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Honda Build II
By Steve Fox
In last month’s issue of Engine Builder, Part One of the article on AERA’s Vanguard Group Honda engine build, I explained some of the machining processes that we used to make a good 1.6L DOHC Honda VTEC motor into a great 1.9L Honda stroker. In this installment, I’ll be going over some of the assembly procedures and the specifications used in the upper part of the motor.
Once the "modular integrated deck" (MID) sleeve assembly was installed, the cylinder block was shipped to Jack Wetzel of Sunnen Products in St. Louis, MO. At Sunnen, the block was honed to have a piston clearance of .0035˝. It’s important to remember that when finish honing these blocks, it is critical to have the correct skirt clearance, especially if you are going to put any type of turbocharger or supercharger on the engine. Not having enough skirt clearance could cause damage to the piston and cylinder wall.
Before the engine was assembled, Randy Neal of CWT Industries balanced our rotating assembly. When he put the crankshaft in the balance machine to analyze it, he was able to see what had to be done. On the left side of the crankshaft, a 1/4˝ hole with a depth of .490˝ needed to be drilled. The right side could not be drilled since the drill area was on the smallest portion of the connecting rod journal cast area. So to improvise, we ground the shaft to eliminate the excess material to achieve balance to within .02 oz.in. tolerance.
We then weighed the connecting rods and the pistons. The small ends of the connecting rods were all within .1 gram weight difference. The large ends of the connecting rods were within .6 gram of each other.
Although the pistons were within balance of each other by 1 gram difference, CWT was able to bring that spec down to within .1 gram. With our rotating assembly completely and precisely balanced, our engine promised smoother and more responsive performance.
Once the rotating assembly was balanced, it was shipped over to Carl Benton of Polymer Dynamics Inc. to have the assembly coated. Benton applied a PolyDyn dry film lubricant to the pistons, which provides a secondary (back-up) lubrication in the event that momentary oil starvation occurs. This also prevents excessive wear and eliminates failure caused by lubrication lag after engine start-up. However, the primary advantage is that the coatings retain engine oil on the surface, even under extreme heat and pressure.
For the crankshaft, PolyDyn used what Benton calls its "Oil Shedding Coatings." This coating reduces windage-related power losses by making connecting rods, crankshaft counterweights and windage trays super-slippery. Oil is said to return to the sump faster because it can't stick to surfaces coated with PolyDyn oil shedding polymers. Improving oil control and speeding the return of oil to the reservoir also reduces oil temperature, Benton explains.
Once the rotating assembly was completed, the short block was ready to be assembled. With all the parts in hand and ready to build this performance Honda engine, we mounted it on our Goodson engine stand (that will be awarded to the winner of the engine as well at the AERA Expo Show in Las Vegas, NV, April 23-26). To begin, we placed the piston rings in the bores to doublecheck the ring gaps. The ring gaps all met the following specifications; Top ring: .018˝; second ring: .018˝; oil ring: .016˝.
Knowing that the ring gaps were within specifications, we assembled the pistons and the connecting rods. The connecting rod uses a floating piston pin. The rods were installed on the pistons and the clips were installed to hold the piston pin in place.
Before installing the crankshaft, we installed our main bearings, which had been supplied by Clevite Engine Parts. We checked the bearing clearance on the mains and confirmed that we had the recommended oil clearance of .0015˝.
After we had the clearances checked, we lubricated the engine bearings with engine pre-lube supplied by the Alan C. Blood Company We carefully dropped the crankshaft into place and installed the main bearing caps, pre-torquing the bolts to 18 ft.lbs. The end play on our crankshaft was within the specification of .004˝-.014˝, so we finished torquing the main bearings to a final spec of 58 ft.lbs.
Before the pistons and the connecting rods were installed, we checked our Clevite Engine Parts rod bearings for oil clearance. Our rod bearing oil clearance was .0015˝, so installation continued.
With the front mark of the piston facing toward the front of the engine, we installed the pistons into the cylinder bore and mounted the connecting rods on the rod journals. We lubricated the rod bolt threads and the underside of the nuts with the ARP Moly Assembly Lube provided with the rotating assembly. Caps were seated on the rods by aligning the cap by hand and tapping into place. The connecting rods were torqued to 23 ft.lbs.
With the rods installed to the cylinder block, we were able to install the rest of the lower end parts. The oil baffle was installed and tightened to 8 ft.lbs. The oil pump screen was installed and tightened to 8 ft.lbs as well. With all those components installed, the oil pan could be torqued down to 9 ft.lbs. The lower engine gaskets came from ROL Manufacturing.
The rear seal housing was installed and torqued to 8 ft.lbs. In the front of the engine we installed the oil pump supplied by Topline Automotive and torqued it to two different specs since there are two different bolts. The 6 mm bolts were torqued to 8 ft.lbs while the 8 mm bolts were torqued to 17 ft.lbs. The front seal was installed before installation of the oil pump.
Once the bottom end of the engine was done, we were ready to look at the top end of the engine. Before we began assembling the top end, the cylinder head was shipped to Ray Meyer of RMC Engine Rebuilding Equipment to have a slight mill done. As mentioned in Part 1 of the article in February’s issue, we didn’t ask to have too much taken off the cylinder head because of concerns it could actually cause a reduction in engine performance.
Cylinder Head Assembly
Once we got all of the valve train parts and the cylinder head back, we began to assemble the cylinder head with the valves, springs, rocker shaft assemblies and the camshafts.
We first measured our valves and checked the I.D. of the guide to make sure that we had the correct valve stem to guide clearance. The valve stems on both the intake and the exhaust valves measured .215˝ while the I.D. of the guide measured .217˝-.221˝ giving us a stem-to-guide clearance of .0020˝-.0040˝ on the intake and .0040˝-.0060˝ on the exhaust.
After installing the valves, we checked our stem heights to make sure that they were correct. The correct stem heights for our engine were 1.475˝-1.494˝ on the intake and 1.463˝-1.482˝ on the exhaust. As expected, our valves measured right in the middle of these specs. Before installation, we lubricated the valve stems so that there is not a dry start condition when we dyno the engine.
Before we installed the valve springs, we installed Ferrea Spring Seat Locators. These valve spring seats are produced with a hardened steel alloy and have a fine nickel plate to provide better surface wear resistance.
The valve springs we used for this build were processed with premium-grade alloy and feature a special thermal treatment. Valve spring seat pressure is 90 lbs. at 1.325˝. Coil bind on the valve spring is .787˝ while the spring has a maximum net lift of .531˝.
On top of our valve spring sits a titanium retainer, precisely machined on CNC-machines from aerospace-quality titanium. These 7° retainers are fully heat-treated and finished to exact tolerances, adding strength. The great benefit for our stroker is that they weigh much less than conventional steel retainers, and offer a 40 percent weight reduction.
The Ferrea Valve Locks we installed are manufactured from high quality 4140 chrome-moly bar stock and machined to exact tolerances. The locks are heat-treated for maximum strength and finished with a black oxide coating for an attractive appearance. We used 7º locks with a 5.5 mm radial groove.
With the valves and springs assembled into the cylinder head, we put together the rocker shafts and installed them. If you are going to build a version of this motor and plan to use the original rocker shaft assembly, save yourself a reassembly headache. During the disassembly process, make sure that you mark all the components as they need to go back in the original location.
Here’s a tip for assembling the rocker shafts. Because the shaft goes through the head, it is a good idea to hold the assembled rocker mechanisms together with a rubber band. That way when you install them and slide the shaft through the rocker mechanisms, they stay together and do not fall apart.
Once the rocker shafts and all the parts associated with the shafts were installed, we finished the cylinder head by installing the camshafts and the rest of the accessories for the cylinder head. However, before the camshafts were installed, the cylinder head needed to be torqued down since the camshafts cover some of the head bolts. The head was torqued to a specification of 22 ft.lbs. and then 61 ft.lbs. Following the proper torque sequence will ensure a secure clamping load on the cylinder head gasket.
Crane Cams supplied camshafts that are a perfect fit for our street application. Our research showed that at .050˝ lift the intake valve opens 8° ATDC and closes 28° ABDC and the exhaust opens at 28° BBDC and closes 8° BTDC. Duration at .050˝ lift is 200°. Advertised duration for both intake and exhaust is 232°. Intake and exhaust camshaft lobe lift is .2065˝ and the theoretical valve lift at zero lash is .307˝ using a 1.48 rocker ratio. Cold valve lash for this engine on the intake was set at .006˝ and the exhaust at .008˝.
When the camshafts were installed, we installed the camshaft caps along with camshaft holding plate. There are two different size bolts for caps and the plate holder: a 6 mm bolt and an 8 mm bolt. The 6 mm bolt torques to a spec of 96 in.lbs. and the 8 mm bolt torques to 16 ft.lbs.
We used Crane adjustable timing sprockets so that we could degree the cams to our preferred specs during final assembly. The camshaft gears used are 10° adjustable advance or retard and made of lightweight CNC machined 6061 T-6 billet aluminum with a special "rough" finish on the gear pattern to "grab" the belt. These gears can help find the hidden horsepower we want and the all-stainless hardware makes adjustments easy and stable.
With the camshaft gears installed, we then installed our timing belt, supplied by Cloyes Timing Components. After making sure that the drive gear and the camshaft gears were cleaned and aligned at TDC, we rotated the crankshaft counterclockwise until #1 piston was at TDC of the compression stroke as well.
After #1 piston was at TDC, we inserted a CAM-LOK® tool supplied by LOM Industries. This helpful tool secured the camshaft gears from turning while we installed the timing belt. It basically slips in between the two timing gears and holds the gears in place to assist in timing belt installation.
We then installed the timing belt over the crankshaft gear, tensioner pulley, water pump pulley and the camshaft gears. When installing the timing belt, you always want to be careful not to twist the belt at all. After verifying that everything was lined up correctly, we went ahead and tightened our timing belt tensioner to a torque of 40 ft.lbs.
Once we had the engine assembled, we went ahead and finished installing the valve cover and buttoned up the front end. As of this issue’s publication date, the engine had not yet been on the dynamometer. However, we’ll have dyno numbers to support this exciting engine build at the AERA International Expo 2003 in Las Vegas, NV, April 23-26.
I hope you’re planning to attend the AERA Expo 2003, and that you’ll stop by the Honda engine build arena. In this arena there will be videotapes playing continuously throughout the show hours. These tapes will show the machining process and the assembly work as well as the dyno testing of this engine.
After seeing the videos, you’ll be able to go directly to the manufacturers of the equipment, tools, parts and services needed to build one of your own sport compact engines. All of the operations performed on this engine will be demonstrated live on the show floor in each manufacturer’s booth. The show floor is where you will be able to receive all of the details needed to help you capitalize on this exciting engine craze.
With the help of South Florida Performance we are adding a Stage 3 turbo kit along with a fuel management system to make our Honda come to life. South Florida Performance will also be doing the dynamometer work along with tuning; we should easily get 350-400 horsepower on pump gas out of our Honda engine. AERA’s new corporate partner, The Valvoline Company donated a case of VR1 10W30 engine oil for use in dynamometer testing.
The Race Rocket Engine Build Program will wrap up with an open roundtable discussion featuring several industry experts. This seminar will take place beginning at 9:00 am on Saturday, April 26, in Room S229, adjacent to the AERA’s Exhibition Hall S-3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Here, you will be able to network with industry peers who have the same interest in this market as you, and to ask the questions you have to industry experts, including:
Dave Clinton, owner and CEO of Darton International. Clinton has an MBA from California Western University, a long history as an engine builder and driver of D and C fuel cars as well as a great love for aviation. Dave is the co-inventor of the "patent pending" sleeve product known as "M. I. D." or Modular Integrated Deck. This product has been labeled the backbone to the sport compact high-performance engine.
Leo Croisetiere, owner of R & L Engines Inc. of Dover, NH, has over 25 years of experience in this industry and has lately tooled up and invested in state of the art equipment to help him capitalize on the sport compact engine craze. He and Ruth Croisetiere, his partner in life and business, operate a 3-plus man custom engine shop. Leo is very giving and does not hesitate to share his knowledge with his peers, and will be more than willing to answer any questions you have regarding the custom engine market. In addition, R & L Engines was awarded the coveted "Machine Shop of the Year" award in 1994.
Paul Plevaneck, Top Line Automotive Engineering, Inc., Chicago, IL. With more than 20 years of experience in the automotive aftermarket industry, Paul’s extensive knowledge of these technical heads will be a big asset on this roundtable discussion. In addition to Top Line’s engine parts and components, the company offers new replacement Honda VTEC performance cylinder heads with multiple options through its Pro Top Line division.
Abid Siddiqi is a professional engine tuner who has over 10 years of professional experience in the sport compact arena. He is the General Manager of South Florida Performance Inc., which manufactures and distribute a full array of high performance parts and accessories. Abid custom fabricates turbo kits specifically for Hondas and Acuras. His complete turn-key kits come with a fully illustrated 32-step instruction manual. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet this professional sport compact tuner.
Alan Davis is a professional Technical Support Manager for Eagle Specialty Products of Southhaven, MS. Eagle Specialty manufactures connecting rods, crankshafts and rotating assemblies for sport compacts. Alan has been our chief technical advisor for our Race Rocket engine project and brings years of technical knowledge to the roundtable. In addition to doing this for a living, Alan has built several sport compacts for his own personal use on and off the racetrack.
AERA’s 1.6L Honda Engine Build Presentations:
The plan for the AERA 1.6L engine build is to have each company performing machining operations document their procedures on videotape. Each of these tapes will be edited to produce a complete tape that will be shown on the show floor during the AERA EXPO 2003. Along with these tapes, there will be a roundtable discussion with industry experts on these engines on the last day of the show. Here is the schedule of seminars covering this engine during the EXPO.
Thursday, April 24
Lower End Machining
The lower end of the Honda engine was machined with precise and accurate equipment. Basic machining processes were performed with some modifications to get more power and increase durability. The videotape will address:
- Cylinder block machining
- Connecting rod machining
- Crankshaft machining
- Engine parts
Friday, April 25
Cylinder Head Machining
The cylinder head will be where most of the work takes place. Basic cylinder head machining procedures along with some port modifications for better flow throughout the engine will be followed. As with the lower end, the procedures, equipment and parts used will be of the highest quality and accuracy. The videotape will address:
- Pressure testing cylinder head
- Valve seat machining
- Machining for bigger valves
- Valve guide replacement
- Camshaft bore machining
- Cylinder head port modifications
- Valve refacing
- Surfacing cylinder head
- Cylinder head assembly
- Engine parts
Saturday, April 26
9:00 a.m.-9:55 a.m.
Sport Compact Performance
Saturday’s program will go over the possibilities of adding performance enhancements to the engine as well as dyno testing of the engine. Such examples of performance enhancements available include nitrous oxide, turbo or supercharger, aftermarket fuel injectors as well as fuel management systems. The roundtable discussion with industry experts will cover the engine build as well as provide time for questions.
LISTING OF SUPPLIERS:
The following companies contributed to this project by supplying product, machining or technical expertise. AERA and Vanguard would like to thank everyone involved in the project for their participation.
P.O. Box 1778
591 W. Apollo St.
Brea, CA 92822-1778
Alan C. Blood Co.
2729 Sutton Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63143
ARP – Automotive Racing Products
1863 Eastman Ave.
Ventura, CA 93003
P.O. Box 296
Highway 177 North
Council Grove, KS 66846
Cloyes Gear & Products
P.O. Box 287
Paris, AR 72855
Clevite Engine Parts
1350 Eisenhower Place
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
530 Fentress Blvd.
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
4708 S. Old Peachtree Rd.
Norcross, GA 30071
Dakota Parts Warehouse
405 12th St.
Rapid City, SD 57701
2380 Camino Vida Roble
Carlsbad, CA 92009
P.O. Box 1304
4455 Theurer Blvd.
Winona, MN 55987
Delta Custom Tools
7157 Honeyman St., Unit 4
Delta, BC V4G 1E2 Canada
Eagle Specialty Products
8530 Aaron Lane
Southaven, MS 38671
Ferrea Racing Components
2600 NW 55th Court
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309
Gleason Engineering Industries Inc.
P.O. Box 828
Winona, MN 55987
13500 SE 294th Place
Auburn, WA 98092
8320 Miramar Mall
San Diego, CA 92121
Polymer Dynamics Inc.
4116 Siegel St.
Houston, TX 77009
QPAC Micropolishing Equipment
1305 S. Cedar St.
Lansing, MI 48910-1529
RMC Engine Rebuilding Equipment
5775 Bridgeview Center
Saginaw, MI 48604
8041 Broadstone Rd.
Perrysburg, OH 43551
8029 S. 200th St.
Kent, WA 98032
2108 Utopia Ave.
Nashville, TN 37211
South Florida Performance
18728 SW 107th Ave.
Miami, FL 33157
Dallas, TX 75235
7910 Manchester Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63143
Topline Automotive Engineering
8200 S. Hoyne Ave.
Chicago, IL 60620
The Valvoline Company
3499 Blazer Parkway
Lexington KY 40509
2505 Commerce St.
Tacoma, WA 98402-1294
Winona Van Norman
710 E. 17th
Wichita, KS 67214