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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi guys. So, I saw a few threads on this, but not many, and usually short.

The best one, for reference:
http://mr2oc.com/showthread.php?t=263715&highlight=4age+build

Another good resource:
http://mr2oc.com/showthread.php?t=463106

So, having blown a head gasket at Willow Springs Big Track a few weeks back in 100F weather, my plans to do an in-car rebuild and power-up of my 1989 JDM 16V Big Port TVIS 7-rib motor have been moved up on the schedule. As there arent many threads on the subject here, I figure I'll start a new one to document the project.

Right now aside from the HG issue the engine seems to be in pretty good shape. She runs OK but overheats after 50mi of highway cruising from coolant expulsion. Hoping to get her running right again by Sept/Oct 2013, but realizing there's a lot of research and work to be done, and a lot of questions still unanswered... I'm looking for all the guidance and thoughts you'll spare.

Since the HG failure and overheating started on June 1 at Big Willow, I did another Big Willow, and drove to and did a MRLS track day and back. I overheated the engine good at MRLS on the last lap of the last session of the 90F day; in excess of 300F around clyinder #4, measured by IR thermometer within 5 min...

Chassis and tranny (C52?) have about 180kmi on them. Clutch seems ok. Engine should be around 80kmi. Great compression and power before the HG issue. Consumes about a quart of oil every 700miles.




The goal is a reliable street car that spends 10-15% of its time doing leisure track days; and to get as close as possible to Billzilla's estimate of 160 crank hp that the stock ECU is able to handle, about a 40hp+ gain over stock. The basic targets right now are cams, head work, high compression pistons, and anything else that's worth doing while i'm in there. Ill probably add some monitoring/gauge systems - EGT, oil temp, and whatever else is worth it, especially as I plan to track the car regularly.

Right now my target budget is basically under $1500, but flexible to go higher (really dont want to). Hoping that will pretty much cover cams, pistons, and head work. Expecting to do all assembly work myself plus all inspection, plus whatever minor machine/hand work I can. I've already put a lot of spiff- and tune-up work into the engine. In fact, just replaced timing belt, tensioner and water pump. I have lots of spare parts from junk yards, but only one block and tranny.

So far I think I'm shooting for 10.3-11 for compression ratio, to keep things reliable, but please give me guidance on CR as I'm willing to go as high as 91 octane will reasonably take me. Chamber deshrouding and exhaust port polishing and port matching are the main goals for the head. Intake port will be more careful and particular. Also will upgrade, refurbish and more or less blueprint the head as needed. I have 2 heads - a higher mileage (assumed <200kmi) bluetop head from a yard that is in good shape, and the head that's on the car now, about 80kmi, which might be cracked...

For cams I'm shooting for 264s, or 272in/264ex, or 264in/256ex, but that's something im unclear on. I've already got Fidanza adjustable pulleys. I'm thinking about Tomei Poncams, Toda, webcams, used HKS, NST and TriFlows. Not really sure at this point.

The engine already has a new 2.25" full custom header-back exhaust that I believe flows pretty well. Intake work is planned, currently using factory CAIS.

Going to keep the stock oil cooler I think... I'm running the twos4us baffle plates although dont think it's doing a whole lot. Expecting to run Mobil 1.

Tranny is manual, I think it's the C52 (it's a close ratio 5 speed)... Keeping that stock. It's got Redline MT90 in it, and the clutch seems to be good.



I need to do a compression and chemical test to confirm the blown HG diagnosis. I also need to verify my crank specs. If I have the small crank and that stops me from running high comp pistons, that'll substantially lower my ambitions for the project, as I dont want to replace the crank (drop the motor). I believe I have a late model JDM 7 rib so I'm hoping it has the "big" crank and rods, which leads to the first of many ...

...QUESTIONS! :) :

If I have the smaller crank with 40mm (vs 42mm) rod journals, is there any chance of running high compression pistons? I plan to open up the bottom end anyway, but I dont want to drop the engine to swap the crank. Dropping the engine starts making me think about other possibilities...

What other items do I need to worry about to make the power? Wide band O2 sensor? Larger injectors (I have the split-port late injectors)? Will the ECU just adapt the higher airflow without much tuning needed?

Is it worth considering a smallport head? Wouldnt that necessitate a change of ECU/electronics/wiring? I dont want that hassle...

I keep hearing about oversized pistons - are these important, and does I imagine it requires a reboring? Im trying to keep my block in the car...

Please feel free to shoot me down and set me straight. I'm not really sure what all will be involved. I'm not totally sure the condition of the motor now, given the 300F overheat, and the JDM internals. I *think* i probably have 42mm rod journals...

Thanks in advance for contributing. :) I'll be updating this opening post regularly for a few days, so please review from time to time.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Hmm, yeah, I hope not. :eek: I guess then I'd probably not be doing "good" head work.

I know a few machinists through my work, and a lot of them have their own shops. One is an ex-Toyota mechanic of 10+years. And Im planning to do a fair amount of the work myself. I'll have a spare head to practice on one way or another (spare head from yard was $75). I'm expecting to pay for probably a valve job (unclear if 5-angle is worth it; ex-Toyota machinist already offered like $300 for a 3-angle), and maybe.. maybe intake "porting." So, hoping to keep costs under $500 for the head work. Deshrouding and polishing I intend to do myself - intake side is where I would worry about my abilities and tools. Valve guide installation. I am hoping to not have the head shaved, but depends on whats up with compression goals.

PS: Is there an unspoken rule about divulging too many engine tuning secrets on the web? At least it's a closed forum here, but I often somehow get the feeling people dont want to share too much. Feel like documenting my build and exact results will somehow be unappreciated by some people, like it's a "no no."
 

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Don't forget about me when you are looking for parts.
I don't have a lot on my website but I can get you just about anything you could need.
If you do a big order I can probably swing a better deal too.

http://matrixgarage.com/

I can get a shelf piston from Wiseco with an 18mm wrist pin. They will be about 11:1 with a stock thickness HG. I can also get thicker and thinner gaskets.
Or you can go full custom pistons for a little more money.

Compression ratio will have no effect on reliability unless you knock in which case it will have a very rapid effect on reliability.
You don't sound like you are sure on cams. What power band are you looking for? 27Xs will give you a pretty steep power band with not a lot under 4K RPM.

This is a dyno graph of the poncams. I have to say these are pretty much the only cam that I get interest in. Of course I don't have many others advertised because these are so popular and such a great deal. Hard to beat in my book.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks Yoshi. I will definitely keep you in mind. Yes the Poncams have my interest very much also, given price and the positive impressions I perceive. Those 27Xs sound good. AE92, late model - that's a small port I take it?

I primarily want top end power, but with not too much sacrifice in the mid range to allow for less than ideal rpms in road race corners. I'm happy to "keep her on boil" and I think my technique is pretty good with 3 pedals and a stick. Low end grunt on the street doesnt matter to me - I'm happy to wind her out. :) I should say, area under the curve between redline shifts is probably pretty important for my needs. I think though the 27Xs should be fine for that...?

The 18mm pin pistons sound good... Would that mean I could run hi-comp pistons even with a small crank (40mm rod journal)? That's great news. I hope under $600 a set?

Im aiming for head gasket thickness around 0.8mm or "normal," which I presume is good for reliability, especially on hot track days. I'd rather put head milling costs into high comp pistons. So i guess I can run high CR and just dial back igition timing, then run more timing at the track or when I have access to higher octane fuel? Do you have a recommended CR for 91 octane pump gas?
 

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mr2tailbreaker said:
Hmm, yeah, I hope not. :eek: I guess then I'd probably not be doing "good" head work.

I know a few machinists through my work, and a lot of them have their own shops. One is an ex-Toyota mechanic of 10+years. And Im planning to do a fair amount of the work myself. I'll have a spare head to practice on one way or another (spare head from yard was $75). I'm expecting to pay for probably a valve job (unclear if 5-angle is worth it; ex-Toyota machinist already offered like $300 for a 3-angle), and maybe.. maybe intake "porting." So, hoping to keep costs under $500 for the head work. Deshrouding and polishing I intend to do myself - intake side is where I would worry about my abilities and tools. Valve guide installation. I am hoping to not have the head shaved, but depends on whats up with compression goals.

PS: Is there an unspoken rule about divulging too many engine tuning secrets on the web? At least it's a closed forum here, but I often somehow get the feeling people dont want to share too much. Feel like documenting my build and exact results will somehow be unappreciated by some people, like it's a "no no."

Dude,


Unless the 'worked head' is flow-tested it's impossible to know what the results are. It's easy to say, "I made that opening bigger/smoother/rounder/even/whatever.." but unless it's flow-tested, you may have made things worse.

$300.00 for a 3-angle is a decent price in California. It's usually $350.00 around here in NorCal.

Having said all of that you would be much better off installing a silver or blacktop engine. Plug, chug, and go.


My opinion of course,




Chester
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Engine swap keeps running through my mind here and there, but basically so long as I can get 30+hp with the engine in the car, I will stick with the big port 16V, even if it's a bit more money than sourcing a 20V BT. I like the 16V engine and its heritage/history, and it's a relatively low mile block, so should be in decent condition. Yes if this upgrade was going to cost any more than $2k, an engine swap starts to sound more worthwhile. But BTs have their own issues too, and this is basically a project/hobby/fun car, so I'm ok keeping my 16V. Mostly i compare my growing expenditure list to a down payment on a used Cayman.

Im interested in flow testing, but once material is removed it's done anyway and cant be undone, so what good does flow testing do other than tell me the end result was worth it? I'm certainly interested in that. I know a couple guys at work who are all about head work and can probably hook me up on some flow testing. Mostly I'm hoping to follow best scientific practices as a guide, synthesizing a solution from research, then optionally flow test when Im done. I might be able to rig up my own make shift flow tester.
 

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If I did it again, I would do a 20v swap or mk1.5. Whats your smog situation?
Supertech also makes 18mm 11-1 pistons, in 81.5 and 82 mm os. You must remove and machine os pistons. For rings, bearings, gaskets (toyota) and machine work you are at or above 1500. On the right coast a valve job is around 125 for a stock 3angle or 200 for a performance one and around 35 to mill a head. Also I think OST's price list is around here somewhere, but I recall the full works being less than 1500. You could s a ve a few bucks deburing the cam valley yourself.

Ps. A 60cc syringe from tractor supply and a square of plexi with a small hole drilled in it will get you in the ball park for chamber work!
 

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Be careful going too crazy if you have to pass current strict California smog. would suck to have a performance tuned engine that ran great and wasn't even close to being able to pass smog.
 

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Andys brings up a good point. I also would nix any thoughts of a 20v if you want to keep it a street car as you said in your first post. It's just not worth the risk, cost and headache.

I also agree that your budget is tight for your goals. It may not be far off if you can do the great majority of the work.
Of course I have to ask. Is there anything forcing you to stay naturally aspirated?
 

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yoshimitsuspeed said:
Andys brings up a good point. I also would nix any thoughts of a 20v if you want to keep it a street car as you said in your first post. It's just not worth the risk, cost and headache.

I also agree that your budget is tight for your goals. It may not be far off if you can do the great majority of the work.
Of course I have to ask. Is there anything forcing you to stay naturally aspirated?

Dude,

The 'California' solution is to install a 20-valve, drive for two years, then pull it, install original 16-valve engine, smog it, pass, uninstall, reinstall 20-valve, drive for two years, rinse, repeat.


What could be more 'fun' than that?


- Chester
 

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Chesterkv said:
Dude,

The 'California' solution is to install a 20-valve, drive for two years, then pull it, install original 16-valve engine, smog it, pass, uninstall, reinstall 20-valve, drive for two years, rinse, repeat.


What could be more 'fun' than that?


- Chester
Or you spend another $800 right off the bat, install a 2ZZ gain another 20 HP and never have to worry about it again.
Or install a 3SGTE, 2AR, 2GR etc.
 

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yoshimitsuspeed said:
Or you spend another $800 right off the bat, install a 2ZZ gain another 20 HP and never have to worry about it again.
Or install a 3SGTE, 2AR, 2GR etc.
Dude,

The problem with a 2ZZ or any other 'legal' engine is that it has to be installed EXACTLY as it was in the original car, including factory downpipe and catalytic converter, etc. This may or may not create fitment issues (factory pipe turns right and you need it to turn left for example) and in the end, is a lot of time and energy expended just to satisfy the state referee who has the authority to reject your work over the slightest detail.

If I installed a 2ZZ I would still pull it and do the smog check with the factory 16-valve. It's just less hassle in the end, in my opinion.




- Chester
 

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2 years goes by awfully fast. owning a hard to smog car sucks IMO. Owning a couple of them is even worse :mad: MY SC can be a pain to get passed, even just with the grunt box and bigger pulley and everything else stock. One smog guy was going to turn me into the smog authorities because he noticed the pulley. I had to pay the *%#@ $100 not to turn me in.
 

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Yeah I'm not terribly fond of working on my car, I hate doing oil changes so don't even mention needing to do a swap twice every two years. Forget about it.
 

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yoshimitsuspeed said:
Yeah I'm not terribly fond of working on my car, I hate doing oil changes so don't even mention needing to do a swap twice every two years. Forget about it.

Dude,


Certainly not 'fun' but doable if you have all the right tools including a proper engine hoist and you DO NOT swap parts between the two engines. Pulleys, air intakes, modified harnesses, sensors, etc., everything needs to be unique to each motor. Otherwise it drags out the work.



- Chester
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Just a quick reply. I'm in Cali, but live in a low requirement area - no treadmill test required. I might also be lucky enough to be able to register in a no-smog-requirement county/city.

As I see it, cams will worsen idle, hurting HC results, and pistons will hurt NOx results. But I don't think NOx is even measured on the basic test. Modern cats can do miracles. Engine tuning can help emissions. And honestly I'm considering leaving Cali for greener pastures, sadly due to the worsening politics and destruction of freedoms here.

Shouldn't a 264/264 combo be not too bad for idle and emissions? I'm not sure where to look into that. More research! :)

Comes to the worst, I can swap the cams. Fortunately not that hard to do.the Pistons I'm not too worried about. I think I can control the NOx with tune and a good cat.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
yoshimitsuspeed said:
Andys brings up a good point. I also would nix any thoughts of a 20v if you want to keep it a street car as you said in your first post. It's just not worth the risk, cost and headache.

I also agree that your budget is tight for your goals. It may not be far off if you can do the great majority of the work.
Of course I have to ask. Is there anything forcing you to stay naturally aspirated?
Nothing forcing me. I have had turbo cars all my life and just want to stay NA. Reliability, throttle response, sound, etc. Just prefer. I also have no hard requirement on power. Just do as much as I can easily get away with.

I'll be budgeting all this out as I go. Yea I'm thinking just parts and tools are going to add up fast. I guess though the $1500 only really applies to the performance stuff, not the basic rebuild stuff.

PS: currently not running EGR as JDM units don't have them. Think I'll install but disable except for testing...
 
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