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Old 01-18-2005, 09:11 AM   #1
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Default What Motor Should I Use?

Original Article Text by: extasy
Updates/Editing/Formatting by: 94accordex

Motor choice is primarily based on what you want the car to do. Do you want a straight-line drag car, a quick daily driver, a mix between the two, or do you want a setup more suited for road courses and auto-crossing?

D-Series

I'll start with the most common Honda motor, the trusty D-series. These are 1.5 liter SOHC (88-95 D15B), 1.6 SOHC VTEC (92-95 D16Z, 96-00 D16Y), 1.6 SOHC (88-91 D16A, 96-00) and 1.6 DOHC (86-89 Integra D16A) found in most U.S. Civics, CRXs and Del Sols.

They range anywhere from 68-130 hp. The upside to these motors is that there are lots of them, parts are relatively cheap, and they have decent HP potential. I'm a huge fan of this motor, I like the "underdog" sense of accomplishment when you have a quick D-series.

Their downfall is that they have limits on high RPM horsepower and the single cam design limits the valve timing since you can't adjust the intake and exhaust valves separately (except the D16A from the 86-89 Integra). Like many Honda motors, these can benefit from hybrid conversions; one of the best is probably the 1.5 block with the 1.6 SOHC VTEC head.

Useless fact for bragging rights: the 92 Civic SI was the first U.S. based Honda (aside from the NSX) to use the VTEC system.

There are JDM D-series motors that are popular enough to mention. The D15/VTEC for example, which is basically the hybrid mentioned above but was factory installed in some JDM cars. The next is the DOHC ZC, most commonly used by 88-91 Civic owners as a direct swap. The DOHC ZC, although rare, did come matched to a hydraulic transmission and was fitted into some JDM 92-95 Civics.

With the right hp to weight ratio these motors are very capable in road course applications and some have even broken into the single digit 1/4 mile times.

B-Series

Next up is the B-series. These seem to be the most popular for swaps since they were factory installed in many JDM Civics starting around 1989. The B16A DOHC VTEC is a pretty good all around motor that is best suited for high RPM driving. Like the D-series, the B16A is pretty easy to get. Parts are a little more expensive than the SOHC, but this motor does allow adjustment of the exhaust and intake valves individually. This is pretty much a direct bolt-in into the 92-00 Civics and with some minor alterations can fit the 88-91 Civics. The sibling to the B16A is the B18C, commonly found in the Integra GSR & Type-R. The B18C boasts a slightly higher displacement over the B16A (1.8 liter vs. 1.6 liter). There is some argument over the exact hp figures of the B18C1(GSR) motor versus the B16A; most claims are 172 hp for the B18C versus 160 hp for the B16A, but aside from intake manifold differences these motors are pretty much identical with the exception of the displacement difference. Again, these motors, like the D-series are fairly versatile. They can run a daily driver, be very good in auto-cross and have broken the 1000 hp mark in drag applications.

The next of the B-series is the B18 non-VTEC from the 90-01 Integra LS/RS/GS. These can be mated with a B16A or B18C VTEC head for a very good motor. The non-VTEC B18 frequently finds itself displaced from its home to power 88-00 Civics.

The last of the B-series is the B20 from the CRV. While not very popular in OEM trim (except for CRV owners), it is very popular to add a B16 or B18 DOHC VTEC head and swap into a Civic or Integra for the best of both worlds: the low end torque (that's right...torque, one of the downsides to Honda motors is the lack of this) and the high rpm breathing of the VTEC head.

F-Series

Next up is the F series commonly found in Accords. I don't know much about the F-series motors aside from the fact that the F20C powers my S2000. The F-series motors not found in S2000s come mainly in SOHC configurations both VTEC & non-VTEC.

H-Series

Lastly, with the exception of some less common "swappable" motors is the H-series engines from the Prelude. These come in a couple setups: the H23 and the H22. The H22 is offered as a DOHC VTEC found in the Prelude and JDM/European Accord Type-R. The H-series is a big, heavy motor that finds its way into Accords and Civics quite frequently. It can power a Civic with ease, but will also unbalance the car by making it front heavy. It is not a direct swap into a Civic and requires some moderate fabrication and additional parts.

The H-series is a popular swap among Accord owners. Like the others mentioned above, it is subject to hybridization by matching the H22 DOHC VTEC head to the H23 block. This motor, in a Civic, would be best suited for straight line performance.

K-Series

[Information coming soon]

And there you have it, a quick breakdown of the motor options available for some of the more common Hondas on the road. Once you have decided on what you want to achieve with the car then you can start on what motor or motor setup you feel would tailor best to your needs.
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Last edited by 94accordex; 12-14-2007 at 12:58 AM. Reason: Added additional formatting, updated with new information
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