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How To Install New Pistons and Rods

Discussion in 'V6 Mustang Articles' started by Ortiz, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. Ortiz

    Ortiz Sup

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    I know this is for a v8 but it also applies to the v6 so here it goes.

    Most of you want to swap out your weak stock internals to be able to go above the 400rwhp mark but don't have the cash to shell out to pay someone to do it for you. This "How To" starts after the engine has been taken out, oil pan uninstalled, and the rod/piston assembly taken out. Taking these parts out of the vehicle is the simple part which is why I did not spend time and energy on how to take parts off. The rods will come already numbered for the cylinders. Remember that Ford numbers their cylinders like this:

    Front of Engine:
    5 1
    6 2
    7 3
    8 4

    To install the new piston on the new rod is pretty simple yet complicated when it comes to locking them with the clips. Wrist pins usually comes with the pistons already so all you have to do is get your new rod and piston, insert wrist pin, and install the locks. Some clips need to be squeezed in there while others (Like the ones I used here) needs to be inserted with the tip then you can rotate it and it'll go in by itself.

    Wrist pin and locking clips installed. (Top)

    0802121450.jpg

    Now that that's out of the way, lets start off by looking at your cylinder. You'll be able to see a nice reflection (Glaze) on the cylinder so you want to get rid of that so you can start off fresh. How do you do it? I buy these for the cylinders to deglaze it and get my nice cross hatches on the cylinder.

    Brush Research Mfg BRMGB334 3.75 - 95mm Standard Duty Flex Hone (You can sometimes find them cheaper somewhere else).

    What is cross hatch? Taken from Wikipedia: A "cross-hatch" pattern is used to retain oil or grease to ensure proper lubrication and ring seal of pistons in cylinders. A smooth glazed cylinder wall can cause piston ring and cylinder scuffing.

    So now that you got the concept of getting your cross hatch, I recommend getting used to your trigger finger and maintaining a constant speed before going inside the cylinder. Make sure its not too high but not too low either. 600-800 rpms while going up and down consistently is ideal for the perfect cross hatch. You need to lube the cylinder and the flex hone as well before going in. Flex Hone sells their own oil so I would buy it while you are at it.

    Now that you got the cylinders honed its time to install the piston rings. I bought my rings from Summit Racing and bought their rings that were already gapped for my application. They do cost a little bit more but if you want to do it yourself you need to place the ring inside the cylinder, push it in with a piston, get a gap gauge to see what your specific application needs and file as necessary.

    There are many ways to position the rings on these engines but I will show you what has worked great for me. Here is a picture of how I position them.


    The top ring is in the center while the top oil ring is 45* to the left and the bottom oil ring is 45* to the right.

    imagejpeg_2_6.jpg

    On the other side, the second compression ring is in the center while the spacer is 45* to the right.

    imagejpeg_2_5.jpg

    You then rent (or if you already own) a ring compressor. You can rent these at any auto parts store and they will give you your money back once you bring it back to them. Make sure that your rods that you labeled are in the correct position, the piston facing the right way (Front of engine is in fact front of engine) and your rings dont move while you are compressing the rings. Once that is achieved, you slide the piston inside the cylinder, grab a rubber hammer, and start tapping the piston with a little force making the piston go in. Make sure the rod does not scratch the cylinder wall or nick the crank either. To avoid this, it would be great if you have an extra person helping you by guiding the rod itself until it finally reaches the crank.

    There will be times where one of the rings comes out and you will have to repeat the process again until the entire piston goes in. It'll look like this.

    imagejpeg_2_7.jpg

    And like this once everything is done.

    imagejpeg_2_8.jpg

    Torque everything down to specs, once everything is good to go turn the engine over without the fuel pump connected so you can prime the cylinders with oil. Sorry if I forgot something but I literally just got done doing these to my own engine.

    *Note* Use proper assembly lube on rod bearings to prevent dry start.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2014
  2. JpL4K3

    JpL4K3 Moderator

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    Good write up, thanks for taking the time and putting this together.
     
  3. Norrisrn_V6Online

    Norrisrn_V6Online New Member

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    Awesome I'm glad you wrote this up. It will make it a lot easier to instal new pistons now!!! And cheaper haha.
     
  4. TheCheeksMcDuke

    TheCheeksMcDuke That guy

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    Awesome write up, I'm definitely gonna use this.
     
  5. JTsStang

    JTsStang Boosted V6

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    Those manley rods are beefy. And so is that top ring land. Now I can see why 03/04 cobras can support so much power stock. Although I have scat in my junk I like the eagle hbeam rods because they have the extra material going up the side of the rod. iirc they are both rated the same anyways.

    What are the manley rated at? and what size are the rod bolts?

    Also, how do the cyl walls get oiled? Splash or does it have squirters? I know sbf's relies on splash like the 3.8/4.2. Also check out the tool I made in my build thread to prime the oil system in these v6 engines, dont know if you can do something similar with the mm's.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2012
  6. Ortiz

    Ortiz Sup

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    I can definitely check it out, probably interested for my car. Not sure what they are rated at but they were inside my motor already (MMR 800) so I'm assuming along the lines of 800rwhp. The pistons are Forged Probe pistons. I wanted a Manley piston but they don't offer off the shelf pistons that create over 11:1 compression, they have to be customized. These have the compression height of 1.320 to become a "true" flat top on the 5.4 and creates 11.7 compression on a 4v motor.
     
  7. JTsStang

    JTsStang Boosted V6

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    Ortiz, rating on scat rods are determined by the rod bolt size. 700hp on standard 7/16" rod bolts and the 3/8" will make it to 1000hp on a small block(it's more on a bb). It's always rated at the crank.
     
  8. Ortiz

    Ortiz Sup

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    Thats fine. Only wanting about 400rwhp N/A so its fine. When it had the Manley pistons I had the posi ported blower, the stage 2.5 cams, stage 3 ported and polished heads, 2.8 pulley so I'm sure i was up there in power, maybe close to 515rwhp or so. Not really chasing numbers anymore, just want to see what my hard work and ideas can do. Its still going to be the shop car but I also want to make it weigh less than 2800lbs. The number I'm looking for is 11.0 all motor.
     
  9. amustangrocks

    amustangrocks Active Member

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    nice write up. its been 30 years since i built a 289, but a little trick back then if you didnt have someone to help keep the rods off the cyl walls installing the pistons was to fit a pc of rubber hose onto each rod bolt, that would guide the rod to ride over the crankshaft, keeping it centered in the cly hole. looks like the rods are made different though so it may or may not be able to be done, but it was a good idea and worked for me doing it by myself.
     
  10. Codi_P_V6Online

    Codi_P_V6Online New Member

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    If you have a 400rwhp na car that weighs 2800 lbs you'll go mid(deep) tens with decent suspension. that's fox body territory, right there.
     
  11. Ortiz

    Ortiz Sup

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    Since I'm a dealer for nitrous and I'm forged, I was thinking of adding at least a 175 shot there.