Ought to I Hone the Cylinder Partitions on a 5.3L LS with 200K Miles Earlier than My Rebuild?

Ought to I Hone the Cylinder Partitions on a 5.3L LS with 200K Miles Earlier than My Rebuild?


I’ve a used 5.3L LS truck engine that I’d prefer to swap into an earlier Chevy pickup. The engine was working when it was pulled out of a wrecked 2003 Silverado. The engine has nearly 200,000 miles on it. I’ve heard that the cylinder partitions will be fairly good even after this many miles. Would it not be okay to only put new rings and bearings on this engine and put it again collectively?


One of many cool issues concerning the LS household of engines (and particularly the truck engines) is that they’re extremely sturdy. Such as you, we’ve pulled a number of of those early Gen. III LS truck engines and used them for journal tales. Your engine sounds prefer it didn’t spend any time sitting round getting water within the bores or something like that, so probably it’s in fairly good condition internally.

An enormous motive why these engines are so sturdy has to do with elements like materials use, building, gas injection, and the standard of present engine oil.

The forged iron LS blocks are significantly more durable than the comfortable forged iron utilized in earlier technology engines from the 1960 via the Nineteen Eighties. Plus, gas injection extra carefully controls the gas so the cylinders usually are not washed down with uncooked gas throughout chilly begins from very wealthy mixtures widespread with carbureted engines. This maintains a better high quality of oil within the engine that doesn’t include unburned gas, which doesn’t work effectively as a lubricant.

Plus, engine oil in the present day is a a lot greater high quality lubricant than in previous generations. True, the degrees of zinc and phosphate (ZDDP) are decrease, however with curler lifters, the degrees are nonetheless ok to take care of correct put on patterns.

So, What Ought to You Do to Your Cylinders?

To get to your query, we requested Lake Pace, Jr. at Whole Seal his opinion on this method. Clearly, the most effective strategy could be to bore and torque plate hone the engine and use a high quality piston and ring mixture.

However acknowledging that not everybody has the price range that enables for a set of cast pistons and costly piston rings, there are some steps you may take. We’ll assume that you just’ve eliminated the cylinder heads and the bores are easy with no apparent ridge on the prime of the cylinder. With older engines this was a standard most put on level.

So with an honest trying bore, Lake Pace says {that a} typical brush hone can be utilized to create a recent crosshatch sample on the cylinder partitions. Pace really helpful a 320 grit hone for this software and he mentioned that that is solely good for a typical ring bundle utilizing a moly prime and iron second ring.

He warned that this is not going to work with the more durable PVD-coated metal rings which might be typically used for a supercharged or turbocharged purposes. The metal rings want a a lot deeper valley to carry ample oil to lubricate these more durable rings and the flex hone can’t create that depth of minimize. Metal rings would require a extra skilled honing strategy.

However for a typical moly ring that you’d use on the road for a light usually aspirated engine, Pace mentioned {that a} 320 grit Flex Hone could be ample. We regarded into Flex Hones from Brush Analysis Manufacturing (BRM) and located the suitable brush that might match the 5.3L’s 3.78 inch bore measurement with a silicon carbide honing materials in a 320 grit. We’ve listed the half numbers under within the Components Checklist.

The Brush Analysis Flex-Hone will create appropriate floor end to assist the rings seat shortly. (Picture/Brush Analysis)

Cylinder Honing Methods

These brushes don’t include directions however we did discover a couple of movies on-line from BRM that reveal the process. First, it’s essential to fully disassemble the engine which incorporates eradicating the crankshaft. That is primarily since you need full journey of the brushes and the residue left behind is clearly extremely abrasive and can have to be fully cleaned earlier than reassembly.

BRM recommends utilizing a half inch drill motor with a spindle velocity of between 500 and 800 rpm. By no means exceed 1,200 rpm. Enter the cylinder with the comb already rotating. BRM recommends 60 to 120 strokes per minute (which is roughly one to 2 strokes per second) to determine a correct crosshatch sample. Common honing time is 10 to twenty seconds however use the least period of time to determine a correct honing sample.

BRM says to make use of a honing oil to lubricate the method and to clean the abrasive away from the floor. BRM sells its personal honing oil, however mild engine or chopping oil will be substituted.

With these suggestions, you may see that it gained’t take lengthy to hone every of the eight cylinders. You’ll in all probability spend extra time cleansing the cylinder partitions and the remainder of the block somewhat than honing.

BRM additionally recommends utilizing a cleansing brush together with sizzling soapy water to totally clear the cylinder partitions. We’ve discovered that after honing from knowledgeable store that we’ll spend 30 to 40 minutes cleansing the cylinder partitions with a mix of white paper towels coated with Marvel Thriller Oil. We’ve discovered this appears to work the most effective for eradicating that powerful honing residue. Our course of is to wash every cylinder with a recent paper towel till the darkish gray residue not seems on the white paper towel. There are in all probability different strategies that additionally work, however that is what we’ve discovered works for our engines.

It’s additionally necessary to completely clear and examine the pistons for attainable harm earlier than re-using them. It does little good to make use of new rings with pistons which have broken or worn ring lands. Whereas most individuals regard ring seal because it pertains to the cylinder wall, the ring additionally seals to the piston ring land as effectively. If the ring lands are worn, this may scale back the efficient ring seal so take a look at the outdated pistons fastidiously.

Piston Ring (& Break-In) Suggestions

A hoop set suggestion in your engine could be a set of Basic Avenue Whole Seal alternative rings for the 1.5mm prime, 1.5mm second, and three.0mm oil rings. This set contains non-file match, ductile iron moly prime ring with a forged iron second and customary stress oil ring set. These usually are not file-fit rings though these are additionally obtainable. After all there are different firms providing alternative fashion ring units comparable to these from Federal-Mogul, Hastings, Mahle, and others.

One warning when breaking within the new rings is to not permit the engine to idle for an extended interval proper after startup. To totally seat the rings, it is best to put a load to the engine as quickly as attainable. Begin it and permit it to succeed in working temperature within the car after which drive it so cylinder stress can load the rings in opposition to the cylinder wall to seat them.

A run-in stand is just not really helpful since this doesn’t place a load in opposition to the engine. If run with no load for 20 to half-hour, the rings will glaze the cylinder wall and never set up a correct sealthen you’ll have to do the job once more.

For this reason an aggressive break-in interval is so necessary.

Cylinder Honing Components Checklist

Jeff Smith has had a ardour for automobiles since he started working at his grandfather’s fuel station on the age 10. After graduating from Iowa State College with a journalism diploma in 1978, he mixed his two passions: automobiles and writing. Smith started writing for Automotive Craft journal in 1979 and have become editor in 1984. In 1987, he assumed the position of editor for Scorching Rod journal earlier than returning to his past love of writing technical tales. Since 2003, Jeff has held varied positions at Automotive Craft (together with editor), has written books on small block Chevy efficiency, and even cultivated a formidable assortment of 1965 and 1966 Chevelles. Now he serves as a daily contributor to OnAllCylinders.


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September 2022