Hey everyone, I want to introduce an article I wrote in collaboration with Wiseco where I discuss piston wear and replacement. I think you'll find it useful because it will give you an idea when pistons should be replaced and how they wear. Check it out below!
The piston in an internal combustion engine is arguably one of the most important components found in the engine. When it comes to high-performance engines used in powersports applications it is also a component that is regularly replaced and serviced. Knowing when your piston should be replaced and how it wears is key to maintaining a reliable engine. In this article we’re going to discuss replacement intervals, piston wear, why it’s important to replace the piston, and piston replacement options.
Piston wear will typically occur in four key areas for both two and four-stroke engines which include the piston skirt, wrist pin bore, ring grooves, and piston crown. The next time you disassemble your top end keep an eye out for these wear points.
Piston Skirt Wear - The piston skirt is the portion of the piston that gives it its cylindrical shape. Nowadays on four-stroke engines, the piston skirt is very short and limited to the major and minor thrust faces of the piston. For reference, the thrust faces typically correspond with the intake and exhaust valve sides of the cylinder head. Two-stroke pistons use the same nomenclature but feature much longer more pronounced skirts.
Piston skirt wear occurs because of the thrust loading that results from the inherent geometry of the crank mechanism as the engine fires. Peak combustion pressure occurs slightly after top dead center which causes the piston to thrust into the cylinder wall.