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Old 04-11-2011, 10:10 PM   #1
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Default Opinions on PSS-9, Stewart engines racing engine?

Just looking for some more info on a few products...

I'm trying to find anyone who's running one of Jim Stewarts miracle engines... he seems to go beyond any traditional engine builder I've seen/heard of, in terms of machines shops and circle track racer shops. I guess thats the difference between competing and winning...
Kind of curious what sort of numbers anyone has heard out of one of his heads with the 5 angle valve job, welded and reworked/deshrouded combustion chamber, and a good bottom end. I'm pretty set on the motor I've found, but I'd like to know that, as compared to say a 2.0l fm motor, it would be competitive or even have an edge.
http://www.stewartengines.com/headwork.html
Talking about a 99 motor, the race version head, h-beams, .040 over CP pistons so that maximum deshrouding can occur.. I'm going to talk with Jim here when I get a chance and am not working, but I'd also like to hear from some of the drivers of a motor like this.


As well, what about the bilstein PSS-9 combo? With 500/350 springs, worth it at all? I don't need to go to a 10kg/8kg setup in this car, I feel like a moderate coilover setup that won't kill me will suite my abilities for a good while. I don't want a car that will straight kill me while I'm still learning. I realize the engine question may be counter to that statement, but I can handle running it at 280-ish hp until I am more comfortable with the whole setup.


This car is an 05 MSM, elise seats, FMII w/3071, spearco IC, ARtech SGDP, and down the road full 3" artech exhaust. currently sgdp goes out to 3" and custom catback 3" w/ 22" magnaflow. it was quick enough before. Shooting for more headroom.

~NIck
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:29 PM   #2
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When he first gave me a price, I thought: "holy ****, this guy better be ******* amazing for that price"

My personal experience with Stewart Engines (Indianapolis) was absolutely terrible. Took them 4 months (Basically, I was put on the back burner until I told them "I'm coming to pick it up" and then they said "ok, we'll have it ready in 2 weeks") I took a '94 block, I left with a 95.5/Later block (I lost my turbo oil feed port), They drilled and tapped my turbo manifold for the wrong stud thread so I couldn't use my inconel studs. They put the wrong oil pump housing on, so after I put the engine in, I had to take it BACK out, drive BACK to indianapolis, take it apart, put the RIGHT oil pump housing in, and reinstall it. When they reinstalled the oil pump housing, they fucked up the oil pan seals, so i had to take the engine BACK out AGAIN, and did the damn oil pan seal MYSELF so that I would get it right. In my initial consultation with Jim, he said he could fix my sticky lifter, which he didn't touch. He also said he would port the wastegate of the turbocharger, which he didnt touch. When I took the engine to him, I had my nice powdercoated valve cover. He bead blasted it after some discussion with me, then painted the valve cover red with my permission. When I showed up to pick up the engine, the valve cover was still wet and the paint was running. There was also a good portion which lacked complete paint coverage.

Aside from that, it was a great experience! If I ever have another engine to rebuild, I'll be finding someone else.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:48 PM   #3
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When he first gave me a price, I thought: "holy ****, this guy better be ******* amazing for that price"

My personal experience with Stewart Engines (Indianapolis) was absolutely terrible. Took them 4 months (Basically, I was put on the back burner until I told them "I'm coming to pick it up" and then they said "ok, we'll have it ready in 2 weeks") I took a '94 block, I left with a 95.5/Later block (I lost my turbo oil feed port), They drilled and tapped my turbo manifold for the wrong stud thread so I couldn't use my inconel studs. They put the wrong oil pump housing on, so after I put the engine in, I had to take it BACK out, drive BACK to indianapolis, take it apart, put the RIGHT oil pump housing in, and reinstall it. When they reinstalled the oil pump housing, they fucked up the oil pan seals, so i had to take the engine BACK out AGAIN, and did the damn oil pan seal MYSELF so that I would get it right. In my initial consultation with Jim, he said he could fix my sticky lifter, which he didn't touch. He also said he would port the wastegate of the turbocharger, which he didnt touch. When I took the engine to him, I had my nice powdercoated valve cover. He bead blasted it after some discussion with me, then painted the valve cover red with my permission. When I showed up to pick up the engine, the valve cover was still wet and the paint was running. There was also a good portion which lacked complete paint coverage.

Aside from that, it was a great experience! If I ever have another engine to rebuild, I'll be finding someone else.
What time/time frame was this? what year, month, etc? How many people does he have working in his shop, do you know?

Kind of surprised as I've heard mostly good things. This is a good review if its true, it's always good to get all sides. Luckily in some part, the motor is already built.
Thank you for that.

~Nick
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:48 PM   #4
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Nick,

Fooger has a more relevant experience as far as what you want to do to your engine, so I would take that to heart. It's disappointing to hear that you had such a bad experience, Fooger.

I will say, though, that I have a Stewart-assembled head in my 2000 Spec Miata, and several of better the Ohio-area SM racers use Stewart engines with great success. I also ordered a crank from him, and it arrived in a timely fashion and was in great shape for a used crank.

Like I said, I can't speak to relevant work, but I know many people who rely on him year after year for Spec Miata work, and my experience with them has been ok.
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:03 PM   #5
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I suspect his shop is probably fantastic for spec miata work. Do exactly the same thing over and over again because every engine you put out is identical.

I suspect it is also the EXACT reason that so many mistakes were made with mine.

Engine was built in February 2010. He has something like 5 or 6 guys employed there, though they don't all work all of the time. They build engines 6 days a week. You may get away with good service but you are going to need to specify every single difference that your engine is apart from a spec engine. They simply have issues grasping the concept of a non spec-miata engine. As an example, during the build Jim called me worried out of his mind because my pistons only compressed to 8.7:1. They had never heard of belfab connecting rods. When I took my engine back the second time, I hadn't removed my coolant line (just zip-tied it to the block) and he was at a loss for words when He saw the coolant reroute parts bolted on. As far as getting the wrong block in return (the 95.5/later block instead of the 94 block that I took him) - it doesn't really matter on a spec miata. I don't think he had ever worked with the Miata version of the ATI Super Damper.

My build was where we all learned (Me, Jim Stewart, Travis @ Boundary Engineering) that NA oil pump gears won't pump oil when they're in an NB oil pump housing. 22 thousandths of an inch is too much clearance.

He does other engines as well, and probably does quality work on them, but since they do so many Miatas exactly the same way, I think they have an assembly line mentality when they see Miata parts.
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:30 PM   #6
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That was pretty much what I was thinking may have happened-- generally speaking, the only variance in SM motors are how much do you want to push the legal limits of "stock." Obviously and as you stated, a turbo engine demands a lot more. This is good advice for Nick.
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:00 AM   #7
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I've spoken to Jim a few times regarding some custom parts he had ordered for a non-miata engine a couple years ago. He seemed to be towards the high-end of the customers I've talked to and that's actually saying a lot.

He had to wait much longer to get his parts than he was told, that may be of some comfort to people who got the runaround by Jim.

I still have one of his cylinder heads in my office actually, in case he ever calls looking for it. Unfortunately it's completely stock.
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:14 AM   #8
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So, I'm potentially getting the engine already built for a steal, but I should probably have it gone back over, huh? It has the OPGs from boundary, and was built about 6 months ago from what I'm told. I figure clearances should be fine I hope, maybe I'll check them, the compression ratio is 10.0:1 which is higher than I'd like but workable with methanol which I am using, what sort of stuff should I look for this thing?
I'm kinda worried based on what fooger has mentioned. The head has extensive work done to it, and I'm hoping it was done well, not really interested in pulling it apart to have it gone over but if thats the best option maybe I'll have to do so.

I think this engine may be a bit different fooger, though, in that it was a Stewart sourced block/head, both 99, and then built from that up. At the least he knew what he was starting with precisely. What sucks is i too need the 94/04-05 msm block for the oil port. Not sure what I may do there, but I'm sure I can just get the parts from FM to swap my FMII from MSM spec to 99 miata spec before swapping it in.

Nick
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:23 AM   #9
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PSS9's for the miata have screwy valving.
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chance91 View Post
So, I'm potentially getting the engine already built for a steal, but I should probably have it gone back over, huh? It has the OPGs from boundary, and was built about 6 months ago from what I'm told. I figure clearances should be fine I hope, maybe I'll check them, the compression ratio is 10.0:1 which is higher than I'd like but workable with methanol which I am using, what sort of stuff should I look for this thing?
I'm kinda worried based on what fooger has mentioned. The head has extensive work done to it, and I'm hoping it was done well, not really interested in pulling it apart to have it gone over but if thats the best option maybe I'll have to do so.

I think this engine may be a bit different fooger, though, in that it was a Stewart sourced block/head, both 99, and then built from that up. At the least he knew what he was starting with precisely. What sucks is i too need the 94/04-05 msm block for the oil port. Not sure what I may do there, but I'm sure I can just get the parts from FM to swap my FMII from MSM spec to 99 miata spec before swapping it in.

Nick
I've routed an oil feed line off of the oil pressure sender port. That engine has had oil pressure before, right? Mazda put the same sized oil pump in all cars from 90-00. In 2001, they increased the oil pump flow volume, then superceeded the 99-00 oil pump part number with the larger pump for purposes of ordering a new pump. Boundary engineering makes two different sets of pump gears, one for thicker, one for thinner pump. Just want to make sure you didn't put NA gears into a stock 99 oil pump housing UNLESS the stock 99 oil pump housing was the housing that originally came on the block.
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:49 AM   #11
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http://www.daycustomengine.com/

John Day holds god status around here. He holds a near flawless reliability record and does a lot of FI Miata engines, I don't know of anyone who's ever popped one of his motors or had to do work twice. Around the white-trash drag strip, he has the same respectable record.

He also held the low-bid for my machine work. I had the block bored and hones, polished the crank, balanced exceptionally low, the head got new seals and 3-angle, cleaned up the castings in the head, provided all seals and assembled for the same price as your guy's "Sportsman Racer Competition Port". lol

edit: Just the block machine work cost more than I paid for all my stuff.
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:52 AM   #12
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PSS9's for the miata have screwy valving.
I've heard that, and they have progressive but same front/rear spring rates, correct? Despite the very odd design, they seem to work ok for what they are. Any on track / road driving experience? All the reviews I can find don't compare them to much, other than stock, konis/eibachs or tien basics.

The engine has never been run, I will find out what OPGs are in the motor and if its the stock 99 oil pump or if they got a fully blueprinted oil pump assembly or what they did precisely. Good things to know to ask before i get too deep into it. TY.

~Nick
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:05 AM   #13
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What class are you building this car for?
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:14 AM   #14
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The don't get yourself killed by being stupid class. I work too much to compete, just track days. Hoping to get in about 1-2 a month at best this year. That takes up most of my time off, about 1/2 of it. I'm not sure if I'll be doing any club events, but I've got one trip to BIR lined up, and a few days at the Lewistown MT course through a local car forum, and I'm trying to get out to one or two track/auto-x days in the PacNW.

I'd prefer less crap about me not being "serious"' about track driving, if possible. Wish I could be, but luckily I am not fooling myself into thinking I'm much good. its just fun, and being a mechanic makes me money, not driving cars, in the end :-D
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:27 AM   #15
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I've heard that, and they have progressive but same front/rear spring rates, correct? Despite the very odd design, they seem to work ok for what they are. Any on track / road driving experience? All the reviews I can find don't compare them to much, other than stock, konis/eibachs or tien basics.

~Nick
My comment was based on looking at their dyno plots, not the springs.
Stick with the proven stuff such as FCM, 949, Tein.
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:32 AM   #16
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My comment was based on looking at their dyno plots, not the springs.
Stick with the proven stuff such as FCM, 949, Tein.
May just have to. Or the other Stewart, stewart development. All I can find on the PSS-9 system is that goodwin sells it, and a lot of miata.net guys street it.

Not sure on the plan for the motor, still pretty set on the deal I'm getting on this motor, but If I find holes based on what I've been told I may just have to go back to building my own. However, with parts/labor, install and everyhting I'll be at the same price point with less of a motor in the end, which is why I'm going this route for now.

Nick
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:39 AM   #17
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I'd prefer less crap about me not being "serious"' about track driving, if possible. Wish I could be, but luckily I am not fooling myself into thinking I'm much good. its just fun, and being a mechanic makes me money, not driving cars, in the end :-D
Then build a reasonably priced motor and Xida with the money you save. Send me some savings for pointing you down the path to glory.
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:09 AM   #18
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Then build a reasonably priced motor and Xida with the money you save. Send me some savings for pointing you down the path to glory.
Coilovers that are about the same price as the built motor I want... insanity. i wouldn't be able to use 50% of what they are capable of. is that whats on the OGK, Btw? That car was scary fun to be in. I don't think I want a car that sticks too well like that though. it sounds counter to common sense, but I'd prefer a car with lower handling limits at first, maybe move up to something like that (not quite that, but, better) down the road.
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:33 AM   #19
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Coilovers that are about the same price as the built motor I want... insanity. i wouldn't be able to use 50% of what they are capable of.
That's just it. Good suspension allows mediocre talent to drive much further into the car's potential. You can try to fix the deficiencies of the car or you can enhance the proficiencies of the car. Or balance both. But I'd lean towards making it easy and fun to drive before I added much more power.

And I put my money where my mouth is. Here's my street car. Ignore the anti roll bar for now. The engine is stock from the airbox to the header.

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Old 04-12-2011, 02:41 AM   #20
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This thread is getting retarded, fast.
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