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Author Topic: What makes a good Honda motor, and how do you get one?  (Read 5912 times)
Doug Adams
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« on: July 03, 2009, 06:40:32 PM »

While the Honda class is supposed to be a box stock program, it sure seems there are strong engines, and some not so strong.  Without claiming somebody, what is the key to a successful Honda. What key differences are there to developing a strong red plate, blue plate and unresticted 120, as well as a 160?

Some say its all in the carb (at least for restricted motors), others say its in the bore/crank alignment.  Some say its in the honing and break-in method.  Some adhere to the theory of building carbon/ compression with castor based oils.  Some would say this leads to innefficient combustion.  Some say you need a real loose case to free up the motor and the clearances, others say this would throw things out of balance.  Some would say run Mobil 1 5W-30, others would say Joe Gibbs XP0, while others use karting snake oils.  Lightweight oils may pull a good dyno number, but what works on the track with racing condition head temps?  Some say change valve springs every race, others would say fresh springs rob power.  Timing - some say 19.5, others say the key/flywheel didn't change anything. Valve lash, everybody has a different view.  Some say it takes forever to get Honda rings to seal, others say the new T3 rings come in much quicker.

Which builders will only let a high standard out the door, and which will only do what they can with your piece but still tell you its in the top 10% of the motors they've done.

Setup and driver mean a ton on the track, but a good motor doesn't hurt.  Most of us have a seen a good motor on the wrong setup go nowhere, and vice versa.

Welcome input from the experienced.
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goffin20
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2009, 07:03:22 PM »

There are a couple builders that piece together their motors, for example, they can take 10 motors and match the best parts from each to build the ultimate motor.  These are the strong ones you see and you like anyone else can buy one, they just cost a couple hundred more than the rest.

As for oil, I have ran the 0 weight and 0w20 and it made no difference in lap times, personally I feel the 5w20 will prolong the life of the engine and keeps it a bit cooler.  As for valve springs, I change ours every 2-3 weeklies and always put in new for regional or national events.

Valve lash is usually recommended by the builder, some say 2 intake 4 exhaust, some say 3 intake 5 exhaust and so on.  Most say to do them cold, some do them right off the track hot.

Some are fast right from the builder because they run them in for 8-10 hours, others don’t.  The ones that don’t you will see them get faster with the more races you have or you can just practice it ALOT or run it on a load stand.

It all comes down to the builder’s preference on their motors and I try to always follow the builder’s recommendations because they will ultimately work on and maintain you’re motor.  They usually recommend what oil to run as well.

Then again, one of the fastest motors I ever had was a box stock motor bought at a parts store.
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Doug Adams
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« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2009, 11:40:22 AM »

Which builders will piece together a motor?
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goffin20
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« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2009, 12:05:29 PM »

Best thing to do is check their websites or give them a call.  They will list different stages or levels of motors.  The ones that just have one fixed price do not.
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Big Vince
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Just Have Fun !!!


« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2009, 10:05:54 PM »

I'll sell you a very strong Ziggy's Tier 3 Honda 120 for 500 bucks plus shipping!!!
if interested e-mail me at gzerridr4u@yahoo.com
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ogracing
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« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2009, 07:00:32 AM »

mr adams i have raced for a number of years in honda classes and what i can tell you honestly because i am not running hondas anymore.any honda motor be it 120 or 160 is a very low horse power engine so less drag is key and keeping car free is esential a honda motor will get stronger the more laps put on it most noticed after rebuild but all of this is key to gearing which can make or break your lap times so now we dive into dyno sheets any engine builder can make there dyno sheets look good but does not give real world numbers.so my sugestion would be get your engine dyno done at an independant builder that has nothing to gain by cheating the numbers it will cost less than a 100 dollars and you will know where to start on gearing i dont know where you are located but steve baker at baker racing engines is in bellevue ohio will take care of you check his website for phone number hope this helps
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goffin20
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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2009, 10:47:53 AM »

Less drag is a key component but there is also a difference in engine performance.

I have owned 7 120’s in my 5 years of racing, two of which were stolen.  Out of the 7 120’s, I have had 3 that were much faster and stronger than the rest.  1 was a box stock motor that cost 399 and 1 was from a builder that was around 700 and the other 800.00.  The others were within a couple hundredths from each other, the ones that were much faster were at least 2 tenths faster.

Now when I say they were faster, it was an apples to apples test, go to practice and setup the car, run 20 laps on a motor and then change the motor only, no car changes and no gear changes and run 20 more laps on the other motor.  Record times and then go back and run them again just to make sure weather and tire temps are not a factor.  When both runs on both motors are consistent, times within 100th or two from their initial run and one is clearly 2 tenths faster on both runs, I would say there is a difference.  Scary thing is the faster motor was about 150 rpms under its peak performance so it would have actually been a bit faster.

It still amazes me that one of the 3 best 120 motors was a box stock motor that only cost 399.  Of the 3 strong runners, 2 were the older tier II’s and one was a straight tier III.

I have owned 4 160’s, all cost 800-1100 and there was only one that stood out from the rest, bought it with the 120 that I had and tried to buy this one back as well.  The other 3 had less than a tenth between any of them.

Dyno sheets are only good for gearing by knowing your peak torque and hp ranges.  Unless you have both or all motors dynoed on the same dyno, it’s not an apples to apples comparison and is useless when comparing different motors.

With that said, if you have a motor you’re happy with, keep it because they don’t come very often.  I have tried to buy both of mine back for double the price and kick myself every day for not keeping them.   :-(
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sfreitas20
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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2009, 11:06:53 AM »

So how important is the carb?  The reason I ask is i have had all my carbs flowed by the same guy and the difference between them is pretty significant.  What surprised me was how one was clearly better when flowed with a blue plate, but was one of the worst when flowed with no plate.  I know what the local builder told me regarding the carb, but would like to know some people's opinions on here as well.
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Scott Freitas
Patriot Motorsports Inc.
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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2009, 11:15:40 AM »

anytime you change a plate better send carb in.
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goffin20
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2009, 12:35:01 PM »

When I have mine refreshed or worked on I always have them do it for the plate or no plate that will be ran.  I have heard the same about carbs, some are better with plates, some without, I leave that to the builder to determine.
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Doug Adams
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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2009, 01:40:33 PM »

Oils?  Honda calls for 10W-30, and even higher above 90F ambient temps.  However some builders suggest using lightweight oils like Gibbs XP0, Blendzall 454, Coolpower Light.  Most of these are only good for oil temps up to 130.  Do these really survive in racing conditions, or just pull a good dyno number?
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TysonThompson
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« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2009, 01:52:25 PM »

All the oils mentioned work great.  Honda never expected you to change oil every race and remember the engine was created for water pumps.  I have never seen a Honda fail with oil in it.  We run Red-E, friends of mine run everything you have mentioned plus Mobil 1.  I have tried most of them and have found no gain.  But, you will slow down with conventional oil.
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crew chief
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« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2009, 02:20:37 PM »

When gearing your 120 what rpm do you look for with blue plate
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TysonThompson
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« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2009, 03:29:15 PM »

no more than 5200,  the powerband on my motor is between 4500 and 5200.  It dropped 1/2 a horespower at 5300.  It really liked to be lugged.  One of the fast guys at our home track (Mini Indy) never turns his more than 5000.
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goffin20
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« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2009, 04:26:04 PM »

I have ran 0 weight oil in my motors for years without any issues.  The key is to change the oil every race day, every other at most and yes, it does produce more power with the 0 weight when compared to conventional oil.
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