ARP rod bolt install, SEARCHED

Well thursday I finally get my head back from the machine shop foe my ls-vtec build and I was reading up on some stuff. Everyone is saying that the bottom end can handle it but the rod bolts can, and if you dont get better stronger rod bolts its not wise to rev past the stocl rev limiter.

Well I dont have the tools, space, time or anything to pull my motor and put some rod bolts in, and I was wondering How difficult it is to install some arp rod bolts while the motor is still in the car and everything is still intact.

Can I just drain the oil, take the oil pan off, remove the OE rod bolts, out the ARP’s in torque em down good, and reinstall the oil pan, fill oil up and be done. Or is it alot more difficult than it seems?

Any help would be appreciated.


I’ve done it before.
Crawled under the car, pulled the pan, removed the baffle and installed the bolts and nuts. It was an oily mess. I did it in an afternoon. This was on a Buick 350 BTW, it should be quicker on a B18 since its a more straitforeward design.

When installing the bolts, be sure you lubricate with the ARP lube that comes with the bolts before torquing them down. If you are a perfectionist like me don’t use a torque wrench. Instead use a rod bolt stretch gauge. Measuring the streatch on the bolt is more accurate than a torque rating. Don’t ask me why, thats what the pros tell me. I have an ARP stretch gauge.

If you can’t get a gauge or are in a hurry a torque wrench will suffice. Torque each nut/bolt down three times, loosening it each time to get more accurate results.

Good luck, its a bitch

Go to Crankshaft Grinding and Machine in millersville , md. They charged me 180 to put the ctr pistons on my rods, shot peen them and install the rod bolts(also includes the price of the rod bolts). It will be cheaper for you, since your not changing your pistons, and the LS rod bolts are cheaper cuz they’re 8mm not 9mm like the vtec rods. You mine as well shot peen them, because it doesn’t cost too much, and it will relive all the stress points on the rods, making them a lot stronger. Plus when they shot peen the rods, they re-hone the bearing tunnel. So you’ll get a fresh bearing mounting surface.

If you haven’t bought bearings yet, I HIGHLY recommend honda bearings. You can mic the rod tunnel(CGM will give you the hone spec so you can skip this step) and then mic the crank journal. Do some simple math and you can run the largest clearence without going over stock specs. A b16 is .0013 - .0020( i think, I might have the wrong amount of 0, but thats not the point). The greens would have given me .0015 but the yellows gave me almost .0018 which is pretty close to the lasrgest I can have without going out of spec. So I went yellows, ACL, CLevite 77, and whatever else you might use ONLY COMES IN GREEN. Thats not always the best combo, so they work, but there not ideal. The basic ACL = Honda stock, unless you go with ACL RACE bearings, which most people don’t becuase they cost so much money…A few hundred just for mains.
The larger the bearing clearence the better the oil flow to the bearings will be, and using a ARP rod bolt they wont stretch so you can run marginly close to the high end of specs and still be alright. Oh yea, CGM will also do the prestretch and re-hone after the rod bolts are install to garuntee proper fitment, and that the bearing tunnel is completely round after installing a high torque fastner.

Sorry it’s so long, just my .02

From all the research that I have done, it seems that the prevailing advice is that the rods need to be removed and taken to the machine shop to press the new ARP rod bolts in and to have the big ends resized.

And you don’t have to remove the engine to pull the rods, while the head is off, push the piston/rod combo out the top of the cylinders and take them to the machine shop. You are building an LSVTEC so the head will be off anyway right?

.02 more, thats double your money, hahahaha…sorry

When you use a high torque fastner, like a arp bolt, to fasten bearing jornals or any other hole, the higher torque will usually oblong the hole. Now you might only be talking .0001 out. If your talking about main caps, rods and things of that nature, that’ll lead to premature bearing failure, and usually a waste of a lot of your money. When you take it to a machine shop, they will torque,and stretch your fastners, as needed to make them the same level as they will be in your car. They then run a hone through the bearing tunnel(the big end) to make it a complete circle. They don’t take much off, just enough to make it round again. This also gives the bearing a good surface to mate with, because it’s been cleaned and resurfaced.