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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys ,

New to the game here . I’ve been rebuilding my d16y8 over the last week and have a few questions regarding break in and tuning . I’ve been building with boosting in mind and I want to make sure everything will be smooth and reliable in the end .

My build list is as follows:
Full King racing bearing set
Speedfactory no notch rods
Vitara 75mm pistons
Arp head studs
Timing belt and water pump
550cc injectors
New seals and gaskets bottom to top
Xtd stage 3 clutch
Cx racing turbo kit (cheap I know)
I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff

My questions are how should I go about breaking in with a turbo set up after being n/a ? My plan is to get professionally tuned as soon as the engine is broken in , but need a temporary and safe way to break everything in proeperly . And what ecu should I go with for longevity and reliability ? I’ve heard stock Honda ecu that are tuned by pros can be just as good as programs like hondata and chrome .

Sorry if these seem like novice questions but I haven’t been able to find an exact answer to these on here .

Thank you

93 Civic HB SI
279 Posts
Sounds like your build is solid mechanically. Did you perform fuel volume upgrades as well (upgraded fuel pump, regulator, etc.)? As far as breaking everything in when going from NA to turbo, you need to consider a few things before starting that engine.

1. Did you install your new 550cc injectors to the intake manifold before start up? Do you know which type they are (saturated vs peak and hold) as one requires a resistor box and the other can plug directly to the ECU. I say this for two reasons:

a) Hooking up peak and hold injectors to an ECU without the ballast resistor in place will fry the injector driver transistors in the ECU.

b) Not calibrating the ECU to the new fuel injectors. If you are thinking of running the new larger injectors on a factory ECU, think again. It will run stupid rich if it runs at all, and can cause damage due to hydrolocking/cylinder wash if enough fuel is allowed to run into the cylinders. The ECU needs to be told that you have just changed the injector size. Without a way to let the ECU know that larger injectors are there, do NOT start your engine unless you bring it to a tuner first.

C) The first thing a tuner is going to want to know is "Is your ECU socketted/chipped?" Either of the methods below, you will need to get your ECU socketted. I say this because there are two ways to go about tuning an OBD1 ECU:

C1) A tuner can use an emulation device that plugs into the EEPROM points on the computer's PCB (printed circuit board) to initially get the car running and tuned on the dyno. Then when he/she is satisfied with the tune, they will burn the program to a blank EEPROM chip and insert it into a socket on the ECU. The ECU does not come with a socket that allows EEPROM removal from the factory, the old EEPROM must be desoldered and a ZIF (zero insertion force) socket installed/soldered in place to accept a new chip without having to solder the new chip to the board. Doing it this way, you do not need a standalone/piggyback tuning solution. The downside to this method is having to pull the chip back out and reinstalled every time you need a tune. Changes in weather/temperature can cause drivability issues with the engine, as fuel/ignition tables are tailored to things like Intake Air Temperature, Coolant Temperature, fuel pressure, fuel temperature, etc. The tuner will get "pretty close" to programming in decent compensation values for these types of changes, but it is hard to do properly without tuning time in the different conditions. Chip burning does work, but it is a hassle when you have to take things apart to make small changes like that. Based on your post, it seems like you are not wanting to use something like Neptune(Demon)/Hondata. If not, this is your choice.

C2) Installing a Demon or a Hondata unit still requires having the ECU socketted in order to install the devices in the spot where the stock EEPROM used to be. This is the more expensive of the methods, but this gives you and your tuner the ability to tune on the fly much more easily AND allows you to learn how to tweak things yourself when issues like weather/temperature variability start to affect your tune. You can hook up your laptop to it and go to town tweaking on the parameters getting it dialed in just right, and you have the ability to datalog over more time than just when it's at the tuner shop getting dynoed. This assist's the troubleshooting process and makes correction confidence higher.

In the situation you are in, having no tuning solution in place to run the new engine on UNTIL it gets to a tuning shop, this is what I have done before to run/drive the car and perform ring seating and basic break in BEFORE allowing boost to enter the cylinders:

1. Build your engine mechanical internals for boost.
2. Plumb in your entire turbo kit and assemble it as part of your engine, making sure the turbo gets oil pressure, the correct orifice installed and the drain is correctly installed
3. Use your STOCK injectors installed to the intake manifold.
4. Run the intercooler cold pressure side piping up to the throttle body, but do NOT hook it up to the throttle body. You can buy a cap to cover the end of the charge air pipe that goes to the throttle body, and secure with hose clamps.
5. If the turbo is internally wastegated, you can use a pair of vise grips to hold the wastegate flap open continuously and remove and cap the actuator line until you go in for the tune. This allows most exhaust manifold pressure to bypass the turbine so you can still drive the car without feeling like you have a huge exhaust restriction in place.
6. If the turbo is externally wastegated on the manifold, you can remove the wastegate entirely from the manifold and build/fabricate a flange on a dump pipe that will exhaust most flow before the turbine keeping exhaust restriction to a minimum. This will allow you to drive the car still.
7. You can still hookup the blow off valve and connect the vacuum signal line to it, it will not affect anything.
8. You will need to provide an air filter to the turbo as well as some sort of cheap cold air intake to your throttle body so you are not sucking dirty air into both your engine or your turbo.

Doing this method, you can have a fully plumbed turbo setup on the car in waiting for the installation of proper fuel/ignition adjustment AND you can still break in your engine on mostly stock settings. With most Vitara type piston builds for turbo, you will have a noticeable drop in compression ratio and therefore power. It will feel less ballsy on the throttle until you get the turbo connected to it. When you get to the dyno, install your new injectors, hook up the charge air piping to the throttle body and install the wastegate as intended and let your tuner work his magic.

Hope this helps!
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