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 Old 01-17-2016, 03:26 PM   #1
 
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Default Let's Talk About Forged Piston Alloys

Okay so as we all know pistons are an essential thing to consider when building an engine and there's more and more coming to the market all the time. Something I feel that isn't very talked about which is very important is the material that the piston is made of.

Since this thread is about building an engine I'd like to keep it pertained to forged pistons. The two most used alloys that forged pistons are made of is 2618 and 4032. Both of these are Aluminum alloys and they each have their own properties which give them their own advantages.

I'll start with 4032 since it's what I'm more interested in. It is the weaker of the two but is also considered to have a longer useable life. The reason for this is that it is a 4000 series aluminum and has a higher silicone content. This higher silicone content means that the piston will not expand as much when it is heated to operating temperature. Since it doesn't expand as much it means the the piston to wall clearance (pwc) can be set tighter when the engine is machined. This tighter clearance means that the engine will wear less when it is cold and have less piston slap, which also means there will be less blow by for a longer period of time.

The advantages of 2618 are that it is a stronger alloy. The reason for this is because it is a precipitation hardened alloy. This precipitation hardening can make 2000 series aluminum almost as strong as some steels. But because of the lower silicone content it expands more and thus requires a larger pwc. Also, being a precipitation hardened alloy it will lose strength over time as it is exposed to more heat, which drives the precipitates together in the lattice and can become stress risers after they get big enough.

Now most of the options that are out there are 2618 but over the past couple of years we have had a couple of 4032 options pop up. What I'd really like to know is how far power wise have people taken 4032 pistons? I know that 2618 can be pushed to the moon but I'd prefer to have the longevity of 4032 if I can.

Here's what I found about which pistons are which alloys, if you know of any other please let me know and I'll update it:

2618 = CP - CPE - Manley - Wiseco - Mahle - SP63

4032 = Supertech - Mahle - SRP - SP63


For those who have built engines how have you fared with your forged pistons longevity wise? Has anyone noticed increased blow by as they've accumulated more mileage on their built engine?
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 Old 01-22-2016, 04:32 PM   #2
 
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Default

I would be interested to know as well, I am going to be making a piston purchase soon and am pretty sure I am going to go with the 4032 version just because it's more like stock and will just last longer and not have nearly as much piston slap which saves on the block wear and tear.
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 Old 01-22-2016, 06:02 PM   #3
 
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2618 - so far so good with 13k miles on it. Another couple more thousand miles and they will have lasted longer than my stock hardened-putty pistons.
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 Old 01-22-2016, 08:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mazdazilla6 View Post
For those who have built engines how have you fared with your forged pistons longevity wise? Has anyone noticed increased blow by as they've accumulated more mileage on their built engine?
I wouldn't jump to blaming the pistons for increased blow-by after lots of miles. Piston rings are oft the cause of the same, and few people have the miles to have seen the issue, and fewer have torn down their engines to determine the cause.

With that said, over 70k on mine with still acceptable leak down.
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 Old 01-23-2016, 12:18 AM   #5
 
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I already put 12k miles on mine (SP63 custom, so basically custom machined Wisecos, 2618 alloy) and the engine is pretty noisy during these cold under freezing temp winter days.
When I've got mine, the 4032 Mahles just appeared on the market and we didn't know anything about them and I was also told that with some minimal coating (which they already have) the Wisecos will be a good choice. Since there's no metal shaving in the oil so far I think it's all good.

We know the difference in behaviour between the 2168 and 4032 alloy pistons, but how much that matters I guess time will tell. As @phate said above, if they hold 100k miles (which was the mileage at I had to rebuild by engine) with the extra of power I'm throwing at them I'm going to be happy with these and reconsider them.
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 Old 01-23-2016, 06:22 AM   #6
 
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Very few of us are good candidates for a 4032 build. Once people get to "built" status, they generally don't drive their Mazdaspeeds daily. Of those who do, an even smaller, almost non-existent subset drive enough miles to justify needing a longer-lasting alloy over the benefits the increased strength of the 2618.

I would be interested to talk to some of the manufacturers of these 4032 pistons (also I would be highly interested in figuring out who makes SP63's, so we can buy them directly) and determine whether they truly offer a significantly longer build life than a 2618. Eventually I think I will crack a ringland in my car, the way I am planning on using it (I plan on maxing out the BNR). At that point I will not be putting another OEM engine in my car, but will still want a build that can last 100k+. I doubt there ever even been a built L3-VDT that's lasted 100k miles...while retaining acceptable leakdown numbers.
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 Old 01-23-2016, 10:53 AM   #7
 
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Originally Posted by MD1032 View Post
Very few of us are good candidates for a 4032 build. Once people get to "built" status, they generally don't drive their Mazdaspeeds daily. Of those who do, an even smaller, almost non-existent subset drive enough miles to justify needing a longer-lasting alloy over the benefits the increased strength of the 2618.
You'd be amazed, I guess more than half are still daily driven. For track-day cars the mazdaspeeds are a decent candidate but not a very good one. As for drag racing the FWD has its short comes.
By example all (or 90+%) of the UK rebuilt L3-VDTs are still daily driven. That's why at least I bought a hot hatch, because I wanted a moronically fast car every time, everywhere. And then I wanted more.

Originally Posted by MD1032 View Post
I would be interested to talk to some of the manufacturers of these 4032 pistons (also I would be highly interested in figuring out who makes SP63's, so we can buy them directly) and determine whether they truly offer a significantly longer build life than a 2618. Eventually I think I will crack a ringland in my car, the way I am planning on using it (I plan on maxing out the BNR). At that point I will not be putting another OEM engine in my car, but will still want a build that can last 100k+. I doubt there ever even been a built L3-VDT that's lasted 100k miles...while retaining acceptable leakdown numbers.
The SP63 custom pistons used to be Wiseco and the 4032 are based on the Manley pistons (they seem to machine, coat and treat those). However, in the early days I remember there were a few stories with Wisecos hitting the cylinder walls with the skirt and from piston slap to loss of compression in such cases there are less than 15k miles.
The machining SP63 does reduces weight and fixes some of that skirt dragging issue on the cylinder walls.

If there will be a next time, I'll decide the pistons I'll use for rebuild based on the type of issue that lead to the actual rebuild. Since my block is bored to 88mm (I didn't know what I find when I open up the engine, and I actually found intact cylinder walls, so I could have used 87.5mm but I already bought the 88mm) I'll probably have to use sleeves and that opens up a few other possibilities as well.
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 Old 01-25-2016, 09:58 AM   #8
 
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I will be going with either sp63 pistons or another set of 4032s.

I'm having trouble locating the other 4032s listed in the first part. Who sells them? Are they listed for a different application?
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 Old 01-29-2016, 12:08 PM   #9
 
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Originally Posted by phate View Post
I wouldn't jump to blaming the pistons for increased blow-by after lots of miles. Piston rings are oft the cause of the same, and few people have the miles to have seen the issue, and fewer have torn down their engines to determine the cause.

With that said, over 70k on mine with still acceptable leak down.
Yes there are plenty of other factors to take into account like ring tension and skirt coatings. Obviously you want ring tension that is strong enough to keep the ring in one piece and keep it from fluttering and not let too much blow by. And you want the coating to have a similar thermal expansion rate as the base material to keep it from flaking off.

But I feel that piston slap (if bad enough) causes a good amount of wear. On top of that most of the slap happens at cold temps which is also the same conditions as partial dry starts, which is where most of the wear happens on an engine. So I think keeping piston slap to a minimal is a good place to start for having higher expectations on mileage for the build.


Originally Posted by MD1032 View Post
Very few of us are good candidates for a 4032 build. Once people get to "built" status, they generally don't drive their Mazdaspeeds daily. Of those who do, an even smaller, almost non-existent subset drive enough miles to justify needing a longer-lasting alloy over the benefits the increased strength of the 2618.

I would be interested to talk to some of the manufacturers of these 4032 pistons (also I would be highly interested in figuring out who makes SP63's, so we can buy them directly) and determine whether they truly offer a significantly longer build life than a 2618. Eventually I think I will crack a ringland in my car, the way I am planning on using it (I plan on maxing out the BNR). At that point I will not be putting another OEM engine in my car, but will still want a build that can last 100k+. I doubt there ever even been a built L3-VDT that's lasted 100k miles...while retaining acceptable leakdown numbers.
I believe that Mahle is the supplier SP63 uses for all of their pistons. I think there's some higher mileage builds out there, they just aren't active anymore. I know that I'm going to daily my speed once it's built for at least a little while and I'm sure there's other out there who do too. 4032 will definitely have a longer life than 2618, assuming no excessive detonation.
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 Old 01-29-2016, 12:31 PM   #10
 
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Originally Posted by Mazdazilla6 View Post
I believe that Mahle is the supplier SP63 uses for all of their pistons. I think there's some higher mileage builds out there, they just aren't active anymore. I know that I'm going to daily my speed once it's built for at least a little while and I'm sure there's other out there who do too. 4032 will definitely have a longer life than 2618, assuming no excessive detonation.
It's actually Wiseco, I emailed them a few days ago.

Wiseco manufactures the Pistons for us, yes they come with rings & pins, Manley rods are what we use with these pistons as well.
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 Old 01-29-2016, 12:50 PM   #11
 
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Originally Posted by kero View Post
It's actually Wiseco, I emailed them a few days ago.
That was in regards to their custom pistons? I know their pro series and the 4032 pistons are Mahle.
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 Old 01-29-2016, 01:11 PM   #12
 
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It was in the regards to the sp63 4032 pistons
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 Old 01-30-2016, 02:41 PM   #13
 
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That's odd because when they were still on MSF they had a thread titled Mahle Pro Series Pistons. The 4032 uses the same design so it's weird they would use a different supplier
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 Old 01-30-2016, 02:47 PM   #14
 
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It is odd, but here is the exact conversation, unless I misunderstood something:

P.s. why aren't they on the forum anymore?
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Quick run down that should cover most of the information for the piston materials, I snagged this off another forum since it was such good information.

4032 has higher silicon content which makes it harder and expands less under heat-meaning you can run tighter piston to wall clearances, better wear and less noise, longer life. However, the tensile strength is not as strong as 2618 which means in essence 2618 can handle detonation better. This is where the misinformation comes from. The reality is that a 4032 piston is actually very strong and will hold up to detonation much much better than a stock cast piston. They are good for turbo applications, but if max power is what you are after, then 2618 is probably the better choice. So where is the point that you should choose 2618 over 4032? That is debated everywhere, but with about a 12% less tensile strength, it is likely only around 12% less power than 2618. So, If a 2618 piston is rated at 1200hp, the 4032 should be able to hold 1000 hp with the same effectiveness. But no matter what, any piston has the chance to melt down/crack/break apart with a bad tune.
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 Old 03-22-2016, 12:01 AM   #16
 
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Originally Posted by LumberJack View Post
Quick run down that should cover most of the information for the piston materials, I snagged this off another forum since it was such good information.

4032 has higher silicon content which makes it harder and expands less under heat-meaning you can run tighter piston to wall clearances, better wear and less noise, longer life. However, the tensile strength is not as strong as 2618 which means in essence 2618 can handle detonation better. This is where the misinformation comes from. The reality is that a 4032 piston is actually very strong and will hold up to detonation much much better than a stock cast piston. They are good for turbo applications, but if max power is what you are after, then 2618 is probably the better choice. So where is the point that you should choose 2618 over 4032? That is debated everywhere, but with about a 12% less tensile strength, it is likely only around 12% less power than 2618. So, If a 2618 piston is rated at 1200hp, the 4032 should be able to hold 1000 hp with the same effectiveness. But no matter what, any piston has the chance to melt down/crack/break apart with a bad tune.
Don't know why I never saw this before. Just a little to add onto that too, that 12% delta shrinks as temperature goes up. Once up to operating temperature, their ultimate tensile strength is very close. From this post on another forum I found I think it sheds some good light on the topic of why 2618 is more popular than 4032. A lot of it comes down to the manufacturing and that 2618 can "stretch" more compared to 4032. That better "stretchability" means it is much less likely to break in the event of sudden pressure (ie detonation).
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 Old 03-22-2016, 07:03 AM   #17
 
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Originally Posted by Mazdazilla6 View Post
That's odd because when they were still on MSF they had a thread titled Mahle Pro Series Pistons. The 4032 uses the same design so it's weird they would use a different supplier
I received and installed their 4032 pistons, and can confirm that they are Wisecos
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 Old 03-25-2016, 06:04 PM   #18
 
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Wonder if contacting Weisco directly and trying to buy direct and save some coin. I am considering this, worst they can say is no
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 Old 03-25-2016, 11:27 PM   #19
 
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Originally Posted by HaXiR View Post
Wonder if contacting Weisco directly and trying to buy direct and save some coin. I am considering this, worst they can say is no
Since they are custom made for sp63 or by them using an OTS piston, how much do you think can save by not appreciating the effort of some of our vendors of getting this on the market as is now instead of it's OTS form?

Look at the price between the OTS 2618 Wisecos and the custom 2618 pistons... For the OTSs people reported piston slap and problems with the oil squirters, while the custom 2618 don't seem to have that problem even when starting the car at near or below freezing temps.

So my guess is that you will save only on the initial purchase but that will not add up to piston/engine longevity or efficiency, or if you don't do the install yourself you may spend the difference on man hours when installing them for various little modifications and adaptations.

It's your money, so what I'm suggesting is to look in all directions just because of that.
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 Old 03-26-2016, 07:59 AM   #20
 
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I'll definitely give some feedback on my build once I come back from deployment and put it together. I have the sp63 4032 pistons, and they have been WPC treated. It will be my daily.

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 Old 03-26-2016, 02:06 PM   #21
 
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I'm wrapping up a build with sp63 2618s next week and mine will be a DD. A lot of the info out there regarding 2618s is from old school 2618 builds. With improvements in technology for coatings, clearances, and machining techniques a lot of the drawbacks have been eliminated or significantly improved, aka cold start slap. As others have pointed out both are strong enough for 95% of builds done and will likely outlast the original build parameters. I don't think anyone builds an engine with the intention of not changing or upgrading it for 100k. Then again maybe I'm wrong, I'd be happy with 50k of life as I'm sure by that point I'll be itching to change it up again.


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 Old 03-26-2016, 07:33 PM   #22
 
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Originally Posted by SNOW_QN View Post
I'll definitely give some feedback on my build once I come back from deployment and put it together. I have the sp63 4032 pistons, and they have been WPC treated. It will be my daily.

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Been looking into that WPC treatment since seeing your post, what did it run you to have the pistons done
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 Old 03-26-2016, 07:41 PM   #23
 
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Originally Posted by HaXiR View Post
where did you send them to get treated, and how much did it run you


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 Old 03-26-2016, 07:54 PM   #24
 
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Originally Posted by SNOW_QN View Post


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That's not TOO bad, I'm considering sending my pistons, bearings, maybe rods, and block for the cylinders to get done.
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It isn't too bad. What is the reason for sending the rods? If the wrist pin is treated, then you should be good on the friction side of things. I'm not sure aftermarket rods need the strengthening, unless you're doing a balls-to-the-wall build. In that case, disregard my question and send em off!

They recommended the highest friction areas: rings, bearings, pistons, and pins.

If it was convenient, I would probably send the block for shits and gigs, but it seemed overkill since the pistons and rings were already treated, and I'm not planning on having anything much over 400awhp... For now

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 Old 03-26-2016, 08:12 PM   #26
 
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Originally Posted by SNOW_QN View Post
It isn't too bad. What is the reason for sending the rods? If the wrist pin is treated, then you should be good on the friction side of things. I'm not sure aftermarket rods need the strengthening, unless you're doing a balls-to-the-wall build. In that case, disregard my question and send em off!

They recommended the highest friction areas: rings, bearings, pistons, and pins.

If it was convenient, I would probably send the block for shits and gigs, but it seemed overkill since the pistons and rings were already treated, and I'm not planning on having anything much over 400awhp... For now

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Good point, but for a couple extra bucks some strengthening wont hurt I guess. I'd like the cylinders done not only for the reduced friction but also that strength factor. So for what I can guess ball-park figure of like maybe 1-200 for the cylinders, it's probably worth it. Now getting it to them is the hardest part lol.
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 Old 03-26-2016, 08:17 PM   #27
 
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True. I want to say he quoted me $40/rod when I first called him.

If you send the block to get treated, let us know what it costs with shipping and all.

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 Old 03-26-2016, 08:29 PM   #28
 
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Originally Posted by GroceryGtr View Post
I'm wrapping up a build with sp63 2618s next week and mine will be a DD. A lot of the info out there regarding 2618s is from old school 2618 builds. With improvements in technology for coatings, clearances, and machining techniques a lot of the drawbacks have been eliminated or significantly improved, aka cold start slap. As others have pointed out both are strong enough for 95% of builds done and will likely outlast the original build parameters. I don't think anyone builds an engine with the intention of not changing or upgrading it for 100k. Then again maybe I'm wrong, I'd be happy with 50k of life as I'm sure by that point I'll be itching to change it up again.


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Keep me posted on that build and how it runs/sounds with those pistons. I was worried about wear and tear from the 2618's slapping etc on the block and such so I planned on picking up the 4032's. But if these 2618's have that problem mostly addressed and the motor will last then I might go with them. But even on SP63's site they suggest the 4032's for a solid DD build
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 Old 03-26-2016, 10:57 PM   #29
 
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Originally Posted by HaXiR View Post
Keep me posted on that build and how it runs/sounds with those pistons. I was worried about wear and tear from the 2618's slapping etc on the block and such so I planned on picking up the 4032's. But if these 2618's have that problem mostly addressed and the motor will last then I might go with them. But even on SP63's site they suggest the 4032's for a solid DD build
I spoke to someone at wiseco about this when I was ordering my pistons because I was concerned about piston slap on cold starts. At that point, I was planning on daily driving the car. They suggested a specific pwc for my power levels and basically said that with the current technology they believe I can get close to 100k out of 2618s. I can't recall the exact number for pwc but from what I can remember it was similar to a 4032s specifications. Would have to check the paperwork from the machine shop.



I have put maybe 3k-5k on the built motor with no piston slap at all even when starting at 0 degrees. I think it is important to have the short block assembled by a reputable machine shop.

However, I have read that 4032s would be better suited for the street as others pointed out.

I will be putting more miles on the car this summer and will keep checking compression numbers. So far, 185 across the board.
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 Old 03-26-2016, 11:22 PM   #30
 
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I am running SP63 Pro Series pistons that are 2618. The pistons are custom made from a Mahle piston for our motor with the oil squirter relief cut and a gen 2 style design. Speedperf6rmanc3 had them coated before they shipped them to me and I have had zero piston slap in 0 and below weather. I daily drive my car and have put 10,000 on the motor with no complaints.
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 Old 03-27-2016, 12:21 PM   #31
 
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Originally Posted by zjnspeed3 View Post
I am running SP63 Pro Series pistons that are 2618. The pistons are custom made from a Mahle piston for our motor with the oil squirter relief cut and a gen 2 style design. Speedperf6rmanc3 had them coated before they shipped them to me and I have had zero piston slap in 0 and below weather. I daily drive my car and have put 10,000 on the motor with no complaints.
Interesting... SP63 states that the 2816 vs 4032 have their pros and cons, I'm wondering what they actually are
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 Old 03-27-2016, 12:56 PM   #32
 
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Originally Posted by HaXiR View Post
Interesting... SP63 states that the 2816 vs 4032 have their pros and cons, I'm wondering what they actually are


They just exaggerate how the 4032s are supposed to last longer. Also that the 4032s aren't recommended to be used in high horsepower builds.
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 Old 03-27-2016, 08:27 PM   #33
 
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my goal was around 500 whp max as a DD. Kind of why I was planning to go 4032's.
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 Old 03-27-2016, 08:28 PM   #34
 
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Originally Posted by HaXiR View Post
my goal was around 500 whp max as a DD. Kind of why I was planning to go 4032's.


My goals were 550 as a DD but I figured if you are building the motor, you are going to have more wear than a stock one no matter what. Also, they didn't have 4032s on their site when I built mine.
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 Old 03-27-2016, 09:10 PM   #35
 
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Yeah, that's common from what I can tell since a lot of people built the motors before the 4032's were around. I'm also going to spend the coin to get the block, pistons etc etc all wpc treated for longevity
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 Old 03-28-2016, 09:15 AM   #36
 
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Just built my engine a couple months ago, I've got about 600 miles on the build, 0 piston slap in below freezing weather with the sp63 pro series 2618 pistons. Only ~$40 more expensive than the Wiseco OTS 2618s and I've heard about plenty of piston slap from the Wisecos. Going for a DD as I still have a ko4...
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 Old 03-28-2016, 02:41 PM   #37
 
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Originally Posted by msfastashell View Post
Just built my engine a couple months ago, I've got about 600 miles on the build, 0 piston slap in below freezing weather with the sp63 pro series 2618 pistons. Only ~$40 more expensive than the Wiseco OTS 2618s and I've heard about plenty of piston slap from the Wisecos. Going for a DD as I still have a ko4...
If people like yourself are getting zero slap, that means the wear and tear is minimal and defeats the purpose of the 4032's? What other advantages are there to purchasing/using 4032's if these 2816's are holding up with little wear thus providing the motor longevity many of us are after with a high hp DD
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 Old 03-28-2016, 02:52 PM   #38
 
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I'm not an engineer, or an expert on metallurgy, but I am assuming a larger PTW means that over time(as it wears) it will have a greater tendency to start slapping in the cold, since the cylinders are wearing. Also, the 4032s should be able to handle what most people are throwing at them from what I have researched.

My logic in purchasing the 4032 pistons over the 2618 pistons, was that if I have the same engine with every part exactly the same, except pistons, then the motor with the 4032s should theoretically go longer before needing rebuilt. I added the wpc treatment to extend that even further. That was my thinking on it. Again, I am no expert. I just read and go with what make the most sense in my mind. Lol

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 Old 04-05-2016, 12:01 PM   #39
 
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Originally Posted by HaXiR View Post
Wonder if contacting Weisco directly and trying to buy direct and save some coin. I am considering this, worst they can say is no
Wiseco won't be able to sell the design direct since they're likely under contract by SP63, since it's SP63's design. My engine builder had to call Wiseco to see if they could get a spec sheet for the machinist to work from and only then would Wiseco even confirm they made the pistons.
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Originally Posted by HaXiR View Post
my goal was around 500 whp max as a DD. Kind of why I was planning to go 4032's.
Correct me if I'm wrong but SP63 doesn't recommend their 4032 in builds over 450 hp since you can start cracking ring lands, which sounds like that may be a deal breaker for you? On the plus side it doesn't get cold in Las Vegas and from what I've read most people, if they get piston slap (which I think they were running Wiseco's OTS 2618), get it at under 50*F.
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