Which pistons to use?


I'm addicted
May 4, 2003
Getting ready to choose pistons for my rebuild. Machine shop told me to give serious consideration to going .020 or .030 over even though I wanted to stick with stock bore. That said I need to choose some pistons. Things to keep in mind when doing so:
1. I'm not rich
2. I'm almost out of money.
3. I'm not building a race car.
My rebuild is basically a step up from stock. I have a 204/214 cam, ported heads, billet center main caps, 60# moto injectors, stock crank, turbo, ic, etc. I know I want to go forged, no question there. My question is will TRW .030 (Sealed Power) be good enough? Or should I flip the extra coin for .020 JE's or Diamonds?
Once I pick the pistons, which rings does everyone recommend?
Like I said above, I'm not rich and I'm running low on funds, but I don't mind spending the extra money and taking a little longer to get things done...so long as they are done RIGHT.
ok, let the opinions/suggestions fly.
I did nothing block machining for 2 years. I Mic'd thousands of pistons of all makes and sizes. The ones that had the best track record for being machined right, were JE's. The TRW's and Ross's are very heavy (not that it matters..dyno confirmed the weight made no difference), but I ran across far more Ross and TRW pistons that were either damaged or cut wrong than any others. Finding problems with Ross pistons was the most common. Usually a skirt crushed .005" or the cam profile not cut properly. JE always kept me impressed. I did run across a few bad ones, but overall I was really impressed with the repeatability of their tolerances. Hopefully they are still doing well 8 years later. But no matter what brand you go with, every piston should be mic'd everywhere by someone who knows what they are looking for, and every single piston should always be mic'd. In 2 positions on the skirt, and at 45 degrees in one direction, and 45 in the other to check for the cam profile. Cant just check 1 and call it a day. The JE's seem a little more prone to scuffing, but if you wash the cylinders out with carb cleaner, and there are absolutely zero stains from the hot tank (they are a little hard to see, but they will **** your rings up FAST), and you properly lube the pistons, rings and cylinders before install, you should be ok. Once again, I really stress flushing the whole block with carb cleaner, and using a long, clean bottlebrush through the oil galleys, once again, using carb cleaner. It pulls stuff out of the pores in the metal that nothing else can. Follow it up with ZEP.
Speed Pro Pistons

I like the speed Pro pistons with the teflon skirts. I think they made by TRW, i'm sure someone will know. Used these in both my motors, The forged units, of course.