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1963 Chevy Nova - Exhaust Notes

Comments, Questions, And Smart Remarks

May 1, 2009

Or Best Offer
Hello, Honda Tuning. I would like to start by saying thank you for providing me with the necessary ideas and advice to bring my project this far. I am currently the owner of a '95 Civic coupe with big plans; right now though, that's about it. I had built a few other street monsters in the past but this is going to be my first track car. Looking back, I don't think I had this much trouble getting the parts I needed. Part of that is because, when buying used parts, it seems as though everyone is trying to juice as much for each part as they can and aren't interested in haggling. Secondly, there just seems to be a lack of money in my account to make it all happen. I thought that it was just me until I posted a few parts for sale online and those who were interested in them all had to make special arrangements to get what they needed. This could be due to the economy or, more likely, the deterioration of a culture. With the loss of Turbo magazine and the predicted bankruptcy of a few of our favorite parts manufacturers, it seems all but definite that this culture is to fall apart. I do think that with the help of the diehards that we can bring it back. Instead of hating on the people with bad mods and bad cars, help them make their cars gems. I've been doing this for the past few years and, although it is demanding, the reward is amazing and it comes back threefold. Most importantly, parts need to be available and at a lower price. As a group we have to remember to help others and be willing to make some deals when selling parts or taking trades. We all enjoy tuning, and when it comes down to it, we all have to wait for parts and, occasionally, we have to wait so long that we have to scrap the project. Let's try to keep the tuning market alive and always be willing to help our fellow tuner.
-Jake Koenig, Manitowoc, WI

We agree with you on your last point, Jake, in regards to keeping the tuning market alive and helping others, but not much else. Somewhere along the line, an inclination toward haggling became prerequisite to selling used car parts. It shouldn't be that way. To the extent that the seller isn't looking to blatantly rip someone off, it's his or her prerogative to set an appropriate price. The marketplace should determine whether or not the item sells, not some kid PM'ing the seller with ridiculous, low-ball offers or off-the-wall trades. If the price is too high, buyers can look somewhere else, which will ultimately force the seller to lower it. The term "or best offer" has been so widely misinterpreted that it has little meaning anymore. We'll go one step further and disagree with you that the so-called "culture" that you refer to is indeed deteriorating. Enthusiasm for the Honda brand is stronger than ever, but you'd have to have been involved for more than "a few years" to recognize this. Many who've strayed from the brand at the turn of the decade in search of factory-turbocharged power, AWD configurations, or gas misers have returned. But you need to look at the big picture to see this. Helping your fellow enthusiast by lending tools or a workspace, or by simply sharing your knowledge is what will push our industry in the right direction, not selling used parts for low-ball prices or manufacturers undercutting one another with the cheapest part. The only thing this will do is weaken our industry with inferior parts. Cheer up, Jake, the tuning market is alive and well, and will continue to stay strong so long as guys like you are willing to offer help when help is needed.

Regrets And Crxs
In 1974, I had a '63 Chevy Nova with a Corvette engine and sold it for $800. Boy, do I regret that. In 1979, I bought a CVCC hatchback that I later had Oscar Jackson soup up when he had his little shop in a Huntington Beach, Calif., business park, and then sold it in 1986. Boy, do I regret that too. Now I drive a '99 Civic DX hatchback, but because of my two aforementioned regrets, I've kept parked on blocks my '86 CRX Si, with dreams of someday making a George Barris-ish-type, souped-up project car. The minor of my two problems is not knowing where to start looking for upgrades, what I should upgrade, and what will fit. Secondly, how many original Van Gogh paintings must I sell to finance this. I don't have any paintings though. Maybe I should just let go of my baby and move on.
Richard, Denver, CO

Dear Honda Tuning mag staff, I've been a subscriber of yours for several years now (it's full of useful information), and I have a quick question. I own an '86, 12-valve, carbureted CRX with a blown engine and I want to swap in a fuel-injected one. What would be the best engine for me to swap in, in terms of ease of installation, cost, and horsepower?
Travis Moon, whereabouts unknown

You've both got to consider the B-series. You could swap in a SOHC VTEC D-series or a DOHC ZC engine for less money, but those just won't come close to the B in terms of horsepower. There are several different engines you might consider but the B16A, the B18C, and the B20-VTEC are the most common. A pre-OBD B16A would be the easiest and the least expensive. It'll fit slightly better than the GS-R engine since it's a bit shorter and has a slightly smaller intake manifold, and it'll give you the least amount of trouble wiring-wise, but it lacks in the power department when compared to the other two. Of course, if you go the B20-VTEC route you'll have to source a B20 block and a VTEC cylinder head and do some pre-installation surgery to make it all work. In short though, you can't go wrong either way. No matter which B-series you go with, you'll want to get in touch with Hasport, who has everything you need to make this swap happen, including the engine mounts, wiring harness, and axles. Hasport's engine mount kits are designed for the older B-series engines, which use cable-operated transmissions. You can use a newer engine, but you'll want to stick with the older gearbox unless you're interested in a cable-to-hydraulic transmission conversion.

You'll also need to modify your shift linkage, pick up a pair of '92-'93 Integra GS-R radiator hoses, a '90-'91 Integra RS/LS/GS throttle cable, an '88-'91 Civic clutch cable, be prepared to ditch your AC if you have it, and to put a sizeable dent in your frame rail for alternator clearance. It really isn't all that bad of a swap though, and for less then $3000, you just can't beat the B-series. Of course, carbureted models will require a bit more work-like an entire fuel system conversion and engine wiring harness swap, but the end result is worth it.

The H-Series Myth
Hey, what's up, HT? Great mag! I've been a long-time reader-I still have the first issue with Ed Bergenholtz' nine-second CRX on the cover. I recently bought a '96 Civic DX four-door with an automatic tranny, and now I'm planning to drop an H22A in with a stick shift, of course. A few shops say it will be too heavy, and in the future my front suspension will give up and sag. I want an H22A because, out the box, that motor halls and has lots of torque. I want to get my hands dirty and would like to drop the motor in myself. Are there any modifications I need to do to the engine bay or does the H just drop in with the correct set of aftermarket mounts? What else do I need to complete this swap, and will I be able to keep my power steering and A/C?
Lionel Mathews, whereabouts unknown

We're going to answer your question for no other reason than the fact that you still have Honda Tuning's first issue. Swapping an H22A into any '92-'95 or '96-'00 Civic chassis is a smart choice, and it isn't as heavy an engine as some would lead you to believe. Yes, it's roughly twice the weight as your D-series, but we're talking less than 200 lbs, even less in your case since you're starting with the heavier automatic transmission. You can easily redistribute the extra weight by relocating your battery and getting a set of adjustable coilovers and having your setup corner-balanced. The installation is even less of a concern. You'll need a set of mounts (check out Hasport or Innovative for these), an OEM Prelude rear engine bracket, custom-length axles, and of course the engine, transmission, and ECU of your choice. Since OBD1 H22A engines are a little bit easier to come by, you'll also likely need an OBD2-OBD1 ECU conversion harness, which will allow you to use the older OBD1 Prelude ECU. Be sure to reuse your existing Civic engine wiring harness, as you won't need to do much more than lengthen sections of it, swap over some of the Prelude's connectors, and add wiring for VTEC. And yes, you can keep your A/C, with the help of an adapter bracket from Innovative but you're out of luck as far as power steering goes. Some have gotten it to fit, but off-the-shelf brackets currently aren't available.

Even More H22a Stuff
Hey guys, it seems to me that the H22A is being disowned more and more by the Honda community. My '00 Civic Si's H22A1 that I swapped in a year ago is currently being rebuilt. The engine was stock and came from a '93 Prelude. The more I look for advice and parts to bring it back alive, the more I realize how unpopular the H is. The last significant article I remember was from two years ago. Has interest for the H really gone down that much? Is there any way you guys can try to keep the light lit and show us youngbloods how to keep them running?
Carson, Great Lakes, Illinois

The thing about the H22A is that it never was embraced like the B-series was or like the K-series is. The engine was introduced by Honda a couple of years after the B16A, which meant enthusiasts had more time to latch onto the B-series. The H22A was also a more expensive engine initially when compared to the B16A or B18 engines, and was a more complicated engine swap, which didn't just deter enthusiasts but would-be parts manufacturers as well. Today, H-series engine swaps and rebuilds are nowhere near as complex as some of the K-series stuff, but the H's time has simply passed. But that shouldn't stop anybody from choosing an H22A for a build. It really is a solid engine, and it shares several characteristics with the infamous B-series. But it's the H22A's features that it doesn't share with the B that make it stand out, like the early model's solid-deck block and FRM cylinder liners, and bigger valves, cylinder head ports, bores, and strokes-it was a brute of an engine in its day. Honda Tuning plans on revisiting the H22A for 2009. Look for articles involving mating the H22A to a B-series transmission, a Skunk2 valvetrain installation and dyno test, and a complete engine rebuild where we'll push the H's bore and stroke to its limits.

Got questions, comments, love, or hate? Send your letters to:
editorial@hondatuningmagazine.com
or snail mail to:
Honda Tuning 2400 E. Katella Avenue, Suite 1100
Anaheim, CA 92806

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