N54 head work

fmorelli

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So head work is under way with my guy. I'm hoping to get some photos and videos that show and describe some of the process as this gets far enough along. We will also post flow bench numbers against stock numbers so at least in the numbers world, we get an idea where this goes. In the meantime a few photos. These are clearly in-progress shots.

Filippo

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The Convert

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So head work is under way with my guy. I'm hoping to get some photos and videos that show and describe some of the process as this gets far enough along. We will also post flow bench numbers against stock numbers so at least in the numbers world, we get an idea where this goes. In the meantime a few photos. The blown up photo is an in progress shot and you can see it's a stark difference. More to come next week.

Filippo

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Looking good! I ported a few Honda heads back in the day for a high performance engine building program I took through school. It’s dirty work, but it’s a blast to sit there and work all the ports to increase and match the flow. In for results!
 
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Clean WHP

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How much does a hand port from a reputable shop typically cost? All Ive seen as far as price goes is expensive jobs from shops that use 5 axis CNC machines.

Unfortunately my cylinder 2 Index 12 Direct injector was loose in my cylinder head and oval'd out the port. I have a new (used) Cylinder head now and before it gets thrown on the car, Im thinking it would be a great opportunity for a little port and polish.
 
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iminhell1

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That's close enough for me to have impure thoughts about doing same with my spare head.

I'm in Minnesota.
 
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tisdrew

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When I spoke with Ali he said they regularly spin stock valvetrain to 78-7900.

I've also been recommended a more conservative increased rev limit of 7500.

Either way rev limiter getting raised when I go dyno the car again lol

Spoke with my tuners and mechanic, got a tune, been revving out my car to 7500 for ~2-3 months now completely stock head.
 
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doublespaces

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I'm wondering if a conservative 7500-7800 is a better idea than 8k to avoid rev spikes over 8k.

If you're automatic, then I would absolutely set the shift point lower. As you know, it takes time for that shift to actually complete which is why I set mine to shift before 7k in 1st gear...rpm just climbs too fast
 

Torgus

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The more revs the better. We don't see enough dynos reving out to 8k.
 

fmorelli

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Alright ... I have a crap ton of photos of in flight work, along with a number of videos. In the name of keeping this thread somewhat clean, I'll post a handful of thumbnails of in progress work. Then I'll post a couple of the videos. As I said in progress. The exhaust ports will be polished and the intake ports will be a bit rougher just to get some air turbulence which helps with fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. We'll also get to cleaning up the profiles on the back of the valves.

Filippo

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AD-ENG

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I have learned a few things in regards to the n54 cylinder head and performance.

First, spring pressure is not just about engine rpm. The stock springs have a low seat pressure (approx. 65-68lbs @ 36.5mm), low spring rate (under 200/in iirc), and tall coil bind height. Revving the stock springs 7500 on stock cams is fine if your boost is moderate and turbine housing/wheel is larger. Depending on your turbo setup, once the boost gets higher and the EMAP starts to climb quick you run into problems. It is fairly easy to see 50+psi of EMAP at 30psi of boost (depending on turbo) and 60+psi of EMAP on 35+psi... the smaller the turbo the worse this gets. Ever been on the dyno and for the life of it you cant figure out why the power just rolls over at 6000-6500 no matter what? And is exaggerated worse at you turn up the boost? The EMAP is through the roof and the hard dip in torque is the exhaust valves not fully seating... not from rpm, but because the pressure on the back of the valve it equal or greater than the springs pressure.

The next focus is cam lift and duration. I can tell you that schrick high lift cams are great for mid range power/spool and "good" for modest boost levels at high rpm. They suck for big boost, big power, high rpm even with a fairly large turbo (to the n54 world). If you're planning to go north of 850hp on a decent size turbo the high lift cams are too big. Sounds funny, but I'll explain.
Picture yourself on the dyno working through the tune. You've done everything "right". Built shortblock, ported head, stiffer springs, big cams, big turbo, etc, etc. You're loving the quick spool, improved midrange, and power/psi. Everything is going well and making quick gains at 20, 25, and 30psi. Then 32, 34, 36, etc are making gains, but small and torque is rolling over hard and all your "right" parts still makes peak power below 7k. I see it all the time. It's amazing how many posted dyno graphs look exactly the same after 6500.

In the case of the schrick high lift cams the lift and duration increase is so much the same centerline results in a ton more overlap. This is where all that spool and midrange you're seeing is coming from. However, as the MAP and EMAP get high we need to pull the cams apart and remove the overlap; simple enough. Except the cams have enough lift and duration that even with the cams separated there is still a good amount of overlap. This overlap period during high emap conditions kills power and the emap compounds.

I have modified cam gears to allow more cam movement and get more overlap out. However, I've found that by the time I get the cams far enough apart to remove the overlap they dont fill and exhaust the cylinder very well; I've just substituted one problem for another.

So far the meal ticket has been less lift and less duration for high rpm, high boost, high power. I'm still working my way through all my regrinds, but it's going in the right direction.

It should also be noted that the OTS Ferrea springs arent really much of an upgrade. They offer more cam lift without bind, but seat pressure is close to stock. And if you're running high lift cams, then you dont have room to shim them up.

Just thought I'd share my experiences and workflow. Good luck with the build.
 

ShocknAwe

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Pretty convinced the Shrick low lift cams are the way to go for most in that they are likely to be the most versatile over 93/mixes/E85 and high power vs conservative tuning and keeping the box open there. Which I think is where Filippo went as well.
 

fmorelli

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@AD-ENG thanks for taking the time to share out what you've seen. I'm not a high HP build ... DI only ... and will run the low-lift Schrick cams with a stock valvetrain (well, except the back of the valves getting tulip work). My understanding is that we'll operate within what the hardware is capable. In my case I'm looking to make power with less boost.

As of this morning intake runners are about to get polished. This is not what is typically done for traditional port injected motors (air turbulence good for mixture) but being a DI only motor ... we're looking for less carbon build up so the nod goes to polishing the intake runners and back fo the valves (once the tulips are massaged). Photos below are before smoothing the intake runners.

Filippo

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fmorelli

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Starting to round the bend. If you go back and look at the early photo, the hog out to get in the zip code of the valve opening is impressive. @Rob09msport on your comment ... yeah not sure as I've heard different theories on that. I think all the carbon piling up in the intake area causes way more issues than we tend to believe ... so I'm hopeful that the smoothing helps with that issue.

He walks through some of the work being done this morning, in this video, for those looking for something to watch over lunch lol ...

Filippo

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Rob09msport

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I would take cleaner over slightly better flow on fi engine any day anyway and that's not to say that Is the case anyway. I more was just curious.
 
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mikeseli

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So far the meal ticket has been less lift and less duration for high rpm, high boost, high power. I'm still working my way through all my regrinds, but it's going in the right direction.

I don't see how increasing valve lift impacts high rpms, this statement is incorrect. If the head flow data shows that an extra 1mm valve lift improves flow, than design a cam profile or a rocker ratio that gives that extra 1mm lift to the valve, being intake or exhaust valve it does not matter. I would not add a 1mm lift if I only gain less than 12cfm but if I can gain 20+cfm this is when you look or design to get than extra flow.

The duration statement is also misleading. In a turbocharged application the head flow curves (intake and exhaust) will give you an indication/an idea which cam profile intake or exhaust will benefit from more duration. On a N54 head you will benefit more if you keep the stock intake cam with the same duration but on the exhaust cam you increase duration by about 10-15 degrees.

If the turbocharger's manifold/casting is impeding flow, regardless of the turbine size, this is where you look at upgrading to a better flowing manifold.

When looking/shopping for cams you need to look at intake side and exhaust side as a separate system.