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Andvari's Si engine rebuild

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Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby andvari101 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:37 am

After loving an 88 DX with a DOHC ZC for nearly 10 years, I was forced to sell it when I moved my family across the country. It's been 5 years, and I'm finally in a place where I can put a CRX back into my life. Last winter I was fortunate enough to score a deal from WolfSi on a 90 Si with about three grand in spare parts for a restoration. I spend an unhealthy amount of time working, and part of the reason for that is a lack of hobbies. A project car is precisely what the doctor ordered.

Here's how it sat the day I brought it home:
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More detailed walk around:
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andvari101
 
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Re: Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby andvari101 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:45 am

Engine and transmission were not located in the vehicle.

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This is the first restoration and project car I've ever had, so the first order of business is to outfit the garage with all the toys needed to work on this.

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andvari101
 
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Re: Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby andvari101 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:23 am

I've got a Honda shop manual (both electronic and printed in binder), a Chilton's manual, and a number of saved forum posts:

My plan at this point was to take the entire engine apart. I've never been all the way down to a bare block, and I've certainly never rebuilt one. I'm familiar with the concepts and the mechanics of how an engine works, but I've never seen it first-hand. There's 180,000 miles on this engine, and I've got 100% of the parts needed for a complete refresh, so why not gain the learning experience?

Let's go!

Get the valve cover off, breaking a few seals in the process. No worries, brand new ones on-hand for installation.

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Brief inspection of the valve train.

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Head comes off. Immediately notice that cylinder chamber (3?) and valves are MUCH dirtier than others.

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Valve train comes off, then camshaft, retainers and springs, finally valves.

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Then comes bottom end disassembly. Fly wheel, bearing cap, water pump and rear seal.

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Finally the crank and pistons come out.

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A more thorough inspection of the pistons. Starting with #1.

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#2

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#3 - seems to be blow by from a bad ring?

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#4

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I'm amused that there's a "warranty" stamp on the block.

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Engine is now in pieces all over my work bench. It was a lot of fun taking my first engine apart. I baggied and labeled everything that made sense to do so. Valves, springs, and retainers were organized onto a homemade board. I broke three 3/4" socket wrenches trying to get the crank pulley bolt off before buying a 1/2" breaker bar and adding a 4' extension pipe onto the end which did the trick. While trying to dislodge the head from the block I broke an exhaust manifold stud. But other than those things, disassembly was painless!
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Re: Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby andvari101 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:48 am

At this point it was time to start cleaning. My original plans were for a purely homegrown restoration. Buy a hone for a drill, lap the valves, clean off the head gasket remains, simple green the whole thing up and toothbrush that bad boy until my arms fall off.

After trying about 6 different types of cleaner to get the gasket off the block and head I gave up. Forum-folk were scaring me too much about honing my own cylinders. I started to feel a little guilty for taking a bunch of genuine Honda parts and assembling them onto an engine I'd putz'd around on.

I went through several different plans over the course of several months of waffling back and forth. I could send it off to have the whole thing professionally inspected, cleaned, and machined. I could buy another D16A6 and do all the work by hand on that just to learn it, go buy a bunch of fel-pro gaskets for it, and get it running just to say I did, then pull it and sell it as a ready-to-go rebuild (Ha!). Etc. etc.

In the end I felt that this is already a huge learning opportunity. I want the car to work well when it's reassembled. I have no interest in selling off work I've done. And I should use the parts and the money to make something I'm really happy with.

So off to a machine shop it went! Block, crank, pistons, bearing cap, and the complete (but in pieces) head. Work order was:
  • hone cylinder walls
  • deck block and head
  • valve job
  • crankshaft turn
  • extract stud I snapped off
  • clean it all

A few days later the shop called to say that the cylinders were out of spec and that we'd need to bore out to the first factory overbore. Pistons, rings, and bearings were ordered. After parts arrived and work was completed I picked it up and now it's time for reassembly!
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Re: Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby andvari101 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:04 pm

Installed bearings in block and cap.

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Crankshaft before placing back in block.

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Used Plastigauge to measure tolerances on main and rod bearings. Everything within spec.

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Got rings on pistons and installed. Bolts that hold the cap on were dipped in a bit of oil. Slathered all the bearings in assembly lube. Everything torqued to spec.

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Then it was time to start cleaning the parts that didn't go to the shop. It's amazing what some simple green and a toothbrush can do.

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Next was the installation of the main seal and oil pump. Manual says to use RTV and forums seem to agree, skip the weird gaskets that come with the Fel-pro engine kit.

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Spent a chunk of time cleaning the oil pan. Then got it installed too.

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Next was to clean up the thermostat housing and water pipe. Installed with fresh o-rings, new thermostat and gasket, and a new water pump. New fan switch and oil pressure sensor were added as well as an oil filter (not pictured).

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I've got the oil breather chamber cleaned now and new o-rings and chamber joints ready to go on.
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Re: Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby andvari101 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:17 pm

So this is where it sits as of today. I'd like to get a new set of head bolts instead of reusing the old ones. Then it'll be time to get the head on the block, change out all the o-rings on the valve train, new seals on the cam shaft, lube it all up, and adjust the valves.

Long term, after I finish the engine, I'd like to go through the transmission as well. Then I'll clean the engine bay, and after that get them back in the car and see how it all runs. If the power train is all good at that point I'll move on to suspension and brakes. The final step will be exterior seals and paint.

Feedback, criticism, and suggestions are welcome.
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Re: Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby Myriad » Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:26 pm

Wow, the paint on that body is a mess, but I don't see any rust anywhere. That's a nice thing to see.

This is your first engine rebuild? I think you did it well. I'd always take the parts to a shop to be cleaned, but other things like cylinder honing and valve jobs aren't scary after a couple times. At least, it isn't scary until it's put back together and you're hoping the engine doesn't blow up. :lol:
I got a new shell, just need to stop driving the DX so I can work on it.

I've got a filter for my mouth, it just isn't a good one.
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Re: Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby msc » Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:37 pm

Did you use sensor safe RTV? If not it's best to redo it now while it's not too much effort. The manual calls for a particular Honda liquid gasket not generically RTV. While the Hondabond called for is a form of RTV not all RTV's are the same and many will fowl the O2 sensor.

Mike
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Re: Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby andvari101 » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:22 am

Myriad wrote:Wow, the paint on that body is a mess, but I don't see any rust anywhere. That's a nice thing to see.

This is your first engine rebuild? I think you did it well. I'd always take the parts to a shop to be cleaned, but other things like cylinder honing and valve jobs aren't scary after a couple times. At least, it isn't scary until it's put back together and you're hoping the engine doesn't blow up. :lol:


Yeah, I thought the same thing about the paint/rust. Definitely a typical old Texas car... crazy sun fade, hail damage, no rust.

Yes, first time ever cracking open the engine. Hopefully it doesn't come to a blown engine, but I do have two spare D16A6's in reserve for parts or use should they be needed.
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Re: Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby andvari101 » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:39 am

msc wrote:Did you use sensor safe RTV? If not it's best to redo it now while it's not too much effort. The manual calls for a particular Honda liquid gasket not generically RTV. While the Hondabond called for is a form of RTV not all RTV's are the same and many will fowl the O2 sensor.

Mike


This is the stuff I picked up for this project
- Permatex Ultra Copper Sensor-safe High Temp RTV
- CRC Engine Assembly Lube

Since it says sensor-safe will that work?

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Re: Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby msc » Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:53 pm

You should be good on the RTV other then aesthetics. I never cared for orange crap oozing all over an engine. Mostly because I have spent too much time having to scrape it off.

andvari101 wrote:Used Plastigauge to measure tolerances on main and rod bearings. Everything within spec.


I took a close look at your pictures and it looks like I'm seeing .002 and .003 inch readings. The service limit is .002 and truly within spec you need to be more like .0015, preferably less. Unless I'm reading it wrong your bearings are pretty well worn out and you haven't even started it yet. I'm guessing you bought generic after market bearings rather then proper fitted bearings from Honda.

I couldn't tell you if that means it's a 20K mile engine or a 100K mile engine but it's safe to say it's not a 300K mile engine. A lot will depend on how it's driven, could be only a 5K mile engine or less.

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Re: Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby andvari101 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:12 am

msc wrote:You should be good on the RTV other then aesthetics. I never cared for orange crap oozing all over an engine. Mostly because I have spent too much time having to scrape it off.

andvari101 wrote:Used Plastigauge to measure tolerances on main and rod bearings. Everything within spec.


I took a close look at your pictures and it looks like I'm seeing .002 and .003 inch readings. The service limit is .002 and truly within spec you need to be more like .0015, preferably less. Unless I'm reading it wrong your bearings are pretty well worn out and you haven't even started it yet. I'm guessing you bought generic after market bearings rather then proper fitted bearings from Honda.

I couldn't tell you if that means it's a 20K mile engine or a 100K mile engine but it's safe to say it's not a 300K mile engine. A lot will depend on how it's driven, could be only a 5K mile engine or less.

Mike


You know what Mike? Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure those pictures of the plastigauge measurements were of one of the spare D16s I've got sitting in the garage. It was back in June when I did some of this work, so I didn't recall right away, but I was checking with my father on how to use the plastigauge properly, and snapped the pictures to show him how I was doing it. When creating this post I just grabbed all the photos I had and threw them online. Whoops!

If you look at all the photos of the bearing installation in the cap and the block, and the photos of the measurements, you'll see that the parts are dirty, but in the picture with the cap installed, the parts are all clean. Those are two completely different engines/cranks/bearings/everything.

The bearings in the pictures were brand new (sealed) DNJ bearings that should be stock size, but my guess is the crank is worn a bit? You are correct, in that test fitting not a single bearing was within the spec, which is why I was checking to see if I was using the plastigauge correctly. "Was I supposed to dip the threads of the cap bolts in oil like the service manual says for final installation?" "How much oil?" "Does the oil change the torque setting I should tighten to?" Things like that were the questions I was asking. I'm not sure how many miles are on the spare engines.

For the actual engine I'm rebuilding (that came out of the same chassis it's going back into), the shop that did the crank turning also ordered the bearings to be used. I believe they are King bearings, and when I measured journals 1, 2, 4, & 5 were all at 0.001 and journal 3 was 0.0015. That was a big relief after the test measurements on the spare engine weren't even close. The real engine and chassis have 180k on them.

As for the orange rtv leaking out the sides... having never done it before, I wasn't sure if that was good because it meant I put enough on to fill the surface, or it was bad because it meant I put too much on. It'd be easy enough to trim off with a blade right? But could that pull it up from making a good seal? Or is it all irrelevant except for the aesthetics?
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Re: Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby Wolf Si » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:33 am

"Wow"... motor is looking and coming along great. Great to see the progress.

Yep, the clear coat did not stand up to the Texas "Heat" to well and I started to sand it off the hood. Passanger door?? that one made me scratch my head when I first bought it off the orignal (1995) owner and everyone else who seen it. That is why I bought the extra passanger door, that was clean (but never installed it).

Look forward to seeing your progress. :-)b
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Re: Andvari's Si engine rebuild

Postby Charlie » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:40 pm

What was the most complicated thing you've done before this rebuild? I'm really hoping to do something like this as soon as i have a garage to do it in, but I've only done some basic work.
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