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Rules to follow when building your motor

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Taken from http://www.importbuilders.com/simplerulestofollow.htm


14 rules you need to know to avoid problems and save money.


1. Do not buy a fuel pump for your car unless your car meets these criteria. First, your car is over 300 Wheel Horsepower. Second, your car has an FMU (Fuel management unit) that comes with some turbo kits. It raises the fuel pressure on your car per each pound of boost, and your stock fuel pump wont work. Thats it. Dont buy a fuel pump unless you meet these 2 criteria. And if your forced to buy one, always get an in tank one, never an inline one that goes into the engine bay. Those are dangerous and should be avoided. The goal here is we want to keep the fuel system completely stock. Avoid the ridiculous fitting nightmare and the steel braid lines that come undone frequently, leak, and that cost a fortune. They do nothing but create problems. Stock doesnt have any problems, so take advantage of it.


a. Always upgrade your injectors when you need more power, not your fuel pump. Generally, if youre under 350 WHP you can get away with RC 550s, fewer than 300 you can use RC 440s, and fewer than 220 you can use RC 310s. Stock Honda injectors from say a GSR or B16A can only make in the high 100s with a fuel pressure regulator and its not recommended. RC 310s are your best choice with a fuel pressure regulator if you dont have management. You can turn down the fuel pressure until your air fuel is good again. With management, say Hondata, www.hondata.com its smart for any all motor car to get RC 440s. Not 310s. The 440s can handle a turbo later, or can handle a much larger HP number if you go that way. They also have a way better resale demand and price used.


2. Never cut into your wiring on your wire harness unless you absolutely have to. When youre going Hondata, you should not buy any other tuning devices such as AFCs or anything like that, because they will not be of any use. They can even hurt you if you have the settings wrong. Do not hook them up at all if you know your going Hondata in the future. Leave your wire harness completely stock, and do not cut into it for anything. Keep it simple. Simple works. Simple is easy to diagnose if you have any problems, because what you didnt touch will not be broken so you dont need to even look there. You chop into your harness and your car is acting weird, you dont know where to begin. If you do have to cut into the harness for some dumb reason, then solder all your connections and then put heat shrink wrap over your work to protect it. Dont even play with your wire harness. You start playing with it, the pins on your plugs can be affected and then you have to break out the volt meter and a wire diagram to figure out what happened. Its a headache that leads back to the rule of never cutting your stock wire harness. Follow this rule. Do it. Simple is king.


3. Stick with the stock ignition system unless you meet these criteria: First, if you raise your compression to say over 13:1, or youre boosting more than 10 PSI you need a SIMPLE ignition system, such as a MSD and a coil, and MSD cap. High compression motors have a hard time with the stock ignition system at very high RPM (9k+) when the compression is through the roof. Youll notice the car will sort of misfire or stutter when you get up in the RPM with very high compression without an MSD. As soon as you put the MSD, problem solved. Turbo cars around 11 or so PSI start to have the same problem. Now here is a lecture on the MSD and which one to buy and which one never to buy. Buy the simplest one that will get the job done. In most cases, this is the MSD 6A. Thats it. With a MSD coil. Nothing more. DO NOT buy the one with the ignition retard, adjustable rev limits, and all that fancy useless stuff. Your hondata does all that. DONT GET IT. I cant tell you how many problems with those I have seen. People think they set it up right and its retarding the ignition like crazy, or the rev limit is setup wrong, and on and on. Its useless, dont buy it. Get the simple one. Its easy. Secondly, do not change your ignition wires and if you must, get the blue NGK wires that are just like stock. Also stick with stock distributor caps, rotors, and coils unless you absolutely have to get something else. Then its MSD 6A with coil and cap and thats it. Simple setups, easy install.


4. Stay away from aftermarket crank pulleys unless you want maximum horsepower. Most aftermarket pulleys do not have the dampening effect the stock ones have with their internal dampener in them. And some of them are flat out hard to read when setting your timing. The lighter aftermarket ones are linked heavily to broken oil pumps because they dont have the dampening of the heavy stock ones. Many people have had light pulleys, broke the oil pump and then put back the stock one and never had that problem ever again. ESPECIALLY on turbo cars that put more strain on the motor. Aftermarket crank pulleys will make more power on your motor, after all, they are lighter, less rotating mass is better for more power. However, here is my recommendation. Order up a Civic Type-R crank pulley if you want a lighter one, its stock, and your oil pump is way better off. Even the aftermarket oil pumps shatter, so that wont save you either. Safer is better. Wait, the theme is stock is better unless you want to throw risk into your ten thousand dollar motor. Less risk is better, even if youre 1 HP less.


5. Never purchase a head that is missing the cam caps, or the caps and head area is scratched up. This goes without saying, but it must be stated as crucial. When buying a head, put the cam caps on it before you buy it, and torque a set of cams down in there and make sure they spin, but are still tight. Then when you take the cams out, make sure you cant catch an edge with your nail on the cam caps where they meet the head. This is a quick check to verify they are the original caps. The caps also might be a certain shade of color, make sure the head is the same color. Nothing like getting gold colored oil stained caps and the head is bright silver. Then you find the caps are not from that head and the seller is trying to pull a fast one. Junk yards are known for switching parts all over the motor and trying to pull a fast one. Its way too common. Take the time, and be a jerk about it when youre checking it over. If the seller starts balking with thats not nec, trust me, or that will take too much time then just leave right now, youre being taken.


6. Never purchase a block without the crank caps, or if the caps and block are scratched up. Pay particular attention to where the thrust washers are. Make sure that part is perfect and not hammered or scratched. Then put the caps on and make sure where the caps meet the block, its not a ledge, like what we talked about with the head. If you can put the crank in, put the bolts on hand tight and try and turn the crank. It better turn. If it doesnt walk away, your being taken. Also be wary when youre buying a block and its bare. Why would it be bare? Try and get one thats stock and assembled, so you can take off the oil pan and spin the crank and look at it. If its bare, you cant check anything really, and its iffy. Also, pay close attention to the deck of it, bring a head stud and tighten it down in each hole, check the tranny bolt holes too. I see way too many blocks with stripped head stud holes. People are using B16A head studs on GSR, LS/VTECs and type-R motors thinking its working when all its doing is stripping every bolt hole because its too short.


7. Stay with the stock fuel rail if at all possible. I cant tell you how many aftermarket fuel rails I have seen that are flawed, dont fit right, have metal shavings in them or are generally just 1 big problem. Whats wrong with stock? You can make 600 + WHP on it? How much do you need? They dont do anything the stock one doesnt do for 99.9% of cars. Plus, notice the injectors sometimes dont even fit right in the holes and you have to machine that too. Then you try to put it on the manifold and they almost never fit like stock, and you have to get bigger washers, or the like to get the angle right. There is not any practical purpose to them. Just use stock. In addition, youre headed to the fittings store to buy a few fittings you would never need with stock. Count those 2 fittings as just another risk in your build, because they break, or leak worse than stock, which I have never seen leak or break. Sometimes the steel braid line will just fall off the fitting over time. With no practical purpose power wise, why would anyone want to put more risk into their 10 thousand dollar motor? Stick with stock.


8. Stay with stock cam gears unless you meet these criteria: If your cams are large, say for a GSR like 12+ MM lift with a lot of duration then you are allowed to get cam gears. Youre not buying the cam gears for way more power; they might only make 2 WHP in a small part of the graph, your buying them to reduce your valve to valve contact. This is a must when you have larger cams, such as Wicked Stage 2s, Blox stage 2/3 or larger Skunk 2 stage 2 cams with oversize valves. You could have a situation where your valves touch each other with stock cam gears using oversize valves. You need to dial out the overlap buy advancing the exhaust cam gear to like +2 to avoid the valves touching. You need this to avoid a problem which can blow up your 5 thousand dollar long block. If youre a turbo car, or an all motor car with mild cams, stick with stock, they work, they dont slip, they dont eat timing belts like some aftermarket cam gears do from a slight imperfection in the grooves in very few cases and its going to work. Furthermore, stock cam gears are much easier to install and know its top dead center on. Aftermarket cam gears can sometimes fool you. And you dont know for sure if its manufactured perfect like stock. Then of course, the dreadful bolt coming out and falling down into the timing belt cover problem, which is rare. NO slipping problems with stock, it cant slip, its not adjustable.


9. Stay with the stock water pump at all costs, advice on radiators too: We have dynod electric water pumps vs. stock, and we cant tell if it makes even 1 HP. It doesnt seem to make a difference. Leave the stock one. Dont forget, your fuel map on your ECU works off water temperature. With the electric water pump, I have seen the water temperature fluctuate way too much, and you have to constantly turn it on and off. Its such a hassle. For no purpose at all. There is one need for the electric water pump and that is for motors with deck plates or custom timing belt needs. You have to put fake water pump on thats offset to get tension in the belt, so electric water pump is necessary. Also, leave in the thermostat in your car and dont remove it. The only case to remove it is when your radiator is too small to work on the motor you have there. Sleeved blocks require larger radiators as well as turbo cars that run hotter. Dual core radiators are nec. If you have a single core radiator, one of the only ways to drive around without overheating is to remove your thermostat and just drive around with the fan on all the time. But this method does not work well because the water does not sit around the sleeves long enough to draw the heat it should, like a larger radiator would do operating normally. So get that thicker radiator.


10. WHATEVER YOU DO, USE A FUNCIONAL, STOCK HONDA GUAGE CLUSTER! Talk about problems. Your in for a nightmare if you hook up some ghetto gauge cluster than does not have a check engine light, oil pressure warning light, alternator light hooked up. Also an accurate tach and Speedo is critical. You need the tach to avoid hitting the rev limiter because thats bad for the motor, and you need a Speedo to avoid speeding so you dont get pulled over and it leads to thousands of dollars in fines and possible impound for most of you! Back to the check engine light. If you dont have hondata, you cant really see whats wrong with your motor if you have a problem right? Well, its way harder. And way harder in English translates into frustration, time and no sleep which makes you crabby and irritable. This goes with my theme of keep it stock whenever possible. If your wire harness is not cut anywhere, and all your sensors are on the motor, you should not get a check engine light unless you have a true problem. With the check engine light, you can diagnose it and start working to fix it within 5 minutes or less. The check engine light is actually worth money to have working because about 15% of the cars I tune, which is a huge number, have had check engine lights. I was able to see what they are right away from the Hondata datalogging capability so it was a quick fix. But without it, the clock is ticking on the money you owe for the dyno. Every minute generally costs about 2 dollars. Thats 2 Big Macs every minute! I know you like Big Macs too, admit it. Back to the tachometer now. I was in a guys car, tuning it and it hit the rev limiter at 7600 on the tach. I immediately knew his cluster was not stock, because I had set the rev limiter at like 8800 RPM. This is a problem. A problem that could be avoided by using the stock parts and not putting on the fancy bullcrap aftermarket gauges from the wrong model on your tach!


11. Get your block bored and honed correctly, its very important. You can come to us for this service, because our bore and hone job is simply top level, some of the best you can get. This is the heart of the motor, which is the leading cause of problems in engines over time. You need the bores straight, not tapered and not ovaled. You also need the proper grit hone job for the type of rings youre using. Different Honda blocks have different grits needed for the finish hone. I will tell you most aftermarket pistons come with rings that need 400 grit finish hone jobs. This is optimal for a good ring seal, and the least amount of oil burning possible granted you install the rings correctly. Anyway, back to the bore and hone jobs quality. Have your local machine shop measure the taper from top to bottom and the roundness of the bore before you pick it up. Keep them accountable from time to time. At the place I get ALL my stuff done, they have a very expensive bore gauge hanging INSIDE the Diamond Bore and Hone machine. Not only does the machine used on our blocks have about 10 sensors on it to measure straightness WHILE its being bored and honed, the operator measures it by hand several times too! Its not uncommon for the bores to be about .0001 straight with no out of round. I did a block for a road race team that thought .0005 was good; because that was the best they had seen before. And when they got the block from me, the bores were so straight it was beyond the accuracy of the bore gauge they owned! It was accurate to .0001, or 1 tenth. It was safe to say it was about 50 millionths straight. Just the bore and hone job made about 5 WHP across the board on the road race motor. This straightness has several benefits. a. The first benefit is that is prolongs piston life. With a straighter bore, you are less likely for the skirts to scuff because the bore is consistently the same distance top to bottom as the install clearance. b. The second reason is you can install the pistons much tighter without problems. It was a tightly held secret that some people run my pistons (IB Spec Wiseco/Wiseco) as tight as .0015 because of good bore and hones. Its not uncommon for people to get bores out of round or tapered as much as 8 tenths. Tack on 8 tenths to .0015 and you get .0023. But it doesnt work that way exactly. With an uneven bore and hone, the piston is not as stable and will move around a lot more, causing the skirt to make contact more and more, the worse it is. So the more out of taper or out of round the bore is, the looser you have to install it! Currently, I am helping one road race team who races in 100 degree heat for 10s of minutes on end at 100+ MPH at high RPM who has my pistons installed at .002, which is unheard of in my industry. The tight install is very reliable but it has one large potential downside which is why I only recommend this tight fit for professional tuners ONLY. The rest get the .0028 recommendation, or even .0035 which will work fine. When you install a piston as tight as the pro tuners do that I help, you need to make sure when you tune it, you never run lean, ever. A few seconds of running too lean and those pistons will scuff the walls and your already burning oil. You tune it conservatively; you get a very quiet, very strong, reliable motor that will take a beating. And compression is reaching 12:1 on motors this tight running 91 octane the tuning is so good. That motor ever detonates under VTEC and its probably cooked. But it lives strong, race after race. A feat of excellence in tuning and engine building that is the benchmark for everyone in this industry to follow.


12. Dont bore out the cylinder head to match the bore of the block and dont weld on the combustion chamber unless you have to, but I cant think of a reason why that matters.First off, do not EVER bore out the combustion chamber to match the bore of the block, ever. That is a mistake, and a big one. Youre going all motor; you need all the compression you can get. If the pistons hit the head, you sand the pistons, NOT touch the head. The head is a consistent CC volume in each cylinder. Unless you have a CC volume machine close by, every time you touch it you make that motor run worse with every swipe of the dremel. Its easier to make each piston close to the same thing because it sticks UP and you can measure it pretty precisely with standard tools. You can also eyeball each one pretty easy to get them looking the same, which is very, very difficult if not impossible with the head. So what will end up happening when you make the mistake of boring out the head is that when you give that motor a compression test you will get like: 300, 305, 290, 285 type of thing. You ever see that on a completely stock, brand new motor? I never have. I see like 180, 180, 178, and 181 or in that ballpark on stock motors. They are very close to all the same. So whats the big deal with the 300, 305, 290, 285 thing its still high compression and will make power right? Yes, it will make big power, but you cant tune each cylinder to its proper air fuel, only all 4 together to get the air fuel. So in other words, 300 and 305 cylinders run lean and 290 and 285 run rich to give you a middle ground of perfect air/fuel. So you tune to say 13.3:1, like I do for most all motor cars without ITBs, and the 300 cylinder will be like 13.5:1, the 305 will be like 13.6:1, the 290 will be 13.1:1, and the 285 will be like 13:1. So which piston is going to melt first under heavy stress? The 13.6:1 one, of course. And if youre limited to low octane and your borderline on the motor, having each cylinder the same is even more important. If you have a few cylinders that are like 30 off, you better tune for like 13:1 to be safer, and lose a few HP. Otherwise, that motor will require higher octane and looser tolerances. Which brings up my next point, touching the head actually affects your tolerances. a. If your running 13.6:1 in 1 cylinder and 13:1 in another, the 13.6:1 will get a lot more heat, and that piston will expand a lot more. You have to be careful when you build a motor to not touch the combustion chamber to keep it consistent. Also, do not rough up the pistons to all hell either, youll get a way lesser effect, but you will make an effect of a tenth or 2 on the air fuel in each cylinder. A good method of getting a piston ready to go into a motor would be to glass bead it. The glass beads only take the corners down to a certain point, and then youre just pounding with no effect with the beads. You hold each one under for a similar time period; the Cs of each piston are pretty consistent. Thats a much better method that hand sanding them. A machine wins over the accuracy of a human every day of the week and 2 xs on Sundays. When I was in Hawaii tuning cars there was one motor that was about 30 off in 2 cylinders. I had no clue why, I thought that was very odd. Then the head was pulled off, and sure enough, the heads combustion chambers were hand ported out with a dremel. I knew the head was trash after I saw that. Live and learn. And I feel horrible having to tell a person that lesson because they did not know. Its the worst feeling I get. telling somebody their $3,000 head is trash and why. b. Also, do not weld on the head to close the quench area like a GSR head, for B16A heads. NO need. Its so small a CC is has not proved on the dyno to matter more than a HP or two. You have to worry about making it exactly the same on each cylinder and in addition you have to worry about warping the head, and most importantly the valve seats. You see a head porter weld on a head with the valve seats in it, they are either very skilled and do the welding over a period of a week to avoid hot spots, or they are doing it wrong. Most head porters will remove the seats before they do it. But why go to all that trouble and large expense over 1 HP? Are you kidding? Think about it. You want hassle free, quick turn around, and something thats going to give accurate compression. Logically, you KNOW not to touch it. Dont touch it.


13. Do not run OIL coolers or crazy oiling systems on Honda street motors. Does a Civic Type-R motor have an oil cooler on it? Havent you seen those Japanese videos of CTRs racing at 10,500 RPM and up and down above 9k for like an hour straight? And it doesnt blow up. So obviously, its telling you something. I cant tell you how many people put the oil cooler lines on backwards, and start up the motor, which has 0 PSI oil pressure, then start revving it up and down saying just wait, the oil pressure still hasnt kicked in yet Meanwhile your whole motor already needs to be rebuilt and all the bearings just got hundreds of thousands of miles wear on them. I witness these things first hand! Listen to me people. SKIP THE OIL COOLERS and crazy oil apparatuses. I mean damn, I got people trying to argue with me on the phone saying their oil pressure gauge has no reading while I scream TURN OFF THE MOTOR and then hear the ridiculous response but Jeff, I triple checked the oil cooler, its installed correct. It is? It never is when you have no oil pressure, but thats too much common sense in the heat of the moment. So if your five thousand dollar long block means a lot to you, skip the crazy oil apparatuses, or read the instructions and have 5 people check it for you before you turn it on. It is always a good idea to run an aftermarket oil additive that has substances in it that coats the motor, so that you get over the few seconds of bad installing oil fixtures and the like. They work, proven. But not for minutes on end. Also of note, your stock oil pressure sensor thats in your gauge cluster is good. It works great. If you start your car and it stays on, you turn it off. I used to use gauges a lot, but I think I am over that because I still to this day have not seen a circumstance where the stock one didnt serve the same purpose. All the cases I have seen, the oil pressure fell to nil, and both worked. Very few cases are where oil pressure goes down over time and the gauge is useful. One such a case is burning oil, or losing oil from a leak. The more oil you lose, the lower the pressure. So the oil pressure gauge can tell you how much oil you have lost over time pretty well. Thats one good reason to have it, if you dont check your oil all the time. I do, so its fine.


14. Never drive a brand new motor around UN-TUNED. Ever. When you spend several thousand dollars on that brand new motor, you want it to last right? To make it last one thing that is key is that you get the proper air/fuel ratio right away when you start up the motor so that it can drive. If you fully built a motor and didnt have a wideband on it when you started it up you risk the following problems: a. Too rich will put too much fuel down past the rings, and fuel is a cleaner it will clean the bores and thats not good, because you want the cylinders to have oil in them. Without oil, the pistons will scuff the cylinder walls and youre going to be burning oil sooner than later. It could happen in the first MILE you drive the car. You want to drive it around in a parameter of say 13:1 to 15:1, but ideally 14.7:1 if you can. 13:1 wont hurt it, youll just get slightly worse gas mileage. b. The second condition is the worst, and thats running too lean when you first start it up and drive it. Lean is hands down the worst, because even at narrow, light throttle youre going to get excessive heat and cause piston expansion. If the piston expands even one thousands of an inch too much, your block is done, and your cylinder walls are scuffed, pistons are scuffed, and youre burning lots of oil again. This can happen in one SINGLE dyno pass. Or just driving 2 miles to the dyno.


You might have heard of shops, that have charged about $16,000 for a fully built motor, and then they go out and drive the car around for 750 miles to break it in on a fully un-tuned motor. That is beyond stupid people. You see a shop doing that, you silently walk the other way, and dont go back until they change their ways. You buy a brand new car and you drive it off the lot. That motor has about 5 miles on it or so. Most people get on it right away, such as me. Does that motor ever have any problems? Not that I have ever seen, or heard! You want to know why? Because its already fully tuned when you pick it up.


So please take our advice and follow these simple rules to have a successful motor build.

Edited by EH6TunerDaniel
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Fuel pump goes without saying.


Cutting into your wiring is crap. As long as you solder it correctly there is no problem.


Ignition is total BS. Stock Honda ignitions can support over 600whp and 11k high comp.


Crank pulley just makes him sound like an idiot. Never run an aftermarket crank pulley. Never run a CTR N1 pulley, it has no dampner built in. If you want a lighter pulley, have the AC and PS ribs milled off your stock pulley.


Fuel rails don't hurt engines. Incompetent people do. Only reason not get get a fuel rail is because they're for show. All motor you don't need one (unless you want every bit of power and get the S2 composite rail), turbo you don't need one for your average build. If you do need one, you won't be running a crapty AEM rail.


Stock cam gears? Degree your big cams. Nuff said.


Sleeved blocks don't need a bigger radiator.


Stock gauge clusters are not accurate. My CTR tach (the most accurate Honda analog tach there is for high RPM), is off 300 RPM at 7,200 RPM. If you're going to be revving high, get a Autometer tach and put it in place of the stock tach. Not hard work and dead on accurate.


Tight P2W doesn't make power. It robs power. Friction is bad. More P2W with good low friction rings (CP as an example) will have the same seal and make more power than a tight P2W. Only time you need a tighter P2W is when you have a high RPM engine with low P2H. The tighter P2W will have less piston rock, which allows you the tighter P2H.


So far off base about the chambers its not even funny. If you bore your block (don't worry about this for a rebuild, I'm talking about a big bore) then you spot face the chamber ("boring it" as IB says). This gets more CFM from the head, and that is good. Keys to making power from the head: 1. Valve job 2. Chamber work. 3. Port work. Welding the head is a good thing. You want as much compression from the chamber as you can get. Doing this you can use a smaller dome, or even no dome, and you now have a quench pad that squishes the A/F into the center of the chamber. Thats more power for you. Your head guy will be able to properly reshape the chamber after welding for optimal flow (if he knows what hes doing).


Oil coolers work wonders. Most people don't know one of the jobs of oil is to cool your engine, just like coolant. Hot oil doesn't protect, keep the temp in check with a cooler. Also, get a oil pressure gauge. For a build, you need to know what your oil pressure is, not just if there isn't enough (stock warning light in your cluster).

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I would venture a guess that you are both correct. On these terms:


He seems to be trying to keep incompetent builders from f*cking things up more then they already would. Most of the points he made seem to be for the purpose of steering people away from ruining their engines by doing shoddy work or installing parts or doing modifications they don't really need for the power they are creating.


I would chalk this one up as an idiots guide. Obviously if you are not an idiot then all the points he made may not apply.

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