New Engine Build
The current engine being basically a boosted non-turbo engine is a ton of fun. The power made when boosting a 10:1 and how fast it comes on is just amazing. On the downside it’s a pain in the ass to control knock. With the increased compression and not adding 12+ psi boost, knock is inevitable. I added a Snow Methanol kit and was running a 50/50 mix just to keep it under control but I still had issues controlling the knock in certain scenarios. It was more the fact that I wanted to be able to drive the car without needing to constantly watch the gauges to ensure things weren’t blowing up in front of me. So I decided my best option was to build a TT motor.
The plan was simple, just built a stock block with nothing fancy. My only requirement was it wanted to go with a forged crank. My HP goals were only about the 450 mark so stock pistons and rods were just fine. I tracked down a 2 bolt short block from a local guy that had spun a rod bearing. I picked it up from him cheap and drug it home. I have no issues using spun bearing parts as I know that when done right they are just as good as new.
So I tore the block down to nothing, All oil galley plugs, freeze plugs and oil squirters were removed. Then the block was sent off to the machine shop. They first ran it through a hot tank which pretty much takes it down to bare metal. Then it was power washed to clean out all the galleries and coolant passages. Now that it was properly cleaned then checked everything out before proceeding. Line bore checked, decks checked and cyld bores checked. Everything came back fine so we know the block was good, the did a clyd bore hone and that was it. Hosed it down with WD-40 to stock any rust and bagged it up. Once I got it home I cleaned it up for a coat of paint after taping everything off. I went with a bright blue paint as I thought a bright color would help me find leaks if they ever popped up down the road.
The crank that came with the short block I ended up not using and it was pretty bad. I ended up pulling a forged crank from a junkyard 3000gt. I took it to the machine shop and found out it needed to be ground on both the mains and the rods. The ains needed to be turned 0.010” and the rods needed to go 0.020”. Not ideal but no worries. Turning cranks is normal anymore and as long as the clearances were right afterwards it won’t be an issue. I told the crank shop I was shooting for 0.002” clearance on the mains and rods.
I also had them drill out the oil galley balls and tap the holes for set screws. If you have seen a crank and understand how the oil galleys are drilled, you would know that the balls are pressed to fill in the drill holes from the crank being machines. This leaves small cavities behind those balls that collect all sorts of garbage. With the crank coming from a junkyard car and not knowing the history, plus all of the machining on the crank there is no telling what is sitting behind those balls that could come loose at any time into the oil galleys and take out the engine. So it’s best to have them removed so they can be properly cleaned behind. Once everything was all done and cleaned the set screws were added with red loctite and the ends peened to stop the set screws coming out. Before you think any further that crank was used for almost 7 years and even then those set screws are still locked in place.
I tracked down a set of heads from another local member and started work on them also. Stripped them down completely and sent off to the machine shop. They did a power wash treatment on them “Can’t hot tank aluminum”, checked everything out, deck straightness, cam bores and then skimmed the deck to bring the surface RA to something like 20. Then bagged them up for me. Once I got home I cleaned them up with a brake cleaner to remove any oils, taped them up and coated them with a silver engine paint since the aluminum was pretty oxidized from all the work and cleaning. Once all dry I started building the heads. All oem parts were used as far as valves, cams rockers. The lifters were updated to the 3rd gen big bore lifters to help with the dreaded ticking noise.
Since I like everything clean, especially when building something new from scratch like this, the stock bolts just wouldn’t. So I took about 30lbs or random nuts and bolts I had acquired from the multiple other cars I had parted out, degreased them, rand them all through the sandblasting cabinet “which took me like a week” and then sent them off to the plater. The plater took the entire box and dumped them into what it called a barrel plater. Think of it like a front loading washing machine drum. They load the parts in and it slowly spins and everything inside it gets plated. I went with a clear zinc plating which makes the parts almost look chrome. The entire 30lb box only cost me like $50 to have done so well worth it for the amazing finish.
I’m now on to starting assembly. The pistons and rods I got from a member who upgraded to forged pistons and rods and came from a good running engine. They were all checked and everything was good. New perfect circle rings added and they were ready to drop in, but first the crank. New Clevite main bearings installed and clearance between 0.0018 and 0.0021 so we were pretty much right where we needed to be on the mains. Girdled dropped into place and the crank was torqued down to 67 ft lbs. Next I got all of the piston/rods clearance and again they were within the same range as the mains. Final install and torqued down to 38 ft lbs.
Oil pump was a brand new OEM Mitsubishi pump and gasket set. I got a remanded tt oil pan but it was for a 2nd gen which means the rear main needed to be upgraded to the 2gn gen one also to fit properly with the pan. The rear main seal itself is the same; they just used a different metal housing between the 1st and 2nd gen for some reason. Things like this I have to make notes about as if I ever need to order seals/parts I need to keep track of the gen as slight variations like these are a headache when ordering parts.
I ended up ordering a Fel-pro full gasket set for the engine. I have been a fan of Fel-pro for years and their stuff is always top of the line and priced well below OEM. I also went with the Fel-pro Perma Torque MLS head gaskets. These head gaskets have a coating on the outside layers to ensure a proper seal for not only the combustion chamber, but also the oil and water passages. The layer helps to conform to any imperfections in the mating surfaces. I have used the head gaskets for years and I have never had one fail on me. I have also reused them multiple times without any issue. As long as the coating is in tack and not missing then it’s perfectly reusable.
Heads were then installed using stock OEM head bolts and torqued using a three step process to ensure even clamping force. Coat the threads of the bolt in 30 wt oil. First torque to 90 Ft Lbs and then break loose, then torque to 95 Ft lbs, Finally torque to 105 Ft Lbs. You aso start the sequence in the middle and circle your way around to the outside bolts. With The heads on start slapping everything else together. The lifters, rockers and cams were all installed and bolted down which allowed me to seal up the heads with the valve covers. From there the water pump was installed. I went with a gates water pump on the car which is another brand I trust and have used for years. The timing belt kit I got from Ninja Performance. It consisted of a Gates Racing belt, Idle pulley and a solid tensioner.. I went with the solid tensioner as I honestly don’t trust the stock hydraulic ones. I have seen them fail out of the blue left and right. Brand new ones out of the box failing within months. I have never seen a solid tensioner setup fail.
The water crossover housing was modified to use AN fittings for the turbo coolant lines. I drilled and tapped them out for -6 AN fittings and custom built my own lines. This was to replace the crappy rubber lines that would just rot after time anyways and the -6 an lines were much easier to work with. Once it was all mocked up it was disassembled and powder coated a satin black.
At this point the engine was completed as far as it could be. The rest of the parts to go on the engine would come from the old one once it was removed. Even though this one was done and ready to go, I still had a fully functional engine in the car already. So I decided I would not install the new engine until some issue presented itself with the old one. So the new engine got bagged up and set aside to be used another day.