I’m waiting on some precision measuring tools I ordered before I can make any progress on my upright design, so I decided to start prepping my block for the machine shop. About a year ago, maybe longer, I got tired of dealing with typical 240sx drifters and butt pirates. After I disassembled my last SR20 block, when the Knock Fairy came visiting, I used a slightly miscalibrated torque wrench to install the main caps and studs. I heard a fatal “pop” and pulled threads on the block due to an over torque. My machine shop was busy, so I decided to drill and install a time cert crooked….This led to phone calls, Ebay, Shitlist searches, and (at the time) Shitbook marketplace searches. Every attempted deal was a domino effect of one hopeless moron after another trying to sell me boat anchors in the form of used sr20 blocks. I swear these early nineties kids were birthed by idiotic dickheads and raised by fucktards who glorified the words “bro”, “man”, and “dude”. I was in the middle of a shit surfer epidemic in northeastern PA.
Every attempted deal ended almost identically. I heard, ” Bro, it’s in storage. I can get it for a week.” Interpret that as, “Bro, I’m too lazy to do anything except smoke pot and play with myself.”
Sometimes I’d get, “Dude, I just pulled it out of storage and didn’t realize it has a wicked scoring on cylinder 2. It’ll machine out.” Interpret that as, “Hey asshole, this block is fucked. I want your money, just sleeve it.”
Or my favorite, “It’s bored out to 90mm on stock sleeves, just buy it man and go fast.” That I just took as getting my testes mashed with a hammer.
I decided that going the traditional 240sx, Nissan, low gene pool typical cool kid route was out for me. So I balled up, laid down some coin, and bought a brand new S15 block from my local Nissan dealer. (1% over cost).
It’s an old, overdone, highly stylized swap but it’s where I’m at on the engine. If it doesn’t make the power numbers planned there’s a 2JZ turbo block sitting in the shop looking for attention.
You’ve read about it in magazines. Your friends say it sounds so cool when the NEO VVL kicks in. But what is this NEO VVL. It stands for “Nissan Ecology Oriented Variable Valve Lift and Timing”. That’s a mouthful. At its most basic it varies the lift and duration of the valves by diverting oil pressure to switch between two separate sets of camshaft lobes. VVL, not be confused with VVT, does this in a similar fashion to Honda VTEC. Under normal operation the rockers are in direct contact with a “smaller” set of camshaft lobes, a spring loaded section of the rocker rides the larger center lobe. Under normal operation the spring loaded action allows the rocker to “float” and not reap the benefits that the larger lobe profile has to offer. Depending on which version/engine combination of VVL you have this switching will occur differently. On a P11 head, the switching of intake and exhaust cam profiles is done at different RPMS, on a P12 or “20v” (do not confuse that with 20 valve) the switching is done in sync. Oil pressure is supplied through a solenoid, to a port in the head and locks the rocker for the larger lobe. Thus the larger cam lobe is used to open the valves further and longer.
Diving into the build is rather easy these days. There are a handful of suppliers that offer all the goodies to make yourself a sweet engine. Currently I’m blueprinting the entire package. Keep in mind that blueprinting does not mean, “I’ve got a bored and honed engine.” A bore and hone does not make a real “blueprinted” engine. Every single part on the engine must be optimized to make a solid consistent harmony of parts. Getting a valve job, an overbore without a torque plate, and installing Walmart Brand pistons is not blueprinted. Blueprinting, when done properly, should be ultimately boring and cause you to become an alcoholic and make terrible personal decisions.
Just kidding. However, it is boring and is also a topic of another discussion. Also, when you say you have a “built” engine you sound like an asshole and the world can smell your dick breath. Every engine is “built”, if it weren’t built it’d just be a bunch of nuts, bolts, and useless parts in a box. So save your street cred terminology for the rest of the drift kids on the short bus. And while I’m on the idiot squad, and you know who you are, I’d like to thank you all for ruining the marketplace for reselling actual quality parts. Every poor, 240 driving drifter who has no real job and not developed as a functional human being due to excessive drug use, masterbation, and YouTube, for some reason thinks shit box s13 chassis are worth gold, but the parts inside are worth nothing. Try selling a mint s14 manual trans with shift kit and stiffener for $100 less than import price. You’ll get flamed by dickbags who cant afford it from an importer. Then they’ll get really pissed when you wont give it to them for $150. Seriously, guys, consider what life has to offer you and then consider ending it.
What do we need for a NEO VVL SR20VET?
The pistons, rods, crank, bearings and block are all out for specialty coatings…oh that’s right. Pistons for one. Simple decision for me. Brand new block, standard bore pistons for a VE engine from CP. I’ll get to the intricacies of the block build for this project later. I’ll also list all the essential parts you’ll need for completing the swap.
The heart of the swap is the head. Finding a P12 head is like finding the gold key to the crapper and when you do find it you will pay dearly for it. At least in the USA you will.
Im not so lucky. Randomly I acquired an entire P11 engine from a guy I took my uncle to see about buying a windshield for his Porsche. We struck a deal and it left with us and the windshield.
There are a lot of decisions that have to be made about this swap before you go off on a tangent and start spending your parents hard earned money. Will you be running the P12 CAS (read that “crank angle sensor”)? Will you be running a separate crank and cam sensor? Will cannibal magic be indicating engine position? What solenoid setup will you run? Remote mount? Single? Double? Will you dump the VVL and just run a straight up set of cams? What about an intake manifold? Lay down the coin or make one? P11 or P12 valve cover? These are all choices you will have to make, however there are some aspects of this swap that are set in stone.
1. Oil pump – although it requires slight modification to the block to get that last bolt hole to line up, there is no point in running anything except the P12 pump. A brand new one. Which leads to…
2. Timing pin – the timing pin on the VE pump is not in the right place to properly time with the marks on a DET balancer. A pin replicator is the best way to go.
3. The oil return hole at the rear of the block deck surface has to be plugged up. There are options from press plugs, pipe plugs, to welding over the hole and getting a deck grind at a machine shop.
4. Water neck – the VE neck and S13 neck are not suited for an RWD conversion. S13 doesnt bolt up to the head and VE have the wrong outlets. If you must have a heater there are conversion necks
5. Oil feed – if keeping VVL you’ll need a way to get the oil from the pump to the solenoids. Conversion specialist like Taarks sell a block thaqt bolts in place of the oil filter adapter and is plumbed with -AN hose. This can lead to…
6. Remote oil filter – self explanitory.
7. Oil pickup – VE pickup wont work with the S13, S14, or S15 pan. A hybrid can be made using part of the S-chassis neck and the VE strainer. There are billet options
8. If using an s14/s15 block – the VVT oil feed needs to be blocked. Easily enough a head gasket that has a spot that surrounds this area is good enough to do the job.
9. VE Oil Pump Drive Collar – the VE oil pump drive is thicker, so you’ll be using a VE drive collar on the crank. You’ll also have to machine 5mm off the inside face of your balancer to get the belts to line back up.
Decision time starts here. I never like to go on a shopping spree and buy up a bunch of parts and ask questions later. This seems to lead into returning parts. That’s just annoying. Plan the build and write it out or type it out or have a secretary log it for you.
I spent a lot of time deciding what I wanted out of this build. Most of the parts I’m using are sourced from an Australian company called Taarks. I also used Mazworx, as a matter of fact I think I ended up getting the last SR20VE race intake manifold flange on the planet. Next installment will include the blueprinting process, common myths and unicorns of engine building, camshaft and other valtrain component selection, and my opinions on why it’s stupid to just slap in that $300 whore engine you bought from that guys wrecked S13 drift shitter. See you then!
Here’s a listing of whats going into the block build:
- New OEM S14 engin block
- CP SC7324 VE/VET pistons – Swain Gold Coat on top, PC9 on skirts
- Manley Turbo Tuff rods – Swain oil shedding
- OE S14 Sr20DET crankshaft – Swain oil shedding
- ACL Race Bearings – Mods from Mazworx, PPM from Swain
- ARP Main and Head studs
Here’s a list of the VVL swap parts I’ll be using from Taarks:
- Hall Sensor Kit #200001
- S14 SR20 power steering pump relocation #800008
- SR20 crank trigger w/ mech fuel pump #200015
- Oil filter mount #100012
- SR20 oil block #100003
- P11 single solenoid block #100005
- -16AN water outlet
- Timing pin relocator
Chassis builder, engine builder, cynic