SR20DET swap first start problems

Problems, ideas and comments specific to engine swaps.
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Ottawa510
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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby Ottawa510 » 26 May 2014 08:04

Thanks for the suggestions. I have been trying to turn the engine with the 27mm socket. I can't get the breaker bar in (due to rad clearance) but have heard that you can damage the engine that way anyway. JordanTR, what you are saying is remove the starter and try turning over the engine, as in the starter is locking the flywheel? Thanks Icehouse I will see if there is a sweet spot. I suspected the ignition was not holding 12V to the starter once the key is turned to start, only giving an initial pulse; I will bridge the starter motor and solenoid, see if it turns. Then I will know if it's the ignition.

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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby JordanTr » 26 May 2014 09:40

Ottawa510 wrote:Thanks for the suggestions. I have been trying to turn the engine with the 27mm socket. I can't get the breaker bar in (due to rad clearance) but have heard that you can damage the engine that way anyway. JordanTR, what you are saying is remove the starter and try turning over the engine, as in the starter is locking the flywheel?


Yessir. That's exactly what I mean. Sounds a bit ridiculous that they have 2 different starters... You might want to pull the starter and try that before you try jumping the starter solenoid some more in case it is actually binding up.

Good luck.
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Ottawa510
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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby Ottawa510 » 26 May 2014 18:40

I removed the starter and tried turning the engine, but it is still very difficult to turn, and I can't turn it with a ratchet. I bridged the solenoid while the starter was attached to the motor and it just clicked without turning over, as before. Could there be something else jammed within the engine? I am getting the cylinders to turn very slowly, so it's not them. The clutch when depressed allows the wheels to turn, so I don't think it's a locked clutch. Could the flywheel be locked? I will try to remove the alternator which is the only other external peripheral. Thanks,

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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby okayfine » 27 May 2014 05:57

Have you had the valve cover/oil pan off? IMO at this point you're going to have to start inspecting internally. Pull plugs, see if they're corroded.

Alternator, even a frozen one, isn't going to keep the engine from turning over by hand, there just isn't enough purchase on the alt pulley to counteract the leverage on the crank pulley.

I'm not sure how the flywheel could be locked up. It fits straight on the back of the crank face, no spacer or anything like that (that could be missing). Did you have the trans separate before you installed the engine? Engine set history? Timing right to possibly have bought a tsunami engine? Just throwing stuff out there at this point, I think you're going to have to have a look inside. When you pull the plugs, perhaps stick some LEDs in the bore to shine some light and let you see the cylinder walls (presuming you don't have a boroscope).
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Ottawa510
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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby Ottawa510 » 27 May 2014 18:32

The plugs weren't corroded, just the normal carbon. I was hoping to avoid looking inside that but that is the conclusion I have also come to. I was thinking maybe the timing is off and there valve interference or something. Maybe I can have a look in the cylinders without pulling the valve cover however.

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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby 510rob » 27 May 2014 23:28

I'm with Julian - pull off the valve cover and make sure your motor hasn't thrown a rocker arm or something like that

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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby Ottawa510 » 28 May 2014 19:28

I took off the valve cover, and everything looks normal. Pic is below. I also looked into each of the cylinders with a borescope and no signs of rust. I looked into the oil pan opening and at least two of the rods are intact. Is there a way to verify the rods are intact, with the borescope, without removing the head?
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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby 2DoorJim » 28 May 2014 20:30

If one of your rods were not in tact it's likely the engine would be locked up, but more likely that the crank case would have a hole on one side or another. If you want to verify that pistons are moving you could put a clean welding rod, wire, wood dowel etc inserted in the spark plug holes and watch for movement as you turn the crank. However, not being able to turn the crank is somewhat alarming. It shouldn't take any more than 20-30 ft lbs to turn slowly.

The crank floats in it's bearings so you should be able to detect end play by levering lightly in/out on the front pulley, movement should be about a quarter or half a mm. .010" - .020". No movement means the crank would be tied up in the bearings, or perhaps being forced by something jammed against the flywheel or clutch.

If need be you could back out the bell housing bolts a 1/4" and remove the trans crossmember, support the trans on a jack and slide it back to see if loosens the crank, then you can also use a flashlight and look up between the flywheel and the back of the block to ensure nothing is stuck in there - not likely.

Did you see this engine run before you bought it? Does it have the original oil filter on it? If it does you might cut it apart and inspect for bearing material (flakes of metal).

Julian mentions a seized alternator, make sure you take the belt off to eliminate an accessory.

Hope it turns out to be something minor.

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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby Ottawa510 » 28 May 2014 20:48

Thanks Jim. I was turning the crank very slowly (3 degrees each time) with the starter that was clicking. it would turn the engine slightly each time and I saw my wire change position in the cylinders. But it is very difficult to turn over and I can't do so by hand. I didn't see the engine run but the vendor showed me a compression test. It had the original filter but I changed it with the oil change. There was no metal filings in the old oil, but I didn't check the filter. I'll check movement on the crank and will loosen the transmission and see if there is any loosening.

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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby okayfine » 29 May 2014 05:50

Trans isn't in gear? Does the trans shift freely? If it's locked in 1st or something, you'd have similar symptoms.
Because when you spend a silly amount of money on a silly, trivial thing that will help you not one jot, you are demonstrating that you have a soul and a heart and that you are the sort of person who has no time for Which? magazine. – Jeremy Clarkson

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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby Ottawa510 » 29 May 2014 07:06

It's not shifting well, and I think the aftermarket clutch slave cylinder that I bought is not pushing the clutch fork enough to engage/disengage the gears (it pushes about an inch). However, it's in neutral now, and we were able to push the car around in that state, so the motor should be disengaged.

On that, I installed an aftermarket KA24DE clutch slave from Rock Auto. Is there a better suggestion? Or is an inch normal travel for the clutch slave, and the transmission is at fault?

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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby okayfine » 29 May 2014 08:00

I wouldn't expect much more movement from a clutch slave, but I don't know the spec. I wouldn't necessarily fault the transmission for balky shifting, but more the clutch assembly.
Because when you spend a silly amount of money on a silly, trivial thing that will help you not one jot, you are demonstrating that you have a soul and a heart and that you are the sort of person who has no time for Which? magazine. – Jeremy Clarkson

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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby Three B's Racing » 30 May 2014 08:47

True the slave cylinder doesn't move much more than an inch and maybe even less. Alternator lock up has been covered but have you ck'd the water pump making sure it spins freely? Now that you have the valve cover off set #1 piston to TDC (if you can) and ck and make sure your cams are properly timed. After all that I'd pull the trans away from the engine and then try spinning by hand with spark plugs out.
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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby andrew.lori » 30 May 2014 12:47

Weird . we unbolted the bell housing from the block today and the engine is now free .... Possible bad transmission or something was installed incorrectly. Nyall is now going to pull transmission to see whats up ?

Stay tuned for more :)

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Re: SR20DET swap first start problems

Postby okayfine » 30 May 2014 12:54

Better the trans than the engine!
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