S2000 Pops Engine on Track: 9000RPM Engine Failure

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U.K. YouTuber PerformanceCars experiences heartache with his S2K.

Bond of PerformanceCars has a long history with the Honda brand, owning and reviewing some of the most important car in the history of the marque. His current stable of hot Hondas would make most enthusiasts jealous. A prominent racer and track day enthusiast, as well, his S2000 is his current track day toy.

However, things go awry at a track day at Snetterton when said S2000 experiences an engine failure at 9,000RPM. So, what happened? After some basic checks: oil level was good, coolant all still there and not brown in color, the headgasket is ruled out. It’s only after Bond pulls the spark plugs that we see what went wrong. Plug #1 completely came apart. The electrode, and indeed, the last couple of threads’ worth of plug are missing altogether, not good.

Bond previously mentioned receiving a Spoon ECU but did not mention any dyno testing or pre-track testing. Without a wideband oxygen sensor and an O2 readout, he had no way of knowing what changes the ECU made to the air:fuel ratio (AFR). Replacing an ECU without dyno tuning or available readouts on AFR and ignition timing is Russian Roulette for your engine, unfortunately, Mr. Bonds luck just ran out. May this be a lesson to our readers, and one they hopefully never have to learn the hard way. Engine failure is a very sad, and expensive way to learn your rights from wrongs. I have experienced similar issues with replacement ECU’s and mail-order flash tunes. Without the means to monitor what changes have been made, it’s just asking for trouble.

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