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HKS valve spring retainers vs others (sr20)

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  • HKS valve spring retainers vs others (sr20)

    Looking at upgrading my valve spring retainers based on the advice of my tuner as I rev to 8000rpm.

    For max reliability at high rpm he recommends the HKS retainers because they are designed to lock in the shim on the top of the valve. Unfortunately, it appears you can't buy the retainers just by themselves and need to buy the whole head setup consisting of rocker arms and valve springs <<<<<<< correct me if I am wrong here.

    I am curious as to whether the BC, Tomei or any other aftermarket retainers are also designed to lock in the shim or whether they are just lighter versions of the standard retainer.

    Cheers.

  • #2
    Lock? I am sure you wont have trouble with a BC spring and retainer kit. BC retainer are titanium.

    The best thing I did with my built motor is get some rocker arm stoppers if you haven't already. 100$ to save you a lot of problems. Offtopic but you are planning to go to 8k so its kinda on topic.
    Last edited by WorkInProgressK; 06-17-2010, 09:29 PM.

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    • #3
      Perhaps "lock" is not the correct terminology but I found this blurb.

      The HKS Black Coated Rockers Arms have been specially treated to increase strength and durability while the HKS Retainers unique design allows it to secure valve shims at high RPMs compared to the OEM retainers.

      Perhaps they have a higher/taller retainer wall?

      Out of curiousity I had someone measure the OEM and Supertech and the shim recess was the same for both at 4mm, shim recess diameter was 10.30mm for Supertech and 10.45mm for oem. So the recess diameter is tighter on the Supertech but recess is the same.

      Any one have these measurements for the BC retainers?

      Anyone with HKS retainers?

      PS I already have Tomei rocker arm stoppers.

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      • #4
        I can't begin to count the amount of guys who spin to 7850/8k on stock stuff, without issue. Would upgrading them be a bad idea? No...is it really needed for most moderatly powered cars (400-450)....that I can't say.

        I've spun to 8k now for 3 years, on stock stuff, and only upgraded to Jim Wolf Springs when I had dreams of going to C1's (which I never ended up staying with, as I was able to sell them for a small 'gain')
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        • #5
          Keeping the head together at high RPMs is about spring pressure and float. I run more spring than the cam is spec'd for and I've never had a problem.

          S13, HKS step 1's, BC single springs/retainers, no RAS, 8k rpms, 3 years
          S14, HKS step 1's, Supertech singles/retainers, no RAS, 8k rpms, 1 year
          S13, JWT C1's, Supertech 106# duals, Tomei SLA, Supertech valves, no RAS, 1 year, would bury the 9k tach every time I drove it. And it was a Defi tach that couldn't physically go past 9k.

          Then you do something stupid like S13, HKS step 3's, Comp singles/retainers, HKS SLA, and it'll shatter 2 rockers at 7750. Those Comp springs didn't have enough balls for those enormous HKS step 3's. It floated the rockers long enough that it just beat them to failure.

          I'm 99% sure that HKS retainers don't have any sort of arm or other feature to keep the shims in. HKS retainers have been around for a decade at this point. I want to say that they're slightly deeper, though.
          She's built like a Steakhouse, but she handles like a Bistro.

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          • #6
            Speaking of valvetrains... anybody got experience with HKS Step 1's and stock valve springs? I keep the redline at 7500 RPM, as there really isn't that much more to be had up there, and I'm just doing DEs, so no point in really beating the crap out of the motor.

            7800-7900 RPM would be nice for a drag race though, but I doubt I'll ever raise the redline just because I'd feel like an ass if I blew something up.

            I know the FWD SR guys spin the crap out of their motors with stock springs, but the RWD guys seem more conservative. I have RAS, but I doubt they do anything...
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            • #7
              I agree its all about spring pressure....and keeping it off the rev limiter. I just though if there was an advantage in using the HKS retainers then why not.

              I have Tomei HLA 260/260 with Type A springs shimmed to increase seat pressure to rev to 8000rpm - although what this is I can't recall - as Tomei only rates the Type A spring to 7500rpm from memory. Standard retainers.

              Revved to 8,000 every time I drove it for approx 6000klms without issue so far. I guess boost pressure also plays a part in this and currently running around 26psi in the mid range ,tapering to 22 psi by the redline.

              Its only in hindsight that you say I'd wished I'd done this or that. Forsight can be cheaper than hindsight too.

              I guess if I was concerned at all I should just buy a decent dual spring and retainer combo and forget about the exxy HKS head package in order to just get the retainers.

              Epstein did you have to change the valve stem seals to fit the supertech duals or did they fit with the standard stem seal. Were any mods required to fit the supertech setup?

              Cheers
              Last edited by juggernaut; 06-18-2010, 06:09 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Def View Post
                Speaking of valvetrains... anybody got experience with HKS Step 1's and stock valve springs? I keep the redline at 7500 RPM, as there really isn't that much more to be had up there, and I'm just doing DEs, so no point in really beating the crap out of the motor.

                7800-7900 RPM would be nice for a drag race though, but I doubt I'll ever raise the redline just because I'd feel like an ass if I blew something up.

                I know the FWD SR guys spin the crap out of their motors with stock springs, but the RWD guys seem more conservative. I have RAS, but I doubt they do anything...
                The reason is simple. They can get their motors for cheap we cant :P

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                • #9
                  True, I went junkyarding yesterday and saw about 5 FWD SRs. Would be cheap to bust around with those - but the trans are definitely wear items on those cars from what I've seen.
                  '18 Chevrolet Volt - Electric fun hatch for DD duty!


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by juggernaut View Post
                    I guess boost pressure also plays a part in this and currently running around 26psi in the mid range ,tapering to 22 psi by the redline.

                    Epstein did you have to change the valve stem seals to fit the supertech duals or did they fit with the standard stem seal. Were any mods required to fit the supertech setup?

                    Cheers
                    It's funny that people don't think about that, but when you start running a lot of boost and distribute that across the square area on the back of the valve, those forces can add up. Back when Maz was developing the DE head for their drag car, they'd scatter rockers on antilag. It was because of the high back pressure holding the valves down. They upped the spring pressure and that fixed it.

                    The Supertech dual setup will fit over the stock valve stem seal. It's a drop-in kit. Use their seat, springs, lock the retainers on. Done!
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                    • #11
                      Tomei 260in 270exh procams
                      BC valve springs and retainers
                      Tomei SLAs

                      I hear moderate tapping at idle and low RPM, a little louder than the fuel injectors.

                      Its on a S14 head.

                      Normal?
                      Sign of VTC wear?
                      Sign of excessive cam/rocker clearance?

                      Maybe this week I'll pull the VC and get out the feeler gauges...

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                      • #12
                        I have that too. I think it's slight mismatch in the heights of valve pairs. A perfectly flat rocker will contact the cam lobe evenly. If one valve is slightly higher, the rocker will ride with only that side touching the cam, while off lobe. When the lobe comes around the rest of the rocker comes in contact with the cam. I'm guessing that's the tick sound. You can see this when you install new cams with a coating on them like HKS's. Run it for a while and the coating wears off. Have a valve height mismatch and the coating will only wear off on one side opposite the lobe, but fully worn where the lobe is. I suck at descriptions. Maybe I'll just draw a picture.

                        I also had a tick from a valve that was slightly bent at the top. The top of the stem was no longer level, making it side load and make a tick noise as it rocked in the guide. That was because I shattered that rocker once, though.
                        She's built like a Steakhouse, but she handles like a Bistro.

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                        • #13
                          I just realized that you have SLAs. You can still have uneven heights for the pair of valve on a rocker. It'll still make that tapping sound, except you wouldn't see that wear thing I was talking about. I ran my SLA's on the tighter side of spec for clearance. It was actually pretty quiet when running cams designed for SLAs. I did have it setup once with excessive clearances, and it certainly sounded like a tractor idling. Properly setup, it should sound like a sewing machine.
                          She's built like a Steakhouse, but she handles like a Bistro.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Def View Post
                            I know the FWD SR guys spin the crap out of their motors with stock springs, but the RWD guys seem more conservative. I have RAS, but I doubt they do anything...
                            To me, the rocker setup is a catch 22

                            Disaster 1: Pop a rocker off, nothing happens, easter egg hunt for the shim/guide. All safe
                            Disaster 2: Pop rocker off, jams up, scatters more parts. Junk

                            Now with the RAS, I see the following
                            1: Rocker still pops off, jams up in the ras, scatter city
                            2: Rocker keeps rocker on, but it unseats, and now bends stuff.

                            Hard to say which is best. I have RAS as 'thats what you did' way back when. Granted we never ran them on FWD cars, I followed some of the 'guides' and just got them (and at their cost it wasn't an issue). Looking back though, I really would 'love' to know if they have worked or not at any point in their usage.

                            But in regard to the RWD and rpms...no clue. 7850 is way toooo common, and very few have any issues.

                            Originally posted by Def View Post
                            True, I went junkyarding yesterday and saw about 5 FWD SRs. Would be cheap to bust around with those - but the trans are definitely wear items on those cars from what I've seen.
                            FWD Transmissions, are certainly ****. Any sort of 'decent' power (and by decent, that's 250/300 whp in those things), or any sort of drag abuse, or any decent tire (as in, that will grip after tire spin) will bust the gearsets, and or case (Even if you do that stupid jb weld trick). Now B15 and P11 ones are 'marginally' stronger, but even still bust with big abuse.

                            The only real solution is to run a set of straight cut gear set, or not drag race, or bang gears. My good friend Ray's been on the same set of PAR gears now for 3 years (10k miles a year, and usually 4-5 HPDE days) and it's held up fine. Issue now is, keeping a clutch in the car. Those discs are tiny!

                            Originally posted by Epstein View Post
                            I just realized that you have SLAs. You can still have uneven heights for the pair of valve on a rocker. It'll still make that tapping sound, except you wouldn't see that wear thing I was talking about. I ran my SLA's on the tighter side of spec for clearance. It was actually pretty quiet when running cams designed for SLAs. I did have it setup once with excessive clearances, and it certainly sounded like a tractor idling. Properly setup, it should sound like a sewing machine.
                            Truthfully speaking, how 'adapt' are SLA's for street use? Do they really require that much attention? I've often contemplated on doing this upgrade and raising the RPM to 8500, but didn't want to sacrifice the 'turn key' ability of the car (as in, I didn't feel like taking the valve cover off twice a year)
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CodyAce View Post
                              Truthfully speaking, how 'adapt' are SLA's for street use? Do they really require that much attention? I've often contemplated on doing this upgrade and raising the RPM to 8500, but didn't want to sacrifice the 'turn key' ability of the car (as in, I didn't feel like taking the valve cover off twice a year)
                              I've gone 6 months and 11,000 miles on this set of SLAs, and the noise has remained the same. I wish I'd checked clearances back when I bought it.

                              Speaking of, does anyone have a guide on checking clearances?

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