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September 2012 Reader Questions - Exhaust Notes

Comments, Questions, and Smart Remarks

Ryan Basseri
Aug 27, 2012

I see all these drag cars pushing over 1,000 whp in your magazine the past couple years and was wondering how they are making so much power on such small engines. I remember back in the day, it was insane to see anything over 600 whp! What changed?

Brian, thanks for the question! Yes, these guys have been doing some crazy stuff these days; tuners have just managed to find the weakest links in their setups. Its like anything, you push for more, you fail, and you try again! These days there seems to be a magic formula for power, and it is simply quality parts and good R&D. Turbos have become much more advanced, and this technology is helping to make monster power. Also, it was uncommon to see Honda FWD cars sporting MoTeC or AEM electronics; now they are staples in the drag community. Electronics play a huge role in boost and traction management and putting the power to the ground. I remember when the kids at the races would say, “Yeah, but you can’t put the power to the ground, so all that power is useless.” With modern electronics, this is just not the case. Proper sized turbos and electronics, along with slicks and driver skill, can help to make any high-powered car fast.

Htup 1209 01 o+exhaust notes+turbocharger Photo 1/2   |   September 2012 Reader Questions - Exhaust Notes

Ryan, you did my wiring harness on my Accord over four years ago for my H22A. The speed sensor never worked right, and I was wondering what could be the issue. I have been locked up since and was wondering if you could help me out as I might be getting out soon. I was also looking at getting some books for engine performance and building up my H22. I already picked up Aaron Bonk’s Honda Engine Swaps book, and was looking into the high-performance engine builders book as well. Please let me know how to start.

Jose, I hope the crime was nothing too serious as I don’t want to be on the hit list if I answer improperly! Just kidding. ;) The speed sensor problem shouldn’t be anything major. Back then when I was doing the core return harnesses, we would graph in sections of both harnesses to make a proper loom. The speed sensor should not really need to be touched, but I can tell you how to check it. The black should go to ground, the black/yellow should have power, and the third wire should go to the ECU. If it’s not a bad wire, those speed sensors tend to go out a lot, so try another. Aaron Bonk’s book is great, but there is so much good info online these days that you might want to search Google for more info. See what others are doing, plan out a budget, and go from there.

I’m building a high-horsepower B-series engine, and I am curious on what turbo manifold I should be using for a boosted setup. I see some of the guys with front mount turbos, some top mount. What’s the best?

It’s going to come down to personal preference, but the general rule of thumb is to keep the charge pipes as short as possible and straight to the point. I’m not sure if it’s a drag car, but I will assume it is. Forward-facing turbos are all the rage at the moment. They put the intake right in front, with no chance of a starved-for-air turbine. Top-mount is a great option for space savings as well as sidewinder designs that can basically relocate the turbo for even more clearance. It’s hard to say what is best, but if you’re running an intercooler as opposed to air to water or something similar, I would put the turbo in the front, with the intake facing forward, and piping short or straight to the intercooler. This might not allow enough room for a proper radiator, but custom pieces can be constructed. Good luck and happy boosting.

Htup 1209 02 o+exhaust notes+honda motor Photo 2/2   |   September 2012 Reader Questions - Exhaust Notes

I’m building a turbo K-series drag car, and I wanted to see what the weakest link on my setup will be. What is commonly overlooked, and how/what do I need to solve the issue?

You’re going to have problems with transmission breakage most likely. The easiest, most expensive, and best bang for your buck is going to be a dog-engagement straight-cut gearset. Most gearsets use straight-cut teeth, as this is the strongest way to beef up the gears. They also ditch the synchro on the face of the gear giving super-harsh feel, and eliminating the possibility of the synchro breaking. Most companies also make a synchro face version of the straight-cut gear, but generally this is used in lower-horsepower cars and road race applications where less abuse is seen. Be warned that using gearsets like these are not intended for street use, and you will hate life if you get stuck in traffic with a setup like this!

By Ryan Basseri
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