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June 2010 Question It

Fixing What You Broke

May 4, 2010

Looking at the photo to the right, you may be wondering why Cosworth product planner, Sierra Sierra Enterprises tech, and all-around import tuning guru Eric Hsu is measuring an AN fitting with a digital caliper. He's not. When a reader sent that fitting to Eric this month, asking why it wouldn't fit in place of valve stem caps on his '87 Corsica, Eric demanded we snap a pic of him single-handedly crushing it with said calipers, to demonstrate "what he's gonna do to the next kid who asks a stupid question."

Impp_1006_04_o+question_it+caliper Photo 2/6   |   June 2010 Question It

Send your worst to: questionit@importtuner.com and put your helmets on.

B-Series Killer
I'm building my first Honda D16A6 motor and was advised to sleeve the block, port and polish the head, and buy a turbo setup to be able to decimate any B-series car on the street. What is the maximum bore size the D16 block can handle, and do you have any suggestion on which parts to use when beefing up the internals? I don't want to spend a bunch of money on expensive internals, but my goal is to make 300 hp with a turbocharger.
-Henry Pendley
Shawnee, OK

Three hundred horsepower can be accomplished on an un-sleeved block, as long as the fuel and ignition are tuned correctly. You say you don't want to spend a lot of money, but you also mention boring the block, porting and polishing the head, and adding a turbo setup. The reality is that all of these things are pretty pricey if you want to do them right. You might be able to find some good buys on the forums or eBay, but stay away from the crappy, made-in-China parts. As far as a D-series motor "decimating" a B-series goes, I'm going to disagree with you there. While the D-series motors can definitely be built for big power, it's easier on a B-series with two independently tunable camshafts and a better flowing head.

Nissan Lover
Since day one with my B14 coupe, I've been in love with the Nissan 200SX SE-R. I have dreamt about modifying this beauty, but have no clue where to start. Should I get the 2.0L SR20DE bored out to 2.2 liters, gut the interior to drop weight, and build it all-motor? Should I add a Jim Wolf Technology turbo kit? Or maybe just swap it for an SR20DET? I'm a big Nissan fan and would love to really do justice to this car by doing things right the first time.
-Nicolas
via importtuner.com

Impp_1006_03_o+question_it+nissan Photo 3/6   |   June 2010 Question It

Since I have no idea what your budget is, I'm not really sure which route you should go. I can tell you that removing interior parts is generally one of the last things I do, because there really is very little gain for the inconvenience of removing comfort out of a street car. Something I do recommend is sticking to a company that is knowledgeable about your particular car. That company, in the case of the SE-R, would definitely be Jim Wolf Technology. Their SE-R turbo system is great and their ECU mapping always does the job reliably. And with the stock DE engine, you won't have to sweat the off-chance that it could be viewed as stolen or illegally imported. If you have the budget, just go straight for the Jim Wolf turbo.

Stalling Out
I recently replaced the stock blow-off valve on my '03 EVO VIII with an EVO IX unit, and installed an aftermarket intake system. Is it normal for an EVO with these mods to almost stall when in neutral, or is this a sign of trouble?
-Louis Rothman
Rochester, NY

No, I wouldn't say that is normal. It sounds like air is sneaking past your MAF sensor. The first thing to do is check for an air leak and replace any clamps or hoses that are questionable. If that doesn't work, check the blow-off valve for bleed-off, then call the manufacturer of your intake and ask them for advice as a last-ditch.
Good luck.

True Horsepower
What kind of power can the stock internals of an '03 Nissan 350Z engine handle? I'm looking into forced induction and would like to keep the stock internals, if possible. Is there a turbo kit you would prefer, and can you recommend a good tuner near Chicago?
-Chad Sweitzer
Shannon, IL

Impp_1006_05_o+question_it+350z Photo 4/6   |   June 2010 Question It

There are two types of stock internal horsepower ratings. One is based in reality and the other is what you see in some dumb-ass post on the forums. The lamest is when a forum member posts a thread with some outrageous number using stock internals, titled: "652whp/630tq @ 22psi-highest horsepower red '06 350z stock-internal VQ35DE on C16 fuel east of the Mississippi, south of the Mason Dixon line, in the 402 area code." Reliable, usable power limits are always lower than the one or two dyno passes a car can be tuned to put down before blowing up. A stock VQ35 is good for a max of about 400 hp at the wheels when tuned properly, if you want to be able to drive it daily or beat the crap out of it at the track. Any more than 400 whp and you stand a chance of breaking parts. Shops can build "one-run wonders" to make 600+ stock-block whp on race fuel, but it's just plain stupid to assume that a connecting rod won't exit the side of its block if you drive it like that at the track. I'm not too familiar with shops in the Chicago area, but Sound Performance comes to mind-their 1,280whp 350Z runs 9s on a stock six-speed transmission.

Lean On It
I own a '00 Celica with basic bolt-ons that include an intake, header, and exhaust. The car has 125,000 miles and has been flashing a lean "cylinder bank #1" check-engine light (CEL). My friends and I sprayed soapy water around the engine while running to see if there's a vacuum leak, but the results were inconclusive. The engine doesn't stall, but I'm beginning to suspect the problem lies with a faulty O2 sensor or a bad catalytic converter. I figured I would ask the pros before buying any replacement parts I might not need.
-Ahmad Carter
Duluth, GA

The first thing to do is check the engine's compression with a compression tester. While the spark plugs are out, you should also check your plugs and make sure they are all a similar color. You say you're getting a "cylinder bank #1" code, but there's only one bank on an inline-four engine. If it does really say "bank #1" then it is likely the short-term and/or long-term fuel corrections are beyond the ECU's ability to correct. You can view these OBDII parameters in real-time if you have a capable scanner. This could be because of the modifications you made to the car, or a bad oxygen sensor, bad MAF sensor, or other mechanical issues like a collapsed catalytic converter or a vacuum leak. Unfortunately, there's no way to correctly diagnose the car via email, so I would recommend you take it to a knowledgeable mechanic for a proper diagnosis.

Timing Dilemma
I own an '89 240SX with the stock KA24E that I am reassembling with a rebuilt cylinder head. My issue is that the cam seems to be on top dead center (TDC), but shows zero degrees according to the cam gear marks. However, when I set the block to TDC and place the head on, the number-four piston contacts the exhaust valves. I've researched this problem and talked to plenty of mechanics, but can't seem to figure out WTF is going on. I hope you can point me in the right direction.
-Alexander Reed
Alpharetta, GA

I've never built a KA24E, but I assure you, it isn't rocket science. I'm not completely sure what you're describing (send pics next time), so I can't tell you what to do, either. But I do believe these "mechanics" you're asking are the wrong people for the job. Track down a factory service manual (FSM) for your car, or take lots of pictures and visit freshalloy.com for help on this one.

Family Dispute
I am looking into buying a 2000 Skyline GT (not GT-R) and was wondering if this vehicle is a worthwhile platform that's able to hang with the almighty GT-R after a few modifications. The car has an RB25DET with only 62,000 miles. Do you think it's worth the time, money, and effort to purchase as a daily driver and occasional track warrior? I am only looking to make around 450 whp and don't plan to chase down high-end sports cars, but I need a car that's able to spank the new Mustang my mom recently purchased for cheap. I can't have mom blowing the doors off my car.
-Andrew
Rockford, MI

Impp_1006_06_o+question_it+skyline Photo 5/6   |   June 2010 Question It

A "2000 Skyline GT" sounds like you're asking about an early '70s Skyline. Did you mean a '00 Skyline GTS-t? If you're talking about the '70s model, my answer is "don't even bother". Old Japanese cars are cool for the nostalgia factor, but they are more than a little behind the times on the chassis, suspension, and brake side of things. If you're asking about the '00 car, then my answer is "yes, get one". The rear-wheel-drive R34 is a blast to drive, and will embarrass mom's 'Stang, provided she's not a better driver than you.

Running in Circles
I'm trying to build a Toyota 3SGE engine for the circle track. I need some advice and direction in mating a transmission, bell housing and clutch to the engine. Would you know who to contact for parts or guidance with this particular setup?
-Tony
Puyallup, WA

Impp_1006_02_o+question_it+turbonetics Photo 6/6   |   June 2010 Question It

Try the guys at Kennedy Engineered Products at 661.272.1147 or www.kennedyeng.com.

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