The MGA With An Attitude
Fitting NEW PISTON RINGS to whatever pistons you may already own.

At 08:15 AM 8/23/99 -0500, Sam Clifford wrote:
>.... I bought a set of std 1622 pistons (I was told) that came with a set of rings ( 4 ring version). They have been in the car for 5 years. I ordered a set of rings from S.F., and they are .060 thick vs the .075 rings I had before. .... BTW, these pistons are stamped 436302/2. Something that confuses me even further is that the shop manuel lists 1622 thickness at .125 to .132. I haven't been able to get through to S.F. yet, but I'm not real hopeful re technical assistance from them. Any ideas for me?

First, think of ring width is the direction that fits the groove width, from top to bottom. The thickness is the larger dimension in the radial direction. All MGA models used 0.062" wide compression rings and 0.156" wide oil control rings (or combo rings). The thickness of the compression rings (radially) changed from 0.118 to 0.126 in the 1500's, then 0.148 in the 1600, and 0.132 in the 1622. Thickness of oil control rings changed from 0.118 to 0.126 in the 1500, then 0.142 in the 1600 and the 1622.

Oops #1: The pistons you have are non-standard with the .075 wide compression ring grooves (sorry). I suppose some engineer had the idea that the rings may last longer if they were wider (possibly correct), so some aftermarket pistons were made that way. Some (many) people buying these things have no idea that there may be different ring widths available. Most people don't keep records of such things anyway, as they perceive an engine overhaul to be a permanent thing, once done never to be touched again, figuring it will last longer than the person owns the car.

Over long periods of time there is no guarantee that any one vendor will still be selling matching parts the next time you need them, let alone buying future parts from another source. If you did have the correct original style pistions and the new rings did not match the original design, then you would have good grounds to return them and ask for your money back. As you have the non-standard pistons in this case, it is not the vendor's fault that the new (original style) rings do not fit (sorry again).

Oops #2: You are dealing here with Scarborough Faire? You have my condolences (very sorry here). I have long since sctratched SF off my possible vendor list, refuse to ever do business with them again. To avoid having to buy a new set of pistons, I suppose you may ultimately want to return the 0.062 rings and try to get 0.075 rings from another source. The significant factor here is that SF will not give a full cash refund on returned merchandise (assuming they even accept the return at all for any reason). If you are so inclined I would be happy to forward a copy of my essay on why SF sucks, including what I had to go through to do business with them.

If you ask nicely and cooperate with whatever they want and agree to their terms and pay all the shipping charges yourself and maybe jump through a few more hoops in the process, SF may accept the return and give you credit to your in-house account towards exchange for replacement parts or credit towards a future order. If you want your cash back they will want to charge you a "restocking fee", maybe 20% to 25% of the amount of the parts. That basically means that they get their profit whether you're satisfied or not (to hell the customer, their profit comes first). Additionally they may demand that you sign and return an affidavit agreeing to this before they would issue a Return Authorization number. If you give them a hard time about any of this they may likely tell you to stuff it, as all sales are final.

In the meantime, start by using a dial caliper or such to measure the width and depth of all the grooves in your existing pistons, as well as the diameter of the piston and the bore it goes into. Then contact Deves to get a set of rings to match your pistons. As you seem to have non-standard pistons I would advise you to e-mail the Deves tech rep about your needs, or call or fax if you don't mind the long distance charges. I'm sure Deves can supply a set of rings to match your applications, regardless of who made the pistons.

Good luck on returning the rings to SF. I feel bad even thinking about the prospect.

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