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My 750-4 pistons were well covered with carbon when I tore the engine apart. I cleaned them up and they look pretty good.

However, while the new compression rings fit, they fit a bit tightly (they are the right rings), and the clearance seems minimal (a little smaller then it should be). I had cleaned the ring lands with a broken ring (cheap approach but usually works), but I can still see a lot of what looks like carbon/varnish on the flats inside the lands, which I can't seem to scrape out with the broken ring (and I don't want to grind around in there with it!).

Is there a solvent of some kind that will clean the lands out well, that is safe on aluminum?
 

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Drop by your GM dealer and pick up a can of GM Top Engine Cleaner. I use the liquid in a can and not the spray version.

Put it in an old glass cake dish, and invert the pistons in the solution overnight, the next morning the carbon will just slide right off the aluminum.
 
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