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Rings and maybe pistons... and maybe valves... here we go

This is a discussion on Rings and maybe pistons... and maybe valves... here we go within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; So my car is burning oil... its an 01 TA with the classic quart to every 800-1000 mile problem. Apparently ...

  1. #1
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    Pewter
    2001 Trans Am

    Rings and maybe pistons... and maybe valves... here we go

    So my car is burning oil... its an 01 TA with the classic quart to every 800-1000 mile problem. Apparently it didn't get fixed to the TSB and I'm just getting around to it. Car has 65k miles on it but gets driven pretty hard when it does get driven. I figured now is as good of time as any to do rings and maybe some rod bolts. Its my understanding that this engine has to be removed to do rings and rod bolts. If that is the case if it has stock pistons (not sure im not the only owner and previous owner modded a bit) should I bother replacing them with lets say forged internals given I've already hassled with removing the engine for rings? How do you "check" valves, springs, and seals also since I figure while you got it apart you might as well?

    Thanks for input!

  2. #2
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    pewter
    2001 Z-28

    my Z-28 just turned over 67,xxx,does same thing,put a catch can on it,ive went thru a quart in one night driving it hard,lots of the ls1s do that its cause of the pcv system.its sucks oil up.i got my car with 32,xxx seven years ago and was doin it then also.

  3. #3
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    A quart every 1,000 is alot to me. I've never had an engine do that, even high mileage. All of our LS engines are good on oil. My wifes 2000 SS only uses about a 1/2 quart during a 3,000 mile change interval. My 2002 SS was slightly less. And my 2004 6.0 LQ4 engine in my 72 blazer doesn't use a single drop.

    I have a catch can on all of them, which doesn't stop oil usage, it just stops it from entering the intake manifold. Most of what I find on my wifes SS and my SS is in the catch can, and the catch can on my 6.0 engine has been bone dry for 9,000 miles (since I installed it) and that engine has 90,000 miles now.

    GM would like you to think that a quart every 1,000 miles is normal, but I tend to disagree. Although alot of LS engines have had this problem, I rarely see it on new or even 40 year old engines unless there is an issue. Piston slap has always been a problem with LS engines, especially the first few years. You can't have good ring control without good piston control, and that is even more important with these small (3mm) ring packs that the LS engines use. That's where I think alot of it goes, and that blow by will cause some oil through the PCV system, another problem that I believe is somewhat related.

    To answer your question, you would first have to decide where the oil is going. Most instances in my experience from oil burning engines is that most of it is worn valve guides. Usually becomes an issues around the 70,000 mile mark.
    If you decide to replace rings, yes the engine will have to come out, a cylinder hone at a minimum for new rings to seat, so machine shop work is required. You could (backyard it) with a ball hone yourself, but that doesn't correct an out of round cylinder and could affect the new ring seal, after all that work I don't recommend that method.
    If you decide on new pistons you are looking at a rebalance as well as honing. It all just starts adding up.....

  4. #4
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    pewter
    2001 Z-28

    have someone stand behind your car fire it up, watch what comes out the back, there will b some smoke of course, esp. if it has no cats.blue smoke is oil,white n fluffy is anti freeze n black is fuel,let it warm up then hit the go pedal a few times n see what comes out. blue and white is not good,black is ok thats fuel it may be runnin rich,once again alot of these cars will pick up oil in the pcv system and put it in the intake and then its being burnt. if you dont have lots blue smoke -oil coming out of your exhaust and your spark plugs arnt covered in oil,it is just the blow by and a catch can will help you out,ive seen lotssss of ls1s do this.dont pull your engine apart and spend thousands of dollars that doesent have to be spent.

  5. #5
    Member denegrader's Avatar
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    midnight blue metalic
    2001 camaro z28

    Worn valve guides at 70,000 miles?
    Oil through the pvc and out the exhaust, heard theres a newly designed pcv valve ya know anything about that?
    I,m just trying to learn as ive had leakage and oil usage both i guess to the tune of a quart evry 600 miles.


    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    A quart every 1,000 is alot to me. I've never had an engine do that, even high mileage. All of our LS engines are good on oil. My wifes 2000 SS only uses about a 1/2 quart during a 3,000 mile change interval. My 2002 SS was slightly less. And my 2004 6.0 LQ4 engine in my 72 blazer doesn't use a single drop.

    I have a catch can on all of them, which doesn't stop oil usage, it just stops it from entering the intake manifold. Most of what I find on my wifes SS and my SS is in the catch can, and the catch can on my 6.0 engine has been bone dry for 9,000 miles (since I installed it) and that engine has 90,000 miles now.

    GM would like you to think that a quart every 1,000 miles is normal, but I tend to disagree. Although alot of LS engines have had this problem, I rarely see it on new or even 40 year old engines unless there is an issue. Piston slap has always been a problem with LS engines, especially the first few years. You can't have good ring control without good piston control, and that is even more important with these small (3mm) ring packs that the LS engines use. That's where I think alot of it goes, and that blow by will cause some oil through the PCV system, another problem that I believe is somewhat related.

    To answer your question, you would first have to decide where the oil is going. Most instances in my experience from oil burning engines is that most of it is worn valve guides. Usually becomes an issues around the 70,000 mile mark.
    If you decide to replace rings, yes the engine will have to come out, a cylinder hone at a minimum for new rings to seat, so machine shop work is required. You could (backyard it) with a ball hone yourself, but that doesn't correct an out of round cylinder and could affect the new ring seal, after all that work I don't recommend that method.
    If you decide on new pistons you are looking at a rebalance as well as honing. It all just starts adding up.....

  6. #6
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by denegrader View Post
    Worn valve guides at 70,000 miles?
    Oil through the pvc and out the exhaust, heard theres a newly designed pcv valve ya know anything about that?
    I,m just trying to learn as ive had leakage and oil usage both i guess to the tune of a quart evry 600 miles.
    Yeah there has been a new PCV out for several years, but I'm not sure that completely cures the issue. Best to have a catch can to keep it out of the engine completely.

    Worn valve guides are a pretty common issue with most any brand engine. Typical of non roller tip rockers that side load the valves every time they open and close. That causes wear and tear on the guides and on the valve stems themselves. Working in and around the machine shop it was common to see excessive wear at 70,000 miles and beyond.
    Excessive clearance here causes oil to be sucked into the combustion chamber (even if the seals are in good working order) because the seals don't stop everything. Guides need a certain amount of oil for lubrication to function so they don't gall up and sieze. But there is a fine line of too much. Slight oil consumption is the result.

    It's why I've always been a huge fan of roller tip rockers to cut down on valve guide side loading which reduces valve guide and valve stem wear. Why GM builds roller cam engines with rockers that only have a roller fulcrum is just beyond comprehension for me.

  7. #7
    Member denegrader's Avatar
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    midnight blue metalic
    2001 camaro z28

    ok so if i get this ls engines dont have roller rockers leading to valve guide wear prematurly?
    Pcv also contributes to sucking oil into intake.
    i,m wondering about LT-1's. L-98's L-82's ?
    Well it aint great as all i heard was praises about LS1's.
    Just hard to believe this is the base engine for the almight vette also?
    I,m mortified, guess it could be worse hmm not sure what to think?
    Thanx great info though.



    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    Yeah there has been a new PCV out for several years, but I'm not sure that completely cures the issue. Best to have a catch can to keep it out of the engine completely.

    Worn valve guides are a pretty common issue with most any brand engine. Typical of non roller tip rockers that side load the valves every time they open and close. That causes wear and tear on the guides and on the valve stems themselves. Working in and around the machine shop it was common to see excessive wear at 70,000 miles and beyond.
    Excessive clearance here causes oil to be sucked into the combustion chamber (even if the seals are in good working order) because the seals don't stop everything. Guides need a certain amount of oil for lubrication to function so they don't gall up and sieze. But there is a fine line of too much. Slight oil consumption is the result.

    It's why I've always been a huge fan of roller tip rockers to cut down on valve guide side loading which reduces valve guide and valve stem wear. Why GM builds roller cam engines with rockers that only have a roller fulcrum is just beyond comprehension for me.

  8. #8
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by denegrader View Post
    ok so if i get this ls engines dont have roller rockers leading to valve guide wear prematurly?
    Pcv also contributes to sucking oil into intake.
    i,m wondering about LT-1's. L-98's L-82's ?
    Well it aint great as all i heard was praises about LS1's.
    Just hard to believe this is the base engine for the almight vette also?
    I,m mortified, guess it could be worse hmm not sure what to think?
    Thanx great info though.
    It's not the LS engine at fault, valve guide wear is a normal occurance with any engine. LS1's are great engines, good platform for HP. Can't go wrong with an engine that comes factory with 15 degree heads. Very easy to make power to start with.
    I only mentioned the valve guide wear as a possible cause (and very likely with high miles) for the poster worried about oil consumption. It's just a normal occurance that comes with mileage on any engine.

  9. #9
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    1qt every 1000 miles is ridiculous. I've owned two LS engines now and they don't use but maybe half a qt every 5k.

    It really depends on what your plans are for the car. If you plan on doing forced induction at some point definitely upgrade the pistons. Personally if it were me I'd do a total rebuild upgraded pistons, bearings, rings, etc...I'd have the heads gone through too. I just can't see tearing and engine down to do rings and that's it.

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