Pat Makes Some Power

By the end of 2022, Pat experienced an intermittent issue with a random misfire, leading to the frequent appearance of a P0303 code. This particular code commonly indicates a misfire in cylinder three, while other codes such as P0301, P0302, or P0304 are associated with misfires in cylinders one, two, and four, respectively. Pat diligently pursued potential solutions for months, exhaustively exploring avenues such as replacing spark plugs, swapping coil packs, examining and testing the coil pack harness (a prevalent issue among S2000s), and even re-evaluating valve lash specifications. Typically, one would also inspect the fuel injectors’ flow rate or consider having them cleaned. However, in Pat’s case, the injectors had recently been cleaned upon installation of the new (previously owned) long block, thus reducing the likelihood of them being the root cause. Regrettably, none of these approaches resolved the problem of the random misfire, leaving Pat with the realization that rectifying the issue would not be a simple or inexpensive task.

In cases where the aforementioned remedies fail to rectify the misfire dilemma, it is indicative of more substantial underlying issues. These may include bent or burnt valves, faulty valve seals, a blown head gasket, or in the most dire circumstances, a completely destroyed engine. Regardless of the specific problem, a thorough examination and potential disassembly of the engine will be necessary. Thankfully, as Pat’s vehicle still displayed acceptable performance, it is reasonable to assert that the engine is not beyond salvaging entirely.

Next, he visually inspected the radiator to ensure that no bubbles were noticeable. The effect of a blown head gasket can cause exhaust gases to be forced into the cooling system, revealing themselves as bubbles in the radiator when the radiator cap is removed while the car is running. Caution, make sure not to remove the radiator cap when the car is at operating temperature. It is best to remove the radiator cap while the car is cool and then start the engine. After a few minutes, if the head gasket is bad, you might start to see small air bubbles rising to the top of the radiator filler neck.

(Keep in mind, the air bubble method isn’t always the definitive answer of having a blown head gasket… It’s more a way to help steer your thought process towards there possibly being a bad head gasket.)

So, after we made sure there were no bubble troubles in the coolant, we decided to run another test… You know, the compression test. It’s a really handy way to check how healthy the engine is and pinpoint any issues in specific cylinders. First up was cylinder three, the troublemaker that threw the code. Gotta admit, the numbers were a bit worrisome, only 185 psi. Then we moved on to cylinder one, and got around 230 psi. Cylinder two was pretty much the same, around 233 psi. And last but not least, cylinder four came in at 210 psi.

Man, when we saw those results, we knew something was wrong with the valves. It was either the seals or some of the valves were messed up. That meant we had to take off the head. And guess what? As soon as Pat removed it, he could easily see that the valves were burnt, especially in cylinder three and a bit in cylinder four. You could totally tell that the valve guides were leaking.

In a nutshell, Pat made the bold move of removing the head and sending it off for a rejuvenation, accompanied by other necessary components. As the head underwent its makeover, Pat seized the opportunity to procure a Kpro system and all the essential parts required to transform his F20C into a formidable force, fueled by the power of Hondata. Opting for the Hondata solution allowed him to fine-tune his car without the need for a complete standalone ECU. And let me tell you, this decision turned out to be the catalyst for an extraordinary sequence of events. Pat’s logical reasoning behind choosing Hondata over a standalone alternative was evident:

  • He can still pass smog (in Nevada)
  • He can still use OEM features like using a code reader (If he is ever without a laptop or Hondata cable)
  • He’s a Honda Boi!!! Hondata for life, OEM IS BEST!

I regret that I am unable to provide you with a HOW TO guide on converting to RSX Kpro in this instance. Pat’s vehicle was out of commission for several months during the head refresh process conducted by URGE designs. This made it challenging to document the conversion, as Pat continued to make weekly modifications while the car was awaiting the return of the head. Nevertheless, I am more than capable of furnishing you with the necessary parts list required for the Hondata Kpro conversion.

Below is the parts list needed to convert your S2000 to run on a RSX Kpro:

Mechanical modifications

The following items must be replaced before the S2000 K-Pro can be used. Keep in mind that you also need to purchase the Kpro itself from Hondata and have it installed in an RSX style ECU.

Swapping the parts is relatively straightforward. Refer to the Helm manual for more information, but in brief, you will need to:

  • Remove the accessory belt.
  • Remove the water pump pulley.
  • Remove the crank pulley.
  • Remove the front timing cover.
  • Remove and replace the crank timing wheel.
  • Remove and replace the crank sensor in the timing cover, and reinstall the timing cover.
  • Remove old wiring to crank sensor.
  • Install wiring harness from crank sensor to ECU.
  • Reinstall water pump pulley and accessory belt.
  • Remove the valve cover.
  • Remove and replace the TDC sensor wheel (exhaust cam).
  • Install the new TDC sensor and PCV valve in the new timing cover, and install the new valve cover.
  • Remove S2000 ECU. Install the wiring harness through the firewall underneath the clutch master cylinder. If you have cut the wiring rubber boot, seal it with silicone sealer.
  • Install the RSX ECU.

On January 12, 2023, after months of his car sitting on the jack stands, it was now time to head to the Dyno. The Dyno appointment was set for 1:00 pm, but I arrived at his house around 9:30 am because Pat still needed some help bleeding his brakes and clutch. He also wanted to change the transmission and differential fluid before heading out.

Lots of little details are going on underneath. The most unique thing, in my opinion, is probably the GT Machino dry carbon spare tire delete (which is barely visible due to the angle of the picture, but from the top, it looks amazing).

Pat exclusively uses RED LINE lubricants in his entire car: engine, transmission, and differential.

Having a single side exhaust and a removed spare tire well makes draining and filling the differential effortless. Not to say it was difficult before, but there is just so much more room under there to wiggle around, especially when the car is only 12 inches off the ground. Remember too, when refilling the differential, make sure the car is level. This will ensure the correct amount of fluid is added. You will do this by jacking up the front to match the same height as the rear.

Remember, when refilling the differential, make sure the car is level. This will ensure the correct amount of fluid is added. You should do this by jacking up the front to match the same height as the rear.

Observe the ease with which Pat maneuvers without the need to strain his arm around the driver’s side exhaust, thanks to the absence of a spare tire well. This allows for a more direct and efficient approach.

Here, you can see how the car is placed on four jack stands and leveled.

Look closely below at the engine bay. Pat’s bay looks very factory, but… it’s like one of those pictures online that says “it gets worse the more you look” only in this case, it gets BETTER the more you look. Little Easter eggs are hidden all over the place.

Let me point some of them out for you…

  • A plethora of Titanium nuts and bolts throughout the bay replacing the factory steel ones.
  • Honed Developments Brake booster delete kit.
  • Mega life ultra lightweight lithium ion battery with custom 3D printed tie down bracket.
  • Deleted AC.
  • Heater core lines capped.
  • Air pump deleted.
  • Urge designs “unicorn header” hidden behind the OEM heat shield.
  • Brand new OEM AP2 valve cover.
  • Custom 3.5inch intake with velocity stack.
  • Billion radiator hoses.
  • Feel’s radiator cap.
  • Dual Radium Engineering catch can setup.
  • Radium Engineering fuel rail w/ gauge and FPR.
  • Deleted cruise control.
  • Renegade Motorsports coolant reservoir.

Feels Rad cap and, you can somewhat make out the Ti bolts holding rad stays to the chassis as well as the Ti bolts securing the fender on.

Those beautiful Billion hoses.

Lots of room now without the AC/Heater lines and a small battery.

That Urge Designs Unicorn header is lurking behind the OEM heat shield.

Huge 3.5 intake custom made by JCFab (our buddy John).

About a year ago, Pat installed a StopTech C43 kit on his car. It was a great upgrade and performed well for him (don’t mind the scrape mark from forgetting to have the 2mm spacer installed when running the 17×9.5 wheels… usually, he runs a 17×10).

However, after installing the Honed Developments brake booster delete kit, he was having a difficult time getting the brakes completely bled. After adjusting the master cylinder push rod, thinking this was causing the issue, he was still unable to get the brakes to feel rock solid. Pat said, “I felt the pedal needed a pump after the car sat overnight, and then I noticed fluid on the driver’s side.” Upon further investigation, one thing led to another, and he realized that one of the caliper pistons on the driver’s side was marred somehow and would allow slight seepage. We are still unsure as to why or how the piston got damaged… either way, he ended up ordering some new pistons from Stoptech. Unfortunately, they were backordered and didn’t make it in time before his next track event that was in two days (January 14th) at LVMS outside road course.

This meant that he was going to have to temporarily go back to his old brake setup… OEM S2000 calipers, Hawk DTC60’s, and Girodisc rotors.

Bummer the Stoptech’s would have to sit this event out.

In the background you can see Ever’s blown up RDOT F20C of which Pat has some plans for (eventually).

Pat is going Red crazy as you can see by his new red Personal wheel.

The details don’t stop at the engine bay either. Safety-wired titanium bolts attach the Works Bell Rapfix pop-up steering hub with carbon inlay. (Phone picture)

Just another angle of the engine bay, highlighting the booster delete.

Brakes, clutch, all bled and transmission, differential oils all changed. We are ready for the Dyno!

When it comes to selecting an automobile tuning specialist, the task can be as intricate as choosing a life partner. Entrusting an individual with the complete authority to determine the optimal configuration of vital aspects like air-fuel mixture, ignition timing, throttle response, and variable valve timing can be quite unsettling. Nevertheless, after considering various options, Pat eventually settled on a reputable local establishment in Las Vegas called LDL. A reliable recommendation served as the determining factor in this decision, prompting Pat to take the leap and entrust LDL with the important task of tuning his cherished vehicle.

Here he is backing the car onto the dyno.

I liked how they jacked the car up to thread the wideband into the test pipe bung, as opposed to hanging it in the tailpipe like most people do. This would ensure a more accurate air/fuel reading.

Now, you can see the wideband harness coming out from under the car and going straight to the dyno computer.

I just cant get enough of how sick this engine bay looks.

All locked, loaded, and ready to do some pulls.

Putting some heat into it.

It was really nice to see how much attention to detail and time Dennis at LDL spent trying to ensure that Pat got exactly what he was looking for in his tune. Dennis was very communicative and really instilled confidence that Pat had made the right choice by having him tune the car.

Multiple checks were made to guarantee a seamless combination of drivability, reliability, and power.

End result was a solid 228 WHP @8800 rpm or 236 WHP with WCF (weather correction factor). Because Las Vegas is at ~2500 feet in elevation and the air is thinner, cars make slightly less power, especially in naturally aspirated applications.

Torque numbers were decent as well considering its a F20C1. 146 lb/ft or 151 lb/ft with WCF.

Pat’s car is a fairly basic “bolt-on” car with just an I/H/E, with no catalytic converter and no air conditioning. As mentioned earlier, the head was sent to Urge for a “refresh,” and while it was there, it was fitted with Ti retainers, flat-faced valves, and a cleanup port. Flat-faced valves help bump the compression ratio slightly, which helps this naturally aspirated (N/A) beast really come to life.

His car does have a custom 3.5-inch intake with a velocity stack filter that feeds air into a stock throttle body and stock intake manifold. Completely stock bottom end with 100k+ miles, stock cams, Urge designs header, “customized” 3-inch Renegade Motorsports exhaust (basically just a test pipe delete). That’s it, no other magic, just pure old school, reliable N/A power. Pat’s car truly embodies the less is more and keep it simple mantras that so many of us chant. And it also does a great job of showing why not only N/A is best, but a front-engine RWD is a great platform for tracking.

Complete modification list below.

  • F20c1 Approx. 100k miles.
  • Renegade Exhaust 3inch modified straight to header by Sheckwelds.
  • Custom bell mouth 3.5-inch Intake Vibrant filter w/ K&N heatshield by JCFab.
  • Urge Unicorn header 2.5 collector.
  • Urge Velocity Headwork (Carpenter Racing).
  • Urge valve springs (PSI), titanium retainers, and flat face nitride coated stainless steel valves with high flow stems.
  • Fluidampr crank pulley (from Urge).
  • Oem head gasket.
  • Brand new Oem head bolts.
  • Radium Fuel Rail.
  • Radium FPR.
  • Toda TCT.
  • Oem oil pan with Moroso baffle.
  • 9lbs flywheel, I forget the brand.
  • Oem Throttle body.
  • Oem injectors.
  • Oem fuel pump.
  • Tuned on Hondata Kpro v2.
  • AP2 trans.
  • Oem final drive, with Js racing collar and Oem Diff.
  • A/C deleted.
  • Tuned on 91 octane by Dennis at LDL Speedshop Las Vegas, NV.

Pat says… “I could’ve made more power if revved over 9k, but I’m not chasing numbers. The rev limit is set at 8800 because I am conservative. My biggest focus was mid-range and reliability. The engine is a little overbuilt given my conservativeness. Typically, f20C1s make peak power around 8300 to 8600 (from what I’ve seen), so it’s possible the curve could’ve peaked above 9k.” He also wants to mention that there is probably more power on the table. However, it is more important to him to have reliable power over bragging rights to unreliable power. Keep in mind that this car is now his dedicated track car and sees track time many times a year.

Pat’s official Youtube Video below.

It’s worth mentioning that Pat has since reverted to having a brake booster. Despite the brakes functioning flawlessly without the booster, the length of the pedal travel made heel toeing very difficult. This is because the brake pedal travel was much farther than with a booster, which resulted in the gas pedal being much higher. Pat isn’t saying that the booster delete is a bad modification, it just didn’t really fit his driving style. He also understands how it could be very beneficial to be booster-less if you do a lot of left foot braking and have a DCT/paddle shift setup. It just doesn’t make sense in a street-driven weekend warrior car.

As of now, Pat is satisfied with the S2000’s current state and says he’s “done” modifying it. He is so done that he has even picked up a new project and will be focusing his attention on building that going forward. (Sneak peek below… Pat now owns three red Hondas.)

In the next few months, we will be doing a ” Pat’s S2000 Final Version” post on the blog detailing in depth every upgrade and modification that is currently done to his S2000.

Below you can view the link of what his S2000 looked like 4 years ago when he first picked it up, and we did a feature on it.

As always, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed our frivolous adventures. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or just want to say hi… Reach out to me via email at or via Instagram @Functiontheory, or simply comment on this post below, and I will get back to you.

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