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Old 11-20-2013, 02:30 PM   #1
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Default Advice on a 1.6 engine build

Hey, so after getting some boost creep up to 15 PSI, running way lean, blowing a head gasket, filling my cylinders with water, developing a rod knock, and then subsequently shooting a rod through the side of the block, I'm looking at building a 1.6. I just picked up a 93 long block last night that had rod knock for $100. I've mostly been trying to price things out and figure out which brand of things I want to go with. I'm shooting for a maximum of 250whp, most likely closer to around 220, as I had about 160-170 (my estimate) before and really don't think I need much more as I'm just building a drift car. I'm mostly looking to increase durability as I beat the crap out of my car and hold it at, near, and sometimes past redline for prolonged periods of time, so I also would like to be able to safely rev the engine higher than 7k. Yes, I know it doesn't make any real power after that point but a lot of times in drifting you just can't grab another gear. I'd like it to be able to handle 8k reliably, with perhaps some brief moments as high as 8500. Now, I am on a budget but I'm willing to spend a little extra in places where it'll make a difference. So far my wishlist looks like:

949 racing supertech piston/wiseco ring combo 8.8 CR
Eagle or Manley rods
ACL main and rod bearings
ARP main studs
ARP head studs (already have these actually, going to re-use them from my old engine)
ARP flywheel bolts
Cometic head gasket (do these only come in 80mm bore?)
Boundary engineering street oil pump
Supertech valve springs and retainers
Engine balanced at machine shop

I just spoke with Dave at Rebello racing and he told me they've used supertech and JE pistons and was telling me the JE are much more robust than the supertechs. Do you think it's worth the extra $100-150 for the JE at my power levels? I also don't know whether to go with eagle or Manley rods are there any pros/cons between the two? I asked Dave about machine work and after he explained their process I'm leaning towards having them do the machine work since they're local.

I'll most likely be just building the bottom end for now and building the head a little later since I have a spare I can build on the side now. Can the stock valves hold the kind of revs I'm looking at or should I be getting those too? Also, I'll just mention now that I understand that a built engine will still fail if it's not tuned right, and that a megasquirt and bigger injectors are in the works.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:48 PM   #2
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Sell it, buy a 1.8.

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Old 11-20-2013, 02:49 PM   #3
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If you're doing the 1.6 for 220hp, I'd do stock pistons with rods.

But if you're buying pistons and rods, buy them for a 1.8 and build that. If you want to reduce stress, a 250 1.8 will be much less stressed than a 250hp 1.6.

If you're really struggling to find a 1.8, don't do 1.6 pistons, just rods, hot tank to clean up, and a rebuild kit just to get it running safely and quickly. Then once you find a 1.8 do a proper build on the side and sell your 1.6 for $3-400.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:06 PM   #4
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Agree with Curly. The stock 1.6 head won't hold the revs you want, and it would be an even greater tragedy if you actually put money into a 1.6 head.

When you're looking at $3000 of rebuilding parts, a few hundred for a 1.8 shouldn't be an issue. They both cost the same to build, but one is objectively better than the other in every way.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:20 PM   #5
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grr.... A 1.8 was my original plan but I figured the 1.6 can hold the power levels I'm looking at no problem. How would a STOCK 1.8 handle what I'm looking at, because naturally, after weeks of looking for an engine, a running 1.8 comes up for sale the day after I buy the 1.6. He says it was pulled for a v8 swap so it's likely "drop in and go" ready. Otherwise there's a 1.8 with a rod knock for even cheaper.

I was avoiding a 1.8 since I'll need a new turbo manifold, which means likely reworking my downpipe and intercooler piping, and the FM swap stuff. All this adds several hundred to the price, but if it's really worth it... Like I said, I'm trying to get out as cheap as possible but I'll spend a little extra where it'll count. I was under the impression that a 1.8 made more low end torque but that the 1.6 could handle more revs. If this info is incorrect then I guess I should ask could a 1.8 handle those revs and power reliably with just rods, the oil pump, a balance, and valve springs/retainers?
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:29 PM   #6
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If I were in your shoes I'd probably stick to the 1.6 as well, I'm in the same situation with the manifold and such.

Just put rods ($250) in the 1.6, hone the block ($50), have the pan, block, and large auxiliaries hot tanked ($100)(but NOT sandblasted), maybe have the entire rotating assembly balanced ($200), and throw it together with ACL bearings and a rebuild kit ($400??). Still $1000 for a 1.6 rebuild, but it'll be better than $2-3000 for a full rebuild, which should really only go into a 1.8.

The 1.6/1.8 revs thing is a myth. They're built the same. With larger pistons maybe people think they feel more vibrations? Either way it's a myth. Both engines are happy up to 7000 rpms, very unhappy past 7000rpms, and will start complaining after sustained 6000+rpms during drifting hooning. Any engine won't be too happy with that kind of abuse, but they'll handle it for a while.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6strngs View Post
I guess I should ask could a 1.8 handle those revs and power reliably with just rods, the oil pump, a balance, and valve springs/retainers?
On the street, absolutely. On the track? probably, and since you talked about drifting I assume it can definitely handle that because it's a lot easier on components than grip driving.

I was going to recommend just that in fact. There are quite a few members on here starting their "rods only" 1.8 rebuilds. The stock pistons should be able to handle upwards of 300whp (you know without major det of course). If you can find a 99+ head even better as I'm not sure how the NA hydraulic lifters handle revs compared to the solid lifters of the 99+.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6strngs View Post
I just spoke with Dave at Rebello racing and he told me they've used supertech and JE pistons and was telling me the JE are much more robust than the supertechs. Do you think it's worth the extra $100-150 for the JE at my power levels? I also don't know whether to go with eagle or Manley rods are there any pros/cons between the two? I asked Dave about machine work and after he explained their process I'm leaning towards having them do the machine work since they're local.
I wouldn't let Dave Rebello rebuild a lawn mower engine for me. You also don't need any of the FM swap parts if you're using a Megasquirt.

I don't build 1.6 engines, but if you want a 1.8, call me at the shop. I have way more experience than Rebello does building forced induction motors, and I can probably beat his price as well. I'll even put the parts you pay for in the engine at no extra charge
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:54 PM   #9
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I'm showing the Livermore-Sunnyvale drive as 40 minutes, I'd seriously take him up on this offer. Put $100 in parts into the 1.6 and sell for $300. Or just scrap it. I'll bet Savington has a 1.8 on the shelf or near by for ya.
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
I wouldn't let Dave Rebello rebuild a lawn mower engine for me. You also don't need any of the FM swap parts if you're using a Megasquirt.

I don't build 1.6 engines, but if you want a 1.8, call me at the shop. I have way more experience than Rebello does building forced induction motors, and I can probably beat his price as well. I'll even put the parts you pay for in the engine at no extra charge
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Old 11-21-2013, 12:41 PM   #11
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On a 1.6, if I replace the oil pump gear with a billet one, get the supermiata crank dampener for extra assurance, have the rotating assembly of the engine balanced, and use aftermarket valve springs/retainers (flyin miata claims on their site that they're good for 9k rpms without valve float) what would be holding the engine back from being able to reliably turn 8k rpms?
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Old 11-21-2013, 12:51 PM   #12
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The rods won't survive past 7800 and you'll break the throttle body shaft and destroy the motor at some point.
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Old 11-21-2013, 01:53 PM   #13
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even eagle/manley rods won't survive?
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Old 11-21-2013, 03:37 PM   #14
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Forged rods will, you left that out of your previous post though.
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Forged rods will, you left that out of your previous post though.
Right sorry.

I just picked up that running 1.8 today. I hate you guys Still deciding if I want to build it up a little, build it up a lot (with a credit card), or run it as is for the time being while I save up some more cash to build it a lot.
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:20 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
I wouldn't let Dave Rebello rebuild a lawn mower engine for me. You also don't need any of the FM swap parts if you're using a Megasquirt.

I don't build 1.6 engines, but if you want a 1.8, call me at the shop. I have way more experience than Rebello does building forced induction motors, and I can probably beat his price as well. I'll even put the parts you pay for in the engine at no extra charge
This isnt just Andrew trying to get business. Wouldn't trust Rebello either after taking apart a failed Rebello motor at the track that had some special hellaflushed valves and a few parts missing.
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:07 AM   #17
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This isnt just Andrew trying to get business. Wouldn't trust Rebello either after taking apart a failed Rebello motor at the track that had some special hellaflushed valves and a few parts missing.
And boost isnt rebello's specialty. Their specialty is making nearly undetectable "stock" cheater motors.
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:20 AM   #18
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Why not use scat / m-tuned / ebay rods?

Ballance them, weigh them, put ACL bearings in them. Good to go.
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Old 11-22-2013, 09:36 PM   #19
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Why not use scat / m-tuned / ebay rods?

Ballance them, weigh them, put ACL bearings in them. Good to go.
It appears the M-tuned rods are discontinued. I figured connecting rods were one place where one wouldn't want to buy ebay stuff, but after some searching it appears they're actually ok to use. I've been meaning to call up Belfab too and see what they want for some rods.

I found rebello racing on miata.net while searching camshaft options for the 1.6 a while back. Apparently they have some for cheaper than anybody else (never actually asked them about them though), and I just noticed they offer pistons and rods too which is why I called them up, and asked about machine work while I was on the phone with him. If you guys say to stay clear though I will.

So, if I were to just put rods in this thing you guys think it's ok to just polish the crank, slap the new rods and bearings in, and re-use the pistons and rings? I'm guessing if re-using the rings that the cylinders won't need to be honed either? I'm not a big fan of this option, but when my alternative is just running the engine how it is, I can't see it being worse. I tried to see how much stock pistons and rings were from mazda to see if I could save a few bucks but it's pretty much the same price as buying supertechs. I can however get some sealed power or NPR pistons and rings for dirt cheap through my work, but I don't know if they'll actually be worse than 140k mile oem ones

One last question, this engine I got didn't come with a throttle body so since I need to get one anyway I was thinking I might just get a skunk2 off the bat. I see skunk2 lists a different one for 94-97 and 99-00. I looked up the part number for a throttle body gasket though for both and they both use the same gasket so I'm assuming the difference is not in bolt spacing but just the iac valve and TPS. But since I'm going to be using a megasquirt and will have to splice the TPS connector in anyway, I could use either one right? I'm just trying to figure out if I buy one, that if/when I upgrade to a 99-00 head down the road I won't have to get another one.
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Old 11-25-2013, 12:58 PM   #20
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Why get a NB1 head when you can get an NB2 head?
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