When it comes to rebuilding your engine, there are some tools that just make life a whole lot easier. If you don’t have the right tool, installing your pistons into your block can become quite a tedious process. We won’t lie to you and tell you we haven’t done it successfully before with our fingers, but this typically results in a good bit of swearing and a good bit of grease under our fingernails. If you have the patience to use your fingers and are willing to repeat the process for each of your pistons, more power to you! For those of us who aren’t looking for a challenge, there is a commonly used tool called a piston ring compressor that makes this process a breeze.
A piston ring compressor is essentially a circular jacket made from a thin sheet of metal that you can tighten down around the circumference of your piston. In doing so, you retract the rings into the grooves on the piston uniformly. Once this is complete, you can position your piston and piston ring compressor over the bore in your block and slide the piston into the cylinder without having to manipulate the rings into place. Viola! You’re done and it was super easy!
The Best Piston Ring Compressor
When it comes to actually selecting a tool, there are various approaches that manufacturers have taken. Some are soft, flexible, and made of rubber with hose clamps while others are made of thin steel sheet with metal worm drive clamps. We prefer the designs made out of steel sheet for their durability and ease of sliding the piston out once positioned.
Powerbuilt 648433 Piston Ring Compressor
Our favorite on the market is the Powerbuilt 648433 Piston Ring Compressor. While ring compressors in general aren’t expensive tools, the Powerbuilt is pretty versatile for what it is. It will accommodate pistons with diameters ranging from 2 inches all the way up to 5 inches, which covers the vast majority of gasoline engines. The tool is compressed via a clamp that is tightened by turning a hex screw with the included hex key. On this clamp, there is a release lever that is actuated by your thumb which makes disengaging the compressor super quick and easy. There is also a feature that prevents the device from sliding into your cylinder along with your piston.
When it comes to cost, the Powerbuilt ring compressor is going to set you back roughly ten bucks. Yep, just a ten spot. For that price, you get a lifetime warranty on your tool which is pretty darn good. When it comes to best place to buy, Amazon has a free shipping deal which makes it as good as any. Overall we think you’ll be happy you sprung for a tool to help you get the job done quickly and easily and furthermore we think you’ll be particularly happy about getting the Powerbuilt which is hands down the best piston ring compressor for the job. Happy wrenching!