Nick Hunter 5523 Motorsports

5523 Motorsports: Interview with a Zombie Vampire

by Joe Lu and Chuck Johnson


So here we are on the flip side of Speed Week 2013, epic road trips to Utah and record runs down the Bonneville salt flats were had, but let's rewind a week and pretend that we're just a few days out from Bonneville.  In fact, we're sitting in a swelteringly hot garage at 5523 Motorsports in Escondido, California wondering if we'll make it to Speed Week at all.  


Project 240 LSR

A few weeks prior, Project 240SX LSR had set a new land speed record at El Mirage, but then developed engine issues immediately after.  The car is now sitting nearby with its de-stroked SR20DET bottom end separated from its exotic VVL cylinder head.  It's crunch time and the team is scrambling to fix the problems and get the car back in one piece before Speed Week. 

Of course, I see it as the perfect time to pester our resident Zombie Vampire, engine builder extraordinaire, and co-proprietor of 5523 Motorsports, Nick Hunter with a barrage of questions.  What better time could there be to find out about Nick’s life and how he came to be the hybrid of two mythical creatures when there are a million things to get done?  

What was that old saying, "cleanliness is next to godliness"?  Before starting work on the head, Nick Hunter lays out a clean sheet to work on.

Joe: So Nick, what exactly are we doing in here today?  Cuz its getting hot in here and my pits are starting to stank. 

Nick Hunter: We need to finish work on this new head, and get it back in the car today.  

Joe: What happened to it?

Nick Hunter: As you know, the car was having problems starting at El Mirage, and even before that when we dynoed it so I decided to investigate so the motor won't have problems when we get to Bonneville.

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Friday, August 30, 2013 10:02 AM
You could've overnighted those parts from Japan...
Friday, August 30, 2013 11:27 AM
So is 20v a marketing term for a variable cam timing system or is the head being worked on in the pictures just a random 16v engine (SR)? Somehow I was expecting 3 intake valves and wondering how that would work/package.

Go Go Ni San. I would have never made that connection, I like that.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, August 30, 2013 11:34 AM
not right before race wars
Friday, August 30, 2013 12:02 PM
I believe its the sr20ve head, with Nissan's variable cam shenanigans and 16 valves. But yeah, when I see 20v I think first to Toyota stuff as well.
Martin Gonzales
Martin Gonzaleslink
Friday, August 30, 2013 12:09 PM
The 20V refers to the trim level of the P12 Nissan Primera the engine comes in.
Chris "Shaggy" Allenlink
Friday, August 30, 2013 12:21 PM
VVL heads also its not variable cam timing just lift like the B&H Honda motors.. The 20V head IMO its not worth the price and I understand the plugs are hard to get ahold of and are very expensive, unless your going full race car don't worry about it and even a full race car I would still debate on a standard VE head is the way to go in any case, Part of racing is also being able to be maintenance friendly and serviceable.. If you can't conduct repairs in a timely manner and miss deadlines whats the point!! Just my 2cents
Friday, August 30, 2013 1:53 PM
Wikipedia seems to have good details. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nissan_VVL_engine
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, August 30, 2013 8:49 PM
I hate Miatas
Saturday, August 31, 2013 5:01 AM
^^^ LOL At Mike Kojima
Chuck Johnson
Chuck Johnsonlink
Saturday, August 31, 2013 8:31 AM
Saturday, August 31, 2013 1:22 PM
Why would you hate something that matches your tendencies so much mike? Embrace the truth...
Tuesday, September 03, 2013 10:48 AM
the 20V head is actually a vast improvement over the outgoing VVL cylinder head. The ports flow much more out of the box, and even more important than that is the fact that the water jackets were drastically improved around the spark plug and exhaust valve seat area. yes, these heads are extremely difficult to get ahold of, and when you do find them, then tend to be 100% more expensive than the earlier counterparts, but for this project, it made the most sense.

and chris, your statement about not having variable timing is partially incorrect. The VVL does change cam timing when you go from the primary to the secondary lobe, it DOES NOT, however, have variable cam timing on the fly like the newer VTC systems. the whole point of VVL is to have 2 completely different cam profiles in the same engine. nice mild cam for low speed driveability and then a big nasty cam for top end power... there was a bit of tom foolery in the way i setup the race car engine...........

20V is, as previously stated, simply the trim level of the P12 Primera that came with the engine N/A. this head (which we nissan nerds refer to as 8H6) was also used in the T30 X-Trail GT (where ONLY the intake cam profile was changed, as opposed to the P12 which changed profiles on both intake and exhaust, but did so at the same time with one solenoid. the earlier VVL engines controlled the cams individually with two solenoids). Both of these vehicles were built in limited numbers. The two differences that make a difference to us (like i said above) are the intake ports and the water jackets. another slightly beneficial feature of this head is the single solenoid setup... which is nice when you turn the engine 90* and run out of firewall clearance!

as for the spark plugs... they are absolutely NOT hard to find... amazon sells them, as does Jegs, Summit, and sparkplugs.com. They are also not any more expensive than the standard run of the mill platinum plug that comes in every other newer nissan. The spark plugs that we run in the race car are EXTREMELY expensive, however, them seem to be just as easy to find as any other plug. As will be explained in future articles, there was a very specific reason that we went to the NGK racing plug... but Chuck told me i'm not allowed to talk about these sorts of things yet.

hope this clears up some questions.

Anonymous User
Anonymous Userlink
Sunday, October 20, 2013 9:25 PM
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