Everyone's after a bargain. Whether at the local shopping center or the grocery store, you're always looking for the best deal. In the ever-expensive import realm, more power always requires more cash flow. For example, the Japan-spec B16A is the hot ticket when it comes to bargain engine transplants. For about $2,500 to $3,000, you can have a complete B16A installed into your Honda. Out of the box, the potent 1.6-liter pushes 160-hp at the flywheel (about 130 to 135 hp at the wheels)-not bad when compared with a 1.8-liter non-VTEC engine that pumps about 120 hp to the wheels.
After adding all the basic bolt-ons-intake, exhaust, header, cam gears, etc.-you can push the power envelope of the B16A to about 145 to 150 hp at the wheels. Unlike the B18A non-VTEC engine, the B16A lacks torque due to its smaller displacement and considerably shorter stroke (77mm for the B16A and 89mm for the B18A). The solution: install a B18B 1.8-liter non-VTEC bottom-end and convert the B16A to an LS/VTEC Frankenstein hybrid.
You can easily find a core LS bottom-end at the local dismantling yard for about $200 to $300. However, the engine needs to be rebuilt with new internals, bearings, seals, oil pump, etc. When rebuilding an LS bottom-end for a hybrid conversion, we recommend either shimming the oil pump for more pressure or using a GS-R or DOHC B16A oil pump.
We used flat top JE Pistons to maintain the same 10.0:1 compression as the B16A engine. Installing the B18B requires modification of the dowel area on the B16A head and an oil supply source for the VTEC solenoid. After fitting the head onto the block, we installed the entire long block into the Integra.
Prior to the hybrid conversion the vehicle was making 145.3 hp and 111.5 lb-ft of torque at the wheels with a DC Sports two-piece header, Tanabe exhaust, AEM cold-air intake and A'pexi V-AFC. After the conversion, we bumped peak power production to 159.7 hp and 123.8 lb-ft of torque to the wheels-an increase of 14.4 hp and 12.3 lb-ft of torque.
The hybrid retained all of the bolt-ons from the B16, making this an apples to apples comparison. For more on how these power gains were realized, check out the fuel tuning article on page 30. The biggest advantage of the hybrid is the amount of extra torque available at all times, much needed to power the Integra.
Stay tuned next month as we install an Unorthodox Racing underdrive pulley and aluminum flywheel as well as a JG Edelbrock intake manifold and throttle body.