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September 06 Import Car Tech Support - Oil Stains

Where We Cure All Your Tech Problems

Mar 15, 2007
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You totally wasted your summer vacation. How dare you? Especially when we've been trapped in the office away from natural sunlight cranking out magazine after magazine for you. And for what? So you could rot away on your couch and scarf down cheese puffs for three months? Your car is still on jack stands in the garage with the motor yanked out and dripping fluids everywhere. All you accomplished was watching the entire Dawson's Creek DVD collection and memorizing the lines. You should be ashamed of yourself.

But there's still a little time left before that first period bell rings again. Hit us up and get cracking on your car. You don't wanna take the bus to school, do you? Or even worse, have your parents drop you off. How are you gonna pull chicks like that? We'll be waiting for your letters. Regular mail will get to us at Super Street Magazine c/o Technical Support, 6420 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048. Anyone who plans to get their questions or problems to us faster than the three weeks it takes the United States Postal Service, you can e-mail us at tech@superstreetonline.com. As always, the Inquiry of the Month gets a prize. This month the prize comes from OMP (360.366.0959, www.ompamerica.com) and it's a racing seat for the office. If you don't work, then you can sit on it to watch TV or roll it back and forth on the wood floor to annoy your downstairs neighbors.

Ricky's Inquiry of the Month

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Q Yes, before we get into this: I am a girl. I'm a 25-year-old mother and I'm big into imports. Well, right now my fianc and I are currently building a 2002 Honda Civic Si (K20A3 for the geeks). We have been doing some research lately and since all we have left to do is brakes and boost, we are now looking at the boost since we know what we're planning to stop the car with. The choices that we have been > looking at are either a turbo kit by GReddy or RevHard, or to go with a supercharger. Obviously the charger looks a little more convincing at the moment since we can get 8psi at about $1k cheaper than a cooled turbo kit. Mainly we are just wondering if you could give us any pros and cons between the two to help us better make a choice for our application. Pretty much the car looks too good but isn't fast enough, a lot like the poopy colored RSX you're working on (Watch it, Heather. - JN).

Heather Bell
Walla Walla, WA

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A We're not sure if you're a long-time reader or you just happened to find one of our issues tucked in your fianc's porn stash. But that's not really important. Back in '03 we hosted a Honda Civic Si Challenge with different tuners. It worked out well, because each tuner took a different approach to trying to extract the maximum horsepower and performance from the K20 and EP3 chassis. Skunk2 went with their traditional all-motor setup and managed to make a decent amount of power at 235, but balanced it out with an insane amount of chassis fabrication. HKS ran their Rotrex supercharger with a stock bottom end, clocked in 270hp at the wheels, and did it all while passing emissions. Which may or may not be a concern of yours. Signal Auto put together a very mean turbo setup that cranked out 376hp, but we're pretty sure that the kit isn't mass-produced. GReddy was the shocker for us with their off-the-shelf turbo kit that laid down 352hp at the wheels while still being able to pass the smog sniffer test. So there are your options and they all have positives. What it boils down to is what you hope to achieve in the end. Are you looking for all-out power or just an extra "boost" with reliable driving to boot?

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Q I own a '96 Integra LS with a stock setup B18B. I work on cars and I know how to do a lot but I have never swapped an engine. My question is, for a do-it-yourselfer like me, what would be the most horsepower for the lowest cost: LS/VTEC with say a C1 or C5 head or a straight swap with like a B16A or a B18C? All of my research makes LS/VTEC sound easy but I get nervous when they talk about drilling into the block for oil circulation. Is that something that I can pull off myself and is it worth it or is it easier to just swap? The car will be a daily driver so I need it to be reliable too.

Super Street Cult Follower
Via Internet

A Of course, you'll get a little more performance out of the Type R head. But we say grab whatever you can get your grubby little paws on. Back when this whole LS/VTEC thing was new, we'd tell you to go out and find a reputable shop to do the work for you. But now, it's been tried and tested to death. So much, in fact, that there are companies that make kits so you can do the conversion in the comfort of your own garage. If you have the know-how to change a head gasket and oil filter, you can probably pull this off without any problems. But don't take that as us giving you the green light to go ahead and tackle this job without doing any research. Golden Eagle (909.592.4311, www.goldeneaglemfg.com) is one of the companies that has this kit available for a really decent price.

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