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1991 Honda Civic Hatch - Tech Support

Where we cure all your tech problems.

Jonathan Wong
Mar 14, 2012

We know how difficult it can be to work on cars; believe us, we’ve had more than our share of problems over the years, too. Good thing we’re willing to share this knowledge of problem solving with you and act like we know something technical about cars. Feel free to ask us your tech problems by writing to Super Street at or Super Street, Attn: Tech Support, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245. We’ll try out best to answer your questions but can’t answer every one we receive personally or in print, so if your issue is urgent, we highly recommend you seeking the help of a nearby mechanic! Also, try to do some basic research online; while the Internet and forums aren’t all foolproof, it is a very good start as there are many excellent resources to look at. If it helps to include a few photos to describe/illustrate your problem/project, please do so.

Sstp 1203 01+1991 honda civic hatch+tailyr monette Photo 1/3   |   Model: Tailyr Monette,
Q I own a ‘91 Civic hatch with a D15B7 and I want to go B-Series but I’ve been told not to trust online sites that sell JDM motors. Some people say I should go with the Honda CRV’s B20 with a ITR’s tranny?
Victor Guillen
Via the Internet

A If you’re looking into picking up a motor we do recommend picking it up locally so you can inspect it first. If you want to have a transmission that is worth three times what the engine is worth, then the B20/ITR trans is a good setup, but you’d be better off all-around to use the same money for a complete B16A swap.

My neck, my back
Q I have a 2003 Nissan 350Z with about 46k on the clock. Currently, I have a NISMO cold-air intake and a Stillen true dual exhaust with high-flow cats. I also have a nice set of BBS 18" wheels with Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 wrapped around them. I was wondering what my next step should be. I don’t mind saving up for high quality, but the most important thing to note is that I had to get three spine bones replaced with titanium along with two rods added. I would like to get lighter seats but ones that wouldn’t kill me. Also, I can’t take too stiff of a suspension or clutch because of the same problem. I’m not looking for a rocket, but I do want something that will beat your average car and corner just as well.
Tim Shedloc
Via the Internet

Sstp 1203 03+1991 honda civic hatch+kw Photo 2/3   |   1991 Honda Civic Hatch - Tech Support

A Hey Tim it sounds like you’ve got really good taste given the mods you’ve done so far. We find time and time again that KW’s line of coilovers offer the best balance of comfort on the street and performance on the track. That’s why we keep installing them on our own rides. As far as seats are concerned we’d recommend looking into reclining seats like Recaro Speed or Bride Cuga. As far as clutches are concerned most Nissan guys swear by the NISMO Copper Mix units and given their OEM quality we’d presume engagement should be excellent.

DSM (Don’t Start, Man.)
Q I am having trouble with my 1995 Eclipse GST. I had the car sitting in my garage for the past month and a half, I had to recharge the battery, and when I put it back into the car I noticed there was no power going to the diagnostic port, interior lights, radio, door ajar signal, as well as the ignition signal. I checked all fuses and everything seemed to be fine. I am wondering if it could be a bad ECU, I do have DSMLink installed. I am out of ideas and can’t seem to find anyone that can help, even on forums like DSMTuner and DSMTalk.
Geff Delcin
Via the Internet

A To answer your first question, yes it could be a bad ECU, although it’s rare they do fail from time to time. However, your problem is too difficult to diagnose given the amount of information we have. We’d recommend taking the car to the dealer or a reputable mechanic shop as a professional should be able to diagnose the problem in less than hour. Once you know what’s wrong with the car you have the right to refuse repair and can do it yourself, you will have to pay a diagnostic fee though, but it beats sitting around scratching your head and scouring the Internet for bad info.

The deal, like Shaquille O’Neal
Q What’s the deal with aftermarket companies lately? I’ve noticed they’ve jacked the prices way up for parts being made based on what vehicles they’re for (new Nissans for instance) and not materials used or labor performed which I’ve noticed is discouraging for people that want a newer car but don’t want it to be dull as dishwater. It seems a little ridiculous to charge so much for basically the same product especially when the same company makes it just because it’s for a GT-R instead of a Civic.
Puyallup, WA

A We hate to break it to you, Benski, but this isn’t anything new. It actually has more to do with the OEMs than it does the aftermarket industry. Depending on the value of particular car, the aftermarket components will fluctuate in price accordingly. For example, if you try to sell a Titanium exhaust to a GT-R owner for $3000 it’s going to seem too cheap and gives an impression of poor quality since the factory piece costs twice that. However, $3000 would be absurdly expensive in the Civic community and only the highest quality hand-built pieces can command those prices. We’re sure there’s a term to describe this phenomenon but we dropped out way before we learned what it’s called.

Subie-size me
Q I have a 2004 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS with 121,000 miles on it. It was my daily driver for 6 years and now only gets used during the winter. I was thinking of making a clean street driven vehicle to autocross, track and just whip around on the highway—all of this on a reasonable budget. I have the suspension and wheels sorted out, keeping it simple. The engine is where I’m uncertain. I’m staying naturally-aspirated by choice because I just want a fun car that won’t be complicated to repair when something malfunctions. Aside from intake, headers and exhaust, I thought about just rebuilding the block with stock components and focus on porting polishing the head for better flow and breathing. This would give me a reliable engine that breaths better and maybe improve the power output slightly. Am I heading in the right direction?
Kwame Heywood
Yorktown Heights, NY

Sstp 1203 02+1991 honda civic hatch+2004 subaru impreza Photo 3/3   |   1991 Honda Civic Hatch - Tech Support

A It sounds like you’re already pretty well-informed, especially considering you said “when something malfunctions” rather than if. It’s our personal experience that building engines to their limits usually ends in some kind of catastrophic failure after very little use, so if reliability is a big concern we think rebuilding the motor using factory components and complimenting with some mild headwork is definitely the best route. So basically what we’re trying to say is you didn’t need our help after all!

F20C it to Believe it
Q I have a Nissan 180SX and would like to swap a Honda F20C motor into it. What would I need to do in order to pull this swap off?
Daryl Bogans
Acworth, GA

A Without sounding like huge dicks (which we actually are—SK) if you have to ask this kind of question, you’ll probably never be capable of completing such a task. We’ve seen F20Cs throw into just about every chassis you can imagine but don’t recall seeing any in an S13, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. You’ll have to custom fabricate mounts, crossmembers and the driveline to name a few difficulties. Once that’s done you’ll have to deal with the wiring, which will likely be the biggest pain in the ass. It’s do-able, but it’s not a Fisher Price “my first engine swap” if you know what we mean.

By Jonathan Wong
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