If it is a press fit piston, it has to be pressed apart. Doing this without damaging the piston is difficult without proper equipment. If you are not re-using tht pistons, put them in a press and support them well and press them apart. If you have any thoughts of re-using the pistons, have your machine shop do it for you.
The rods do need to be heated to install the new pistons. Although you hear of guys doing this with a torch, believe me a Sunnen rod heater makes the job a lot easier and there is a lot less chance of damagine the rod by overheating it.
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