Ultimate SR20 Rebuild Guide: Part 1 – The Teardown
Removing SR20 lifters
And now, the hydraulic lifters. The technique I recommend for removing these, is to just pinch REALLY hard and wiggle. The only thing holding them in there is the viscosity of the oil. If you really can’t get them out, use SLIP-JOINT PLIERS on the sides of the lifter. You have to be really careful to not mar the top of the lifter where the rocker sits.
SR20 disassembled valve train
This is the disassembled valve train on the workbench. Note how everything is in the same order as it was in the engine.
Location of SR20 exterior head bolts
Now we’re ready to unbolt the head. We must first start with the exterior bolts. There are 2 small bolts holding the head down to the block outlined here that must be removed.
Location of SR20 interior head bolts
And then these two bolts clamping the head to the front cover must also be removed.
SR20 FSM excerpt describing the head bolt removal procedure
Now it’s time to break the head bolts/studs loose. Extreme care must be taken here. The head studs have to be loosened in 2-3 or steps, from the outside in, in order to gently and evenly relieve the clamping load from the head. Failure to do so can result in a warped or cracked head.
Breaking loose SR20 head studs
Now we slowly break the head studs loose in the correct order. We gently tap on the breaker bar, moving the nuts only 1/8th of a turn at a time.


  1. Nikita,
    Huge fan of what you’ve done here! Just curious when youll be blueprinting the engine and doing assembly and posting that back on moto?

    Love it thanks man!

    1. Yes, I’ve broken my pulley using a 3 jaw puller like that before. It can be avoided if you’re careful and make sure to have the puller perfectly squared up with the crank and don’t apply any uneven pressure when turning the bolt.

      1. I’m surprised to hear that. I’ve never had issues, but I guess I’m careful. What type of puller do you recommend?

        1. If I’m not wrong, the correct type is an harmonic balancer puller. That type pulls the pulley with two bolts that go in two threaded holes in the pulley.

          1. Well the problem is SR20 pulleys don’t have two threaded holes in them! That’s why I’ve been using a 3-jaw puller my entire life lol.

        2. A normal 3 jaw puller will work, just be careful with your placement of the arms and make sure not to let the puller bolt shift on the crank bolt. When I broke mine I was removing the pulley while the engine was in the car while trying not to hit the radiator so I had minimal space to work with and was using an open ended wrench so it was hard to not let the puller move around.

          I’m actually in the process of disassembling an engine and had no issues this time around removing the crank pulley

        3. Hello i see that you live in LA and i wanted to know ware you take your block to the machine shop? it looks like i have a rod knock and am looking to rebuild my s14 Sr20det by myself . i would like to toake it to a machine shop that does things right. ware would you recommend me to take it ? i would really appreciate it. Thanks !!! Oh and am looking forward on seen your writeup on how to assemble the engine back.

  2. However, I’m looking at RWD SR20DET crankshaft pulley photos and I don’t see those two holes. I’ve seen them in FWD SR20DE.

  3. Hi I noticed you mentioned you stay out here in la would you recommend me a machine shop to send my block and get it checked. I have a rod knock on my engine and am thinking of rebuilding it by myself for the first time. Would really appreciate the help.. thanks!!!

  4. This write up will help immensely as I’ve never tore down an SR20 before and will be doing it shortly to replace pistons and rods. Thank you for doing this and I can’t wait to see your next post about blueprinting and reinstalling everything!

  5. Absolutely thrilled to find such a well done and current article related to (disassembly) rebuilding the SR20 Part 1 however a little confused in your choice of a second topic in the series!

    Our garage and assembly area are as near yours as possible, actually we are probable several pages ahead of you now however, my son and I are anxiously awaiting continuation into your thoughts and direction on blueprinting and reassembly.

    Is there a planned date for moving forward?

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