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Discussion Starter · #581 · (Edited)
Posting this picture of an EVO X block to show the main oil hole & "groove" in the block.

Also, I'm getting very close to hitting the 2J rod on the actual iron cylinder sleeve on the Juke block. You can see the picture of the EVO X block below as an example which has this area relieved from the factory. It's looking a lot like I might have to make this same relief cut in the MR16DDT block as well for pretty much the same reasons. I'll know by next weekend when I drop the rod/piston in and do a clearance check. This may or may not be what 2J was talking about, they were so ambiguous about what had to be done. I'm currently machining the main girdle to clear the rod bolt caps, different clearance problem which is another massive headache. But cycling the rods up and down in the bore the clearance to the actual block is getting very tight in that corner at the bottom of the cylinder.

You can see the massive difference in block design. The EVO X uses (4) main bolts per cap vs. (2) on the Juke MR16DDT. Also look at the cylinder liner, in the Juke it's maybe .080-.100" thk. The EVO X iron cylinder liner looks like it's 0.150" thk, approaching a drop-in sleeve. When you talk about block strength, the liners have to contain the cylinder pressure and keep the rings sealing. I was looking at the 385 w.h.p. dyno run on the stock motor 2J Juke RS and thought that motor is going to blowup at some point. Anyway, the EVO X block has been known to go 600-700 whp on the stock rods though that's pushing the extreme limit. The Juke will be more than happy at 400 whp fully upgraded but anyone pushing higher really should think twice as when you look at the critical areas of the blocks it's not even comparable. MR16DDT is a very nice motor but not designed for high horsepower. Kind of like the EJ255 motors is probably a good comparison as those have some critical weaknesses but built they can hold some decent power.

I will say right now this is not a drop-in type engine build by a long shot. It's getting getting kind of ridiculous at this point. I think I'm thru most of it but it's gonna suck to have to grind a clearance notch, then clean the block bores yet again.

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Discussion Starter · #582 ·
Finally got the pistons & crank installed in the block. Lot's of work machining the main cap girdle and bearings but it's all in, mostly. The King Bearing EVO X main bearings are coming in around .0027" clearance on average, Nissan upper spec is .0026". The Nissan Juke RS rod bearings are measuring in at .0026" and the Nissan upper spec is .0028". Overall, looks like I will stick with 10w30 Valvoline Syntec oil and run some additional ZDDP additive to protect the cams/lifter buckets with the higher pressure aftermarket Supertech valve springs. It's always good to stick with the factory oil viscosity so I think even with the looser specs this'll work out great.

Important thing to remember is that most of the critical bolts on the MR16DDT engine are "torque-to-yield". This is good and bad. Yielding keeps the bolts from warping the engine block. So for those of you who think upgrading the main bolts or cylinder head bolts is a smart idea.....think again. The extra clamping load will require line honing of the block or using a torque plate for the cylinder bore honing using the upgraded fasteners during the machining operation. I highly recommend simply sticking with the OEM Nissan main cap bolts and head bolts unless you know what you are doing. My machine shop told me this and warned me about it.

The rod bolts are ARP high strength bolts and they aren't torque-to-yield, but the rods are also forged/upgraded so they can take the extra clamping force. All the bolts are lubricated with engine oil, except the ARP rod bolts that use Molylube. If you follow the correct torque procedure and have a good torque wrench and follow the directions, then it's hard to mess up.

Motor is nice, I can spin the crankshaft easily by hand. As I mentioned before measuring all the clearances with high quality inspection tools is the only way to be confident that nothing is going to bind or cause issues.

Next up will be measuring the piston-to-deck height. Then maybe measuring the cylinder volume (i.e. cc volume) and see how consistent the compression ratio is going to be from cylinder to cylinder. I have some work left on the cylinder head lapping the new valves to mate with the fresh valve seats I cut. Finally, I'm going to have to set the valve lash adjustment using custom aftermarket sized lash caps since the Cosworth regrind cams requires additional lash caps sized for each valve. The Crower cams are going to have be degreed according to the cam card they supplied for maximum performance and a good idle. So I'm thinking all I can really do is use the cam phase adjustment in the ECUTek to dial in the cams that way.

Lot's of work left but I think it's pretty much downhill after this. I'm shooting for end of November to get the engine/trans dropped in and I'll call that good. Hopefully I can rebuild the suspension and brakes and get it running by that time and I'll be super happy to have this project over with.

More pics to follow.
 

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Long Long Long build. I forgot about the cams.
 

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This continues to be largely over my head, but I enjoy following along anyway. Thanks for continuing to share this rebuild.
 

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Discussion Starter · #585 · (Edited)
This continues to be largely over my head, but I enjoy following along anyway. Thanks for continuing to share this rebuild.
Glad you are enjoying it. Learning process for everyone, including myself.

I finally was curious and checked the connecting rod-to-cylinder bore clearance. For those that aren't aware, the piston bore isn't exactly in-line with the crankshaft, it's biased to one side for better power transfer and less piston/ring wear or something like this. Well, with the 2J aftermarket rods this puts the rods extremely close to the bottom of the cylinder bore on one side of the engine block. I ended up stringing some feeler gauges together and dropped them between the rod and block to confirm how tight it was with the engine assembled. I'm getting about .095" clearance and typically .060"-.080" would be the bare minimum. So luckily this is plenty good otherwise I'd have to strip the entire engine again, grind, clean, re-assemble.

Here is a good article about what an engine builder would go thru:


Couple of pics of the motor:

Here is a pic of the main girdle with the "half moon" notches I had to custom machine to clear the ARP rod cap bolts. Main girdle is what keeps the main journal stiff. The upper oil pan case also ties the entire bottom of the engine together to make a very stiff block. This is important to keep the main bearing clearances consistent and avoid wearing out the bearings. It works as my 80,000 mile main bearings looked brand new. This is up to the owner to make the necessary clearances. Keep that in mind when buying aftermarket rods and using upgraded ARP rod bolts.


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Main bolts are torqued to 25 ft-lbs initially. Then, the bolts are rotated exactly to 70* for accurate clamping torque. You want to use an accurate torque wrench or an angle gauge. This Kobalt torque wrench has the angle function built in, but I also watch the angle physically to make sure I don't rotate past 70*. Everything is paint-marked to guarantee I didn't miss anything so I can set-and-forget it. Also note I number the cylinder bore positions on the block. The pistons, rods, piston rings, and cylinder bores are all individually matched to each other and marked with a felt tipped marker. This is because I'm setting all the bearing clearances and piston-bore clearances by mixing and matching them to get them more equal. This is what they would call blue-printing an engine in the basic sense. Because the machining wasn't perfect I'm trying to balance out the clearances.

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Piston assembly. I'm using a piston I already built as a template to avoid making mistakes. The Juke RS rod bearings can be seen with the copper and aluminum bearings, orienation is critical as the copper side is near the piston direction. Rod caps are marked with a green dot as they are machined/honed in 1-direction, flipping them around is bad. Rods can be orientated any direction, they are symmetrical. I also install the rod pin circlips and mark them also with a green inspection dot. These circlips I pop in by hand and using a small flat head screwdriver or a pick to work it in. A loading tool like a hollow tube would work great to compress them but for this build I struggle doing it by hand. The piston rings I have a pair of pliers to install them though I don't use it much. I slip then on by hand as this seems to work better than the special pliers, but the cheap pliers work pretty good too, though you over bending the rings will snap them.


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Piston installation. This ARP piston installer was dead simple to use and tapered to compress the rings during installation, super easy and worth the $90 or so I paid. Broken rings are no joke so you want the right tool. I used plenty of engine oil to slide/compress the rings into position. It's all about the hand feel, if something sticks I backoff and try again. The 80.5mm size is perfect for the Juke. The blue dot is the piston orientation to "forward" position or timing chain side of motor, NOT the front of the vehicle. The injector "squish" pocket had to be facing the front bumper where the injector fires. Mess this up and you are having a bad day with the intake/exhaust valves crashing into the piston or poor combustion performance. Paint marker and felt tipped black sharpie are your friends.

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Piston ring clocking. I'm using the blue dot to clock the piston rings correctly, here they are flopping around in the wrong position but when installed they are correct. Hard to explain, but Top ring and 2nd ring are clocked 180* from each other, but at a 45* angle to piston pint or the thrust direction(front bumper). The 2nd ring is a hooked napier oil scraper and must be installed downfacing. Install that upside down and you are screwed and will burn oil relentlessly. You can see the P/N on the ring, that always faces up on Top and 2nd rings.The ring clocking in relation to each and the cylinder bore front location is super important during break-in to avoid compression loss thru the gaps. After break-in the rings will rotate and it won't matter but during break-in if not clocked correctly the rings will not seat and burn significant oil. The service manual goes into detail about this, no guess work but follow directions like your life depends on it. I also make hand written check lists as well, this helps avoid making stupid mistakes.

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Here is the rod-to-block clearance check, you will not find this in the service manual. I hung a string with some feeler gauges attached. Then I rotated the crank thru 360* rotation. I keep increasing the thickness of the feeler gauges until the rod jams up on the feeler gauges, then that is the final clearance. It ended up being .095" clearance on the 2J Racing rods which will be perfectly fine. Typical V8 clearances are .060-.080" minimum recommended. On a Nissan crankshaft that doesn't have much flex the .095" clearance will be more than plenty. Keep this in mind when buying aftermarket rods. It's up to the builder/owner to check all this. Not checking this and you are having a very bad day.

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I still dont understand why you cannot use cylinder head studs with nuts as thats the optimum on non oem builds per say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #587 · (Edited)
I still dont understand why you cannot use cylinder head studs with nuts as thats the optimum on non oem builds per say.
I agree, read this:


Nissan has a torque and then angle method, so the bolt stretch and clamping load is pretty consistent. The threads are fine pitch with about 50 threads. I think it comes down to accuracy of torque and Nissan have that figured out by using a fairly light 30 lb-ft initially and finally about 190* angle rotation to achieve the required clamping forces.

I'm not too worried about it, Nissan know what they are doing.
 
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Discussion Starter · #588 ·
I've started to measure the piston-to-deck clearances. The deck bridge and drop indicator are used to do this measurement. I first measure the piston at the exact centerline of the piston pin so there won't be any rocking of the piston to affect the measurement. Then I move the indicator over to measure the cylinder deck location. The difference in this case is about .018" piston-to-deck clearance for piston #1. This will then be done for pistons #2-4. These measurements are done for (2) reasons: to confirm that the cylinder head deck was surfaced/machined on a plane in line with the axis of the crankshaft, and secondly that the combustion chamber volumes will then be equal to maintain consistent compression ratios across the pistons for better knock resistance during tuning. This also confirms that the connecting rods & pistons are all the same stack-up lengths which also affects this.

Ideally this number should be about .018-.020". The Cometic head gasket is about .023" thick. The combined piston-to-deck clearance is then about .041" give or take. Ideally you want about .040" for correct combustion and reduced engine knock, so this is almost perfect. Keep in mind the machine shop took off about .002" on the engine block deck surface, while the other machine shop took another .002-.003" off the cylinder head to make them flat. This might bring the valves closer to the piston, but I also cut fresh valve seats and so the valves themselves are now also sitting a little bit deeper in the head. Valve clearances will be checked later with some clay to confirm there aren't any interferences. Anyway, I'll then measure deck clearance on pistons #2-4 and if they are the same that means the machine work has been done properly.

The downside to this extra machining will be having to adjust the camshaft timing as this material removal affects that. The Crower camshaft regrind also has affected the camshaft timing as well. This is why you can't slap parts together and have it idle perfectly because the valvetrain geometry is affected by all these changes. I'll deal with this thru the camshaft phase adjustment thru ECUTek. I'm expecting a fairly rough idle but I'll live with it until I can dial in the cams electronically. One of the upsides to having dual VVT adjustment is that this can be compensated for thru the tuning process.

Finally, I will measure the cc volume of the cylinder head combustion chambers to check for equal compression ratio. If there is a discrepancy I'll have to grind out a little bit of the chamber volume. Same reason, to get matching compression ratios across all cylinders for better tuning.

More to follow.

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Discussion Starter · #589 · (Edited)
Going to start spooling up to get the cylinder head re-assembled. Got all the parts minus the lifter bucket valve shims. Way back in history I go over why the Crower regrind cams need these additional parts. Basically, Crower grind off about 1mm from the stock cam base circle to give them more lift/duration. Well, the lifter bucket has to be shimmed back that amount.

The Nissan lifter buckets come in all sizes but unfortunately they don't come with anything more than 0.5mm additional thickness. My car has lifter buckets in the 3.12 thru 3.16 mm height and Nissan goes up to 3.50mm and that's it. Ideally, would love to run thicker lifter buckets but they don't exist and even so they are mega expensive. The aftermarket valve shim caps look like button caps basically and they slip on top of the valve stem tip and under the lifter bucket. Being trapped like a little cap/bucket with spring pressure and the cam lobe, they have nowhere to go. I have seen some stuff where people grind these down from standard thickness lifter shims........absolutely do NOT freaking do this. I'll provide a link to a Miata source that offers them in a wide range of precision ground thicknesses for our 5.5mm valve stem dia. I think they are about $5-7ea. so you need 16 for an engine but firstly you must measure the valve lash before hand with feeler gauges. Fairly reliable and in fact much more reliable than a typical hydraulic lifter/rocker setup that if you mis-shift you can throw a rocker. This setup will easily allow me to spin to +8000 rpms given the Supertech FORD conical springs, custom 4130 spring seats, Cylinder head port work, Crower Cams, upgraded forged FORD valve retainer and Supertech locks, etc.

I've already mentioned the some of the benefits of stronger springs. Reduction of valve float at higher engine rpms is one of them. The other is reduction of valve blow open from high intake/exhaust pressures. For those guys running big boost......spring upgrades can potentially help the valves seal tightly under boost.

The downside to these Crower regrind cams are a couple things. Firstly, having to buy shims. Secondly this tends to lift the lifter bucket 1mm higher out of it's bore causing some potential side loading issues. This is made worse by the fact I'm going from stock springs (40-65 lb seat pressure) to about 80 lb seat pressures on the Supertech springs. Full lift pressure are increasing from 85-113 lbs to about 150 lbs. This is going to side-load the lifter buckets even more, while also potentially increasing cam/bucket wear. Finally......the timing chain. It's very likely with the increased spring pressures and cam lift that the timing chain life is going to be radically reduced. I'm thinking timing chain swaps are going to be about every 30-40k miles and the valve lash at that time will also have to be adjusted if the cam lobes start wearing down. Think about that before installing upgraded cams or valve springs, nothing is for free and this I consider a race only type setup. I'm going to be running Valvoline VR1 Racing engine oil 10w30 with high ZDDP (zinc) additive to keep the timing chain and cam and lifters alive. This will also affect the catalytic converter so I will deal with that at some point.

Overall, the shortblock is moving along nicely now that all the custom machining and inspection has all been completed.

Anyhow, engine build is starting to pick up pace dramatically.....stay tuned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #590 ·
Here is a great youtube video on cylinder porting:


Goes into detail about cylinder head porting and what not to do. On our Juke cylinder heads from the factory use "tumble" flow ports on the intake. The exhaust ports are non-tumble flow. The intake ports end up looking like a factory mistake in the casting but the port enters the valve by design at a shallow angle and "skips" across the cylinder to promote charge mixxing at part throttle. I ended up porting the cylinder head runner or "bowel" to turn the port bend more straight into the valve directly to produce more high flow with the tradeoff of less efficiency at lower flow. The valve "throat" I did not cut at all. With a carbide valve cutter I tried to achieve as close to factory spec on the valve angles as possible per the service manual. Temptation here would have been to open up the "throat" but as this video mentions this can be a big mistake. I left the valve throat alone as it requires a very accurate reaming tool that I didn't have and it really narrows the length of the angle cuts.

Technically we have a 3-angle valve job but the throat is the 4th angle if my memory is correct. Maybe a 5-angle valve job or full radius valve job would help, but I stuck with a factor 3-angle valve job since I don't have a CNC machine to cut the valve seats. Long and short it's best to send the cylinder head out to a professional who has a flowbench but it is physically possible to greatly improve flow on the Juke cylinder head with some careful port work.
 
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Nice progress!
 

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Discussion Starter · #592 ·
She's coming along now.

I got the upper oil pan case bolted on with the main rear oil seal installed. Was a little more work than I expected. I spent some time putting the upper oil pan case in the Ultrasonic cleaner, it was loaded with glass beads from the vapor honing process. A little fresh water rinse and it was crystal clean. I'll have to check the oil filter on the engine break-in to see how much glass will eventually be making it thru the oil system but I'm hoping for none.

That main seal was a bastard. It kept popping out when I tried to lube it with engine oil (pg EM-109) on the outside perimeter edge. I had to RTV it in place which ironically the service manual states in pg EM-95, kind of confusing. The main (i.e. rear) oil seal should definitely be RTV or just put in dry as I don't think it would stay in place lubed with engine oil and it would be a point of concern.

Figured I'd mention this but on an engine stand you can't actually put the main seal in, the engine cradle blocks it. So........I'm having to lift the entire short block off the engine stand putting it back on the floor. Then re-assemble the upper oil pan case + install the main seal. Getting it back on the stand I'm going to lift it up using an engine jack then deadlift the motor back onto the engine stand. I could weigh the entire short block but I'm wanting to say it's about 150 lbs which is surprisingly light. I could also use the engine hoist but I'm lazy about hooking up all the chains and anchor points.

Measured the engine rotational torque with the short block fully assembled and it's coming in around 88 in-lb. This was done to check if anything was binding or locking up. Stock 80,000 mile motor was measuring about 144 in-lb. I'm thinking the stock piston rings were sticking pretty badly from carbon buildup. So I'm picking up about 5 lb-ft of torque just from the "looser" motor. With the stiffer upgraded valve springs and higher lift cams probably this will end up being a wash in terms of engine rotational friction drag, but it's nice to see the motor is spinning freely as it is.

Pictures to follow.
 
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Discussion Starter · #593 ·
Got the shortblock almost complete now.

At this point on the shortblock I only have left the: water pump housing & water pump, crank angle sensor, oil pressure sensor, oil temperature sensor, knock sensor, cylinder head locator dowel pins (2x), & oil level dipstick assembly. Water pump housing sealing surface on the engine block is pitted from the corrosion. So I'm going to have to hand file that surface flat and give it a fresh surface finish for the pump housing gasket to seal nice and tight. Probably take me 4-5 hours to get that cleaned up.

In case you guys are wondering how I keep track of all the parts this is how I do it: I kept all the used parts on a mobile cart and itemized what I took off and bagged/tagged everything. Also I have the factory exploded parts list illustrations and service manual. Obviously I'm also using a hand check list which is super important otherwise I'd tend to forget a step. When I'm done installing a new set of parts I move the old parts to the side to show they've been installed and can now be stored away for future reference. With o-rings and such I triple check everything as if you miss a critical o-ring the entire engine block has to be stripped back apart and it's a nightmare for oil leaks or lost oil pressure. When I assemble the engine I document everything with pictures so that I can review later to make certain I put the correct o-ring or gaskets on, RTV was applied correctly, bolts were torqued correctly, etc. This reduces the anxiety of wondering if I did something.....because I have photo evidence that it was done correctly. I have many more pics I'm not showing here as they are essentially for what I just previously described.

That's about it on the shortblock. Got some parts to order to finish up the entire engine build: new starter, new alternator, belt tensioner, accessory belts, new engine mounts, new exhaust manifold, cams phasers, engine electrical harness, 6-7 engine sensors, and that's about it on the engine. In case you are wondering everything is factory Nissan parts or the OE suppliers (i.e. Denso, etc.) other than the upgraded parts obviously. Engine mounts I may or may not do ebay depending on the factory prices which are high.

A few pics for those of you who like nice shiny parts. Keep in mind this is an 80,000 mile engine that was heavily corroded with salt from 6 years of Chicago winters. The Vapor glass bead honing and Ultrasonic cleaning really did a nice job on the surface finish. All new factory Nissan bolts, gaskets, o-rings, seals, new oil pan, new oil pump, new oil cooler, 2J 10:1 forged pistons, 2J forged rods, ARP rod studs, etc. I found out the hard way that the internal engine parts can rust even if they are spotlessly cleaned. I'm using Seafoam Deep Creep spray as an engine fogger to cling and stick the protective oil to the internal engine components. I just spray down the cylinder liners and crankshaft every once a week and seal it with an engine plastic bag tightly sealed up. Engine oil isn't used and WD40 is useless believe it or not. The Seafoam is thick enough to cling and not evaporate and is essentially designed to protect the exposed steel parts from corrosion. The oil vapor tends to prevent corrosion while the engine is sitting on the stand especially with an engine bag wrapped to seal it in. Also when I come home from work I let the garage open for awhile to vent the heat & humidity, then I close the garage door and leave my between door open to remove any humidity in the garage. Keep in mind I'm about 3 months away from installing the engine and anything you can do to prevent corrosion is critical to the engine breaking in correctly. So far this is working out well to keep the engine fresh and protected.

I have more pics of the step-by-step stuff but this is nearly the finished short block minus the water pump & housing.

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Oil cooler housing from Mahle/Nissan ($385 new) with inspection paint marks on the bolts. I blue loctite those in place just in case. Used the red sealing caps to block off the oil cooler to prevent debri from getting back in the oil lines. I have a new Nissan oil filter on order and a new dipstick assembly which I'll install after the engine is dropped in.

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You can see in the pics how stiff the engine block is with the main cap girdle and upper oil pan case.

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Oil pan case with Permatex Ultra Grey RTV per Nissan spec requirement with new factory bolts/screws as well torqued to 7 lb-ft. I cut the RTV tube nozzle about .165" but next time I'll try and make it 0.125" diameter to get a little bit less overflow but inside the engine it's a nice clean bead so no worries.

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190530
 

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Shiny! Looks great. I can only imagine how bad mine looks after 8 years on WI road salt (and cheese brine!)
 
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