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Nitrous Systems and Adding Horsepower - Question It

Fixing what you broke.

Oct 10, 2010

Eric Hsu Facts:

We're taking a break from the silliness this month and giving you actual Eric Hsu really facts, so you know why he's answering your tech questions each month.

Impp_1011_05_o+eric+hsu Photo 2/8   |   Nitrous Systems and Adding Horsepower - Question It

Fact: Eric Hsu is Production Development Manager for Cosworth USA
Fact: Tasked with interpreting data acquired during track sessions, Eric Hsu serves as engine manager for Sierra Sierra's time-attack effort.
Fact: Eric Hsu was one of the original founding partners of XS Engineering, serving as lead tuner and pioneering ECU re-programming in the '90s.
Fact: Eric Hsu is a ninja
Fact: Eric Hsu loves gummy worms.

Send questions, problems, and sob stories to: questionit@importtuner.com

Pissing Contest
I own an automatic '08 Civic LX coupe with a 1.8L R18 motor. The car was a present from my parents for my sixteenth birthday, so I'm kinda stuck with it. Just six houses down from mine lives a kid with a Civic Si. He knows his car is faster and loves to prove it every time I see him. I started modifying my car so I could pull past this guy next time he wants to show off. So far I have added a throttle body spacer, Weapon-R short-ram intake, and iridium spark plugs. Can I beat this guy for $400? What would I need and how much would it cost?
-Thomas Sims
via importtuner.com

Impp_1011_02_o+question_it+nos_bottle Photo 3/8   |   Nitrous Systems and Adding Horsepower - Question It

You have three major limitations to consider: your budget, your car's weak(ish) automatic transmission, and an OBD 2 system seemingly designed by Hitler that won't play nice with aftermarket power adders like turbo or supercharger systems. I'd recommend a single fogger nitrous system for a quick and easy power gain somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 to 75 hp. Since your car has a dead-head fuel system (lacking a return line), you'll need to use a "wet" system. Check out NOS or Nitrous Express (NX) for more information. After installing the nitrous system, proceed to immediately cruise by the guy's house and power brake your car in front of his driveway. When your car settles on the stall converter, pull the e-brake, hit the nitrous and let go of the brakes, keeping the gas floored and erupting the tires in a cloud of smoke. That might give him something to worry about next time he tries to punk you.

Shift Away
OK, this might seem like a very odd question, but I am re-building a '74 Mini Cooper with custom front and rear sub frames that will house a Honda B20B1/VTEC engine and AWD system out of a Honda CRV. The donor car that I used was automatic, so I ordered a five-speed CRV transmission that ended up not including the cable shifter-and I can't find one for the life of me. I was hoping you could recommend an aftermarket one or perhaps another cable shifter that might fit.
-Tom Sims
via importtuner.com

Impp_1011_04_o+question_it+primered_car Photo 4/8   |   Nitrous Systems and Adding Horsepower - Question It

So let me get this straight: you have the money to buy an engine and two transmissions, but not enough to buy a cable shifter? Short of reaching just past your feet to shift gears, I'm pretty sure you're going to need custom cables due to the shorter overall length of the car. Buy the part new from a Honda dealership (they're not that expensive), then contact Madison Power Systems in Pontiac, Michigan for the custom cables. They can make power transmission cables for virtually any automotive application including shifters, hand brakes, etc.

Damage Control
I just bought an '08 Mazda 6 2.3L and I was wondering what size turbo I would need to get the project moving forward. Fast. As far as horsepower goes, I want to try to make between 400 and 500 whp. I'm just staring this project and I know I need a lot, but can you help get me started on selecting the right intercooler, turbo, wastegate, blow-off valve, etc., as well as ideas as to who makes them?
-Joseph Lee
via importtuner.com

Impp_1011_03_o+question_it+turbo Photo 5/8   |   Nitrous Systems and Adding Horsepower - Question It

First and foremost, you'll have to build the engine with stronger internals as part of a 400+hp goal. The stock internals of the MZR engine aren't cut out for that kind of power. If you have the budget and want the best, I'd recommend a set of Cosworth H-beam connecting rods and 9:1 forged pistons. If you don't have the budget then run one of the other forged options on the market, but I do strongly recommend you stay away from the made-in-China crap. While you have the engine apart, I also recommend a Cosworth "BVD" CNC ported cylinder head and a pair of Cosworth MZ1 camshafts that work great in both supercharged and turbocharged applications. The guys at Tri-point engineering in Canoga Park, CA, make a turbo system for the Mazda 3 with the 2.3L MZR engine. There's a chance that they can sell you part of their kit, but you will need to fabricate or modify some of the components to make it work with your 6. For 400-500 whp on pump gas, you'll need to use something in the Garrett GT35 or BorgWarner S300 turbo families. There's no such thing as over intercooling, so the bigger the better in the case of the intercooler. Tial or Turbosmart can supply you with excellent quality wastegates and blow-off valves. In reality, this is going to be a pretty expensive project unless you can do a lot of the work yourself.

Horsepower Hungry
I own a '00 Eclipse and am contemplating adding a few modifications to it, but my engine has high mileage. I was thinking of swapping out the engine, but am debating if I should swap to the same engine or if there's a better engine to drop in its place?
-Jesse Aguilar Gonzalez
via importtuner.com

Impp_1011_06_o+question_it+subaru Photo 6/8   |   Nitrous Systems and Adding Horsepower - Question It

If you're thinking about some basic modifications like an intake and exhaust, then as long as the engine is healthy, go for it. If you're thinking about bigger power modifications such as adding a turbo, nitrous, etc., you might consider swapping the entire car out for something with more aftermarket support. I saw an '02 Subaru WRX wagon the other day on craigslist.com for $4,500. A stock WRX can already dust the living shit out of your Eclipse, so you're not going to beat that deal. It would easily cost you $4,500 to replace or rebuild your Eclipse engine. Add that with the down-time you'll experience without your car, having to bum rides from your buddies, and you might as well have just bought a WRX.

Refusing To Die
I've been reading your magazine for years so I know you guys are the ones who can help me out with my '92 240SX. The problem is that when I turn on the car, it won't turn off with the key. I have to stall it out every single time and I'm afraid that one day I am going to mess something up. I can take out the key with the car still running and even disconnected the ignition switch but it stays on, so I'm thinking I have a short in the ignition wires or a bad relay. Could you help me with some advice? Do you know a good electronic shop around the L.A. area?
-Carlos
via importtuner.com

Impp_1011_07_o+question_it+king_taco Photo 7/8   |   Nitrous Systems and Adding Horsepower - Question It

It sounds like you either have a problem with your ECCS relays or a bad ignition key cylinder. Electrical relays can go bad over time and if the car has ever been in a flood I'm almost sure that's the culprit. Also over time, the contacts inside the ignition key cylinders can wear out, and if anybody's ever tried to steal the car, they could have easily ruined the cylinder. Rather than dick with it yourself, I'd say the quickest and cheapest way to fix it is to head down to Chuy's Auto Electric in East Los Angeles. They're right off the 710 freeway and down the street from King Taco. In fact, walk to King Taco while you wait to get your car fixed and kill a carne asada burrito with red sauce, if you can handle it. Orale vato!

Mission Impossible
I own a '94 Integra LS and have read on forums about numerous LS/VTEC builds that make 220 to 250 whp. First off, I would like to know if those power levels are attainable without compromising reliability. Secondly, if I decide to build this motor, and have it done professionally, how long would the motor last if I go for 10.8 or 11:1 compression, mild porting, honing, higher-volume oil pump, cams, intake, exhaust, etc.? Since the Integra is my only mode of transportation, I need it to last and I need it to start up every time. If that goal is impossible with an LS/VTEC, I was planning on purchasing a Civic hatchback and doing an LS/VTEC, B16A2, or a B18C1 swap just to make it my fun car. Which would you suggest?
-Macen
via importtuner.com

Impp_1011_08_o+question_it+honda_engine Photo 8/8   |   Nitrous Systems and Adding Horsepower - Question It

A 220 to 250whp naturally aspirated B-series is going to be loud, will have the general smell of fuel from excessive valve overlap and crankcase blow-by gasses, get shit for fuel mileage around the city, and will always demand premium fuel. Before you consider the reliability of it, you'll want to think about whether or not you want to be stuck with it for the long haul. As far as reliability goes, yes it can be reliable if properly built and with all the right parts. Will it last very long? It just depends on how hard you drive it. The higher you rev the engine and the harder you drive it, the shorter it will last. You'll probably need compression more along the lines of 12:1, head porting, bore and hone, big cams, big valves, heavy duty valve train, 4-1 header with large primaries, a Hondata ECU, hotter ignition, a big throttle, and a high-flowing intake manifold. Hit up Port Flow, Brian Crower, Skunk2, Hondata, or Blox for all the goodies.

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