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, too. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Q This is going to sound crazy but I’m currently building a 1988 Ford Mustang to be mainly a show car in a HellaFlush/JDM style, and also a drift car. I’m a DIY person and the only thing I’mnot good at when it comes to cars is wiring up the engines to run if they are fuel injected. I want to swap in a RB26DETT that will be built to the max. I’ve already got the fab work and mounting figured out to get it in the car. I’m wondering is there any standalone engine management system where I can drop this thing in and use a factory engine harness, sensors, MAF, and ECU from say a Skyline and make this thing run without making some Frankenstein harness of my own? Or could you please recommend a place that could build me a harness?
A Your build sounds very interesting and we wish you luck. By definition, if you’re using a stock ECU from a Skyline it is not a “standalone” system. Unfortunately most true standalones (MoTeC, AEM, etc) are very expensive and a custom harness for your application will likely cost more than the car. Unless you’ve got around $8k to spend on a computer, wiring and tuning, we’d recommending taking the long way out by hacking the factory harness to integrate into the Ford yourself.
You Feelin’ Me?
Q I have a ‘04 Civic D17A2 with 111 miles. My question is in regards to the proper use of a feeler gauge when lashing the valves. I gave it a shot to try and quiet my valve noise but to no avail. I have the manual with the correct tolerances but I was afraid they would be too tight and cause damage when I tried to make adjustments. I have read mixed opinions on how to properly feel; got any tips?
A Using a feeler gauge is sort of like taking off a girl’s bra with one hand; you can describe it all you want but you really have to get in there and practice to get the hang of it. The more you do it the easier it is to tell when the amount of drag on the gauge is just right. Sometimes experience is the best teacher. Keep in mind the D17AZ is a VTEC engine and will have a lot of valve noise from the lost motion assemblies, regardless of valve lash.
Q I picked up an AE92 a few weeks ago and I hope that I’m not in over my head. The interior smells like there’s a rotting corpse under the seat, the engine won’t run, there’s 17 year-old oil in the crank case, old gas and other aging fluids. I can safely say I really know how to pick them. To be honest, this thing isn’t for show or go, it’s more for a point A to point B car and that’s just it, restoring an oldie but goodie for the sake of having something different on the road. Doesn’t mean I won’t go aftermarket and toss some nice upgrades under the hood and into the body. My question for you guys is what would YOU do, assuming you have a budget of about $10K to play with for everything?
A You’re not going to like this answer, but if we had $10k to spend on making a non-running, rotted-out AE92 better we’d spend $10 on gas and matches to burn it to the ground and the remaining $9,990 on a new car. Just sayin’.
Low Down Lude
Q I bought a used 2000 Prelude that’s in very good shape other than the lowered suspension. All I know is that it was lowered 2" and has lifetime warranty struts from Autozone. It rides horribly constantly bottoming out and just feels loose in the corners. Years ago I lowered a Civic with Tokico Illuminas and 2" Eibach springs and it hugged corners like a dream so I’m at a loss on where to start. This car is going to be a daily driver so I would like to raise it back up some and improve ride quality and handling at a reasonable cost.
A If Tokico Illuminas with Eibach springs worked well for you in the past, we’d recommend starting there. If you just want great ride comfort and to raise the car up a bit, nothing beats the items from the factory. You can usually find stock shocks and springs on craigslist for next to nothing. It might sound silly, but another thing that might be worth a shot is asking a fellow Prelude owner on a message board or even in person at a red light if they want to switch suspension with you—then your problem is solved for free.
Men are From Mars, Tuners are From Saturn
Q After seeing a few poorly modified Saturns I vow to do mine right. I have a ‘96 SW2 and am going to buy a ‘97-2000 SL2 shortly. Now the question, after combing through several Saturn forums, I find that 80% of the supposed Saturn parts sites are down or “do not exist”. With all your connections, do you guys know of any reliable sites to find Saturn performance parts, not just “universal” cold-air intakes, or eBay exhausts, but real made-for-Saturn parts? I happen to be very fond of rolling Tupperware, and would like to one day represent what a Saturn can really be in your Readers’ Rides section. Thanks for the time and effort you may or may not put into this.
Via the Internet
A First, let us tell you that we appreciate the fact that you already considered how little effort we may put into this response. Aside from factory GM Performance parts that coincidentally cross over to certain Saturn engines (like the Ion Redline’s LSJ), we don’t know of ANY tuning companies making components specifically for Saturns. Maybe you could start one.
Q I am currently building up my B13 Sentra SE-R (one of your future cover cars!!!) and I was curious if you may be able to give me some ideas on the best cams/valvetrain parts. I am having an issue finding any sources in my area to help here. Looking for something with good gain in all around performance. Any ideas? Joe Park
A We’d recommend looking at Jim Wolf Technologies for all the parts you mentioned. As our resident Nissan guru Gary Narusawa explained to us, JWT is really the only company around that has developed cams specifically built for the FWD Sentra applications and NA versions of the SR20. You can find more info at jimwolftechnology.com.