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Discussion Starter #1
I feel like I am doing something wrong. I know I live in the oppressive state of Ca, but I have not been able to find anyone willing to take my money.

My question is: Who in California still works on street legal performance engines?

I've tried contacting the following:

MMR - Response: We really only build track motors.
JBA - Response: After repeated email and in person enquiries, no response (I think they prefer to bolt on headers and call it a day at this point)
ARCE - Response: We can help you, but we really don't do that and we are pretty busy.

As an aside, I sent a request to Kenne Bell asking them a few questions about recommended setup (I was planning on buying). They asked what I plan to do (other than forged internals). I responded:

I'm not 100% sure (and I am open to suggestions), but likely:

ported/polished heads
shorty headers
throttle body / intake
upgraded fuel system
custom tune


Their only response: Unfortunately your mods will not allow the car to be smog legal. - Kenne Bell

I know porting the heads is not strictly street legal here, but the rest is (assuming valid CARB number). I can skip the porting, but they were not interested in talking to me at all. I know they have a reputation for bad customer service, but you would think they would at least take my money before they stop talking to me.

So, I am willing to ship/drive to LA or whatever is necessary, but if anyone knows of a reputable engine builder (other than the above) I would really appreciate any input.

Thanks.
 

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Well Kenne Bell is not wrong. But I feel you're frustration. I live on SoCal as well. In fact just a few miles from MMR. I have the first three items you point out on my car and get it smogged no problem. It is still NA so the factory fuel system is fine and I just use a hand held to put the factory tune back in for smog and the original mid-pipe.

I am build a new engine right now for the car and am thinking about the same issues you must be with smogging the car. To my knowledge (and its not complete) there is only one forced induction system on the market for an SN95 and that is Vortech. You don't say which car you have but by your name I guess a 97. I don't know of anyone down by you but call up Westech by you.

Westech Performance Group, THE Dyno Center

I bet the know someone and I have heard they treat people really well.

Jake
 

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What about leaving CA to get the work done and returning able to pass smog and have what you want?

You'll have to do your own research on what will pass and what will not and design your build around that.

The other option is as old as hot rodding. If you can't pay someone to do the work, figure out how to do it yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well Kenne Bell is not wrong. But I feel you're frustration. I live on SoCal as well. In fact just a few miles from MMR. I have the first three items you point out on my car and get it smogged no problem. It is still NA so the factory fuel system is fine and I just use a hand held to put the factory tune back in for smog and the original mid-pipe.

I am build a new engine right now for the car and am thinking about the same issues you must be with smogging the car. To my knowledge (and its not complete) there is only one forced induction system on the market for an SN95 and that is Vortech. You don't say which car you have but by your name I guess a 97. I don't know of anyone down by you but call up Westech by you.

Westech Performance Group, THE Dyno Center

I bet the know someone and I have heard they treat people really well.

Jake
Thanks a lot for the reference. I will call them. Yes, I have a 97 Cobra. BTW, KB makes a 2.1 for 96-98 Cobra with a CARB number. My original email to them was asking how I should build a motor for it and whether there was an intercooler available. That was when they one line responded "what else do you plan to do?" I suspect that older cars are not a huge money maker for them. Yes, everything I have listed should smog fine in Cali (minus ported/polished heads) which are not easily detected. Anyway, thanks for the name, that's what I was looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What about leaving CA to get the work done and returning able to pass smog and have what you want?

You'll have to do your own research on what will pass and what will not and design your build around that.

The other option is as old as hot rodding. If you can't pay someone to do the work, figure out how to do it yourself.
Yeah, I figured I might ship it out. I can totally do it myself (other than machining). I'm pulling the motor and tearing it down. I also have the list of items I plan to do to it. The reason I want a builder is 1, I wanted someone that had built several and had an opinion on a good setup outside of forums. 2, from a time perspective, I was hoping to have the same place machine it and rebuild the long block. I don't have a great place to do that kind of work regardless of skill.
 

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Don't bother building an engine for that blower unless you are doing a C head swap. And then you can swap to the Terminator setups. No intercooler=bad idea. No you cannot run an intercooler on a 96-98 KB blower it physically won't fit. I'm amazed they still make that unit honestly... they phased out the 94/95 setup long ago and it had the same issue.

You can get a crate motor shipped to you.

Honestly it would probably be cheaper or at least the same price to do a Coyote swap but not sure if that is 50 state legal. Probably not since swap headers=longtubes...

What I would do? If your engine is good then just bolt on a S trim and roll. If not... Aviator engine and bolt on a S trim and roll. If you want to actually do a build for more than 400-450rwhp well first I'd make sure the car is up to handling that amount of power. IE, subframes, full suspension, transmission, fuel, rear end work... Then get yourself a built shortblock shipped in from one of the builders (not MMR, they are crap), have a performance shop go through a set of C heads just to clean them up and lap/valve job and bolt them on and then your choice of power adder. Again, might not be street legal in Cali but if you did a Terminator setup with a CARB legal blower it probably would do fine.

You don't need to port and polish C heads at all for big power, just clean them up. Even 99/01 style heads. Your stock cams properly degreed in, go.

You are looking at about $20k to CORRECTLY do a built engine with the car and drivetrain and fuel setup to properly support it and put the power to the ground. Consider selling your car as is and putting that $$$ towards a new or used Coyote?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Don't bother building an engine for that blower unless you are doing a C head swap. And then you can swap to the Terminator setups. No intercooler=bad idea. No you cannot run an intercooler on a 96-98 KB blower it physically won't fit. I'm amazed they still make that unit honestly... they phased out the 94/95 setup long ago and it had the same issue.

You can get a crate motor shipped to you.

Honestly it would probably be cheaper or at least the same price to do a Coyote swap but not sure if that is 50 state legal. Probably not since swap headers=longtubes...

What I would do? If your engine is good then just bolt on a S trim and roll. If not... Aviator engine and bolt on a S trim and roll. If you want to actually do a build for more than 400-450rwhp well first I'd make sure the car is up to handling that amount of power. IE, subframes, full suspension, transmission, fuel, rear end work... Then get yourself a built shortblock shipped in from one of the builders (not MMR, they are crap), have a performance shop go through a set of C heads just to clean them up and lap/valve job and bolt them on and then your choice of power adder. Again, might not be street legal in Cali but if you did a Terminator setup with a CARB legal blower it probably would do fine.

You don't need to port and polish C heads at all for big power, just clean them up. Even 99/01 style heads. Your stock cams properly degreed in, go.

You are looking at about $20k to CORRECTLY do a built engine with the car and drivetrain and fuel setup to properly support it and put the power to the ground. Consider selling your car as is and putting that $$$ towards a new or used Coyote?
That's a great response with a lot of good information. Thank you for taking the time. It's worth adding a few pieces of data:

I have intended on building the car for years (i've had it for 20). What I have done in the last few years:

Full Max Grip package from Maximum Motorsports.
Gutted, sound-deadened, and then reinstalled the interior brand new (TMI seats, new black carpet, steering wheel, center console from 03 cobra (painted/dyed black)
373s
Strange 31 spline axles with an Eaton diff.
Rebuilt the brakes with all new hardware
03 replica wheels with 10.5" rear / 9" front.
PS4S tires (295/255)

Any kind of engine or head swap in Cali (Coyote, Termi, etc.) requires having a referee re-certify it as that model year car from a motor / emissions standpoint. It's not impossible, but not super simple either. I was trying to just get a good solid motor built with a supercharger. I can go Centri or whatever (and have arrived at the same conclusion about the KB setup and am leaning toward an S trim). I am still toying with the idea of doing an engine change to a Coyote or the like as well.

There are days where I deeply consider getting rid of it for a new one, but for some reason I still like that car. If it took another ~20k in motor/blower/tranny/paint to get it solid I would be ok with that. Or, I may drive it off a cliff.

Thanks again for the response.
 

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If doing a centrifugal I'd look hard at running a Procharger and adding a waste gate to it. Pulley for whatever PSI gives you your desired psi asap and holds it across the rev range. Pulley for 28 psi and you can have 8 psi as soon as 2000 rpm. You can change the pulley for inspection and you could make the waste gate system removable even.
 
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