Project VL – big boost RB30 engine build – Episode Four

In this episode of Project VL it's full steam ahead on Aiden's RB30 engine build at Powerhouse Engines


LAST time you saw my VL Commodore Street Machine Drag Challenge build, we were down at MPW Performance in Dandenong doing turbo plumbing. Now it’s time to get stuck into the engine build.

 Yes, originally I wanted to do a budget stock-bottom-end turbo build, but I also wanted to run 10s, and I just wasn’t going to achieve that goal without boosting the standard RB30 to within an inch of its life and essentially creating a ticking timebomb.

 So I put in a call to John Pilla at Powerhouse Engines, builder of some of the most bad-arse motors in the scene. Most people will know John for his crazy blown and injected burnout engines from cars like Steven Loader’s UCSMOKE and Paul Cook’s BLWNVC, but he does everything from humble Holden six-pots right up to the crazy stuff.

 He’s also been looking after the 1600hp twin-turbo LS in Adam Rogash’s seven-second NOSHOW ClubSport, which won the Haltech Radial Blown class at Drag Challenge last year and Turbosmart Outlaw Blown the year before. So John understands how to make these high-horsepower street motors last. We’ll be checking in with Adam in future issues, as he’s handling the fabrication and tuning side of the build.

 I already had my Crow Cams Street Race Turbo camshaft and valve springs from when this was going to be a stock-bottom-end build, so I just needed a set of rods and pistons. It turns out there aren’t a whole lot of options when it comes to aftermarket rotating assemblies for single-cam RB30 engines, so I went with a set of Spool Imports CP Carrillo forged pistons and Spool Drag Pro I-beam rods.

 The standard RB30 crankshafts are virtually bulletproof until you start making around 1000hp, so we’re sticking with the factory item and just giving it once-over. My power goal for this thing is around the 600-650hp mark, and we should be able to hit that with relatively low boost. It’ll be enough to get us low 10s, and if we turn up the wick I reckon we’ll see nines – this combo will safely handle around 30psi of boost.

 The rest of the set-up will include a Turbonetics 64/65 billet-wheel turbo; Plazmaman intercooler; Turbosmart wastegate, blow-off valve and fuel pressure regulator; custom intake and exhaust manifolds that you saw us make in episode three; and a flex-fuel system. It’ll all be controlled via a Haltech Elite 2000 computer.