We know how difficult it can be to work on cars; believe us, we’ve had more than our share of problems over the years. Good thing we’re willing to share this knowledge of problem solving with you and act like we know something technical about cars. Feel free to ask us about your tech problems by writing to Super Street at email@example.com or Super Street, Attn: Tech Support, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245. We’ll try out best to answer your questions but can’t answer every one we receive personally or in print, so if your issue is urgent, we highly recommend you seeking the help of a nearby mechanic! Also, try to do some basic research online; while the Internet and forums aren’t all foolproof, it is a very good start as there are many excellent resources to look at. If it helps to include a few photos to describe/illustrate your problem/project, please do so.
Crank, Slugs ‘N HarmonyQ
I hope you can help me with a problem I am having with my car. I have a 1988 Nissan 300ZX non-turbo that originally needed a fuel pump, then head gaskets, timing belt and now a harmonic balancer. A friend of mine said that if I change the harmonic balancer, I also have to change out the crankshaft as well. I find it hard to believe because I changed out a harmonic balancer on a ‘86 Mustang V6 and ‘90 Eighty-Eight. They never gave me any problems after. I actually had to buy the Mustang’s harmonic balancer off of a ‘90’s Cougar with the same size engine and had to grind it down to make it fit. This was back in 2006 and the Mustang is still running today.
Via the Internet
You’re absolutely right Eric, so long as the balancer you’re installing was designed for your engine, you should be good to go. The only time you’d have to start worrying about re-balancing is if you stuffed the motor with lightweight internals or are using an aftermarket crank pulley.
I have a ‘72 240Z I’m working on. Should I get a RB26 swap or should I stick to the L-series and stroke it? I think I would really enjoy a RB swap, but then again a stroker is pretty sweet. What do you think I should do?
Via the Internet
This isn’t the easiest question to answer because there’s no right or wrong way to choose, it’s really up to the build you have envisioned. If you want to keep the car period correct, then stroking the L-series is the way to go (and the blown 3.1L S30 from Rocky Auto earlier in this book makes a damn good argument for stroking). However, stroking the L will be expensive, time consuming and more likely than not, end up making significantly less power than the RB would. Although the swap might seem daunting the difficulty level is nearly the same as building your old engine and cost will be similar too, but for outright performance and reliability you just can’t beat a newer engine.
I’ve got a ‘98 Lexus GS400 with the 1UZFE VVT-I in it. The only thing I’ve done is put some 18" BBS wheels on it and have just been daily driving it. I also have a 2JZ non-turbo (from a GS300, around 50k miles) just sitting at home (my brother rebuilds cars for a living) and I was wondering if I would get more reliable power modding the 1UZ or the 2JZ? I know stock that V8 is a monster but it’s common knowledge of what you can build out of the 2JZ. So I was wondering what your thoughts would be?
Guy with an iPhone
Via the Internet
For starters there is a huge difference between the turbo and NA versions of the 2JZ. Sure, they have a few parts in common, but you should really consider them two entirely different engines. For the amount of work required to get a 2JZ into your car we wouldn’t bother unless it’s of the turbo variety. The 1UZ isn’t the easiest engine to modify and you’ll likely need to get custom if you want big power, but there are a few places making parts for these engines including transmission adapter plates for W55-58 and R154 transmissions should you want a clutch to play with. Take a look at lextreme.com, v-eight.com and clublexus.com for inspiration—and if you decide to ditch that 1UZ let us know; Sean is looking for one.
I have a 1988 Toyota Supra and I’m going to rebuild my 7MGTE. I’m going to rebuild the engine for drift and I’m using a HKS metal head gasket and ARP head studs. I want to make the engine reliable because people always talk bad about them and unfortunately a 1JZ or 2JZ swap is far out of my price range. So what do you guys suggest for aftermarket bolt-ons for the 7MGTE?
The 7M is often scoffed at by the show crowd, but anyone that has some experience with the engine will tell you it’s not as bad as it’s made out to be. Strictly regarding bolt-ons, we’d recommend doing the basics first. Swapping a JZ intake manifold is a popular and cheap upgrade. Teamed up with a larger throttle body and you’re ready for some serious boost the likes of a new turbocharger and intercooler setup can provide. Obviously installing a free-flowing turbo manifold and exhaust will do wonders for the car, but don’t forget items like injectors and a good tune to keep up with the new goodies. If you do decide to dip into internals while the motor is apart, a new bottom end will add some peace of mind should you decide to get boost-happy.
Dual-Cammer or Single-Slammer?
I wanted to know what would be a great engine for a ‘92 Honda Civic hatch and whether I should start off with suspension or get straight to the motor. The motor that is currently in my car is a D15 with 200k and needs a new head gasket. What do you guys recommend?
Although it can be very tempting to stuff a new DOHC under the hood of your car, we’d recommend following the path our project “Leroy” has taken and start with the suspension, then work up to a new engine. We certainly won’t argue that an engine swap would be badass, but Sean’s proven that a single-cam can still be lots of fun out on the track. Just make sure you do required maintenance first so things don’t go boom. In your case, it sounds like a head gasket and timing belt are in order, and lucky for you they aren’t very expensive but just time-consuming to replace. When it is time to upgrade the engine there are a plethora of options available including B-, K-, H-, F- and C-series engines.
Parts for a Suprelica
I recently took on a project and am having extreme problems getting a hold of parts for a 1985 Toyota Celica Supra (Supra MKII). Everything is original and still has the old 5M engine. Do you all know anywhere I can get parts online or have any tips?
Via the Internet
The second-gen Supra, or Celica XX as it’s called in Japan, is a very unique car and there aren’t a lot of off-the-shelf parts for them. Fortunately, with a little ingenuity, you can make a lot of parts designed for other cars work with some slight modifications. Just because we’re feeling generous we’ll let you in on a little secret called celicasupra.com, go there, read and rejoice. And if your P-Type proves to be a little too difficult, sell it to us, for cheap.