In last month's installment we pushed the performance of the B16A engine to the tune of 155.2 hp to the wheels with three simple bolt-ons. The B16A engine is like the Energizer Bunny, it just keeps going and going. Our B16A tester is more than 15 years old (going from the date stamp on the cylinder head) and already logged more than 50,000 miles since its acquisition from the local used engine depot.
If you account for the mileage on the engine before we purchased it, we probably have an engine that has logged more than 80,000 miles. If you consider the mileage on our B16A engine you'd appreciate how impressive the numbers the engine generated on the dyno. That is nearly 100 hp per liter to the wheels!
With the Peak Performance...
With the Peak Performance adjustable cam gears we were able to fine-tune cam timing for better overall performance.
The Peak Performance Stage...
The Peak Performance Stage Two cams generated an additional 13.6 peak horsepower, pushing peak power to 168.8. At 8000 rpm, the Peak cams made 20.2 horsepower more than the stock cams.
For this installment we got serious with the help of Peak Performance products from Dynamic Autosports. The easiest way to increase power in a DOHC VTEC engine is by adding a set of performance camshafts.
There are three different stages of camshafts available from Peak Performance. The Stage One is the mild street variant while the Stage Three is the most aggressive, meant for built engines and hard street use. We, of course, elected to use the Stage Two version.
Using the Stage Two camshafts entails upgrading the valve springs and retainers as well. We used Peak Performance's high-performance dual-spring valve-springs and heat-treated titanium retainers. By upgrading the valvetrain we are avoiding two major problems. The most important problem to prevent is coil bind, which can be caused by high-lift cams. Besides worrying about coil bind you also need to make sure the valve springs are capable of preventing valve float at high rpm. Valve float can not only decrease power output but worst-case it can cause major engine failure.
Although dyno tuning can be...
Although dyno tuning can be rather expensive, fine-tuning the engine can really make a difference. Here we were able to find out the best time to engage the VTEC and also play with fuel enrichment. By turning on VTEC at 6400 rpm instead of 5700 rpm we were able to maximize performance. On the dyno we made an additional 12.3 hp by delaying VTEC engagement.
The titanium retainers are an option for the Stage Two cams but we went ahead and installed them too for peace of mind. The titanium retainers are not only stronger than the stock piece but are also lighter.
Installing valve springs and retainers on a cylinder head while it is still attached to the block is a tricky proposition. If you remove the valve springs the valve will drop into the cylinder due to gravity. To prevent the valves from dropping, we pressurized the cylinder with compressed air before removing the valve springs and retainers. Once the cams, springs and retainers were installed the top end was buttoned up.
A set of Peak Performance adjustable cam sprockets were installed to help fine-tune the powerband once we got back to the dyno. Whenever installing a performance camshaft follow the manufacturer's procedure for proper break-in. After break-in our B16 purred like a kitty. Surprisingly, the car's idle felt relatively stock with the exception of a small rumpity-rump caused by the overlap due to the cam's longer duration.