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Stamp of Approval First, you guys are doing a great job. I am a loyal reader from Vancouver, Canada. I am new to the import game, having only owned domestic junk in the past.
I stumbled onto a great deal a year ago and scooped up an '89 Civic DX four-door. It's a great car and gets excellent gas mileage, but I want to mess with the engine and beef it up a little. It is SOHC, but other than that I know nothing about it except it looks exactly the same as my friend's ' 91 Si motor.
How do I figure out which motor it is and if I can beef it up? Do I have to do the old switcharoo for a B18? Any help would be appreciated. Ryan via the Internet
Ryan, the best way to find out which motor you have is to look at the engine code markings stamped on the block. On the majority of Honda engines (D-, B-, H -and F-series) the code will be on the forward passenger side of the engine bay.
Your '89 DX will likely be a D15B2, and your buddy's Si is probably a D16A6. Your little D15 has power potential, and there is a large group of D15 followers around the globe. Check out www.sohchonda.com's D15 forum. You'll also be able to find help at www.d-series.org, and www.homemadeturbo.com's engine/ tech forum. - Dr Barrios
Hot or Not? I have a '95 Honda Civic with a B16A motor swap. As far as I can tell it's the real-deal JDM. How can I tell if it is a stolen motor or not? I bought the car with the swap in it and after reading the article HT, "Stripped!" Feb. '05 I don't want it seized! Jake MikulaVia the Internet
Most police organizations can determine if an engine has been stolen, but only if it's been reported stolen. That means they know about stolen motors even if they come from Japan. But you're far more likely to get it stolen than to have it impounded. Without giving too much away to the bad guys, one of the things cops are looking for are engine and transmission ID tags. On transmissions it is a VIN tag, but engines are different.
We contacted Mike Bender from Bender Enterprises, one of the sources for our "Stripped" story, and he says, "If any of the numbers look funny or are removed, chances are it is stolen. Unfortunately there are no public databases for consumers to check if they suspect an engine has been stolen. Law enforcement would check the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database and if the number is not in there, and none of the numbers have been removed, then he keeps the engine.
"[The reader] shouldn't worry because he has a JDM motor. If he is, he should carry a receipt in his car indicating when, where, who and how much he bought it for."
If policemen looking for stolens see a tranny with the VIN tag cut off of the bell housing, then that is grounds for them to instantly impound the vehicle. Even in your car, with a JDM powerplant, the tranny should have a VIN tag, and it's better to have one that doesn't match than none at all. The police will already know it's not going to match because '95 Civics in the United States never had B-series motors.
A good thing to have is documentation. Unfortunately, since you bought the car with the swap you probably don't have any. Try getting it from the previous owner. If that doesn't pan out (and for all of you readers who might buy a car with an already swapped motor), get all the info you can about the seller, including a copy of his driver's license. If he doesn't want to provide any info about who did the swap or where he bought it, then watch out. Bender's motto in these situations is, If the deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
Bender's final word of advice is to write down any info about your swap-the VIN on the tranny, the engine number just below the B16 stamp on the block, any marks on the head (like near the PR3 markings), or anything else you can find. Take lots of pictures, too. Like we said, you're far more likely to get the engine stolen than have your car impounded, and if so then this is the only way you'll get it back. This info would go into the NCIC database and if it's ever recovered, and those numbers are checked against the database, you should get a call and get your engine back (now the condition it comes back to you in is an entirely different story...). - Tim Kelly
Fond Rex Remembrances Honda Tuning is the best magazine ever. It has everything from new cars to some of the older Honda models.
I have an '88 Civic hatchback. I want a CRX, but they are hard to come by where I live. I have found an 1987 HF Rex, which has the D15A2 engine. I am wondering if there are any swaps that I can do with this Rex that won't cost an arm and a leg. Which engines will work and what will I need? Thanks for putting out a sick-ass magazine for us Honda lovers.WranglerVia the Internet
There is a small group of Honda enthusiasts who recognizes potential in the first-generation CRX (and its slightly roomier counterpart, the fourth-generation Civic hatchback) but doesn't quite see eye-to-eye with a big chunk of the Honda community. Apparently, a majority of Honda guys believe 1988, the year that the EF chassis Civic and second-generation CRX was produced, was the year when Hondas became desirable. They see the torsion bar front suspension; rear beam suspension; carburetor; and boxy, dated exterior of a first-generation CRX and turn away.
Others see a first-generation CRX, though, and remember Mugen CRX Pro's and CF-48 wheels with the plastic covers. Some might even remember Racing Beat's 1985 CRX powered by dual 1.8-liter Accord motors. It is great to see new old-school enthusiasm.
Enough nostalgia. Yes, there are swaps that you can do with your CRX, a few of which will not cost an arm and a leg. Hasport makes a mount kit and wiring harness for a B-series DOHC VTEC motor swap. A B-series VTEC motor in a CRX that's less than 2,000 pounds would be a potent combination. It is also, however, the most expensive option.
Perhaps your best bet is to swap the "brown top" D16A1 from a 1986-1987 Acura Integra. Early Integras are easily found in junkyards and their parts can be had for very cheap. Take the motor, transmission, wiring harness, fuel system (including lines and pump), ECU, motor mounts, shift linkage, and axles from an Integra to use on your CRX. The DOHC D16A1 motor is rated at 115 hp and responds very well to modification. It doesn't sound like much, but 115 horses coupled with a 2,000-pound car should be very fun. Just think, you could sell your '88 hatchback and have enough money to buy the CRX, the whole engine swap, and probably have some left over for modification. - DB
We're Weird First of all, keep the uniqueness going. No one would ever think of trying some of the projects you try. Great magazine, and February 2005 was a great issue. Dr, keep representing for the very few SOHC lovers out there.
I know you recommend an engine management system for the custom ITBs but they are kind of pricy. I mean, come on, there's a reason most of us still have the SOHC engines in our cars-money.
When you pulled 142 hp and 111 lb-ft of torque on the dyno, was it done via the tuned A'PEXi V-AFC fuel computer? Or was that something else? The first gain without tuning was pretty good.
Would I damage my engine if I didn't tune it with the ITBs? I'm planning on doing the exhaust, head work and some higher compression pistons. It's more of an all-motor project, so will a piggyback suffice, like the V-AFC or e-Manage? I'm not trying to make an all-out racer, more like 160 whp just to keep me content and spank a few of the big brother motors.
Everyone is saying it's not worth getting a standalone for so few gains. Can I run ITBs with a piggyback safely and reliably on a daily basis? How should I address the ignition system? DominicVia the Internet
Since the day the February issue hit the newsstands we've been fielding questions about the do-it-yourself individual throttle body story in it. The engine management questions are probably the most frequently asked out of all of them.
Looking back on the dyno graph, the run that produced 142 whp was closer to a 132-whp pull with a big 10-whp spike at the end of it. The final tuning was done with berdata, which is the most inexpensive route you can go with for a setup like this. The tuning problems lie in partial throttle, when you are without a plenum to accumulate vacuum. The MAP sensor sees very little difference between 50-percent throttle and 100-percent throttle. There are ways to shortcut this and make it work decently, but the correct way to do it is with a throttle position sensor-based fuel enrichment scale.
A "real" standalone system, like an AEM EMS, Motec, etc., is the only way to get that type of tuneability. There are codes in the works floating around on the Internet that blend throttle position and MAP sensor scales in one map, which look promising. We hope to try these soon.
Oberdata, and about 15 hours of tuning, have worked well for the D16Y8 setup. As of right now the car is making a nice, smooth, reliable, and most importantly, safe 133 whp. The car drives fantastically at wide-open throttle. Under partial throttle it drives pretty well. We drive it daily with no problems whatsoever. The only major problem we've had with tuning it is during deceleration. Under hard engine braking the air/fuel ratio will bounce all over the place, often resulting in an excessively rich condition and a mean-looking flame shooting out of the exhaust on tip-in.
Hmm, on second thought maybe we shouldn't retune it. - DB
Don't Forget the HWhat do you guys think about putting an H22A motor in a '93 Accord? I am planning to get a new motor before the summer and the H22A is what I've been looking at, but I'm not sure if it's possible. Is there a better option? Or should I just forget about the H22A? Jaden SourivongVia the Internet
Fret not, Jaden. The H22A is probably the most common swap for your car. The Prelude powerplants are potent, very easily swapped and readily available. There are a handful of things to keep in mind when you're doing the swap. You'll need to add the VTEC solenoid, VTEC pressure switch, knock sensor and secondary intake solenoid to your original engine harness.
Your Accord's axles and half-shaft will be enough for an H22. You can also use the F22's motor mounts for the H22, although you'll need to swap the front-mount bracket from the F22 onto the H22. Additionally the H22's transmission will need to be drilled and tapped to use the Accord's transmission mount, but the holes and studs are already there so it shouldn't be hard to figure out which tap you'll need and where to use it. Your stock air conditioning and power steering systems will also work in the H22.
It's a straightforward swap that experienced engine swappers should be able to do easily. The only downside for some is the price. Expect to pay between $2,000 and $3,000 for an H22A swap. Another option is the F22B. The F22B is rated at 160 hp from the factory and can be had for less than $1,000. It is definitely a less expensive alternative to the H22 for Accord guys, but it does come at a price: no VTEC. Check out page 68 in this issue for a how-to on putting an F22B into a fourth-generation Accord. - DB
One Man's Quest I have a 1990 CRX Si with a B-series swap. What's the best header to use other than the one that Hasport makes? Thank you for your help in my quest for more power.TimVia the Internet
Tim, there are more options than you might think. There are literally dozens of B-series headers on the market and we're certain there's at least one that will accommodate your needs.
Most 4-2-1 headers for the B-series will fit into your CRX without modifying the crossmember up front. You can get a 4-2-1 header from one of many popular companies: DC, GReddy, A'PEXi, Edelbrock, Pacesetter and Chikara, just to name a few.
If you intend on going the 4-into-1 route you'll likely have to do one of two things. Your first option is to modify the existing front crossmember. The design of the 4-into-1 manifold creates a clearance issue with the crossmember, so the crossmember will have to be "notched" by cutting out the section that will get in the way of your header. After the material is cut away you will need to reinforce the crossmember, particularly the compromised area. Be warned: modifying your crossmember will require some advanced fabrication skills. If you don't feel comfortable doing the modifications yourself, track down a fabrication shop in your area.
The other option is running an aftermarket crossmember. L-CON Racecar Fabrication in California (714/366-1711) and Full Race in Arizona (866/FULL RACE) are two companies that make tubular replacement crossmembers for your car. These crossmembers, or traction bars, are bolt-on replacements for the stock crossmember. They will leave you with enough room to accommodate almost any OEM or aftermarket header available for the B-series. These crossmembers also have the benefit of Heim-jointed radius arms that should reduce deflection of the lower control arm, preventing wheel hop and potentially lowering 60-foot times.
Depending on the header you choose, you may or may not have to modify its length to attach it to your exhaust. Any exhaust shop should be able to do that for you, though.
Finally, we wouldn't rule out the Hasport header. We've never heard anything but praise for it, and it has the advantage of being built specifically for your application. - DB
No One Reads Our TechI have a '93 Civic hatchback with a D15B non-VTEC motor in it and I was thinking of swapping on a single-cam VTEC head. I am trying to spend around $2,000. So what needs to be changed? What kind of modifications can I make to it so I can get the most horsepower out of it?Damian V.Via the Internet
Your magazine is the best and I've been buying it for about five years. I own a '95 Civic DX with a stock non-VTEC motor, the D15B7, which is rated at about 102 hp and has 100,000 miles. My friend Ralph said you can do a VTEC head swap from a '96-to-'98 Civic onto a '92-to-'95 non-VTEC block. I want to know which one would be cheaper to do, a '96-to-'98 VTEC motor swap with the ECU, or the VTEC head swap.
If I was to do the VTEC head swap, what steps should I take and how much do you think it will cost to do? If I did a complete engine swap, how much will that cost? All I want to do is pop VTEC for the spring and summer. Are there any books I can buy to make this job easier? I have a Haynes repair manual. If you can help me out I will be happy.Sonic Team120Via the Internet
By the time you guys read this you will hopefully have already seen the March and April issues of HT. We did a VTEC head swap (or Mini-Me, as it's also commonly referred to) on Editor Bob's old four-door Civic
That said, swapping in a complete SOHC VTEC motor is not much different than doing a head swap. The wiring and basic installation are generally the same. The parts list will be the same except for the bottom-end pieces. You'll need a complete bottom end, water pump, water pipe, oil pump, lower timing belt cover, crank pulley, and an oil filter. It will probably also be a good time to replace the seals in the bottom end. A bottom end gasket kit is cheap insurance against leaks and engine problems in the future.
As for the cost difference, it runs about $200 to $300 more for a complete single-cam VTEC motor than it would for just a VTEC head. In terms of reference materials, you probably should buy a manual for both of the motors you are hybridizing, or one for the car and one for the motor you are swapping into it. Having both manuals, especially the wiring and other diagrams, can save you hours of frustration later on. - DB
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