Ladies and gents, I'm Tommy from Fast Eddies Racing. We rarely post in the automotive forums, mainly due to the hostilities, insults, and chest thumping that we would rather not get involved in. We grew up in a time when we respected all new innovations, even when they were under the hood of a rival's car, and criticism was never the first thought to come to mind when being introduced to new ideas. However, as of late we have been receiving a lot of criticism on the Internet about our reverse-head build, how much it costs, why we did it, why our dyno numbers aren't very high, etc. Much of it is due to misinformation and ignorance, but we think a lot of it is just "Internet-engine-experts" trying to stick their web-chests out. To clear up the controversy I'm going to put together an FAQ. For those of you patrolling the forums, if you see anyone who's curious about our build, or has been jaded with misinformation, please send them here, or at least paste the link to our facebook page. Here goes:
1) How much does this conversion cost?
A) From a bone stock H22 to the finished product expect to spend about $10,000. Most of that money will NOT be going to us. I'll say that again, since we have been accused of highway robbery (and we haven't even done this conversion for anyone yet); MOST OF YOUR MONEY WILL NOT BE GOING TO US. You will need an ITB set ($2000 and up for a decent one), a distributorless ignition system, an engine management system to run it all ($1500 and up), someone to tune it ($150 to $200 an hour), lots of machine-work ($2000 and up, depending on the condition of the engine you bring us), a lot of aircraft fittings and stainless-steel lines for the oil and VTEC system, an NBE head-gasket ($400; they are currently the ONLY company who makes them, and yes, I've already called Cometic about making one with no luck so far), fresh gaskets and bearings (about $250 for the entire engine), pistons and rings (because most customers who've brought us engines for ANY work have damaged ring-lands from poor tuning and abuse), aftermarket cam-gears ($150 and up), a custom header (this has to be fabricated with the engine in your car; expect to spend no less than $800 for decent work), rerouting of most of the engine's wiring, and rearranging the engine bay to accommodate everything in new locations. This doesn't even take into account if you want to use race-parts (hot cams, high-comp pistons, big valves, etc.). After all is said and done, we at FER will be lucky if we even see $1500 of your money for all of our labor, foot-work, and R&D. Obviously for those of you who can build your own engines, and have many of the parts already, the cost will be substantially lower. If you think we are trying to rip you off then we invite you to call ANY engine builder you can think of, and ask them what they'll charge you, and compare their cost to ours. This conversion isn't for the faint of heart.
2) Does reversing the head make power?
A) No. Absolutely none.
3) Then what is the purpose?
A) The original purpose was to allow the Honda engines to be scooted all the way back against the firewalls of the British Super Touring Accords, while still allowing enough room for a 13" intake runner on each throttle. This information comes straight from Neil Brown himself, the original engineer who built the engines for the Super Touring Accords in the old series back in the 90's. Our purpose for doing it was just to see if we could do it, try something new, it sounded like fun, and to showcase what we are capable of, because with a little ingenuity and determination, we believe that anything is possible. For an indepth explanation here's an article about reverse-head tech (not just Honda) which was used back in the BSTCC series: http://www.supertouring.co.uk/techno...erse_head.html
4) Are there any benefits of doing this on a street car?
A) There is the potential for more power at speed, IF you properly duct air into the inlet system, and isolate it from the engine heat. Removing the heat-variable from the inlet is always beneficial, but it must be done correctly. Wind-tunnel testing will show that there are MANY ways to RAM air into a car's engine, but for most of you your car will never be traveling fast enough to benefit from that effect. The flip-side is that with the inlet properly isolated from the rest of the engine-bay, you will always get COOLER air, and any thermodynamacist worth his degree will tell you that this is beneficial for power-gains.
5) Is it worth the cost?
A) Only you can answer that one. With the invent of the K-series there are cheaper options for less money, but if you just want to be different than the crowd, then it's a good way to go. It sounds like a lot of money to spend just to add cool-factor to your ride, but if you've ever gone to a hard-parking meet (and there's nothing wrong with these, we go to) then you'll see equal amounts of money spent on dumber things, at least in our opinion.
6) Why are your dyno numbers only slightly above stock?
A) Our engine runs stock compression, cams, and valve diameters, and we haven't even finished phasing the cams with each other. In theory, when this particular build is finished, it won't make any more power than a BONE-STOCK H22 with throttle-bodies and a header, unless we are going fast and have the inlet isolated, which we haven't done yet.
7) This looks like an experiment that will only see hard-parking, and never driven hard. Will you ever do anything besides show it off?
A) Our van is anything but a hard-parker. We do attend meets and shows to spread our name around, however our van is driven every day, run hard through canyon roads, and taken on family road-trips to destinations hundreds of miles away, after being loaded down with gear and people. We don't build garage-queens. Our vehicles are meant to be driven.
8) Did you reverse the rotation?
A) No. It retains the factory Honda counter-clockwise rotation, which negates the need for custom cam-grinds. We only need to customize the cams of your choice to FIT in the head when it is reversed.
9) Why did you put it in a van, and not a lighter vehicle?
A) We love to drive our projects, but I have three kids, and had I put it in anything smaller than an Odyssey I would be lucky to drive it twice a month on a week-day. We love to drive our projects, and the only way to do that is to build them on platforms we can use daily. We love race-cars too, but the R&D required to do this would have taken many times longer, due to our lack of time to be able to go to the track and put the time in. Our Van is also equipped with a five-speed manual conversion (a service we offer to customers who own first-gen Odyssey vans), which allows us to explore the full potential of our set-up, so it's not just a race-engine dropped into a car with a slush-box transmission. We improvise, adapt, and overcome here at FER. Ask any of our customers who've come to us after being turned away by other techs, and they will attest to this motto.
10) Are you going to build another one, and will it make more power than the first one?
A) Most definitely on both counts! This first reverse-head H22 was merely a test-bed to see if we could make the conversion work, drive it on the street, and prove it reliable. Our next build will have higher compression, aftermarket cams, and maybe some head porting done. Our current reverse-head engine has used the same head for all five engine builds, and two of the combustion chambers have been welded on for repair after catastrophic engine failure. We believe that their may be hair-line cracks in the head (we've already repaired one), and we are done pushing our luck. This is also the reason why we didn't push the engine too hard on the dyno. We still need to drive on this engine until we can complete another one.
I hope this clears the air about what we've done, as well as the logistics and technicalities of the build. We have to be honest with that we never intended to do this as a service for our customers; it was just a fun experiment. However, now that we've had many requests for pricing and possible appointments to build them for others, we are working with our machinist to standardise the cost. Please keep in mind that this is very difficult for us to do, because of the varying conditions of engines we receive from customers, as well as the individual customer's needs as far as horse-power and drivability. And yes we know about the engineless Super Touring Accord for sale, and no we can't currently afford it right now, but we are willing to give a special deal to anyone who buys it and wants us to build a race-engine for it that is... period-correct.
If you would like to learn more about our reverse-head engine please visit our facebook page :http://www.facebook.com/#!/FastEddiesRacing
We have a complete photo-album with explanations on how we made it all work. Have a nice day folks, and we look forward to seeing you all at Nisei this year.
Tommy and Eddie