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Machine Shop Recommendation in Cali for Head "Freshening Up"

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  • Machine Shop Recommendation in Cali for Head "Freshening Up"

    My first post was a while back and I was looking for an S14 for an M2 build in my '75 2002. Well I finally found a motor and am ready to get started on this project. The motor was pulled out of a wrecked car with about $80k miles on it and it's been sitting for a few years. I don't want to go crazy with a rebuild (at least not at this point, but we all know how that goes...). But I'd like to have the head done and plan on replacing all the seals and such. I haven't pulled the head or oil pan off yet so the plan might change.

    Can anyone recommend a shop to do the head work in California? I'm on the central coast and don't have much to choose from locally so exact location (North or South) doesn't really matter. I sent my S52 head to Auto Head Performance and they did great work for a very reasonable cost with good turn around time but he didn't have much experience with the S14 motor. I know it shouldn't really matter for a basic overhaul but any recommendations would be appreciated.

    TIA!

  • #2
    Top End Performance in beautiful North Hollywood has done a few engines for owners on the board.
    1988 M3
    2012 335is
    1993 Civic Si

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    • #3
      I have had several S-14 engines done at Selby and Sons in Santa Rosa, and can recommend them. They know how to do it right.. Larry

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      • #4
        Top End does very good work, but turnaround time was an issue a few years ago. Lots of excuses were given, and the motor was taken back over a year after dropping it off, unfinished.

        Consider sending it to Mario Rigoli at E Ticket Motorsports. He's an S14 guru and is in AZ. He did a stage 3 head for a track car I have.

        Good luck
        Bryant

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        • #5
          I would second the recommendation for Mario Rigoli....but I am not sure he is still in that business. The E-ticket Motorsports website went down some time ago.

          Also, when he did my head (around 3 years ago) he stated he was not interested in doing stock rebuilds or head maintenance type work....just modified head builds with porting and custom valves.

          I know nothing about Top End, but I CANNOT STAND shops for which time means nothing and they can't/won't give a reliable time of delivery. Just hearing about them having an engine for over a year gets my blood boiling....I don't care what their excuse was.

          While they are somewhat controversial, VAC is another option. I personally have had good luck with them.

          Really though, for a "basic overhaul"....with no porting or other mods...any competent engine machine shop should be able to handle the work. It would probably amount to no more than replacing the valve guides and cutting/lapping the valve seats. The S14 is not as unique as some would have you believe as far as that sort of thing goes.
          Last edited by Ironhead; 01-10-2018, 09:09 AM.

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          • #6
            +1 for Top End,
            Had my motor done in 2013 and they were very good with communication with me and even setup a flikr album so I could see the progress done:
            https://www.flickr.com/photos/tep_ic...7633627685459/

            I am in Santa Barbara so having that service was a definite plus.

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            • #7
              Anyone ever send their motor to Metric Mechanics? I always figured they would be a go to but I'm still new to s14's

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              • #8
                Thanks for the recommendations! I'll call around and hopefully get the head sent out soon.

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                • #9
                  Update:

                  So I pulled the head yesterday and unfortunately found what I was really hoping I wouldn't. Looks like some water got into one of the cylinders and there is some corrosion on the cylinder wall which looks like it will require an overbore. If I'm lucky it can be honed out and I will just replace rings and bearings on the bottom end and call it good, but I don't think that's going to be the case. If not I guess we're looking at new pistons and a complete overhaul. The thought of having a completely fresh motor is nice but I was hoping to avoid the expense...

                  With that said, after doing some research I would like to have the head ported because I plan to install some cams and would like to get the most out of them. From what I hear, without porting there isn't much gain to be had. My goal is to get a bump in power over stock but not go crazy with it. This isn't a race car so every last hp doesn't matter. I'm looking for a good balance of power, cost and reliability which will keep me happy for at a least a few years. As I mentioned earlier, this is going in a 2002 which is not a daily driver. Honestly, it'll probably be driven, on average, a dozen times per year with the majority of the miles on 2-3 day long road rallies driven at a rather "spirited" pace.

                  The plans are 284/276 cams, port the head, carbon airbox, MS and call it a day. I think in the near 2000lb weight of the 02 this should keep me happy for some time.

                  Will these cams work with the stock pistons or is the lift too great for the valve relief? OK with stock springs/lifters?

                  In regards to my original inquiry for a machine shop recommendation, where should I send the head to get ported? This I will leave to someone with lots of experience. I certainly won't take it to just any machine shop...

                  I have paperwork from the original owner and the motor apparently had about 75k on the odometer. Should I be looking to replace the oil pump?

                  The timing chain should be fine but what about tensioner? From what I hear the S52 tensioner is the way to go?

                  Anything else I'm missing?

                  Thanks again for the recommendations and I really look forward to getting this thing going. It may not be an E30 but it'll have the heart of one. And if it counts for anything I do race an E30 in Chump and Lucky Dog...



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                  • #10
                    If you want the head ported...Mario Rigoli without question...if he is still doing it....

                    I agree 284/276 is the best choice for your plans. They will work with stock pistons, but it is very, very close in terms of valve clearance. The cams need to be carefully degreed, piston-valve clearance checked, and if the head or block has been skimmed much you might have problems. I ran 284/276 for years on my last engine....no over-revs....but when I tore it down there was evidence of piston-valve contact. That was with Wiseco pistons which had valve reliefs about the same size as stock.

                    With the Schrick cams...you would also benefit from bumping compression up a bit from stock. New pistons are not "that" expensive....you can get proper valve clearances....and I would go that route if I were you.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ironhead View Post
                      If you want the head ported...Mario Rigoli without question...if he is still doing it....

                      I agree 284/276 is the best choice for your plans. They will work with stock pistons, but it is very, very close in terms of valve clearance. The cams need to be carefully degreed, piston-valve clearance checked, and if the head or block has been skimmed much you might have problems. I ran 284/276 for years on my last engine....no over-revs....but when I tore it down there was evidence of piston-valve contact. That was with Wiseco pistons which had valve reliefs about the same size as stock.

                      With the Schrick cams...you would also benefit from bumping compression up a bit from stock. New pistons are not "that" expensive....you can get proper valve clearances....and I would go that route if I were you.
                      I was on the fence regarding the pistons. For me I think it would be worth the piece of mind to have the proper clearance and the bump in compression certainly wouldn't hurt...

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