Total Seal Goes Gapless

Innovation Squared

Total Seal® is a leader in Piston Ring technology with the ability to meet whatever special needs the customer may need. From IMCA modifieds to NASCAR and IndyCar, Total Seal® can fit rings into any piston required. When planning and assembling a new engine, one of the most important components in regards to overall performance are the piston rings. These slim circles of metal may seem simple but the science and physics built into each set is imperative to the output and longevity of any internal combustion engine.

Think about it; the piston rings seal in absurd amounts of cylinder pressures, they alter their shape with heat and operating cycles, help create vacuum (on the intake stroke of naturally aspirated engine) and prevent the oil from reaching the cylinder. Even against all of these variables, one area of compromise that all rings have had to deal with is the end gap.

Piston rings require a gap, not only for installation purposes, but to allow for expansion during extreme cylinder temperatures as well as dealing with the combustion event in the cylinder. Too much gap will reduce cylinder pressures, too little of gap can cause contact of the ring ends resulting in metal-to-metal contact and inevitable engine damage. Ring gap has always been a compromise that engine builders have always accepted yet strived to perfect for each engine.

The solution to this age old mechanical compromise is a gapless ring, which is exactly what Total Seal founder Joe Moriarty designed in the late ‘60s. As a consummate innovator and engineer, Joe studied earlier attempts at gapless rings and eventually developed a concept that used a two-piece ring design made up of a ring with an interlocking rail. Both components have a typical gap, yet the rail which is installed in the machined recess of the ring acts as a barrier (or seal) so cylinder pressures and gasses cannot blow past the ring. The result is better internal engine sealing and overall performance improvements.

A convincing example to consider is through a typical leak down test. When a new set of conventional rings are installed, a leak down test shows an average of 7% which over a short time can build to over 20%. A set of gapless rings will typically show leak down figures of 2% and less without deteriorating excessively over use.

The rings of a piston each have a different goal. The top ring battles against extreme pressures coming from the top and underneath it. The second ring experiences a portion of compression sealing but it’s main responsibility is to scrape the oil from the cylinder wall to keep it away from the combustion and power event. Total Seal offers their gapless technology for use in either the top or second ring position to cover the needs of different applications, especially those of professional race engine builders.

The overall goal, which Total Seal’s Gapless® rings provide, is a more efficient engine. Not only are there performance increases from the improved sealing of the cylinder pressures, but there is also improved vacuum, a more effective intake signal to pull more air and fuel into the cylinder, cleaner engine oil and even a wider torque curve.

When you’re planning to refresh an engine or build a new racingsetup, reach out to the techs at Total Seal to discuss the gapless options available for your application.

Total Seal’s patented Gapless ® Piston rings provide increased performance through unmatched sealing of cylinder and combustion gasses within the combustion chamber. Increased horsepower and torque along with longer engine life are just a couple of the reasons why folks think that Total Seal’s Gapless ® Piston rings are the best rings available.

While we’re at it; here are a few of the other ways that the technology supports engines while enhancing overall performance value:

Increased horsepower and torque
Longer engine life
Saves money (fewer teardowns)
Cleaner engine oil
Better Oil control
Reduced friction
Reduced engine oil temperatures
Wider torque curve
Increased engine vacuum


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Total Seal





(800) 874-2753


22642 North 15th Avenue

Phoenix, Arizona 85027

ABOUT Total Seal®

In late 1999 we moved into our new 32,000 square foot facility in Phoenix, Arizona. It houses the latest in research and development equipment, manufacturing machinery and technology focusing on developing and manufacturing piston rings for any and all applications.Our rings continue to show up on the world's fastest, from NASCAR to IMCA to IndyCar, from marine to drag racing, oval track to off road - nobody builds piston rings that seal better than Total Seal.