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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to buy a F54 shortblock assembly to buildup. Since this is going in a turbo car, I want to use a more durable piston (forged). The goal is about 350 hp. What else should I concentrate on for durability? BTW, the price I got quoted at the quick and easy junkyard is 125.00. Could find one cheaper but it seems like a fair price without having to wait. I'm going with the T03/T04b super "H" additive and a Starion intercooler to start with.
 

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RE: Turbo shortblock buildup help needed???

Save the money you would spend on building the shortblock to the nines and put it toward a decent fuel system or even a programmable EFI. The stock pistons are amazingly strong. A few cases: Boost77 with his turbo car running in the 12's, the semifamous "stealth" of Steve Webb also running in the 12's, new forum member "uthor" with his low 11 second z racer (175 shot of NOS). The list goes on and on. For the relatively low HP goals of 350 you don't have to spend the bucks on forged pistons. Just don't detonate and you won't have a problem. A programmable EFI goes along way to getting the car tuned well enough to keep detonation nonexistant while still extracting maximum horses. Plus with a programmable EFI you can get rid of the "band-aid" Bell regulator. Honestly a good running motor will give you the best durability. All the mistakes and trouble getting the car tuned using a stock engine management is going to do more to hurt the durability of the motor. All the high dollar pistons, HKS gaskets, etc are just going to be expensive insurance against detonation. Remember, the high dollar pistons won't add any horsepower, but a properly tuned EFI will. Where would you rather spend the money?
greg
71 240z


Opie83zxt wrote:
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I'm going to buy a F54 shortblock assembly to buildup. Since this is going in a turbo car, I want to use a more durable piston (forged). The goal is about 350 hp. What else should I concentrate on for durability? BTW, the price I got quoted at the quick and easy junkyard is 125.00. Could find one cheaper but it seems like a fair price without having to wait. I'm going with the T03/T04b super "H" additive and a Starion intercooler to start with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<b>Hmmmm!</b>

Yes people run the stock pistons and get away with it at the 350+ level. You mentioned "Stealth", did you mention that he cracked his stock pistons in 2 cylinders while trying to run 350+hp. And we all heard boost killed his motor not too long ago running the stock bottom end. Yes, it can be done, but the durability of the forged pistons cannot be beat. And I would agree with you that a well managed fuel and ignition system will go a long way to assure your engines life. I would have to say that getting forged pistons is a great idea. You should build your engine to withstand the abuse it will see. The crank and rods in stock form will have no problem handling 350+hp. I would have the crank turned and balanced, rods resized w/ARP rod bolts, block honed, Forged pistons, and a good set of rings(I prefer Total Seal). Your short block should be good to go for a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
<b>RE: Hmmmm! BTW</b>

Detonation is an ugly thing. The thouands of miles that I abused that motor, it's amazing how well it held up.
Consider the following:
- when I first ran the car (4+ years ago), I had no idea what a fuel map was, or what it should look like
- the DFI I was using was 10 years old and had no provision for ignition control (slightly important in a turbo motor...)
- I didn't know the size of the injectors, which I later found out were 290cc - good to about 300hp. I was somehow approaching 390hp with them.
- with better fueling, my current junkyard motor ($200 worth) is making over 340hp at the wheels (about 420 or so at the flywheel) @ 1 bar of boost - and living fine.

Having said that, if you can afford the $700 to $900 for forged pistons, they are definetly worth it. They are more forgiving, but can still be toasted with detonation/poor engine management.
My suggestion is to invest in an aftermarket ECU such as the DFI, Haltech, or Tec-II if you want to exceed 300hp @ the wheels reliably.

Steve 'Stealth' Webb

240z turbo wrote:
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Yes people run the stock pistons and get away with it at the 350+ level. You mentioned "Stealth", did you mention that he cracked his stock pistons in 2 cylinders while trying to run 350+hp. And we all heard boost killed his motor not too long ago running the stock bottom end. Yes, it can be done, but the durability of the forged pistons cannot be beat. And I would agree with you that a well managed fuel and ignition system will go a long way to assure your engines life. I would have to say that getting forged pistons is a great idea. You should build your engine to withstand the abuse it will see. The crank and rods in stock form will have no problem handling 350+hp. I would have the crank turned and balanced, rods resized w/ARP rod bolts, block honed, Forged pistons, and a good set of rings(I prefer Total Seal). Your short block should be good to go for a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
<b>Mr. Stealth</b>

Just out of curiosity, what size turbo are you running? Also, I had heard that your car was running in the 12's. What is your best time? I hope to post low the mid 11's with my new motor. 2.9L, 60-1 bigshaft, 9.5:1 forged Venolia, Tech II. I met you in Ennis a year or two back. I was running 13.4's in the orange 240z.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
RE: Good info Greg...

but I've got 212255 on the unmolested engine and I don't think it is going to stand much abuse when I turn up the fire. I am pretty hard on stuff that can stand it. This has to be a reliable car as my girl is going to use it as a driver (I have to buy a truck to restore a house and cart motor crap around). You see I have five cars including her RX-7. One has to go: the ZX or hers(didn't take me long to decide either). So, the way I see it I need to do a buildup for reliability, everything dies eventually, and I don't want to push anything home. I'm already detonating on the stock setup--as in no upgrades. Would you still say spend the money elsewhere? That's a serious question, not rhetorical. Look forward to the reponse, and thanks again.
 

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RE: Turbo shortblock buildup help needed???

As mentioned by others, the stock shortblock is strong enough for the 350hp you are looking for.
The $700-$900 you'll spend on the forged pistons can be used in omething you can get more bang for the buck at the moment It is too bad that even $900 wont get you near a Tec II and its respective injectors (BTW would it be too dificult to check for a group purchase of Tech II's, we praise them really often in this forum and most of us still dont have one, I am gonna post something on this now) sure you can get from 30 to 50 hp by just installing it with the stock injectors and great tuning, but they limit you to 300hp, some people get some more from them but it is really unreliable.
I got a "band aid" from a Simple Digital Systems (SDS) Extra injector controller and 2 485cc injectors which are good for additional 160 hp, I am happy with the unit and it cost me only $300 from a guy who bought it and changed his mind, it was new and the new price with the injectors is $450.
There are lots of things that can be upgraded in the Z before the forged pistons, IOW to take full advantage of the pistons, besides the super H turbo you'll need a better fuel pump, fuel lines more injectors or bigger replacements, Fuel presure regulator, more spark(ie. MSD), and a good intercooler. The starion unit is "good enough" but consider a BELL unit that runs for around $500 and 2.5 I/C piping made from madrel bent U's.

OK, enough

Z-ya later

CarlosZXT


Opie83zxt wrote:
-------------------------------
I'm going to buy a F54 shortblock assembly to buildup. Since this is going in a turbo car, I want to use a more durable piston (forged). The goal is about 350 hp. What else should I concentrate on for durability? BTW, the price I got quoted at the quick and easy junkyard is 125.00. Could find one cheaper but it seems like a fair price without having to wait. I'm going with the T03/T04b super "H" additive and a Starion intercooler to start with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
RE: The SDS is only 450?!

Man thats Reasonable Ron's price!!! How does this thing hold up and perform on the street? BTW, I don't plan on any timed runs, I just want a fast, practical car that will shame the American iron that I also love. I love my big-block Pontiac cars, but this ZX is a lot more comfortable and practical. The turbo gives me that fix I've needed since I got rid of my organ donor Yamaha, and still gets the same performance as the aforementioned indians. I didn't realize that I would need to replace the stock pump and injectors with the super H, though to attain 350 hp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
<b>RE: Let me put it this way.</b>

I want those of you who know, to tell me what you would do. Here are the facts:
I've got over 212000 on a well maintained, but original 83 turbo ZX. The turbo is a little suspect at the time. Boost can be peaky, and the turbo sqeals when it is cold on start up.The car has to be a driver through the week for my girl who will probably never tach it over 3 grand. I want it to have about 350 hp, reliably 350 hp. It runs great now with no mods, but will detonate with the hot plug that is in it. I was planning on installing the Starion (just to start with) IC, a T03/T04/b with the super H, the bell regulator and the adjust-a-buse. I figured this would overwelm the lower end in it's well running but aged state. However, I didn't think pistons would be more than 300 dollars. So tell me your opinion. I value all your input!! Thanks, Doug.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
<b>RE: Mr. ?</b>

Ok, I remember talking with you at the track. I only get time to surf the list about once or twice a month, but your 'old' car sounded familiar.
The turbo I'm running now is a Mitsubishi TDO6-20G. It flows just a bit less than a Garrett T04E 60-Trim. I feel that the Mitsu's spool quicker than the T3/T4's. The 17C I use to have made 300ft/lb of torque at the wheels by 3,000 rpm. Lots of fun for the street.
My best 1/4 mile time (with the old 17C turbo) was 12.89 @ 117.7 mph. A friend of mine taped my run, and you can see the car drifting sideways past the 1/8 mile (and that was with 275x40-17 BFG R-1's). As you can see, 117 is easily an eleven second run - except for traction.
Your sound like you have the right stuff for mid 11's, but hooking up is going to be your greatest challenge. You might want to talk to Uthor about getting off the line. I have seen him launch hard even with a 200hp shot of nos.

Steve 'Stealth' Webb
 

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RE: Mr. ?

Steve. I meet you at Tulsa Z convention. What kind of hp are you make? Is that with nitrous and how much boost is that? I own that silver 83' 280zxt with the sds(fuel controller and direct fire ignition. Don't forget, you mentioned you would build a three inch down pipe for me. Hope to here from you soon!
 
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