Gas Tricks: How Gas Ported Piston Rings Can Help Your Engine

The art of horsepower extraction from an engine can get pretty granular and requires companies to look beyond conventional ideas to find power. One of the tricks that came from creative thought was the concept to drill gas ports into pistons for a performance advantage — a practice that is now illegal in many different classes across the racing universe. A workaround for this was created by Total Seal, the gas-ported piston ring, and these little pieces of steel are a great way to find more power.

The general concept behind gas ports in a piston is to allow pressure from the combustion process to be strategically diverted behind a ring to force it out. By pushing the ring out from inside the ring land it provides a better seal inside the cylinder, which helps to reduce pressure quicker for less friction. This reduction in friction, along with the ability to use thinner rings, allows for additional horsepower to be created.

With the ability to use gas-ported pistons limited, Total Seal found a way to bring the porting into the rings themselves. The company uses a proprietary method to mill the ring with a series of horizontal grooves. By adding these ports it allows the gas pressure to find its way behind the ring to push it out so more stabilization is provided.

Ed Law from Total Seal delivers some additional details on how gas porting piston rings can help any engine combination.

“Gas porting helps the ring stay planted to the cylinder wall and seal better; the thinner the ring the better gas porting works. This process works great in classes that don’t allow piston modifications. These gas-ported rings will also work well in power-adder applications where there’s a lot of nitrous or boost in play. For those situations, we suggest gas-porting the rings to help, especially if the racer is using a .043-inch ring.”

Using a set of gas-ported piston rings is a great way to get the advantages of a gas-ported piston if you don’t have them or the rules don’t all allow them. Check out the Total Seal website right here to learn more about their gas-ported piston ring options.

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About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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