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 Post subject: Can a reliable engine be built at home?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:14 pm 
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I Say:
Vehicle: MY06 X Lux --> MY10 XTP!

Posts: 250
Location: Behind you
Greetings all,

A mechanic I am not, but my wife and I want to build an engine as a way of spending a bunch of time together. We then get to fight over who gets it. What I was curious to know is, can someone who's good with tools but knows nothing about how this is done, get parts and assemble from home and get reliable power? Is the internet able to give us enough information?

Has anyone on here done this? Any thoughts gratefully received.

 Post subject: Re: Can a reliable engine be built at home?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:29 pm 
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Vehicle: MY08 XT (SH)

Posts: 1496
Location: Brisbane
Might be best to start small and build up to a DOHC Japanese performance engine.

Eg lawnmower engine first.

If you get through that ok & learn a few things from experience, a pushrod 4-cylinder (eg Datsun) engine.

Etc. to build up to the hot/complex/big stuff gradually.

At least learning along the way would be easier and cheaper than ruining $3-5k worth of parts (or losing heart along the way) with a very complex first attempt.


Also, the book "Four stroke performance tuning" by A Graham Bell (Haynes Publishing) has ton of information about building a performance engine and is a cracking read if that sort of thing is of interest.


[I'm not being condescending when I say all this by the way. I know my own limits and this is how I would go about getting into engine building for the first time]

My build thread: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=54775

 Post subject: Re: Can a reliable engine be built at home?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:32 pm 
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I Say: Car mods are like OddBodz, you got to collect them all! -------------------------------------
Vehicle: MY05 STi swapped sled

Posts: 17930
Location: Spearwood Perth WA
Is it possible? Sure. Have home gamers built succesful engines? Yes. But there are alot of things that can trip you up along the way. And one small mistake can ruin the entire process, and damage numerous expensive components.

But dont let that discourage you, engines that are modified to get more power are known to blow up on occaision, even the ones built by specialists/experts. And every single expert engine builder out there, was a novice at one point in time.

It is something i am currently attempting myself. I have a pretty solid mechanical background. And work proffessionally in the auto industry. Although not specifically with engineering.

For me, the want to tackle an engine build myself comes from a couple of places. Firstly, I love doing my own work on my car where possible. I like the challenge of learning new skills. And i love buying new tools.
And for me, the build / modification is just as much fun as driving the car when its not getting modified.

The 2nd reason is for me, I see it as an important thing to be able to do moving forward. Modified Subarus blow up, its what they do. And im a modified Subaru guy, And i will be for life. So knowing how to put them back together will be an important skill. I dont expect this current build to last forever. A part of me knows it will probably fail somehow, at some point in time. And if it doesnt blow up, it will need to be pulled down for preventitive maintenance after a few seasons anyways. Hi power Subarus are not long for this earth.

The info is out there, but like anything on the internet, you have to sift through mountains of sh1t to get the gold nuggets, or pay for it. One place you could look is the HPA engine building couses online. They are a paid course, and not super cheap. But its pretty well put together and has some pretty usefull info. The info is kind of universal, and not specific to one engine. Although they do do a couple of different engines as the demonstration of practicle. What I liked about it is it gives you confidence to attempt such a thing. It breaks it down into bite sized nuggets of info. Which makes the entire pricess a little less daunting.

>>>My Ride<<<


 Post subject: Re: Can a reliable engine be built at home?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:58 pm 
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I Say: A Turbo is a good substitute for cubic inches
Vehicle: MY 00 GT Auto White, Stock .

Posts: 61
Location: Murwillumbah
yes you can .
I agree with what the other guys said.
I have built several engines [toyota van and slant six valiant ]
however I have been screwing around with cars since I was 16 [now 44]
Have done many head changes and all maintenance on all my vehicles.
First you will need knowledge.
you can probably find all you need now on the interweb. however engine specific knowledge is invaluable.
you need to know how a 4 stroke engine works. how valves are timed. how the ignition system works. basic electronics on the newr stuff all helps.
You will also need a decent tool kit , engine stand , borrow an engine hoist .
parts washer is handy. some special tools too. like vernier calipers , micrometers , dial gauge . piston ring tool feeler gauges decent torque wrench , a press is handy, the list goes on .
you could get by without many of these i guess but in my opinion you need to know the sizes to 100th of a mm for a performance engine .
As suggested earlier , start with a cheap mower engine . then a basic 4 cylinder motor bike or car engine. you dont need to buy new parts for these . just pull em apart then put them back together using a service manual and the old gaskets.
check out all the bits like valve guides , valve seats ,clean every thing and check it all out.
learn how to paint the bits , measure , fit , test for binding , check for valve to piston clearance etc.

I would only advise going straight to the performance engine if you can get some reliable supervision . preferably from an experienced subaru builder.
Get the factory service manual first to see how it all goes together .
You may be surprised how much work goes into a basic re build. A performance engine is more time consuming as " everything " should be new or checked thoroughly.
The more performance the more effort basically .

I will be re building my ej 20 that the valves hit the pistons on due to an idler pulley on camshaft belt failure of the bearings.
I have not done the figures yet but I guesstimate it will cost about $5000 in parts and tests to build a mild type engine. This includes new pistons[ the old ones may be damaged] checking con rods, gasket set , bolt set , bearings set , belts , water pump , pulleys new valves[ expecting damaged] valve guides , etc.
Then I would guess maybe 100 hours[first subaru build] to dis assemble .clean , inspect , organise and store parts. then start the build . slowly and methodically . checking and re checking along the way using the service manual and other info . only takes 1 poorly assembled part to destroy your new engine!!
I hope this helps.

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