Tuning the Type R with 4P CNC Race Cylinder Head

4piston

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I've been hearing some rumors here and there that there are some camps going around telling people that the CNC cylinder heads lose horsepower. Guys have gone to the extent of removing their heads and going back to stock. People HAVE made good power and gains on them to squash that....so another rumor that surfaced is that ported heads can't work with Hondata. This is 100% false on both counts and I want to face this head on and lay out the starting point to a roadmap for tuning a K20C1 with a ported cylinder head to take advantage of the 125 CFM airflow gains.

I initially heard of a couple guys who had installed the head and were tuned and lost a significant amount of power....30hp or so. Of course I got messages about it, and I replied to these inquiries by telling them that they are not going to be able to load some canned Type R tune that they used on the last 30 cars and that they are going to have to "tune" the engine as if it was a new setup. No preconceived notions about. Imagine being a customer and spending a bunch of money...on one hand you have the engine supplier telling you it works fantastic and on the other your tuner is telling you its sh*t. Not a good place to be when you are a customer and you aren't in control. I told guys they need to tune the things...I never heard back...didn't think much of it. I kinda brushed this off and to myself thought...I'm not gonna teach tuners how to tune cars. We put a lot of development into this, and tested it extensively. Direct injected cars from GM Small blocks to Ford OHC, to Lambo, to Porsche GT3 all respond well to proper cylinder head design.....and Honda didn't make some special unicorn engine that does not. It is all tuning...100% and I should have helped guide some of these guys long ago. Out of sight out of mind.

I finally got to experience first hand how bad it was when a customer of mine received one of these "tunes". I followed up to see how the car was doing and find out if it had been tuned because I noticed it had been driven a lot, to the track, and just was following up to check in. He had some concerns so I asked for a datalog and calibration to look over. My first reaction was....well this thing isn't making any power jeeez. I knew right away that the car was tuned as if it were a stock engine by looking at the fueling and the ignition curve. Rather than do this remotely I had him bring the car by so I could fix it and make sure the engine was healthy.

We leaked the engine down and did some checks to make sure it was good, and made a pull on the dyno to see what we were looking at. That first pull was revealing....you can just feel how unhappy the car is. Hesitation, gravely sounding, slow pull through the range....feels as if its loaded up on fuel if you didn't know any better. Looking at a log...AFR was 'ok', no knock, and a considerable amount of boost on pump gas. These feelings of hesitation show up 2 places....the dynochart and the wastegate control. Both look like hot garbage and the car is making 320hp.

Base pull from Previous tune...yeah that is real
bestbase320poortimingmap.jpg


When using Motec it's very clear to see that the engine is breathing easier with the ported head. You make one pull and you clearly see that the volumetric efficiency of the engine is more than 20% better than with the stock head. You make that change first, and then you are off to find the rest. This still doesn't fix the root problem. That sluggish, erratic and gravely tune happens on Motec just as it does on Hondata if you are tuning it the same. Hondata works perfectly well with a ported head engine....with ZERO issues. The only reason a car would run poorly with this setup is due to a poor tune.

Once I saw this, I contacted 2 others that I knew had similar issues and had them send me their calibrations, and their maps were showing the same characteristics. That really pushed me to face this head on and get this cleared up.

The easy fix......
It's ignition timing. These stock engine pump gas tunes typically have 10-12 deg of ignition timing. Some guys get more aggressive. Run too much, you'll see knock. With the ported cylinder head you have drastically changed how this engine operates and it WILL NOT work within those confines. If you are tuning cars down there with a ported head, you are simply outside the timing window and you are playing with fire and damaging engines. Start adding ignition timing and the graphs immediately clean up and the car starts making power. We left this customer car with a very conservative 380whp 22 deg timing, no knock whatsoever, 3-4psi less boost. Its a daily driver 93 oct car, I'm not leaning on it. 24-25 deg timing produces 400 on pump gas with this setup and pushes the limits of the fuel system...so keep that in mind.
380posttimingbapconservative.jpg


Previous tune would see -2 deg timing as the turbo was spooling and through peak tq (whaaa?). Bring this timing in early 10-12 deg and the thing comes in so harder, much smoother, and carries throughout the entire pull even with only low end timing changes. Being that we are more confident in our abilities and knock monitoring on Motec....our lowest target for timing is 16 deg through this range. You will also be working with VTEC engagement to find the smoothest graph....it will not be in the same place as a stock head. I know this sounds basic, but these tunes come from various tuners living in this "box" of what a Type R tune is.

See timing maps below for a conservative reference.

320hp Pretune - 27psi pump gas
pretunetimingmap320hp.jpg


380hp Post Tune - 24psi pump gas
tunedtimingmap380hp.jpg


The ignition timing is going to get you the bulk of the power. There is additional work that can be done with injection timing and the timing of your valve opening and closing. I think these tables should be left to more advanced tuners because you can REALLY tear some stuff up with injection timing. You drastically affect cylinder temps and fuel system capability when you start changing the injection timing. Moving the VTC does the same thing. So enter these with caution and take baby steps. You can really throw this thing into a knock frenzy and do some damage if you go to far. It is a bit easier to see the affects of these changes with the good knock monitoring and control of Motec, but all can easily be done on Hondata as well.

I truly hope this helps guys that are trying to tune cars with ported cylinder heads. I'm not passing out maps, but if anyone wants some help don't hesitate to reach out. We don't tune these for a living....but it all seemed like very basic Tuner 101 to me. Tuning is finding out what the engine wants....not working with a what "works for everything else" attitude. I think the notion that it "only works with Motec" is simply that the Motec tuners across this country are motorsports grade tuners and have experience and know what steps to take to tune a car from scratch and without borrowed basemaps and preconceived notions of what "works" on a Type R. They tuned the engines, they got the benefits of the 125cfm. Hondata works perfectly fine for this task and is completely capable. Its not the ECU...its the tune.

For Motec guys, here is a very conservative point of reference for you to work with in tuning an engine with a ported head and stock turbo. It is important to realize that your ignition timing numbers may not align in parallel with the guys running the stock ECU. A lot of their tunes are done remotely with no base timing set and no way to even do it....so tune as you know how to, independent of what you've done on the stock ECU
motectimingstock400hp.png


There is still untapped power in these engines that needs to be explored, and the CNC Cylinder Heads absolutely work. Below is a stock block, cams, ported head, DI pump, and stock injectors. No meth injection, no ethanol, 28psi. Fuel demand does increase with the head, fuel timing becomes critical, and we can command some more boost with good pump and wastegate control....no heroics here guys. .81 Lambda 442hp. The power gains of the head (and especially head and cam combo) are exaggerated even more as you step to larger turbos and pushing more CFM through the engine.


440headcamstock.jpg



If any tuner is tasked with tuning one of our cylinder heads, I am happy to help. Please reach out, and it will be in complete confidentiality. No one was born knowing everything, and my goal is to help you be successful and take care of your customers. If you are looking for a tuner that is capable of tackling this, I'll get you setup with someone who knows what to do and how to tune your Hondata. If you are close to here, you are welcome to our dyno and my guys. Please don't hesitate to reach out....it will be in complete confidentiality.

DISCLAIMER: DO NOT ATTEMPT ANYTHING SHOWN ABOVE WITH A STOCK PORT CYLINDER HEAD

 
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ForeverCar

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Class act! Thank you for continuing to share some of the highest quality information and help this community.

When it comes time for me to buy a full engine build, I will be reaching out!
 
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4piston

4piston

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By the way....if you are tuning with larger turbos at higher boost, start easy like you know you should and work your way up. I typically start at 14-15 deg then step my way into it with these heads. Keep an eye on your cylinder knock, temps, and go with your feel when you drive the car. We use pressure sensors in the cylinders for some cars, but reality is no one has that stuff. My point was....don't go tossing the beans to it first pull. The bigger turbos and higher boost levels may take a bit less timing than a stock turbo car.
 

Jpierro79

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I literally got a chance the other day to remote tune a ported head car. Guy was very upset with his current tuner. Considering the person himself has been building engines for years and porting heads for years. I literally took 1-1/2 hours from start to finish after I saw the file the previous tuner was trying to do.

Thanks to improper intake cam timing it made lower peak boost with no power at all on a higher aircharge than I set it for. The shop owner said it felt slower than a full bolt on basemap car. I already knew what to change because running the bigger .92 turbine housing on a g25-660 has a somewhat similar effect. I lowered the aircharge very significantly and made more boost and power on the same fuel demand. Based upon MAF readings and wastegate position the car wasn’t struggling at all to make power.

I think people don’t understand because the factory Fk8 tune requires very little to add power over stock but takes serious work for the last 5-10 percent. Thank you to Luke cause he’s been super cool to me. He was honest with me when I asked with this particular engine what was worth the time and money with components and other machining processes. Plus good luck finding Ferrea valve train components as good a price as 4piston has them.
 

turbociv910

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By the way....if you are tuning with larger turbos at higher boost, start easy like you know you should and work your way up. I typically start at 14-15 deg then step my way into it with these heads. Keep an eye on your cylinder knock, temps, and go with your feel when you drive the car. We use pressure sensors in the cylinders for some cars, but reality is no one has that stuff. My point was....don't go tossing the beans to it first pull. The bigger turbos and higher boost levels may take a bit less timing than a stock turbo car.
really on the fence here now. What's the current lead time for this if i sent one in or buying a core?
 

freezingmoon

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No one does it better! You guys really love what you do and it truly shines! Thanks for all of your effort!

 

 
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