Here\u2019s How Plastic Pistons Perform in an Engine

Surely you’ve dreamed of doing something extraordinarily stupid with a car, but were dissuaded when realizing it required both a lot of labor and money—and that destruction was nearly assured. Thankfully for us, the mad scientists at Garage 54 aren’t put off that easily. Instead, this wild YouTube channel goes where no one expects. Stunts Experiments have ranged from molding clear engine covers to watch what happens to frozen oil to fitting a Hummer H2 with a set of 13-inch wheels, so it probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise that this team recently equipped an engine with plastic pistons.

The team at Garage 54 opted for Kaprolon slugs to replace the metal pistons in their GAZ 3102. Kaprolon appears to be just another name of the commonly available, and fairly robust Nylon-6, or PA6 for plastic aficianodos. Now, this isn’t Garage 54’s first rodeo with alternative-material pistons. The team filled an engine with wood pistons earlier in the channel’s life.

Machining the parts seemed relatively straightforward. The team basically threw a large chunk of plastic in a lathe and spun off the pistons. Then grooves were cut for piston rings and holes machined for wrist pins. The team didn’t machine the groove for a wrist pin retainer, but the interference fit was good enough to press on with the project.

After a quick reassembly process, the crew fired up their plastic-piston-engine machine. And, surprisingly, it works. As you can imagine, it’s only a matter of time until it quits working, but it’s amazing the pistons can bring the engine to life at all.

We’d also bet that might be some fairly toxic exhaust coming out of the tailpipe, so we wouldn’t recommend trying this one at home—or, for that matter, any of these Garage 54 adventures. However, it is fun to watch from behind the screen!

Did you expect the plastic pistons to work? Let us know in the comments below.

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