Here's where we act like we know something technical about cars. Feel free to ask us about your technical troubles. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Super Street c/o Tech Support, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. Feel free to include a picture of your project or tech problem.
Question Of The Month
Q Hey guys love the magazine, quick question for ya. In your April issue of Tech Support a guy was building a D16Y7. You said he could swap in pistons from an `88-89 Integra D16A1. Which brings me to my question, could I do the same swap in a D16Z6? I'm putting it into my `88 four door Civic. If possible, what compression would I have and would it make any difference with my balanced crank?
Via the Internet
A Yes, you can use those pistons just as well. If you use the `88-89 Integra pistons (P29), it will give you an insane 13.6 to 1, compression ratio. But if you were to use the `86-87 Integra pistons (PG6), it will give you a nice streetable 11.6 to 1 compression ratio. The best thing about using those stock pistons, is they're only $45 each at the dealership. Here are three links you will find very helpful. All D series builders should bookmark these links as favorites, for future use.
Q I have been reading your magazine since I was 14, and I have never put it down. You guys rock. I am an 18-year-old enlisted into the Marines and I am trying to decide on an import to get, preferably a Nissan. I really want an R33 GTS-T type M, but I don't know. I'm also very interested in the first generation Toyota MR2. Will the 20-valve 4AG fit in there? I would appreciate the help.
Orlando `Lendo" Mejia
Via the Internet
A A Skyline of any kind would be great, but lets keep this a bit more realistic. Since you're contemplating a AW11 or R33, we're going to go out on a limb and say the AW11 MR2 is what you can really afford. Yes, all 4AG motors will work in the MR2, even the 20-valve will work. Many people have done it and it is badass. If you get one with a 4AGZE, it's also a great motor that shouldn't be overlooked.
Q I have a first gen Mazda RX-7 and I am extremely tired of the rear drum brakes. Do you know where I can find some disc brakes or what kind of car would fit on my car without major work? Ohhh yeah one last thing, do you know where can find a set of rims that would fit on it too? I've been looking for a long time and I have nothing.
Spring Hill, FL
A The RX-7 GSL models are the ones that have rear disc. Getting those parts would be the easiest and simplest way to obtain rear disc brakes. GS and GSL models have a 4x110 bolt pattern and it is very hard to find wheels with that bolt pattern. If you have the money, you can order some SSR MK wheels from Tanabe (www.more-japan.com) in that bolt pattern. If not, you'll have to look for used wheels within the RX-7/RX-3 community. Or try and find some used ones from Japan. If you can find the parts, GSL-SE models came with 4x114.3 bolt patterns which make your wheel selection that much greater. GSL-SE cars also have the rear disc that you want.
Q I currently have a 2000 Honda Accord (2.3L VTEC) with 106,660 miles on it. Whenever I jump on it and go through the gears, I seem to grind going into third. I have come to learn that this is called the `third gear grind', but what can I do to fix this problem? The only time it grinds is when I jump on it. Around town it's fine, but it's bugging me and I would like to get it fixed. Is it time to get the transmission replaced?
Via the Internet
A Ah the ever so common third gear Honda grind. This is a very common problem on aging Hondas. Basically, your synchros are going bad. It will get worse and it will not only grind when you shift hard into third, but even when you normally shift into third. The only fix there is a new transmission or rebuilding your old one. Getting a used transmission is like a ticking time bomb. If it hasn't been rebuilt, it will have the same fate as yours. Best thing to is drive it until it goes bad and you can afford a rebuild. Until then, Honda heads like to use GM Synchromesh (friction modified) or Redline MTF to help reduce the grind. Some have sworn using these fluids have completely ended their grinding issues.
Q I've got a problem with my `95 Acura Integra GS-R. I was driving home when my car broke down. I thought it was an electrical glitch. But it was raining and I drove through a good size puddle. I figured a fuse blew out or something like that. Unfortunately, after a trip to the mechanic, I was informed that the timing belt broke and my valves were ruined (even though I was traveling at about 40 mph) and they wanted $2,300 to fix it. Needless to say, I was a little dismayed to hear the repair cost, and my little DC would have to be parked in the front yard, in exchange for a Ford Escort. Sigh.... I was wondering if I had any cheaper options for a repair? Help a kid save a few greenbacks.
P.S. I was stoked to have my questions answered by Sean in the "WWJD" section!
A Well, it doesn't sound like an electrical problem at all. How old is your timing belt? They generally last between 80,000 to 100,000 miles on a car like yours. Since Honda engines are interference type engines, breaking your timing belt will almost always result in valves slapping into the pistons. At the least, you'll need a new head gasket and some valves. It is a lot of labor, and it should be expensive, but $2300 is a bit steep. You could easily find another motor and have it installed for that price or less. Call some local repair shops and get more quotes. Going through heavy water, especially if you have a cold air intake pulling air from underneath the bumper, can hyrdolock an engine. If that's the case, the block internals could be damaged as well.
Q Been reading your magazine since 2002 and I love it. It's been nice seeing Jonny's big head get bigger every year just like on them Airhead commercials. But back to the question, on your June issue I notice a nice ass green rim behind the Break Yo Self article on page 56. I just want to know what Gram Lights it is. I know it's a 57 but Gram Lights have a lot of 57 series (57c, 57s, 57f, etc.). I hope you guys can help me because I love that rim and even better in that color. It'll look nice on my blacked-out, JDM'd out RSX. And some one needs to tell Jonny his head is getting bigger than his boobs yo.
Via the Internet
A The 57Optimse is a great looking rim indeed. Maybe the best looking rim from the Gram Lights line. Unfortunately both the US and Japan website doesn't list an option for them in green. The only choices available are Shining Silver, Gun Blue, Ceramic White, and Time Attack Black/Red. You could easily look up a local powder coating place and have them done in any color you want, just like that green set.