Gapless Top Rings

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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by MadBill » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:56 pm

There have been a number of references here on S/T about greatly reduced oil dilution for gapless rings in alky motors, particularly injected ones...
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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by FloydODB » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:43 pm

my story. a ring moving 100 mph up and down the the bore doesn't give a shit. after a 20 lap race with the breathers covered in oil, the owner gives a shit. total seal it is.
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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by RAMM » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:49 am

Walter R. Malik wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:19 pm


If someone has too low tangential pressure oil ring or 2nd ring for using a zero-gap top ring and is relying on any top ring blow-by to control the oil then a Zero gap top ring would certainly exhibit an issue. I've only used what Keith Jones set me up with.

I have never made any exclamation that zero-gap top rings show any continuous power increase or better mileage. I never said you did.
Randy I have used them in 2 of my EMC efforts and never even thought about oil consumption because A-The engine is warmed up and run through a quick test which is about 12 seconds. And B- You're just not going to see it in the oil level or exhaust system when its that brief. However when torn down after the contest yes they did not look the same as my conventional ringed engines.

Take that same engine and put it in a street car with varying throttle openings ie-high manifold vacuum and you will start to see very abnormal oil consumption traits. Again I see NOBODY has answered my question as to the OEM's using them if they were all that and a bag of chips. J.Rob
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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by groberts101 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:29 am

RAMM wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:49 am

Randy I have used them in 2 of my EMC efforts and never even thought about oil consumption because A-The engine is warmed up and run through a quick test which is about 12 seconds. And B- You're just not going to see it in the oil level or exhaust system when its that brief. However when torn down after the contest yes they did not look the same as my conventional ringed engines.

Take that same engine and put it in a street car with varying throttle openings ie-high manifold vacuum and you will start to see very abnormal oil consumption traits. Again I see NOBODY has answered my question as to the OEM's using them if they were all that and a bag of chips. J.Rob
If you sincerely want to have a valid discussion without making blanket statements based ONLY on what you have seen?.. then I'm game when time permits.

AS I said many times already. I see NO oil consumption issues in the short or long term. But I don't run all out racing or dyno mules either.. so maybe that has an impact here, dunno. And I've used them in far more than 3 motors. Have 2 sets in motors going together right now and last motor went through 2 sets of gapless compared to the traditional design that came in the motor when I bought it in my S10 Blazer. Had the motor not overheated and cracked a ring land.. would have only been 1 set needed for that motor.

When it comes to firsthand experience and testing, many of my mostly a-b testing scenarios have switched out from gapped rings to gapless designs and the motors ALWAYS picked up and improved in one way or another. And some of those were only freshened with bearings and rerings with dingleberry hones. NO OIL CONSUMPTION ISSUES AT ALL. I'd have to be some weird fanboy type living my life in a constant placebo induced coma to keep spending more money on something that doesn't actually work for me or anyone else I've put motors together for. Latest set of AP gapless cost me $275.. set before that was an AP gapless 1.2/1.5/2mm set that cost me 370. I still cringe everytime I order them but based on MY personal experience they work and do most of what they have been claimed to do. And I'm not the only one who likes them either.. so it is a collective experience to say the least.

As for reports of excessive oil consumption in netland?.. c'mon now. Do another more generalized search and you'll find far more similar results for traditional gapped ringsets. Seems to be far fewer people, some pro's included, who can build a good long lasting motor than those that can get it right. Then add all the other variables(parts compatability, machining, breakin, etc) and misinterpretations of what actually went wrong and it's a great big blurry grey colored world out there in netland.

As for the OEM's adaptation based purely on superiority of design?.. PUH.. LEASE! Oil slingers>internal oil pumps>external oil pumps.. wet sump>dry sump.. 5/64" compression rings >downwards to 1mm rings(same drop for oil ring packages)..points>electronic>distributorless.. carbs>mechanical FI>electronic FI>direct injection.. composite gaskets>MLS>gasketless.. umbrella seals>positive seals on exhaust>positive seals on I & E.. 1 cam>2 cam>4 cam.. variable valve timing and on and on and on. Much of that technology has been around LONG before used by the OEM's and just because it was here doesn't mean they implemented it sooner than later without extensive research, further refinement, and manufacturing investment. Some came out of necessity for increasing emissions and fuel mileage mandates, otherwise they'd still be forcing much of that antique crap down our throats to milk their previous investement capital for increased profit margins.

Now don't misunderstand the above point. I'm not saying gapless rings are superior in every way possible.. all the time.. and on every application. Only that basing it off OEM implementation is very naive. OEM's built and continue to build some major junk with poor design and horrible serviceability. Called planned obsolescence and they know almost exactly how long some components will last. And no OEM that I know of wants something to last very much longer than necessary for the customers sake alone. They want to make the required warranty period and then sell you parts if you decide not to buy their newest biggest baddest high tech design. Ain't capitalism great? Sure is for the ones doing the capitalizing!

I hope you realize that I mean absolutely no offense in my disbelief in your experiences with the gapless design. You obviously see what you see and I cannot nor would I try to dispute that result. Only trying to put forth that you have seen something that I have absolutely no firsthand experience with myself in over 20 years of using Total Seals gapless designs. I'm no dummy and if my own junk was having issues similar to yours?.. I'd be more than happy to save some more money on my own personal projects.
Last edited by groberts101 on Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by Walter R. Malik » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:33 am

RAMM wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:49 am
Walter R. Malik wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:19 pm


If someone has too low tangential pressure oil ring or 2nd ring for using a zero-gap top ring and is relying on any top ring blow-by to control the oil then a Zero gap top ring would certainly exhibit an issue. I've only used what Keith Jones set me up with.

I have never made any exclamation that zero-gap top rings show any continuous power increase or better mileage. I never said you did.
Randy I have used them in 2 of my EMC efforts and never even thought about oil consumption because A-The engine is warmed up and run through a quick test which is about 12 seconds. And B- You're just not going to see it in the oil level or exhaust system when its that brief. However when torn down after the contest yes they did not look the same as my conventional ringed engines.

Take that same engine and put it in a street car with varying throttle openings ie-high manifold vacuum and you will start to see very abnormal oil consumption traits. Again I see NOBODY has answered my question as to the OEM's using them if they were all that and a bag of chips. J.Rob
If I had seen any chamber oiling or sticky exhaust ports, I would have changed them afterward even though they did show a bit more EMC score from less crankcase pressure at the beginning of the dyno run. The oil ring and 2nd ring are Ford Motor Company O.E.M. replacement rings; nothing really high tech or light tension.

That engine is now in a bracket drag race car and there is no obvious problem although if driven a lot of street miles could possibly show differently. I have sold another EMC engine having those rings which is now used in a Cobra Kit car with no issues but, that is a legal holiday and weekend cruiser type car and not driven much.

I just haven't seen it ... no experience with those rings in a high mileage street engine though.
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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by Warp Speed » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:14 am

groberts101 wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:29 am
RAMM wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:49 am

Randy I have used them in 2 of my EMC efforts and never even thought about oil consumption because A-The engine is warmed up and run through a quick test which is about 12 seconds. And B- You're just not going to see it in the oil level or exhaust system when its that brief. However when torn down after the contest yes they did not look the same as my conventional ringed engines.

Take that same engine and put it in a street car with varying throttle openings ie-high manifold vacuum and you will start to see very abnormal oil consumption traits. Again I see NOBODY has answered my question as to the OEM's using them if they were all that and a bag of chips. J.Rob
If you sincerely want to have a valid discussion without making blanket statements based ONLY on what you have seen?.. then I'm game when time permits.

AS I said many times already. I see NO oil consumption issues in the short or long term. But I don't run all out racing or dyno mules either.. so maybe that has an impact here, dunno. And I've used them in far more than 3 motors. Have 2 sets in motors going together right now and last motor went through 2 sets of gapless compared to the traditional design that came in the motor when I bought it in my S10 Blazer. Had the motor not overheated and cracked a ring land.. would have only been 1 set needed for that motor.

When it comes to firsthand experience and testing, many of my mostly a-b testing scenarios have switched out from gapped rings to gapless designs and the motors ALWAYS picked up and improved in one way or another. And some of those were only freshened with bearings and rerings with dingleberry hones. NO OIL CONSUMPTION ISSUES AT ALL. I'd have to be some weird fanboy type living my life in a constant placebo induced coma to keep spending more money on something that doesn't actually work for me or anyone else I've put motors together for. Latest set of AP gapless cost me $275.. set before that was an AP gapless 1.2/1.5/2mm set that cost me 370. I still cringe everytime I order them but based on MY personal experience they work and do most of what they have been claimed to do. And I'm not the only one who likes them either.. so it is a collective experience to say the least.

As for reports of excessive oil consumption in netland?.. c'mon now. Do another more generalized search and you'll find far more similar results for traditional gapped ringsets. Seems to be far fewer people, some pro's included, who can build a good long lasting motor than those that can get it right. Then add all the other variables(parts compatability, machining, breakin, etc) and misinterpretations of what actually went wrong and it's a great big blurry grey colored world out there in netland.

As for the OEM's adaptation based purely on superiority of design?.. PUH.. LEASE! Oil slingers>internal oil pumps>external oil pumps.. wet sump>dry sump.. 5/64" compression rings >downwards to 1mm rings(same drop for oil ring packages)..points>electronic>distributorless.. carbs>mechanical FI>electronic FI>direct injection.. composite gaskets>MLS>gasketless.. umbrella seals>positive seals on exhaust>positive seals on I & E.. 1 cam>2 cam>4 cam.. variable valve timing and on and on and on. Much of that technology has been around LONG before used by the OEM's and just because it was here doesn't mean they implemented it sooner than later without extensive research, further refinement, and manufacturing investment. Some came out of necessity for increasing emissions and fuel mileage mandates, otherwise they'd still be forcing much of that antique crap down our throats to milk their previous investement capital for increased profit margins.

Now don't misunderstand the above point. I'm not saying gapless rings are superior in every way possible.. all the time.. and on every application. Only that basing it off OEM implementation is very naive. OEM's built and continue to build some major junk with poor design and horrible serviceability. Called planned obsolescence and they know almost exactly how long some components will last. And no OEM that I know of wants something to last very much longer than necessary for the customers sake alone. They want to make the required warranty period and then sell you parts if you decide not to buy their newest biggest baddest high tech design. Ain't capitalism great? Sure is for the ones doing the capitalizing!

I hope you realize that I mean absolutely no offense in my disbelief in your experiences with the gapless design. You obviously see what you see and I cannot nor would I try to dispute that result. Only trying to put forth that you have seen something that I have absolutely no firsthand experience with myself in over 20 years of using Total Seals gapless designs. I'm no dummy and if my own junk was having issues similar to yours?.. I'd be more than happy to save some more money on my own personal projects.
So you like them and swear by them.........Great!
Allot of people don't.............it's Ok! Lol

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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by groberts101 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:22 am

Warp Speed wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:14 am

So you like them and swear by them.........Great!
Allot of people don't.............it's Ok! Lol
Thanks Warp! Nice to be allowed to have an opinion on something for change. :D

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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by CGT » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:02 pm

So Walter has certainly done some testing with the gapless tops. Groberts101, you mentioned in a previous post of your A-B-A testing on these rings in the 600hp range, that's the basic horsepower range I will be dynoing in. Can you talk about your A-B-A testing?

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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by G72Zed » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:47 pm

digger wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:00 pm
who has tested back to back gapless vs non gapless for the same axial thickness top ring?
i have opportunity to use either in a street engine
It's been a long time, but I actually have done a similar "Gapless" test back in 2002/2004, by no means super scientific A-B test, but it did show me some key trends, and raised a few questions.

My engine is a pump gas 10.57 CR 333 sbc (327+.040) with Sportsman II iron heads, 2.02/1.6, 750 Holley, 252 @ .50 FT cam w/500 lift, flat top pistons. Typical street sbc.

Back in 2002, I had it dyno'd and it made 396.9 Tq @ 5,600 and 482.6 Hp @ 7000 rpm on premium pump gas. The cranking PSI was 180/182 on all cyl.
Average Tq was 380, and ave. Hp was 408.4, this was from 4,100 to 7,200 RPM.

So, during the next 16 months while building my car, the engine sat on the stand, and I did some reading and looked into the "Gapless" top rings, and the trend for the "larger" gap'd second ring. I ordered the Total Seal Gapless top only (1/16) and opened the 2nd ring from .012 To .022. I pulled the heads and dropped the pan, popped the pistons out, did the gaps, the engine shop "prepped" the bores, and put it back together.

I basically wanted to crack 500 HP with a basic 327 with old Iron heads that nobody loved or wanted!! So, Dec. 2003 I go back to the same opperator/dyno, same pump gas (but winter gas) same carb/jets exhaust,plugs ect....same oil grade & amount, I kept everything the same as much as possible including water/oil temps.

It made 411.4 Tq (+14.5) @ 5,600 and 503.9 Hp (+21.3) @7,000 RPM. Averages from 4,100 to 7,200 went up to 395 Tq (+15) and 417 Hp (+9). Did the cranking PSI the same way, 200-202 PSI, up 20 PSI. BSFC was down to low-mid .40's, from the upper .40's, exhaust ports were not sticky. Leakdown test showed 1%, nothing. Dyno guy was impressed.

It's weird, even after 20k miles, the engines runs great, makes good power,really good MPG,cranking PSI still there with very/very low leakdown # (1-3%) Took it to the drag strip just for fun, ran 13 flat @ 118 mph in 3rd gear with street tires, car is 3750#'s at the line.

BUT, since the start, it's like it sucks the oil in the chambers under deceleration, and puffs blue on initial acceleration, nothing after that. Even light decel, stop, let it idle, blue smoke, then cleans up. Even taking it easy cruising, puffs on shifts. I have the good valve stem seals, no leaks, I even tapped the intake valley on the last dyno day back in 2016, it registered -1.1 Hg's, during the full pulls, no crank case pressure there. Valve cover breathers are clean, no mess anywhere.

I have gone from Brad Penn to Driven to VR1, same thing, no leaks, good power, always adding oil. Tired of fighting this. I think I will be going back to conventional rings like the AP TS, never had oiling issues in the past with this engine.

Sorry for the long post, but I am very interested in this topic.

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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by Cougar5.0 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:45 pm

G72Zed wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:47 pm
...

It's weird, even after 20k miles, the engines runs great, makes good power,really good MPG,cranking PSI still there with very/very low leakdown # (1-3%) Took it to the drag strip just for fun, ran 13 flat @ 118 mph in 3rd gear with street tires, car is 3750#'s at the line.

BUT, since the start, it's like it sucks the oil in the chambers under deceleration, and puffs blue on initial acceleration, nothing after that. Even light decel, stop, let it idle, blue smoke, then cleans up. Even taking it easy cruising, puffs on shifts. I have the good valve stem seals, no leaks, I even tapped the intake valley on the last dyno day back in 2016, it registered -1.1 Hg's, during the full pulls, no crank case pressure there. Valve cover breathers are clean, no mess anywhere.

I have gone from Brad Penn to Driven to VR1, same thing, no leaks, good power, always adding oil. Tired of fighting this. I think I will be going back to conventional rings like the AP TS, never had oiling issues in the past with this engine.

Sorry for the long post, but I am very interested in this topic.
Good a place as any to toss in my "anecdotal BS on the internet".

I did same as above quoted poster, except it was a Ford 5L. I bought the "extra HP" hype of Total Seal rings. Never did a dyno A-B because of the oil burning - we're talking a qt. ever 200 miles. Perhaps it can blamed on the difficulties of finding a good machinist in the NE (honing), so I'll just say it wasn't the rings fault. Of course, like most people will do, I replaced valve seals, R&R intake 2x believing each time I had finally solved the issue. No dice, had to yank & rebuild it again using easy to seat moly rings (cuz paranoid.)

Then my buddy had a piston issue in his supercharged 363" World block SBF stroker (issue with meth injection). Tore it down, had it honed and put in new pistons and Total Seal gapless top rings. As with most people, even if irrational, I had a bad feeling based on my experience. Driving behind him is embarrassing - when he decelerates after a hard pull, there's a massive cloud of smoke that billows from the back. He's also replaced valve seals, thought the intake runners were sucking air from the lifter valley & also R&R the intake twice like I did. I know that feeling of discouragement - he won't even take it to the dragstrip because it's too embarrassing. I think his burns even more oil than mine did. Surely these aren't controlled experiments - my opinion is that the honing requirements are critical and might not be worth taking the chance on these unless your machinist has experience with TS gapless rings.

/anecdotal BS off

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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by RAMM » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:28 am

Cougar5.0 wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:45 pm


Good a place as any to toss in my "anecdotal BS on the internet".

I did same as above quoted poster, except it was a Ford 5L. I bought the "extra HP" hype of Total Seal rings. Never did a dyno A-B because of the oil burning - we're talking a qt. ever 200 miles. Perhaps it can blamed on the difficulties of finding a good machinist in the NE (honing), so I'll just say it wasn't the rings fault. Of course, like most people will do, I replaced valve seals, R&R intake 2x believing each time I had finally solved the issue. No dice, had to yank & rebuild it again using easy to seat moly rings (cuz paranoid.)

Then my buddy had a piston issue in his supercharged 363" World block SBF stroker (issue with meth injection). Tore it down, had it honed and put in new pistons and Total Seal gapless top rings. As with most people, even if irrational, I had a bad feeling based on my experience. Driving behind him is embarrassing - when he decelerates after a hard pull, there's a massive cloud of smoke that billows from the back. He's also replaced valve seals, thought the intake runners were sucking air from the lifter valley & also R&R the intake twice like I did. I know that feeling of discouragement - he won't even take it to the dragstrip because it's too embarrassing. I think his burns even more oil than mine did. Surely these aren't controlled experiments - my opinion is that the honing requirements are critical and might not be worth taking the chance on these unless your machinist has experience with TS gapless rings.

/anecdotal BS off
I doubt it was a honing foul up in my case considering I spoke with TS at great length and followed the cylinder honing procedure to a "T" the second time attempting to use these on NEW Diamond pistons. It's funny you use the word embarrassing because that is exactly the word my customer has used and by proxy it embarrasses ME. Nor he or I will use this design ring again in a street/strip bound vehicle. J.Rob
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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by RAMM » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:32 am

G72Zed wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:47 pm

It's been a long time, but I actually have done a similar "Gapless" test back in 2002/2004, by no means super scientific A-B test, but it did show me some key trends, and raised a few questions.

My engine is a pump gas 10.57 CR 333 sbc (327+.040) with Sportsman II iron heads, 2.02/1.6, 750 Holley, 252 @ .50 FT cam w/500 lift, flat top pistons. Typical street sbc.

Back in 2002, I had it dyno'd and it made 396.9 Tq @ 5,600 and 482.6 Hp @ 7000 rpm on premium pump gas. The cranking PSI was 180/182 on all cyl.
Average Tq was 380, and ave. Hp was 408.4, this was from 4,100 to 7,200 RPM.

So, during the next 16 months while building my car, the engine sat on the stand, and I did some reading and looked into the "Gapless" top rings, and the trend for the "larger" gap'd second ring. I ordered the Total Seal Gapless top only (1/16) and opened the 2nd ring from .012 To .022. I pulled the heads and dropped the pan, popped the pistons out, did the gaps, the engine shop "prepped" the bores, and put it back together.

I basically wanted to crack 500 HP with a basic 327 with old Iron heads that nobody loved or wanted!! So, Dec. 2003 I go back to the same opperator/dyno, same pump gas (but winter gas) same carb/jets exhaust,plugs ect....same oil grade & amount, I kept everything the same as much as possible including water/oil temps.

It made 411.4 Tq (+14.5) @ 5,600 and 503.9 Hp (+21.3) @7,000 RPM. Averages from 4,100 to 7,200 went up to 395 Tq (+15) and 417 Hp (+9). Did the cranking PSI the same way, 200-202 PSI, up 20 PSI. BSFC was down to low-mid .40's, from the upper .40's, exhaust ports were not sticky. Leakdown test showed 1%, nothing. Dyno guy was impressed.

It's weird, even after 20k miles, the engines runs great, makes good power,really good MPG,cranking PSI still there with very/very low leakdown # (1-3%) Took it to the drag strip just for fun, ran 13 flat @ 118 mph in 3rd gear with street tires, car is 3750#'s at the line.

BUT, since the start, it's like it sucks the oil in the chambers under deceleration, and puffs blue on initial acceleration, nothing after that. Even light decel, stop, let it idle, blue smoke, then cleans up. Even taking it easy cruising, puffs on shifts. I have the good valve stem seals, no leaks, I even tapped the intake valley on the last dyno day back in 2016, it registered -1.1 Hg's, during the full pulls, no crank case pressure there. Valve cover breathers are clean, no mess anywhere.

I have gone from Brad Penn to Driven to VR1, same thing, no leaks, good power, always adding oil. Tired of fighting this. I think I will be going back to conventional rings like the AP TS, never had oiling issues in the past with this engine.

Sorry for the long post, but I am very interested in this topic.
These rings seem to pull oil right around the whole ring pack under high manifold vaccuum conditions. Did you ever use Royal Purple on the dyno for your second test? Thanks for sharing. J.Rob
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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by swampbuggy » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:37 am

IF IF IF it is a cylinder honing issue, what makes the T-S gapless rings (molecularly) speaking so hard to seat properly ??? #-o Mark H.

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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by ptuomov » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:48 am

So what is the state of the art, absolute best ring combination for an engine with excess oil on the bore walls?
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Re: Gapless Top Rings

Post by groberts101 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:02 am

I have to admit you guys are starting to get me worrying about the potential for my luck to run out on my next motor. With two boys getting close to college, I can barely afford to build my junk much less pull it all apart again to correct a mistake. Weird thing is.. I built a 363 w/ Yates heads about 8 years ago and that motor hasn't has a lick of problems even close to what's being said here lately. IIRC, it had 1/16" ring package because they guy already had the JE pistons and was also concerned about shortblock longevity not just absolute power. Talked with him about 3 years ago in a parking lot full of street racers and he's still really happy with the motor. Can't see how things would suddenly change, but I may try to call since I'm more curious and second guessing things a bit now.

So my question is this. IF.. and let's just assume they do for the sake of this specific question.. these rings can seal up on the power stroke a tad more than a traditional gapped ring package?.. how do they unseat and not seal during engine braking/high manifold pressures?

I can't see the loads imposed on the rings being higher than the compression and power strokes.. so what is the theory behind that logic? They flutter during high intake vacuum and let oil by?

I've used many of the MSL3690's and seen many motors running them for years without issues. My last 383 ran them without issues too and NEVER puffed smoke or used oil. Not calling anyone a liar.. just that something doesn't compute.

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