Building the Naturally Aspirated Honda K Engine Part 3, Assembling the Engine


The King XP rod bearings are placed in the K1 rods, the rod caps are torqued down, and the inside diameter is measured. This is subtracted from the journal diameter to find the oil clearance.

Like the mains, different thicknesses of bearing halves can be swapped around to get the clearances perfect.

After the rod bearing clearances are measured and set, the JE forged FSR pistons are hung on the K1 rods. Care has to be taken because many modern pistons have asymmetrical skirts and have pin offsets.

Messing this up can cause the engine to be noisy, wear faster, and even knock oil squirters off!  A little oil is applied to the pin and it is pushed in place.  Piston pins are a very tight fit for noise reasons, and the pin is close to interference fit.

The JE piston pin wire ring retainers are put into place. This type of pin lock is very secure because a chamfer built into the pin wedges the lock tighter under any side load.

Now the rings are wound onto the pistons. Care is taken here so as not to break the rings.

Previously, the ring end gaps were checked and filed by hand so that the perfect gap could be maintained for all cylinders. This will give good leak down numbers and ensure that the ring gaps won’t butt into each other, causing serious problems when the rings expand with heat.

A ring compressor is used to squish the rings down for installation. This assures that they won’t become hung up in the bore on the deck of the block.

A soft mallet handle is used to carefully tap the piston down into the bore.


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