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Forced Induction, Engine Swap, and More - Question It

Fixing What You Broke

Eric Hsu
Aug 6, 2010

Eric Hsu facts:

  • Eric Hsu welds roll cages by rubbing two screwdrivers together.
  • Eric Hsu never pays to drive on toll roads. There is nothing anyone can do about it.
  • Eric Hsu owns no kitchen equipment. He puts food in his hand and holds it over an acetylene torch until it's cooked.
  • Eric Hsu can win them all.
  • If Eric Hsu had a dime for every time he was wrong, he'd be in debt.
  • Eric Hsu hates Teletubbies. Hates them.
  • "Eyjafjallajokull" is not an active volcano, but the nickname recently given to Eric Hsu after he won a burnout contest in Iceland.
  • Eric Hsu is willing to share his perfection.

Send questions, problems, and sob stories to:

Damping Dilemmas
2NR's 4G64 project build (using a 4G64 block with DOHC 4G63 MIVEC head) has been an excellent read, and is giving me ideas for my '00 Mitsubishi Galant. I priced out your engine build and calculated the costs at roughly $8,000. Before I jump into trying to mess with my engine, I want to obtain the proper suspension setup. I recently upgraded the factory rotors to Brembo slotted disks and added EBC Greenstuff pads, but find it difficult to find a decent set of coilovers for my Galant. I know the JDM Legnum, VR-4, and Eclipse Spyder can all be compatible, but before I spend a ton of money, I would like to know if there is any definite match of parts I can use, considering a Legnum is a wagon with a heavier curb weight, the VR-4 has a stiffer chassis with AYC, and the Spyder is a coupe.
-Brandon Goodrich
Lawrence, KS

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HKS has numerous special-order coilover applications for JDM passenger cars that would possibly fit your Galant. Unfortunately, no suspension company is going to guarantee fitment for a JDM coilover onto a U.S. spec Galant . . . so you're on your own there. Your best bet is to try verifying JDM to US spec suspension fitment on a Mitsubishi forum.

Swapping for Power
I own a '91 Honda Civic hatchback that's broken down and sitting on bricks at home. I am fixing the car to drop in a K20A2. What transmission can I use for this engine to fit into my Civic, and can I swap over the wiring, cluster, and most of the electronics from an RSX Type-S?
-Luis Mines

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Your only reasonably priced choices for an engine swap are the factory RSX and EP3 Civic Si transmissions that came with K20s. Hasport offers engine mounts, and you'll need axles from a base model RSX (non-S) or a '02 Civic Si. The RSX-S and Type R axles have a different spline count so they will not work. A few others have used the RSX-S or EP3 Civic axles with DA Integra outer stub axles with success.

Need 4 Speed
I'd like to get just a bit more power (50-75 hp) out of my '06 M45 Infiniti 4.5L V-8 currently equipped with a cold air intake and Stillen exhaust. I've looked on the Internet for performance upgrades but still haven't found anything regarding my motor (VK45DE). I'm willing to spend $1,500 to $3,500 toward parts if it can help me obtain my horsepower goal.

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Being a V-8, any bolt-on turbocharger kit for the VK45DE engines is going to cost large sums of money. The Drift Emporium cars are all running Stillen supercharged VKs-you might want to give them a call for advice. Cosworth designed a supercharged engine package based on the VK45DE engine for a high-end boat race team in Dubai. Each of their boats uses two of these 600hp engines, which cost about $80,000 each, so unfortunately such a setup wouldn't fit your budget. Damn, don't we all wish we had oil money?!

S2K Bolt-On Power
I'm a fan of naturally aspirated power and want to make 300 whp in my '06 Honda S2000. Which parts would you recommend I obtain first? I've heard Password:JDM makes the best intake systems, and that J's Racing headers are the way to go. At some point a dyno tune would be necessary, along with larger fuel injectors, but what else do you suggest I do?

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For 300 naturally aspirated horsepower at the wheels, you'll need increased compression and, ideally, larger displacement. Cams, head work, a long-tube header, ECU tuning, dyno tuning, etc., will also be required. Unfortunately, it isn't going to be found with just a series of bolt-ons.

Affordable Boost
I am the proud owner of an '03 350Z. Its VQ35DE is a great engine, but I'm stuck at a crossroads between forced induction or natural aspiration. I wouldn't mind turbocharging it-I love boost and I miss the FC3S I sold a few years ago-but I want to be different and see what kind of power I can make with a stroker build using ITBs.

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My friends say to go the forced induction route, and so far the best solution I found is the Power Enterprises twin-turbo unit, but it's a bit pricey. Plus, I know I would eventually have to build the engine's internals to handle boost. Others have suggested the Vortech supercharger, which is more within my price range than most turbo kits on the market. I want 350-400whp. What should I do?
-Chris M.

To be honest, a big-power, naturally aspirated build is expensive, can hamper street drivability, and is generally loud without turbo(s) to silence the exhaust. To make 400hp naturally aspirated, you'd need camshafts, head work, high compression pistons, and bigger displacement, all which will add up to big bucks. Back in '08, Cosworth built an engine for the Castrol Syntec Top Shop Challenge that made 439 naturally aspirated bhp, but the parts alone cost nearly $16,000-without labor. The PE twin-turbo kit uses IHI turbos with the capability of delivering 500whp while offering excellent boost response. But like you said, it would be ideal to build your engine first. Another option is to keep the boost down on stock internals, and the power at or below 400whp with good tuning. The Vortech kit is a good option for this. Unfortunately, it all comes down to how much your wallet can handle, before your engine.

Old School Transformation
I just bought an '88 Nissan Sentra and would like to modify the car, but have some questions:
1. Can I convert the front and rear end to those from a Nissan S13?
2. What engines can I swap the stock engine with, if any?
3. Can I convert to a rear-wheel-drive setup?
4. What are some good companies you know of that hook up U.S. service members?
If you guys could point me in the right direction, I would appreciate it.
-SPC Cedric Barnes
Fort Leonard Wood, MO

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1. No, what's the point? Why not just buy a S13? An S13 doesn't cost much more than an '88 Sentra. 2. You can swap in anything that will fit if you have the money, but it probably isn't worth it. 3. See answer #1. 4. It's usually only the larger mail-order warehouses that offer military discounts. The smaller shops that do engine swaps probably won't have the budget to offer "hook-up pricing", but it doesn't hurt to ask.

Induction Suction
I own an '03 Celica GT-S and wanted to know what's the best "bang for the buck" cold-air intake system on the market today? Should I worry that running a cold-air intake will cause the engine to ingest rain water and hydro lock?
-Ron Leland

I would suggest looking into a K&N Typhoon or an AEM Cold Air Intake. The K&N Typhoon intake plenum isn't as long as their competitors' and might be good for your application if water is of concern. K&N claims to deliver a 7.5hp gain at 6,400rpm over the factory intake.

I currently own a '96 Civic LX with an AEM Cold Air intake and a 2.75-inch cat-back exhaust system. The exhaust is using the factory catalytic converter built into its factory header. If I purchase a 4-2-1 two-piece header and aftermarket catalyst, how much horsepower can be gained or lost because of the lack of back pressure?
-Kim Ketring
Dallas, TX

A well-designed 4-2-1 header will provide gains in both torque and horsepower, but it's the 2.75-inch exhaust that I think might be a little too big for your naturally aspirated engine. Even near-stock road-racing Hondas-such as NASA's Honda Challenge H3, H4, and H5 class cars that spend their lives above 6,000 rpm-don't usually use exhausts that large. Of course, it all depends on the mufflers and silencers used in your 2.75-inch system, but I think a 2.25-2.50-inch exhaust would yield more usable power.

By Eric Hsu
31 Articles



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