I don't replace piston rings very often but when I do..it helps to have a tool. Rather than purchase one (only $7) I decided to make one. I cut a strip about 1 inch wide and 6 inches long from a piece of metal roof flashing(thin metal), carefully bend the flashing around the piston and then bend tabs on each end of the strip. Now you can squeeze the tabs together to compress the rings and slide the cylinder down over the rings.
A good ring compressor substitute is a stainless steel screw type hose clamp. String 2 or 3 together for larger cylinders. Another quickie is to use a plastic cable tie. I prefer the hose clamps when a regular ring compressor is not available. Thanks, Dave Reed Otto Gas Engine Works 2167 Blue Ball Road Elkton MD 21921-3330 phone 410-398-7340 www.ringspacers.com www.pistonrings.net, www.ringspacer.com
I know this is a REALLY old thread, but I have another alternative:
A fine strand of copper wire. Like take a length if lamp cord, strip it then take one single strand and wrap it around the piston and ring, you do not need to sweat removing the wire, it will burn and melt the first time the engine starts.
I have done this on motorcycles Weed Eaters lawn mowers cars and even a few saws and a generator. Never had any trouble, and the wire has never causes any damage to either pistons,cylinders or rings.
Believe it or not, I got that idea from a novel in high school. In a scene from THE GRAPES OF WRATH their car breaks down, and they have to replace a piston piston rod and rings They used a piece of copper wire to retain the ring, and even discussed the wire melting and becoming " part if the bore".
I know this sounds fishy, and maybe a bit dangerous, but I swear by it, this method has never let me down.
Try it o a junk cylinder if you are skeptical. Just be sure to clock the ring, and use that tiny ring gap to hide the twisted ends of the wire. If a thick wire us used it WILLDESTROY THE BORE. An old extension cord or speaker wire, is a perfect source of wire.