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Engine Heeltoe Explains

Product Announcement: New Lost Motion Assemblies for the J-Series V6 from P2R

P2R Lost Motion Assemblies (LMAs) will replace the factory Piston style LMA found on the 01-03 J series like the J32A2. They will also fit the 04+ J series. The LMA is designed to pre-load the VTEC rocker when the VTEC is off.¬†The P2R LMAs¬†are designed and produced to¬†the highest quality standards using hardened tips and have been WPC friction treated to give extra wear resistance. Sold as a set of 6. These have been tested and proven to work in P2R’s race cars over the last several years.

P2R P354 Lost Motion Assemblies for the Honda J30/J32/J35/J37 Honda V6.

To understand a little more about what this does you need a little understanding of how VTEC works. Basically, normally an engine uses multiple cam profiles for a given set of cylinder valves. So on a 4 valve head with a single overhead cam configuration, there is a set of cam lobes for the intake side and a set for the exhaust side. VTEC incorporates a second set of lobes on the intake side which have a different profile for a higher performance level. All these lobes have their own rockers, and the engine “switches” the cam profile by locking the rockers together (using oil pressure). 

As you can imagine, when the “low” rockers are on, the high rocker is just freewheeling against the cam not doing any work. Once the rockers are locked together, the “high” cam lobe actuates the “low” rockers. This usually happens at mid-range RPM and is computer-controlled.

When the RPMs drop back down, VTEC disengages the high cam rocker from the low rockers, and you are in “low mode” again. This action can cause some “flopping” or free play in the high-cam rockers.

The Lost Motion Assemblies dampen and preload the “high” cam rocker because unlike the low rockers, it does not have a valve to counteract its movement when cam actuates it. It’s an important part of making sure the VTEC action is smooth, noise-free, and seamless.

In aggressive driving or with more performance cams installed, the need for the LMA to do its job well is even more important. Aftermarket performance applications benefit from aftermarket performance LMAs!

Thanks to P2R for releasing this solution!

Categories
Electronics

Product Review: Phantom Audio Retuned Amp for the 04-08 TSX

You wonder how good something like this is going to be. I mean, come on…stereo upgrades start with the speakers. Magnets. Cones…and did forget the wires. Glorious wires!

Amplifiers? Definitely going to be an aftermarket one. Something with a custom rack if I’m not going to cheap out and definitely a sub box. Otherwise, why bother with an amp?

To a performance enthusiast like myself, a subwoofer box (and by extension, an amp) sounds like something really awesome for people who want to slow their car down. An impressive stereo isn’t worth the weight penalty to me. Besides, the car has a stock amp and sounds really quite decent.

Well, mostly. On the occasion that I really crank up the stereo, when those conditions are right on a great day, great road, and the perfect song comes on… It’s not hard to get the TSX stereo up to max volume. But woah, better¬†turn the bass and treble down to avoid popping blasts and screeching, tinny highs. It’s just the way of life with a stock system.¬†The stock stereo pings like a J-series at full boil without a tune.

But, what if I told you that you could give your stock stereo and speakers a really stiff kick in the ass without adding an ounce of weight? Get that volume up all the way without having to “pull timing.” Get solid bass that’s deeper and gives that therapeutic vibrato to the bum?

Phantom Audio Retuned TSX Amp

Time to pop the blue pill because the Phantom Audio¬†tuning effect on the stock amplifier does just that and more. It seems like snake oil; a little unreal, but there is one word that encapsulates one’s reaction the first time they crank it up…

“Wow.”

It isn’t the sort of wow that comes after you’ve completely revamped the audio system with $4000 worth of gear, of course. But more like the wow, you got¬†when you reflashed the stock ecu computer with Hondata’s reflash. It’s an¬†“I can’t believe this seemingly small change made this much of a difference”¬†kind of wow.

People have attempted to capture the sound difference in videos. To me, YouTube isn’t able to convince much. You need to feel the bass and hear the highs. Recorded music only replicates real life, and a recording of a recording, compressed for YouTube, will surely fail to convey the true Phantom Effect. I’ll just have to articulate it the best I can…

The highs.¬†Crisp and clear the changes challenge you to turn up the treble at higher volumes. Forget the ear-piercing ring you’re used to. Cymbals don’t distort. It’s magical because treble tickles the ears and without great reproduction you won’t feel it. You just hear more.

The lows. Deep and full. You aren’t just getting the hits. You can feel and hear the different kinds of base sounds uniquely. A drum, bass guitar, or deep vocal tone all come across in ways that help you appreciate bass for more than just filler. Bass is something anyone can appreciate when it’s loud, but, like an undersized turbocharger, without proper execution you are just blowing hot air. You hear the speakers pop when you overdo the volume…But be careful not to kill the messenger.

Saving my favorite for last, because the midrange makes music warm and exciting. Any music with solid mids challenges reproduction of both low and frequency and there is a real chance your inadequate system is going to get really muddy. Such is not the case after the retune. The midrange fills every crevice of volume in the car with rich, chocolaty, midrange yumminess.

Thus, I am quite happy to have installed the Phantom Audio Retuned Amp in my #HTSpecTSXThe installation is so fast and easy…less than 10 minutes. If you love your TSX, too, and wish for the stereo to sound rich and alive, but aren’t looking to completely redo the stereo, seriously take a look, even before upgrading the speakers (yes this modification will work well with aftermarket speakers as well…but, the idea here is that the amp will give you a lot more than speakers will).

Need more info? Feel free to call or post below. I’ll be able to answer whatever questions you have!

Categories
Chassis Heeltoe Explains

Koni Sport Yellow Shock & Their “Height Adjustable” Nature: Don’t Put Too Much Stock In That…

Koni Sport/Yellow shocks provide a broad damping adjustment range and will accommodate a broad range of springs.

In many applications, Koni Sport, or “Yellow,” shocks, also feature numerous snap-ring lands, or grooves, in the bodies which allow for movement of the spring perches to different positions. Moving the perches up has the effect of raising the car, and moving them down lowers the car. So, naturally, many people consider the Koni Sport damper as a “height adjustable” part. I think even Koni promotes it this way. So it must be!

We at Heeltoe use a lot of caution when calling Koni Yellows “height adjustable.”

Most people don’t realize that the awesome Euro-tuned Koni damper is also rather IKEA-like from an external standpoint (just look at the instructions…sheesh!). The perches can be moved to varying degrees but a cautious observer notices that the fronts (for the 3rd gen TL application as an example) have two height settings and the rear has three (!).

If Koni made these dampers to be height adjustable why would they not allow the same range of adjustment on both the front and rear? And more than that, the rear ring-land spacing is not always evenly spaced.

Why?

The reason being, in our estimation, that the Koni Sports are broadly used across varying applications and this adjustment is needed to accommodate different installations. The adjustable valving allows them to use the same front dampers on these Honda and Acura cars:
2g TL, 3g TL, 2g CL, 6g Accord, 7g Accord, 1g TSX.*

The rears are more focused as fitting the 3g TL, 7g Accord, and 1g TSX with the earlier cars having a different part. Likewise, the rear dampers are supplied with spacers to allow them to fit the different rear hub carrier dimensions (because TL/Accord is wider than TSX).
Don’t forget Accords come in all combinations of I4/V6 and 2dr/4dr.

The different height levels of the Konis are there because these dampers can be adapted to various pre-load levels to compensate for the loads these different cars have on them. When installing Konis on all these cars you will note that the standard dampers’ spring perch heights moves. So to set a car at “stock height” you pick the perch height that corresponds with the stock damper.¬†

So why not call that a “feature,” MrHeeltoe?

Simply because not everyone is going to derive benefit from moving these perches in the same way. Say you install the dampers to the stock levels on your car and decided to lower the front and rear because the spacing of the perch settings allow you to.

Then you go blab to your buddy about Konis being height adjustable, then he gets them for his car and finds that the combination of perch settings he has to work with doesn’t allow a level height change.

It might be semantic but here at Heeltoe, we try selling parts as responsibly as we can. A misunderstanding in a forum bout has no accountable party. But we must be accountable to our customers for every sale and strive for the happiest customer.

So when we sell Koni shocks we tell people to pair them with the lowering spring that best meets their lowering needs. And if they really need height adjustment, they would be better off getting a threaded body coilover kit.

Categories
Drivetrain You Can Do It! DIYs

MFactory Helical- and Plate-Type Diff Break-In Procedures

MFactory differentials have proven to be a fantastic convergence of performance and value. As much a great value they are, they are certainly not disposable items. Add in the considerable labor required to install them, it is in the user’s best interest that they are installed and broken in properly to ensure longevity.

Helical Type Differentials

Great news! No special break in procedure is needed for these diffs. However it is recommended that the transmission fluid be changed after 500 miles of steady use. The best possible fluid to use is Synchrotech’s MTF formulation produced by Torco Oils.

Plate Type Differentials

For these sorts of diffs, a break-in procedure should be followed. The plates in Plate-Type differentials are basically clutch plates. When they lock up they lock up solid, but to get them to grip properly they have to be conditioned. We consulted Synchrotech (AKA MFactory USA) and they gave us this procedure.

The MFactory recommended break-in procedure is as follows:

  1. Fill the transmission with mineral oil 10w30 for break-in.
  2. Drive in a figure-8 for 10 mins (Clutch disengaged while turning, Don‚Äôt exceed 15mph)
  3. Drive in a figure-8 (Gently apply part-throttle while turning)
  4. Drive in full-lock circles for 10 mins (To the left, part throttle)
  5. Lean head out of door and vomit.
  6. Drive in full-lock circles for 10 mins (To the right, part throttle)
  7. Drain fluid, clean drain plug.
  8. Fill and add Torco Type-F friction modifier.

Thanks go out to David at Synchrotech for these procedure notes. Except for step 5. I added that one.

Be sure to look up Heeltoe for all your MFactory and Synchrotech needs!

Categories
Chassis Heeltoe Explains You Can Do It! DIYs

Spoon Rigid Collar Bushing Reuse: Are They One Time Use?

The Spoon Rigid Collar Bushings are great pieces for ensuring subframe-to-chassis alignment is correct. If you are not familiar with these awesome bushings, please see a very informative video in this post explaining what they are and how they work.

Here is what the Spoon Rigid Collar Bushing kit looks like:

In a nutshell, the Spoon Rigid Collar Bushings slide over the bolt and deform to fill the tolerance to the bolt hole.

Subframe bolt hole diameter versus bolt diameter.

The irregular mating surface between the subframe and chassis is made more rigid which really does dramatically improve the chassis feel.

Spoon Rigid Collars Bushings deform to fill tolerance between the subframe, chassis, and bolts.

The question of the day is, once these rigid collars are installed and deformed, do they need to be replaced if the subframe comes out again?

Heeltoe’s answer is no, these are¬†not¬†one-time use bushings. We have in our own shop #HTSpecTSX removed the subframe twice after initial installation, with plenty of driving stints in between removals. Our observation was that while the bolts are decidedly more finicky to remove and replace after the bushings are in, and that subframe re-installation alignment is more challenging because the bushings are in place, the¬†re-installation of the subframe had gone without issue.

Indeed the additional effort needed to remove and install the subframe, while not excessive by any means, proved that the collars worked and did their job.

No degradation of the effect of the bushings was noted after repeated removal and reassembly.

That being said, we would NOT recommend attempting to remove deformed bushings from one car to install them on another, even of the same model. Once a Spoon Rigid Collar Bushing set is deformed on a specific chassis and subframe we feel this “mates” these items all together and that attempts to move used bushings from one car to another would be an unsuccessful job.

On a final note, Heeltoe DOES recommend that the suspension alignment be adjusted after subframe removal, even with the bushings in place.