Stu's BRM - Forged 1.8 VVC K-series turbo build - MG-Rover.org Forums
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post #1 of 120 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 22:26 Thread Starter
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Stu's BRM - Forged 1.8 VVC K-series turbo build

Welcome to my full-fat, no-nonsense 1.8 k-series VVC turbo build.

Short intro: I wanted an awesome car so decided to build a forged 1.8 k-series turbo with up to 300bhp to slot into my Rover 200 BRM.

Basic spec of engine:

  • 1.8 k-series turbo block
  • Wossner low comp (9:1) 80mm forged pistons
  • Maxspeeding steel rods (standard 1.8 nasp length)
  • Westwood Ductile liners
  • Ported VVC head (keeping VVC)
  • Wilky-spec rebuilt T28R ball-bearing turbo (from a 200SX S15) with billet comp wheel
  • Emerald management


And some other tweaks to keep it all under control: Brembo 4-pots on front, ZR 160 rear beam and brakes, X-power springs on ZR struts and full poly bush.

Long intro (skip if easily bored and go straight to the pretty pictures):

A couple of years ago it became apparent that the 1.8VVC in my BRM was badly in need of attention – Even as a recon unit it had sprung oil leaks in several places (so bad you couldn’t tell where it was coming from). So I decided to take it off the road and upgrade. The basic brief I gave myself was to make the BRM what I think it would have been if the designers’ brief had been “make something special and don’t worry about production costs”. It’s already a great car and the 1.8 VVC suits it well. The handling is great and whilst the styling isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I love it. I considered all the options and for reasons I’ll not go into I eventually decided to go with a 1.8 turbo k-series.

So began my project. I did my research and the plan unfolded over the course of several months. I didn’t want to just bung a ZT lump in and get a remap. Like I said, I want something special. I want to make it a project and learn from it.

The weaknesses of the k-series are well known and it obviously has a reputation for eating head gaskets. The problem I had initially was that there are lots of unknowns. So few people have turbo or supercharged the k-series (and even fewer have documented their results in detail) that I was working blind for the most part. It was clear that much more than 200bhp would probably require stronger liners, pistons and rods to be reliable long term. More than 300bhp would probably be unusable/unnecessary in a front wheel drive road car and I’d be placing other parts under stress that are difficult and/or expensive to upgrade (Crankshaft for example). Revs will be kept at a sensible 7,200rpm. So 300bhp became my upper limit, with a rough target of 250-270bhp. Not ground-breaking but the extra torque from the forced induction combined with relatively lightweight chassis and a turbo choice giving very little lag, should make for a very fun car to drive every day.

My first hurdle was to find suitable forged pistons and steel rods, as without viable upgrades the build was going nowhere. This is really where the project actually started around 18 months ago – As I write this I have literally only just taken delivery of the pistons! I needed a low compression ratio for forced induction. The stock 1.8T uses 2mm shorter rods to lower the CR to 9.2:1. My upgrade options were few and far between but eventually settled on Wossner pistons custom designed by Jonathan at JDM Dyno (well-known up north for tuning Elises). Unfortunately there was a bit of a wait. More on this later…

Anyway, here's "The Lady" as pictured at POL 2013:



December 2012 I took delivery of the donor lump – a 1.8t from an MG ZT. This was much easier for a number of reasons – it came with a few bits I would need (exhaust manifold, oil filter housing, etc) and the crank ladder already has the turbo drain (I didn’t fancy drilling a non-turbo one). Additionally, being relatively low mileage, there was less chance of it having previously overheated and softened (annealed), causing the liners to drop to below or flush with the deck and giving me head gasket issues later.





Got it up on the engine stand and started stripping it.





All stripped and cleaned (not using this head):



Naturally, a splash of orange (this IS a BRM!)



Back on the engine stand



Essential for a reliable tuned k-series: Uprated liners. A few options but I went for the most robust - Westwood ductile iron liners



Trial fitting and measuring the stand-proud. Happily have a universal 0.004" above the deck. Bang on!





This project couldn't really get going until I got the pistons. As I said earlier there were a few options. In the end I opted for JDM Dyno designed Wossner pistons. Jon at JDM has the rights to these pistons so you can only order through him. Annoyingly, an order couldn't go through until there were several confirmed orders. I waited over a year for this to happen and in the end just ordered two sets to get it through. that was a couple of months ago. They are finally here!





They are basically a dished piston which reduce the compression ratio to about 9:1. Big boost would require less than that (8:1) but these are designed for moderate boost (12psi) to retain good off-boost driveability. That's the idea anyway! They also retain the 18mm pin (floating).

I ordered the rods some time ago. I went for Maxspeeding rods in the end. I believe that they will be more than adequate for my purposes. I was very impressed with the build quality. I've included some side-by-side pics with the standard turbo rod and piston















That's it for now. This lot has to go off for balancing before I put it all together!
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post #2 of 120 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 23:05
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nice car

im slowly learning my lessons into modding and realising its not worth it so its not my thing

but i think it will be good when its done

also i love the brm
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post #3 of 120 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 23:08
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ive just realised that im a bit of an idiot and il say it before someone else jumps on it

> why are you commenting and going in the project category if you dont like projects <

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post #4 of 120 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 23:42
cju
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Finally a 1.8 Turbo thread that I can follow from the start! Looking forward to the build, good work so far looks excellent
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post #5 of 120 (permalink) Old 09-07-2014, 00:00
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OOOOoooooh!!!! car part porn
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post #6 of 120 (permalink) Old 20-07-2014, 18:56
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I'm going through the build myself but for my ZR.

Looking forward to seeing this done and hopefully see it in person at POL. Thanks for the thread, it's certainly helped me make decisions on what components to use
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post #7 of 120 (permalink) Old 20-07-2014, 19:45 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Masterbateson View Post
OOOOoooooh!!!! car part porn
Quote:
Originally Posted by iMann iFail View Post
Looking forward to seeing this done and hopefully see it in person at POL. Thanks for the thread, it's certainly helped me make decisions on what components to use
Quote:
Originally Posted by cju View Post
Finally a 1.8 Turbo thread that I can follow from the start! Looking forward to the build, good work so far looks excellent

Thanks for the comments guys
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post #8 of 120 (permalink) Old 21-07-2014, 12:05
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Just curious, but what have you done with the other set of pistons? Lol
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post #9 of 120 (permalink) Old 21-07-2014, 19:08 Thread Starter
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Just curious, but what have you done with the other set of pistons? Lol
Selling on to another member.

Test fitted rods and pistons. All clears fine. No issues with rods meeting liners which was a concern. Now to to get the dynamic balancing done so I can start the rebuild properly!



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post #10 of 120 (permalink) Old 21-07-2014, 19:55
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Definitely keeping an eye on this build, great to see something a bit different for once. Good luck with it and hopefully it doesn't give you too many problems. What sort of power are you hoping for if it all goes well?
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post #11 of 120 (permalink) Old 21-07-2014, 20:11 Thread Starter
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Thanks. Aiming for 270-300bhp.
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post #12 of 120 (permalink) Old 22-07-2014, 22:47
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It'll be nice to see how two very similar engines compare with the two different FI routes

I feel you may be finished a little sooner than me as I have the rest of the car to strip and build as well

Last edited by gotenks1321; 23-07-2014 at 18:10.
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post #13 of 120 (permalink) Old 26-07-2014, 22:25 Thread Starter
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A little bit about the turbo I'll be using. I wanted something with a fast spool for minimal lag, giving good power throughout the rev range at moderate boost - 12-14psi at most.

I opted for a T28 from a Nissan 200SX S15. The s15 has a ball bearing turbo and Wilky rebuilt it for me with a billet wheel (arguably no real improvement from a billet wheel but the blades had some nicks so was worth doing). This turbo is very similar to the GT2560R which should be perfect for my requirements.

GT2560R

Compressor map for the GT2560R for those interested:



Some pics of the turbo after getting it back from refurbing:







I mocked it up to see what it would look like. Need an actuator which I'll have to fab a bracket for once is clocked right. Going to have to mount the fans on the front of the rad I think!





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post #14 of 120 (permalink) Old 28-07-2014, 16:57
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Excellent build, shall be keeping an eye on this as my Boy is looking to do something similar on he's zt, its currently mapped to 204 bhp which he loves but always looking for more power. What do you hope to gain by retaining the VVC as opposed to going solid cam. What do you estimate as you final build cost if you don't mind me asking so i can warn him how much cash he needs to save up lol, keep us updated.

Paul
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post #15 of 120 (permalink) Old 28-07-2014, 19:10 Thread Starter
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Thanks Paul.

Retaining VVC is more about controlling initial cost. It'll save about a grand. Whilst my research suggested big overlap such as you get from VVC is not ideal for a turbo, there are examples of turbo production cars with variable valve timing (MIVEC Used on later Evos for example) working very well. If it really doesn't work I'll swap to solid cams. I doubt I'll have to.

Cost: Strengthening and balancing the bottom end and rebuilding it with new bearings and seals is heading toward £2,000. Head work another £500. Putting it all together and getting it in the car with turbo, exhaust, fuelling, oil and water cooling and management... about another £4,000.

Then there's sorting the brakes, wheels and tyres, suspension and steering and getting it resprayed.
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post #16 of 120 (permalink) Old 28-07-2014, 20:30
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Thanks Paul.

Retaining VVC is more about controlling initial cost. It'll save about a grand. Whilst my research suggested big overlap such as you get from VVC is not ideal for a turbo, there are examples of turbo production cars with variable valve timing (MIVEC Used on later Evos for example) working very well. If it really doesn't work I'll swap to solid cams. I doubt I'll have to.

Cost: Strengthening and balancing the bottom end and rebuilding it with new bearings and seals is heading toward £2,000. Head work another £500. Putting it all together and getting it in the car with turbo, exhaust, fuelling, oil and water cooling and management... about another £4,000.

Then there's sorting the brakes, wheels and tyres, suspension and steering and getting it resprayed.
Be interesting to see how the VVC behaves, hope it works for you and definitely not a cheap hobby. We are working it from the other end, bigger brakes and braided brake lines etc with the engine build last.
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post #17 of 120 (permalink) Old 28-07-2014, 20:39
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Be interesting to see how the VVC behaves, hope it works for you and definitely not a cheap hobby. We are working it from the other end, bigger brakes and braided brake lines etc with the engine build last.
The VVC is quite happy with forced induction. My VVC F has been supercharged since 2000 without any issues, slightly different to a turbo but still promising to see it working for the best part of 14 years
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post #18 of 120 (permalink) Old 28-07-2014, 21:06
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The VVC is quite happy with forced induction. My VVC F has been supercharged since 2000 without any issues, slightly different to a turbo but still promising to see it working for the best part of 14 years
That's good to know, what's the output, a figure of 225 bhp springs to mind from something i read i think
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post #19 of 120 (permalink) Old 23-08-2014, 16:15 Thread Starter
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Picked up the engine parts from Steve at Vibration Free today. Intetesting results.

Crankshaft was way outside of factory tolerance (apparently supposed to be within 40gmm). It was109gmm at the pulley end and 368gmm at the flywheel end! Now down to 30gmm at both ends. No explanation for why it was so out. Apparently on later engines from Rover the tolerances went out the window.

Flywheel (freelander flywheel for running the bigger 228mm turbo clutch)
Before: 324gmm
After: 6.6gmm

Clutch cover (Borg and Beck)
Before: 733gmm (!!!)
After: 28gmm

Pulley
Before: 342gmm
After: 17.2gmm

Pistons were within 0.8g and rods were within 0.7g. Now matched.

Have a few bits to pick up then I can get it built!
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post #20 of 120 (permalink) Old 23-08-2014, 18:53
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Great read this , looking forward to the outcome of this
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