.

To combat the heat problem, Total Seal Piston Rings has developed a ring material that is made from tool steel. “Tool steel material is not new in automotive use,” said Jones, “They’ve used it to make wrist pins and other components with great success. We’ve just taken it a step further and designed a tool steel material for piston rings.”

According to Jones, during the research and development of rings with the new material, they gave a top drag race team a set of rings to try out. “These guys were getting 4 to 5 runs on a set of rings before they needed replacing. We gave them one of our early sets made with the tool steel material and they lasted 27 rounds. Actually, they lasted longer than the pistons did. The pistons started coming apart and that took out the ring package,” claimed Jones.

You can't tell the difference by looking at the rings, but there is a huge difference in the material. Couple that with Total Seal's piston ring design and you get a very forgiving piston ring that can survive in the harshest environment.

We found out that the new rings, which mirrored the existing product lineup of Total Seal, were almost double the cost of their standard rings. “The real value in these tool steel rings is in the durability. They are very forgiving to race teams running very lean fuel supply, and they are built to survive in that environment,” says Jones.

A ring package that can take whatever abuse you can throw at them, and last four or five times longer than a standard set of premium piston rings is worth their weight in tool steel in our book.

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About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
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