Exhaust Notes - Reader Mail June 2008
Auto-To-Manual Laundry List
I have a '98 Integra LS. I love this car and have put tons of money into it. The only thing really holding me back is that this car is an automatic. I am starting my research on doing an auto-to-manual swap and am having trouble finding a specific list of all the parts I need. I was wondering if you could supply me with this list and let me know anything else important that could help or hurt this conversion. By the way, awesome magazine. As far as I'm concerned it's the best mag money can buy.
-Thanks, John Early III via the Internet
Besides the manual transmission, you're going to need an ECU sourced from a manual transmission Integra RS or LS-either that or have the means to modify yours, which isn't terribly difficult. To avoid unnecessary wiring, be sure to pick up a '98-'01 model. The most important thing you'll need, besides the transmission, is a conversion mount kit. Hasport has got you covered here with its adapter mount, part number: DCAMH, which is worth its weight in gold since it'll save you from cutting and welding. You'll also need a rear engine bracket and intermediate shaft, also from a manual transmission Integra. In terms of hydraulics, get yourself a manual transmission pedal assembly, clutch master cylinder and reservoir, slave cylinder and, if you really want to do it right, all of the OEM brackets and hard lines. Plan on picking up a shift linkage too-you can get this from any '94-'01 manual transmission Integra. You'll need the entire assembly from the shifter itself to the washer, pin, bushing, and hardware that connect it to the transmission. Of course, a manual transmission gauge cluster and shift boot will give the appearance that nothing's ever been tampered with, but that's just us being picky.
I recently purchased a '91 Honda Civic DX 1.5-liter, four-door sedan. I was wondering, if I wanted to upgrade the motor and transmission with the least amount of customizing, and tune it up (either turbo or nitro), what motor combo would you recommend? Thanks for your time.
First of all, we're pretty sure you mean nitrous oxide, not nitro. Top Fuel Funny Cars, which make more than 7,000 hp and change head gaskets more often than you change underwear, run on nitro methane. A few drops of that in your Civic's gas tank and you'll blow that 1.5 liter to smithereens. But you wanted to know about upgrades. Well, you can fiddle with your non-VTEC single-cam all you want but a SOHC VTEC or twin-cam engine swap will make for the least amount of customizing. We've got nothing against SOHC, non-VTEC Honda engines, but the time, money, and effort you'll spend making that D-series comparable power-wise to, say, a bone-stock B16A, simply won't be worth it. EF B-series swaps are tried-and-true-they have a wealth of aftermarket support and you can even get one to pass a California smog test. You can't say that about a heavily modified D15.
B-Series Breaking Point
I heard that the B18C rods can only handle 50 more horsepower. Is that true? I've seen a lot of stock Honda engines with the Vortech supercharger running 270 hp at 7 psi. Is that reliable or does it need some building?
-Thanks, Peter / Ontario, Canada
In short, this is false. You may recall last month's issue where we tested a nearly stock B16A's limits, which, in all practicality, is quite similar to a B18C. With proper tuning, we were able to coax over 507 hp out of it at 24 psi and that's with stock cylinder walls and, oh yes, stock connecting rods. The key is proper tuning. Although we wouldn't recommend daily driving with 500 hp and a stock bottom end, a Vortech supercharged B-series is not entirely out of the question. Just make sure you address details like fuel delivery and ignition timing. This is where blowups most often occur.
What's up HT mag? I'm building my K24/K20 hybrid and read somewhere that some F20C stuff can be used on the K-series, like cams, pistons, and valve springs. But I just wanted to get it straight from HT. Is it really possible to use any parts from an F20 on a K and, if so, can you tell me which parts? Any help would be appreciated.
-Jose / West Babylon, N. Y.
We consulted our local guru of all things K-related, John Grudynski of HyTech Exhaust, because we've yet to experiment with such cross-platform trickery. The answer: you're out of luck. Such S2000 parts just aren't interchangeable without being heavily modified to do so. The pistons are a different alloy designed for the F's fiber-reinforced cylinder liners. Their expansion rates are quite different than that of K-series pistons, which would create significant problems in terms of piston-to-wall clearances at even normal operating temperatures. As for the cams, they spin the opposite way so forget about those right now. John supposes that you might be able to use the valve springs and retainers, but why would you? The one part that is interchangeable with your K is the S2000's oil pump, although such a swap is rather pointless what with all of the enhancements available for the K pump from companies like, you guessed it, HyTech.
BUILD AND SWAP
I'm building a B16A3. I know it's out of a '94-'95 Del Sol. Can you point me in the right direction for bore specs, crank journal specs, and any other internal engine specs I might need to help me with the build. Also, what might I need to put the engine in a '88 Civic hatchback? The Civic has a manual transmission. Will I need to use the '94-'95 Del Sol ECU and electronics? Any help with putting the two wiring harnesses together would be great.
-Thanks so much, Anthony Rutledge / Bakersfield, Calif.
As far as your engine build goes, get a factory service manual. We could open ours and rattle off specs to you but, sooner or later, you're going to need your own. You'll need torque specs for the entire engine's internals, piston ring endgap specs, crank and rod bearing specs, and a whole lot more. Get the manual; you'll be glad you did. As for the swap, you'll need an engine mount kit to stick that B in your Civic. Check out Hasport-they have exactly what you need, including the mounts and even the cable-to-hydraulic transmission adapter kit that will allow you to use the newer style transmission. You have two choices when it comes to wiring: you could use the Del Sol ECU but you'll need an adapter harness to make the OBD-I computer compatible with your underdash harness or you could find yourself an OBD-0 B16A ECU, which is only available from Japanese wrecking yards but will plug right in. Of course, when going this route you'll need to downgrade your distributor and oxygen sensor to older pieces since they aren't compatible with the older ECU. As far as wiring harnesses go, you'll want to reuse your D-series engine harness and modify it appropriately with the Del Sol engine harness', plugs, and connectors. Oh, and you'll need to wire VTEC up with either ECU. Either way, you've got your work cut out for you as the swap you purchased is actually plug-and-play for '92-'00 Civics, not '88-'91s.
I've been a subscriber for three or four years now and I'm proud to say that I still have most, if not all, of the magazines. I know I only get nine issues a year, but it would be nice to know what months I will be getting a magazine. There are times I want to call about a missed issue because I have no idea when the next issue will be coming. I was looking over the back issues list on the Web site and I saw one I didn't have (Aug. '07). I went ahead and bought it ($9), but if I had known I would have e-mailed about it at that time. I just assumed it was a month you weren't going to make an issue. Thanks for any help you can give a dedicated subscriber and Honda head.
-Jeremy Scicchitano / Hampton, Va.
It's time to clear up the confusion as to how many issues of HT readers can expect each year and when exactly they should expect them. You're right, look for nine issues a year. Issues for July, August, September, and October will be business as usual but that's where the normalcy ends. November, December, and January will all be clumped into a single "Winter" issue and will be followed by a February/March combo issue. The remaining three will return to normal monthly issues-April, May, and June. Let the confusion stop.
Honda Challenge Wannabe
Whaddup Honda Tuning? I've probably spent a quarter of my life's liquid cash on your mags so you should feel great. OK, real question: On page 20 of the Feb/Mar '08 issue, Andy Hope was running the white Toyo sponsored H2 Civic. What kind of tires are on the car? I ask because I am building a HC (Honda Challenge) car and I like the throwback look of race tires with white lettering, so I was wondering if the "Toyo Tires" lettering came from the factory like that or if they were painted on. Either way, if you could put me on to how to get my hands on the tire or the stencil, hook it up please.
Oh, and while I'm at it, let me ask your opinion. So I got an EG hatch with a B18C, CTR pistons, and ITR tranny with a 4.7 final drive and full Skunk2 top end. If I run in HC, I guess I'm automatically put in the H1 class because of my higher compression, which is 12.1:1. Do you think that the H1 class is too competitive for a rookie?
-Thanks in advance, Nuatu Tseggai via the Internet
Ordway's Tim Benson
(www.signsupply.com) cut the stencils out of vinyl. I (Andy Hope) stuck on a new stencil for each logo, then masked the rest of the tire, and hit it with white spray paint. It took a few tries to get the stencils sized with the right curvature. If you're running 15s, he might be able to sell you some, otherwise any good sticker shop should be able to make them for you.
I think you'll find that there are fast drivers in all of the Honda Challenge classes. Depending on the number of cars in your region, it won't be any easier to win in a lower class than it will be in H1. If you were starting from scratch, I'd recommend starting in H4. It's great for learning because each time you make a mistake you'll watch your competitors pull away. That class forces you to drive perfectly. On the flip side, the open nature of the H1 rules means that some cars are going to be faster than others. This makes it hard to judge how well you and your car are doing. Some drivers build a really fast car but never learn to drive it that well since they win races anyway. Since you already have the engine I say just go for H1. Too many would-be racers never step up since they're worried about having the perfect equipment. With the '08 rule revision choking up the K engine and weighing down the B20 VTECs, your high-compression B18C should be the H1 engine of choice for the foreseeable future. Just don't get discouraged if the more experienced racers beat you and, if you come out winning, remember it's on you to push yourself even harder.
- Andy Hope
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