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JDM B20b and initial exhaust cam timing was way off. Looking for opinions.

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  • JDM B20b and initial exhaust cam timing was way off. Looking for opinions.

    Hey guys, I haven't been on here is a while; however, I just took a thousand mile road trip with a fresh jdm B20b (high comp) from JDM Place of Houston, and little did I know that the exhaust cam was appx 40 degrees (4 teeth) retarded when I opened the valve cover. I called the shop out and sent the detailed pictures less than 48 hours later and they were full of excuses. Then it turns out they do no inspection on the motors they sell other than crank them over, and the owner seems to be clueless as to why I am concerned or how I shouldn't have to tear apart an "excellent" condition motor to make sure the valves aren't bent. After looking at it more; there does not appear to be any valve contact, so I think we're going to bring the time back to spec and test the compression and do a leak-down test.

    Is it normal for importers to not even pull the valve covers on the motors they are trying to sell, and is it normal for these motors to be completely out of time? One of my friends suggested that it is out of time because it's from a wrecked vehicle and that seems to make sense. I have dealt with many jdm motors and never experienced either of these issues. I would have torn down the motor in the shop on their time if I had known that they don't have the courtesy to even check the mechanical timing before "guaranteeing" the motor is in "excellent" condition with a "warranty". It sounds like they just play off of the probability that those motors are good, and take no personal responsibility to verify condition as claimed.

    Opinions and experience are welcome. I think we are about to start picking up parts, get the motor on the stand, and pick up a bore-scope to check for contact. I am going to be livid if I find contact, but we might just be ok.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    That's one that varies hugely from company to company. Some, as you have seen, do virtually no work or checking. Others, will look over the engines and do compression tests. Where they're sourcing their engines is likely different too. I think there's some level of risk regardless of vendor but some will be much lower risk due to their attention to detail and actual concern for their clients.
    Track Project DB2 #896
    LeMons Project DA9
    My OG DA9, Wrecked, Stripped, R.I.P


    • #3
      Why didn't you replace the timing belt before installing it in the car? On every engine I have ever bought the first thing I did was a compression test then a timing belt / water pump and seal replace. Just because a dealer says it has an average mileage doesn't mean that it is the low end. They are in the business of selling engines and are no better than a used car salesman. I hope your valves are not wasted.


      • #4
        Colin: You hit the nail on the head there. We put the motor on a stand, stripped it down, fixed the timing, and reinstalled the oem timing belt. After some cleaning, inspecting, oiling, and rotating the properly timed assembly we did a leak-down test and all cylinders and initially all but cylinder 4 read 95+ psi out of 100 on the mac cylinder differential pressure tester. With a bit more cleaning cylinder 4 read 94 psi, so the motor appears to be saveable. I am glad you spent the time as I was hoping you would chime in.

        2ndJenn: If you think that I manage to buy a longblock, install it in the integra, drive from Beaumont Texas to Golden Colorado, pull the motor, and place the longblock into my ford ranger for timing pictures that I attached within 48 hours; then you highly overestimate my pace of work. We picked the motor right before heading out, and was highly disappointed to pull the valve cover and find the exhaust cam 42 degrees retarded on what was supposed to be an excellent condition motor.


        • #5
          We haven't came close to installing the motor. Of course the timing belt, water pump, gaskets and so on are getting changed before installation. This is about an importer selling a motor that had skipped 4 teeth on the exhaust cam and sold it as an excellent condition motor. The swap is a drop in the bucket of this project and I would expect to hear plenty as we continue.


          • #6
            Being that I live in Houston and have heard good things about this company, this comes as a surprise. Thanks for sharing. I used HMO and was pleased.
            Current Car


            • #7
              If I had had time time in Houston the tear down the motor it would have gone right back and we would have gone elsewhere. The motor and tranny are ready to go in and we didnt see any signs of contact or bent valves. There was a good bit of sludge in the pan, but nothing too concerting.

              The db1 it's going into has had 8 owners, and we have found a lot of hackery that has slowed us down. For example the someone had thrown the completely wrong bolts in the lower transmission brackets trashing the threads in the transmission. My buddy has the complete factory service manual, so everything has been by the book this time.

              So far we replaced the timing belt, water pump, rear main, both manifold gaskets, oil pan gasket, and injector seals. The valve lash will be reset before installing the new valve cover gasket. All power/grounds is getting replaced with 4 awg, and the engine harness is getting a full continuity check. We have everything for obd1 and have made the ecu and dizzy jumper harnesses; however, are going to wait on that until the motor is running on obd0 before worrying about that.

              We have also changed the motor mounts, powersteering delete, A/C delete, battery relocation and a 9.5 lbs flywheel. The suspension is getting agx shocks, hardrace UCAs and full hardrace bushings but that is besides this topic.

              I guess I will update this after we get the final verdict, and hopefully there are no issues with the motor as that shop has left a bad taste in my mouth.


              • #8
                So after all of that work, we went for an initial drive. The low oil pressure light began to flicker and came in more frequently during the drive. I want to inspect the oil for babbit; but the signs are not good. Any suggestions besides inspecting the oil and using an oil pressure gauge?


                • #9
                  So the oil pump was trash. We replaced it with the newer style oem pump and changed fluids again. It seems to be running fine now, but that was definitely not an "excellent" condition motor... My buddy may post a build thread with some of the slr photos he took. If not I may post a few of the more interesting things we did and found in a new thread.