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Has anyone attempted a piston ring replacement without removing the entire engine (KA24DE, 1st gen)? I am already rebuilding the head, so that is already removed. I was hoping that I could get the pistons/rods out through the top, hone the cylinders, replace the rings, and reassemble it all with the block still in place. I realize that i'd have to be extremely careful to contain all debris, but are there any other reasons why this would not be recommended?
 

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It's possible. It's just a bit of extra PITA to do it without removing the eng. And make sure you use rod cap stud sleeves so you don't f-up your crank journals dropping the pistons/rods back in.

The major drawback is that if there are enough miles on the engine to necessitate ring replacement due to oil consumption or compression loss then the bores will need to be cut and honed as well to take the taper out of the cylinders. Putting new rings in old bores is kind of like putting new brake pads on old rotors. The rings will only seal with part of the ring surface and will likely make your oil consumption or compression worse.
 
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