Even when the best precautions are taken, piston rings can still fail. Understanding why is integral to solve the problem.
Overheating is one of the primary reasons piston rings fail. In this short guide, we’ll look at why this happens and what can be done to rectify this common issue.
Why do industrial piston rings fail?
A piston is in constant use and exposed to high pressures and temperatures caused by the engine’s combustion chamber.
Overheating of piston rings can occur for any of the following reasons:
- The cooling system has stopped functioning, elevating the temperature
- The rings have broken down – or have insufficient clearance
- Combustion gases have bypassed the piston due to a fault
- An issue with valve timing is causing poor combustion
Although helpful indicators, the above issues manifest internally. Whether you’re dealing with industrial or marine piston rings, recognising external signifiers will help you diagnose faults before they become expensive and time-consuming problems
Five signs your piston rings are overheating:
- The cylinders are making a continuous knocking sound
- Piston cooling temperature has climbed abnormally
- For no discernible reason, the engine’s RPM has dropped
- Excessive smoke is manifesting from the funnel
- A worryingly high rise in exhaust temperature has occurred
Once you’ve recognised the problem with your sealing rings, the next step is preventative action.
In such a situation:
- Work out which cylinder is responsible and shut it down, as the chances of other pistons experiencing the same fault are low
- Reduce the temperature by dropping the engine speed – but without shutting down the engine completely
- Prevent fuel from reaching the affected component by cutting supply to it at the pump
These actions are not enough on their own. You will need to speak to a specialist to resolve the problem.