Words and snaps by Ben
Ever since I started POWAA Garage back in 2012, I’ve been writing about other people’s stories. This one is special. This is the story of me and Hagane, my 2006 Toyota Vios NCP42.
While the full story of the build will be for another time, I am just going to focus on the latest happenings, which had me jumping around all over the place for about two months now.
I did quite a bit of work on Hagane since I got her in 2011. Most of my dough was spent on handling, as I used to do autocross and gymkhana, and her factory 103hp for 980kg were still enough for me to have plenty of fun.
Things got more exciting when I exited the carpark scene to join open track days at the Johor Circuit in Pasir Gudang. Suddenly, the cones and handbrake turns were not enough for me, and I grew addicted to the speeds of the track.
The Johor circuit is a good opponent - a technical track with fun elevation and old asphalt that shreds tyres. It’s also unforgiving, with short grassy runoffs that throw you straight in the wall if you mess up. In my few times there, I have witnessed cars being claimed by these walls, and so far, I’ve been lucky (or skilled?) enough to avoid any encounters with them.
On my first outing, I clocked a best time of 2:13.63, which I had refined to 2:09.23 by the end of the day. I then proceeded to shave off more precious seconds, bringing it down to 2:06.43, then 2:05.51.
A shorter final drive helped me eat up another second thanks to a better staging of the gears, giving my current personal best of 2:04.46. That was earlier this year in March.
Since then, I had not been back to the track as I had been lacking time, but also because I had decided to up the ante and get more power from my engine.
Yes, after everything short of a roll cage had been done in terms of chassis strengthening, it was time for me to build my very first engine. And to share this with you, readers.
I did not go in the build alone, and at my side and advice, I had the RZ Crew Garage.
The RZ Crew Garage was instrumental to the build. Thanks to their specialty in creating custom solutions, this build took the turns you will soon find out about. Furthermore, they not only provided expert advice, they also provided all the original parts needed to make it happen without driving my bank account into a suicidal starvation.
Armed with a camera and ready to get my hands dirty, was time for me to learn and take part into the next big step in my project build.
When planning with JC from the RZ Crew, two paths were open to me: get boost crazy with a turbo setup or go for an all motor setup.
While we first looked into the former path (and even started gathering the parts for it), turbocharging my 1NZ-FE would have put me on the bad side of the law. This implied having to fear the roaming officers, but also having to remove and put back the turbo every year before and after the car inspection. As tempting as the power gains were planning out to be, the lack of practicality called this plan to a premature end.
Which left us with the second option - build an all motor, high compression setup. This is where the fun started.
JC spearheaded the research, and while he's specialised in building Honda's B and K-Series engines, he took Toyota's 1NZ-FE challenge by the horns and came up with an exciting plan for this build. A plan that strays from the beaten path, but that should give us a targeted 150whp.
To reduce the downtime of my car (I needed it for work) but also to make sure the engine would be built properly, we set about finding a second hand engine to be used as a blank canvas for this project.
We found a stock 1NZ-FE that came from a Yaris, and set about ripping it apart. The head was to be sent for porting and polishing, while the block stayed at the garage for a much needed cleaning and preparation.
Slight rust in the cylinders had us do a slight bore of +1mm. This was the only increase in displacement (if you can even call it an increase) that was done as the engine was to keep the factory stroke.
Armed with a set of JUN high cams, we went about to find the best way to increase the compression ratio. The solution came from a rather unlikely source from the Toyota family...
In true RZ Crew fashion and cunning engineering, JC was able to find a direct-fit within the Toyota family to replace the factory pistons. Made to withstand a compression of 13:1, these were the perfect match as we were targeting 12.5 to 12.7:1 for my engine. Thus, a set of 75.5mm pistons hopped in a box and took the plane for Singapore.
We then proceeded to fill up the cart with the necessary parts needed for our high compression build.
Starting with the basics, we ordered a new water pump...
Oil pump parts, to make sure the engine stays well lubricated...
A brand new timing chain kit...
A VVTi cam gear...
And a gasket kit to handle all the sealing needs.
More parts needed to be upgraded to handle the demands of the new setup, and the list started Clevite main bearings, renowned for their strength and durability.
Very durable Viton valve seals were then chosen for their great resistance to heat and oil which grants them an average life cycle that is twice as long as OEM valve seals.
To handle the demands of the new compression ratio, but also in view of a new rev limit of 8,000rpm (1,400rpm more than the factory red line), we opted for Brian Crower valve springs and retainers.
Finally, a set of sturdy ARP head studs were chosen to clamp down the head and block together and reduce the risk of any failure.
With all the parts on the way and the head having a special treatment up North, all that we could do is wait, eagerly waiting by the door for the delivery man with all the goodies...
Check out the second part of the build now!