Picking proper pistons for an engine build can be the difference between winning and ultimate engine destruction. Not only does a piston need to be strong enough to support all the horsepower an engine is trying to produce, but it must be precise on machining tolerances. An off-the-shelf piston will get the job done in many cases, but being able to custom tailor a design to meet your specific needs is paramount to making the maximum amount of reliable horsepower. Compression ratios, valve reliefs, gas ports, 3D profiling, ring size and location are some of the many options when it comes to building a custom set of pistons. Ross Racing Pistons is one of the leading piston companies that has the ability to custom design you a set of pistons that will fit the exact specs you are trying to build.
We hooked up with Ross to build us a set of pistons for the 1,000+ hp 427ci small block Ford destined for our 1965 Mustang “Biting the Bullitt“. Since the pistons were destined for a boosted application, we went with 9:1 compression slugs with horizontal gas ports. Also, we made the hour trip to their facility so we could pick up our newly-machined pistons and check out their facility. Follow along as we take you through a photo tour of how Ross designs and manufactures their pistons.
Ross Racing Pistons History
Ross Racing Pistons began production of high-end forged aluminum racing pistons in 1979, with 2011 marking their 32nd year in business. Ross has remained a family owned and ran company the entire. Ken Roble and Moe Mills where Ross’ two founders, and after 29 years Moe Mills decided to retire with Joy Roble and Chris Madsen working full time at ROSS and oversee the day to day operations of the company. But the dedication to the company doesn’t stop with the owners — more than 25% of the Ross work force has been with the company for over ten years, and several Ross team leaders have been with Ross for over 20 years. Though there are some processes Ross likes to take care of by hand, they utilize the newest and most accurate (Okuma, Mori Seiki, Takisawa, Fadal) CNC equipment available for manufacturing. Along with a very wide range of forgings, Ross maintains exacting tolerances on pistons for practically all engines.
In a Couple Weeks You Can Have Your Own Personalized Pistons
While pistons have been used in automobiles for well over 100 years, their technology is still being refined and improved. Pistons are a precise tool that take the brunt force of the combustion cycle, and have to be able to handle over 800 horsepower per piston in extreme circumstances. Even in the case of our 1000 hp street engine, nothing is compromised in function or quality at Ross when it comes to making a custom set of racing pistons.