The Heart of a Record Breaker III: Completing the VVL Head Swap and Engine Assembly

The Heart of a Record Breaker III: Completing the VVL Head Swap and Engine Assembly

by Chuck Johnson

In part one of our engine build series, we did a quick overview on the anatomy of our record breaking engine dubbed the SR15VET 20V.  Next, we introduced you to the “23 doctor,” Nick Hunter of 5523 Motorsports and then dove into his assembly of the SR15VET 20V’s bottom end.  If you’re not up to speed yet, be sure to go back and read up on the Heart of a Record Breaker Series.  In this installment, we’ll follow Nick Hunter in the assembly of the coveted “20V” cylinder head and also cover the SR20VE head swap.

Originally, our resident HNIC (head nerd in charge), Mike Kojima, graciously offered up a SR20VE 20V head that he had stashed away in the far reaches of his toy box.  Mike’s 20V head was fully ported and had 1 MM larger Super Tech valves installed.  

After a record breaking run, Nick inspects our original 20V head to understand the root cause of the failure.  

Unfortunately, after our record El Mirage run we’d find out this head’s valve job was questionably performed, which resulted in 40% leak down across three cylinders.  We had crushed a land speed record by 30 MPH but now only had a month before Speed Week to resolve our head issues.  It was truly bitter sweet.  

Marked with “8H6”, the SR20VE 20V head is a rare and pricey piece of hardware. With only a few weeks until Speed Week 2013, we were in a real bad position.  

Without enough time or money to source the parts to repair Mike’s 20V head, Nick and I scoured the earth for another super rare 20V head.  Fortunately, Clark Steppler at Jim Wolf Technology always has a good stash of hard to find Nissan and Datsun goodies around.  After bartering my first born daughter over some rolled tacos at Sombrero’s, we had ourselves an unmolested SR20VE 20V cylinder head. Thanks Clark.  
 

With only a handful of weeks until Speed Week, Nick Hunter did what he does best and tapped into his Captain Zombie Vampire super powers to repair our head. Forgoing sleep and living on nutrition void fast food, Nick Hunter was able to perform a miracle in record time, barely.  How the Captain does this, I’m not sure.  It’s just what zombie vampires do I guess.  

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