Some of us get lucky, we import a motor from Japan, swap it into our car and drive off into hybrid heaven. But sometimes things just don’t seem right and unmistakably, as I pile the miles on my latest CA18DET, it has started to feel off. The smoke the car leaves behind after trips to redline is less concerning than the strong gas smell present at the next oil change. Since crankshafts that find themselves lubricated with gas tend to kill blocks, it is time to open the motor up before it grenades.
Before and after of the rebuilt CA18DET.
It always starts with something small and in this case, the #2 injector was stuck open. With the #2 cylinder having more fuel dumped into it than can be burned, the fuel was washing down the cylinder wall and into the oil. At the same time this process degrades the piston ring leaving the motor with compression of 150, 115, 150, 150. Luckily, this condition was caught before things got bad.
Looking at the picture of the CA18DET on the motor stand makes me wonder what can be done to clean up that intake manifold.
This image shows the rich condition in cylinder #2. Notice all of the gunk on the valve stem.
Engine rebuilds can be a beautiful thing. All internal components of the motor will be inspected and clearanced. The cylinder head and block will be cleaned then decked and honed. A new water pump, oil pump and head gasket will be installed along with ARP studs. Basically, a better than new CA18DET will emerge, faster, stronger (not to mention cleaner) and ready to handle a slew of upgrades to send this motor towards 300whp.
It took time, patience and access to a machine shop with cleaning methods I don’t have to get the head this clean.
Reinstalling the camshafts.
The newly prepped cylinder head.
The cleaned block ready for reassembly.
The crankshaft is installed into the CA18DET using new bearings.
The crank girdle and main bearing caps installed into the new block using new main bearings.
Image showing the top of the CA18DET block, minus pistons.
Left side of the CA18DET block with new oil and water pump installed.
Another image of the prepped CA18DET block. (right/driver’s side)
The ring compressor is a very simple tool that makes installing piston rings a walk in the park.
Installing the pistons.
1 down, 3 to go.
New head gasket and ARP studs awaiting install on the CA18DET.
Unlike the factory head bolts, the ARP studs are thread into the block before installing the head.
It’s getting there. Only a few more odds and ends and the CA18DET is back in action.
A shot of the intake side of the rebuilt motor.
And for good measure, a pic of the exhaust side.
The CA18DET is almost ready to install. (fullsize)
Top mount manifold on the CA18DET. A little unusual for a t25/28 setup but this engine will be a breeze to work on once finished. (fullsize)
More pictures coming soon.