So far, we’ve offered up two rounds of our new series, Ask The Experts, with your questions submitted to—and answered by—Nolan Jamora of Isky Cams and David Fussner of JE Pistons. This time around, we’ve put out the call to the one and only Keith Jones, Technical Support for Total Seal, piston ring supplier to some of the world’s quickest and fastest machines. Keith has graciously offered to answer your piston ring questions, and by now, you know the drill. Fire away with your most pressing questions related to piston rings, and once the submission period has ended (2/28/18) we’ll pass them along to Keith and await his responses.
Raised in the suburbs of Chicago, I’m fortunate to be the son of a gear head. I was able to hang out with my father at Arnie “The Farmer” Beswick’s shop and all I can say is that the seed was firmly planted. I have been a resident of Phoenix for the past thirty-six years.
My career in the automotive industry began early on in 1977 when I worked weekends and evenings at my uncle’s Union 76 gas station learning the basics of automotive repair on anything that had wheels. High school years were spent in vocational automotive and auto body classes, while after school and weekend activities involved racing in motocross competitions.
Further education included many hours spent machining and building race engines at a local machine shop as well as a few years attempting to hone my academic skills. I spent almost 18 years between two stints at local GM dealerships in the parts department.
My experience with them afforded me the opportunity to get involved with the good people in the GM Performance Parts division where I became a member of the GM Performance Parts council.
That time spent helped propel me into this side of the industry. My racing experience began at age 16 when a friendship with another racer introduced me to a 1966 Chevelle and paved the way to drag racing at the then Phoenix Raceway Park (now known as Speed World).
The old 327 was eventually replaced with an LS7 454 which meant it needed more rubber under the back and that led to a tube Chassis Super Gas car we built and ran for years, ultimately moving into my own super comp dragster which I also drove for many years. That car has since been retired and I’m currently doing a “resto mod” Pontiac Ventura.
During my sixteen years here at Total Seal, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to travel all over North America, the U.K., Europe and Australia, working with hundreds of different race teams and engine builders. These include NHRA & IHRA Pro Stock, Comp, Stock, Super stock etc., NASCAR , IRL (Indy), World rally car, FIA Moto GP, Daytona prototype, GT1 2 & 3, Australian V/8 supercar, World of Outlaw sprint car, and many more.
The diversity and knowledge I’ve gained from these organizations has given me a broad perspective on different engine designs and the ability to evaluate which piston rings work best in each. I enjoy working with our customers one-on-one to determine the best possible package for their engine and specific application. No one ever calls asking to make less power. It’s my job to help them find it all.