The first start for the N13 was a no show. Spark yes. Compression yes. Fuel yes, wait, oh um, no. It wasn’t a terribly difficult diagnosis what with having already replaced or refurbished everything bar the pump in the fuel system; the pump is knackered. With it been a rubbish RB20DET one I’ll just chuck a Whinebro in but for now I can’t be bothered dropping the tank in the middle of a cold & damp winter, I wanted something I could tinker away with in the warmth and comfort of the lounge. So inspired by Jafros recent series of videos I’m doing a cylinder head rebuild.
This is the dummy for the project; the holy grail among CA18DET heads – the 4 port. This will be a good upgrade on the existing 8 port currently in the N13 if it gives me trouble and good practice for the eventual 4G63 build.
I got this cheap from the NZDatsun Admin a while back because he was going FJ20 plus he believed it had some bent valves. He was right. With the cams out the exhaust valves in cylinder 1 were still wide open. I’ve got spares galore anyway so this wouldn’t be a problem.
First step after stripping it bare was a good clean. The seats are quite badly pitted but hydro tested okay, they should be savageable.
Exhaust valve before and after.
Intake before and after.
Onto the meat of the project, lapping the valve seats. The next best thing to a engine coffee table is a engine on a coffee table. I did a couple each night after work while watching QI, I need to do my car related work like this more often. To combat the pitting I went with the 2 stage grinding paste, first course then fine and they came out great.
Valve stem seals, out with the old and in with the new.
Reinstalling the valve springs keepers. This was initially a right test of patience thanks to the valley design of the head giving very little room to work with, but after the first few I got the hang of it and they weren’t too bad. Also meant I got to buy a new tool. I like new tools.
The CA HLA’s suffer the same issues as the 1st gen 4G’s in that the oil inlet is larger than the outlet. This results in all sludge and trash been permanently trapped in the check valve. As the CA18 life span wasn’t long enough for Nissan to redesign them like Mitsubishi did the only way to clean them is via complete disassembly.
A popular trick among CA18DET builders is to run CA16DE cams due to the slighter greater lift and duration. People pay good money for these but fortunately I have a set sitting unused in a spare head. In they go then.
One 4 port head ready for service sir. I now possess the best CA18DET head that is possible from factory parts, and aside from the new cam and valve guide seals it cost nothing to build. As Jafro would say, “I’m a big fan of that.”
Things on the talon are moving along as slowly as ever, I went ahead and rebuilt the throttle body that was leaking badly from the shaft seals. But there was one thing that I had been putting off doing.
When I had it stored outside on winter something had decided to make a nest in the heater box/ blower motor so every time I turned it on you got a shower of leaves/ feathers/ nasty stuff, but to get to it you have to pull the dash out (fun stuff)
So after getting that cleaned out. I though hey while its all apart this a good time to fix all of the hacked together wiring….
Then I figured hey while I’m in here why not replace the nasty yellow early 90s lights with some more modern LEDs
I changed the gauges over to red but I still need to do the Heater controls and gear shift ones, after that its just clean up the wiring, new boost gauge, switch panel, redo center console, new seats….
I’m going to be here awhile.
With it been the middle of winter motivation for working in a freezing cold garage was a little low, but I still wanted a project. So while prehaps a little inebriated I took the plunge and signed up to iRacing.com, and a serious sim calls for a serious rig.
It rules … most of the time.