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      04-11-2021, 07:23 PM   #1
TopJimmy
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[Edited build with rec's from certain highly valued members]
I'm planning a built motor and would like experienced input from those of you that have been through it before. My current motor is at 50K miles and has taken a lot of hard abuse by me over the last 35K miles. The last oil change showed some metal dust on my oil plug magnet, so I'm a little concerned about pushing harder (bigger turbos) without looking inside. My build work will be done by BMB Autowerks in NJ.

A buddy spun his crank hub but the motor still ran, and he's willing to sell it to me so I can use it as a working core. This way I can get all the building done on the core and then do a motor swap, instead of taking my car completely out of action for a couple weeks.

INTENDED OUTCOME:
Get my 6-speed into the 5 second range for a 60-130MPH fourth gear pull, and hopefully see a 10sec quarter mile dig at the dragstrip (and get told to leave!).

PLANNED BUILD:
- Disassemble donor motor, clean and inspect for core quality
- Check deck for true, torque plate, bore 0.5mm over and hone fine
- Machine for full circle thrust bearing
- New standard bearings
- Polish crankshaft journals, install IP 1-piece hub, balance it
- New CP rods & pistons, coated, hand balanced. Stock compression.
- Headgames head CNC Stage 3 + Schricks.
- Port match heads to intake and turbo manifolds
- EoS intake manifold with hand polished runners and port match (by me) [COLOR="DarkRed"] <- will my Wagner TMIC fit under the hood on top of EOS???[/COLOR]
- The bigger EU5 injectors from M5, with aftermarket HPFPs, LPFP and Hobbs switch
- Project Gamma front intake
- BMW flex-fuel (NGK F8S) plugs gapped to 0.021"
- More custom tunes by Paul Johnson, a 93o daily map plus an E85 race map [gurus say consider Halim]

EXISTING EQUIPMENT:
- MST Intakes, Vargas silicone CPs, Wagner TMIC, ER aluminum J-pipe
- Vargas GC turbos with black ceramic coated manifolds (ordered)
- Ceramic coated ARM resonated no-cat DPs, and full 3.5in single AA exhaust
- Signature 11.5in rears with 325/30/19 Mickey Thompsons (ordered)

QUESTIONS:
- Any reason not to do the IP 1-piece hub fix, since things will be all apart?
[gurus said do the IP]
- Does anyone have input on using the 0.5mm overbore pistons (no sleeves)?
- What compression ratio?
gurus say keep stock 10.2:1 for top E85 performance
- Any other special considerations on pistons, like skirt or face coatings?
[gurus said coat face and sides]
- Any benefit from the Schrick cams, or other valvetronic tricks (MILVS)?
[gurus said no to MILV if doing head work, and cams would add to head work but not needed]
- Will the 3.5bar or 4bar TMAP sensors be needed?
[gurus say 4bar sensors needed]
- Since my stock clutch and flywheel are at 50K miles would you replace with a new OEM or a Clutch Masters?
- When do driveshafts break?

I'm really looking for input from guys who have already done built motors!

-TJ
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      04-11-2021, 11:46 PM   #2
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0 experience here but have you considered a race motor from Dinan/Carbahn vs going fully custom?

The one common theme I see on every car forum (unfortunately) is the number of people who always get screwed over when they attempt one of these projects. From shops not doing the build right, costing way more than expected, timeline blown outta the water, parts mismatch, tuning issues... The fewer the variables, the more successful the build is what I am seeing. With that said, I've never gone down the rabbit hole and these are just the ramblings of a man who spends too much time reading car forums.
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      04-12-2021, 03:53 AM   #3
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You can't bore 0.5 without sleeving the block because of the cylinder coating system used in the S55.
I have a set of brand new forged Mahle pistons and ARP head studs for sale if interested
(I ended up going with a custom Mahle set of pistons for my current build because I'll use port injection only)
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      04-12-2021, 04:58 AM   #4
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I'm looking into building my engine as well. can you reuse the stock head gasket? I was planning on getting the built motor package from xtr performance, is that a good idea?

Edit: I just read the guy who owns that website is really scummy. can anyone point me in a good direction for buying the parts I need?
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Last edited by Eldaes; 04-12-2021 at 05:28 AM..
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      04-12-2021, 07:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VChenz View Post
0 experience here but have you considered a race motor from Dinan/Carbahn vs going fully custom?
I prefer to build custom and make choices instead of buying something out of the box. VAC is a very reputable shop.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nisse Järnet View Post
You can't bore 0.5 without sleeving the block because of the cylinder coating system used in the S55.
Great info. I'll look out for that!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldaes View Post
I'm looking into building my engine as well. can you reuse the stock head gasket?
I would not reuse any gaskets when building a high value motor. If you're buying a finished crate motor then Carbahn seems a good choice.
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      04-12-2021, 10:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldaes View Post
I'm looking into building my engine as well. can you reuse the stock head gasket? I was planning on getting the built motor package from xtr performance, is that a good idea?

Edit: I just read the guy who owns that website is really scummy. can anyone point me in a good direction for buying the parts I need?
Should you really be attempting to build a motor when asking if you can reuse the head gasket?
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      04-12-2021, 11:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dms-01 View Post
Should you really be attempting to build a motor when asking if you can reuse the head gasket?
Well I myself won’t be doing it. I’m just buying the parts for it. Mechanics here have a reputation of buying really shitty parts and charging a metric fuck ton for it. Plus it’s quality control of parts I put into the car. If they buy the parts it’s almost 20k, but if I buy the parts it becomes 8k.
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      04-12-2021, 02:39 PM   #8
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Did you hurt the motor Jimmy? Do a compression and leak down test to find out for sure.

I would do just a light resurface of the head not mill it down too much. Not sure if that's what you meant but ya.
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      04-12-2021, 03:04 PM   #9
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Talk to the one of the best in the game

Hi since you are in Philly just take the car straight to b_mase_monkey on ig. The best guy and most down to earth engine builder on the east coast that I have ever talked to. Very informative on what you need and ask you questions about the goal you are trying to reach etc. Another note wish I would of went the engine build route before I even upgraded the turbos.
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      04-12-2021, 03:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopJimmy View Post
I prefer to build custom and make choices instead of buying something out of the box. VAC is a very reputable shop.
Had to chime in here.

If VAC is reputable for something it is an infinite amount of screw ups. Perhaps google search a bit before sending them your hard earned money.

You couldn't pay me to get an engine built there. Never in a million years.


A nice thing about CarBahn Autoworks is they give you a two year warranty on the engine. This would be a big factor.
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      04-12-2021, 04:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SYT_Shadow View Post
Had to chime in here. If VAC is reputable for something it is an infinite amount of screw ups.
Can you recommend an engine shop for a build?
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      04-12-2021, 04:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopJimmy View Post
Can you recommend an engine shop for a build?
I would use Carbahn a second time. The warranty is really worthwhile.

Having gone down the built engine road multiple times, everything is smiles and happiness until you have an issue, then no one knows your name.
Carbahn is the only one I'm aware of that offers a warranty. I've actually used the warranty and received another engine.

I also prefer to have someone else do the RnD and then give me the cookie cutter recipe. I don't want my car to have a 'first of...' anything.
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      04-12-2021, 04:39 PM   #13
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Contact Carbahn Autoworks (Steve Dinan's business)
They build and sell engines as well as can inform you on what design flaws he feels needs attention when building the S55
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      04-12-2021, 05:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papasmurf_m3 View Post
Did you hurt the motor Jimmy? Do a compression and leak down test to find out for sure.

I would do just a light resurface of the head not mill it down too much. Not sure if that's what you meant but ya.
No damage Papa. I figure if I'm gonna push really hard with the next stage I better reinforce things a bit.
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      04-12-2021, 10:36 PM   #15
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Talk to Andrew Lang at Lang Racing Development.
Although mostly known for S54/S65 builds these guys are top tier and I'm sure are into S55 work also.
https://www.langracing.com
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      04-12-2021, 10:45 PM   #16
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Andrew does good work, and can be trusted. I hear good things about VAC as well.

Figure you're into it 20K with pulling the motor and putting a new one in.
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      04-12-2021, 11:08 PM   #17
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Any feedback on Ghassan Automotive? They also offer built engine packages like Carbahn.
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      04-12-2021, 11:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluer2 View Post
Any feedback on Ghassan Automotive? They also offer built engine packages like Carbahn.
Nope nope nope nope.
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      04-13-2021, 05:29 AM   #19
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One of our buddies here got hosed good by Ghassan... it's no wonder they're so cheap.
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      04-13-2021, 11:16 AM   #20
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Subbed. Good luck. Also Philly based, so looking forward to you posting your experiences with VAC/local shops.

Last edited by c4ss; 04-13-2021 at 11:24 AM..
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      04-13-2021, 12:33 PM   #21
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I haven't built any S55 engines besides the cylinder head, but from my experience building over 100 other engines, don't bother with the coated bearings. If you are getting enough cylinder pressure, or lack of oil flow to allow for bearing to journal contact, the coating isn't going to do anything to save your engine.

No reason not to do the IP 4 pin hub.

For the pistons, I would have your machine shop measure each cylinder bore for out of round and taper. Then they can ascertain the minimum amount of material needed to remove to get the cylinder perfectly round. This will help determine if sleeving is required for your power goal. Get a custom set of pistons made to fit exactly what is needed since you have time to build it properly.

Having tuned a few, Carbahn engines run very well, as well as Lang Racing built S55's. But I also recommend Billiam Mason. He has built a ton of S55's and has a ton of experience with them. If I didn't build my own motors, I would send mine to Billiam.

Coated pistons are a great idea. Having the heat insulating coating on the dome and a DFL on the skirts are definitely worth it.

You need the 4 bar TMAP sensors if you want to run more than 36 psig of boost.

If you are getting the cylinder head CNC ported, then you don't need to worry about cams or MILV's. The porting alone (if done properly) increases airflow significantly
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      04-13-2021, 01:33 PM   #22
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@chetrickerman
Much appreciated! I'll take all that advice into account. Billiam gets the job too.
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