What can I say? I did it. Years of planning and dreaming of a swap
have come to a very satisfactory end. This page will include my
experience with the operation as well as some pointers and ideas if
you chose to do the same or in the process of researching this
Questions or Comments
It all begins with the thought of, "what can I do to seriously add
power and enjoyment to my ride?" I had all sorts of crazy ideas
floating through my head. Chips making 20hp, intakes producing 15hp,
headers that give you a whopping 20-25hp!!!! Uh...okay. Most of us
start off on the wrong foot. Believing everything in the magazines.
Once the painful truth emerged, I realized that to make some serious
horsepower it was going to take more than an air filter and a cam to
get what I wanted.
With that in mind, I looked into more elaborate modifications.
Quite honestly, anything more than an intake or exhaust was going to
kill me financially, so I decided to look for the option that would
give me the most bang for the buck as well as future potential. I
looked into turbos and superchargers, but when you look at the
numbers, it doesn't look good. With the stock bottom end on the
original D16Z6 single overhead cam VTEC engine, it isn't possible to
safely boost over 5-6 psi. With the Jackson Racing supercharger, the
civic puts out roughly 145-150 hp. Having lined up to a JR SC equipped
civic at the drag strip, I realized that the kit was a joke. Running a
pathetic 15.6 in the quarter was enough to make me realize that
building the stock engine, in any way, would be a waste. Turbos seemed
to give better quarter mile times, but I was still not impressed.
What now? The answer is obvious. Engine Swap. The good guys at The Hybrid Garage
provided enough information to first fuel the dream and then later
pursue it. Which Engine do I want? There are so many to choose from.
There's the Integra RS/LS/GS 1.8L DOHC non-VTEC engine (B18B), the
Integra GS-R 1.8l DOHC VTEC(B18C1), Integra Type R DOHC VTEC (B18C5),
The Del Sol VTEC 1.6L DOHC VTEC (B16A3). For starters, any non-VTEC
engines were pretty much out of the question. In a way, I didn't feel
like loosing the technology that I already had; that being VTEC. The
concept of VTEC is awesome and the thought of loosing it seemed
ludicrous. The Type R engine would have been awesome with it's 195hp,
tightly geared transmission, and LSD, but the thought of really
digging into the wiring harness was a bit frightening. The same goes
for any '96 and up engine due to the emissions friendly OBD-II
computers. It came down to the Integra GS-R engine and the Del Sol
VTEC engine. For a while, I thought a 10 hp difference would be
negligible. I was horribly wrong. Some people will argue that the B16A
engine is a better choice for a swap, however, the lack of low end
torque makes it a bear to drive at times. On the other hand, the B18C1
develops very nice torque at the bottom. Although most of us would
like to race "all the time" the reality of normal driving would
dictate that nice low end torque is a necessity. In all honesty,
having to drive the car like "you just stole it", for normal driving
can be rather tiresome.
That solves it. The Integra GS-R engine was the choice.
Once I made the decision, it was time to determine exactly what I
needed and what had to be done to make this work.
The nice thing about having the EX civic was that I already had
most of the wiring necessary. The only wires that had to be added were
the Intake Air Bypass wire and the Knock Sensor wire. Piece of cake!
In order for everything to work properly, I would need the engine,
transmission, shift linkage, half shafts and intermediate shaft, and
the ECU. To retain the stock AC compressor, I would also need the Del
Sol VTEC AC bracket. To retain Power Steering, I would need the
Integra power steering pump. I would also need to pick up the GS-R's
catalytic converter for the reason that the O2 sensor is mounted in
the cat. The alternative would be to pick up a B16 Exhaust manifold.
In the process of doing research, I discovered a potential problem.
My civic had factory ABS. This was an option that I requested when I
originally ordered the car. The civic's ABS pump was mounted low on
the firewall on the passenger side. After having studied the B18C1 I
realized that the intake manifold's bizarre shape positioned the
throttle body in a bad spot with respect to the ABS pump. Not sure if
it was going to be a "serious" issue, I pressed on.
**A note for anyone that may be doing a swap in the future, the
'96-'98 B18C1's will work with the OBD-I computer. The engine was the
same from '94-'98. All you would need to do is pick up a '94-'95
computer. The only disadvantage to using an OBD-II engine is the cost
of picking up an OBD-I computer.
Locating the parts...
I had contemplated trying to locate a Japanese version of the
engine (JDM) The same engine in Japan produces a little more power
than the US version. This is due to the higher compression pistons
they use in Japan. I had read on several occasions that JDM engine
suppliers have a very limited time to pull engines. This can lead to a
rather messy engine in terms of wires or hoses that have been cut,
rather than disconnected. Another issue, is that most JDM packages do
not come with wiring harnesses, shift linkage and axels or even
Back in 1997, I met an individual by the name of Jerome Soh over
Honda Performance email list. At that time, Jerome was a small guy
that sold a few parts over the internet. Over the past 3 years, I'd
gotten to know that his service and commitment are matched by no one.
Along with that, he developed a used Honda parts company called Sohfast Auto Parts, Inc. Jerome
carries probably the most complete packages that you can buy. You do
pay a little more for it, but he makes sure you are 100% satisfied. He
earned my trust over the years by the little bits and pieces that I
had ordered from him.
Check is in the mail...
It was time to commit to the project. My original request was for a
B18C1 with a Type R transmission, but there wasn't one available at
the time. Since I had already allotted the money for the tranny
upgrade, I thought I would add a few more parts to the list. Along
with the engine, I ordered an ACT 6-puck clutch, Xtreme pressure plate
and a Sohfast Lightened flywheel.
After I sent in the payment, I decided that some maintenance
hardware was in order. The new engine had about 50,000 miles. As
anyone would know, doing any maintenance to an engine is easier when
it isn't in the car. With that knowledge, I ordered a new water pump,
front main seal, rear main seal, cam seals, timing belt, timing belt
tensioner and valve cover gasket. I also ordered a new distributor cap
and rotor as well as plug wires.
Prepping the Civic...
Obligatory "sitting in the engine compartment" picture.
I was forced to start the swap process earlier than I had planned
due to a spun rod bearing.
At this time, I didn't even have the donor engine in my
possession. At any rate, I started the process by removing the old
engine. I was rather amazed by how easy it is to disassemble a Honda.
The wiring is so easy to remove. On the civic there are 3 harness
plugs on the passenger side, and three on the driver's side.
Disconnect them and flop them over the engine. That's it! A few hours
later and the engine was hanging by two motor mounts.
With the engine out, I was able to work on the wiring. I discovered
that it was easier to use the civic's original EVAP purge wire for the
IAB control. I swapped the EVAP purge wire for the IAB on the ECU plug
harness and ran a new EVAP purge wire as well as the 12v wire to a 4th
harness plug on the passenger side. You have to get this from the
integra harness. After that, add the knock sensor wire and the wiring
is done. Mind you, this is in an EX civic. On any other trim, you may
have to add more wires. Here are a couple of shots of the new wiring
that I passed through the firewall.
Other than doing the wiring, there isn't anything else that needs
to be done.
Prepping the engine...
After washing off nearly every molecule of dirt, I started to do
the maintenance work on the B18C1. First off I replaced the water
pump, timing belt, timing belt tensioner, front main seal, and cam
Another option I picked up was STR's cam seal. A common problem
with B-block Honda's is an oil leak caused by the cam seal in front of
the distributor. The seal becomes hard over time and cannot prevent
oil from leaking out. STR's solution is a machined aluminum version
that utilizes O-rings. The
installation was very easy and has not leaked a drop since I've
After procuring a clutch centering tool, I was able to install my
new rear main seal, flywheel, pilot bearing, clutch, pressure plate
and throw out bearing. With the tranny back on the engine, I
reinstalled the Intermediate shaft as well as anything else that could
be installed prior to installing the engine. With all of the
maintenance work complete (see pics below), it was time to shoe-horn
the engine into the civic.
Dropping it in...
The installation went really well. I can honestly say that there
were no real complications throughout the entire process. The only
tricky step was getting the rear mount back onto the engine. After
that, it was just a matter of plugging the harness together, attaching
hoses, finishing up the motor mounts and adding fluids.
The ABS pump did pose a problem after dropping the engine in, but
nothing serious. Some minor brake line and wire rerouting and
everything was fine.
The only outside help that I needed was to take the car to an
exhaust shop to have the exhaust lengthened. The exhaust manifold and
cat combination was shorter than the original engine. Not a problem.
Sounded pretty cool on the way to the shop.
One other important note that I think should be made is that the
Civic's stock radiator has smaller fittings than the GS-R's.
Temporarily, I've double clamped the hoses but I intend to either pick
up an aftermarket radiator or a Del Sol VTEC's radiator.
The first thing that I noticed with the new equipment, is that the
throttle response is much better with the new lightweight flywheel as
compared to a B18C1 with a stock flywheel. The 6-puck ACT clutch was a
challenge to manipulate. Once on the road, the difference was
immediately noticed. There is torque everywhere. Although it still
isn't a great deal of torque, compared to the stock D16Z6, if feels
great. After pushing it to redline, all I could do was grin. The
tighter gear ratios are also readily apparent. The extra torque makes
traffic maneuvers so much easier and requires so much less effort.
I've discovered that I can casually drive the car now. Before, I
felt the need to beat the car in order to keep up with traffic or to
get moving. Power shifting and redline were an everyday event. Now, I
almost never power shift and 5-6k is the general limit for each gear
for perky take off's.
The ACT is a remarkable clutch offering very quick shifting when
you need it. Grinding gears is pretty much a thing of the past...aside
form driver error. However, it is a bit much for normal driving. It is
very difficult to slip the clutch and take off smoothly. I've grown
accustomed to technique necessary to use this clutch, but ever so
often I botch my launch or let up on the clutch to quickly, resulting
in a herky jerky shift.
Bottom line? I'm completely satisfied with the results of the swap.
I would do it again in a heart beat!!
The Next Step
I've already been asked the question as to what my next project is
going to be. I've thought of what I want to do and come to this
conclusion: I want to enjoy the car right now. The swap took a lot of
energy and time. I would like to enjoy what the car has to offer now
before I start digging into another big project.
However, here's a list of things I've been considering:
I may swap in a more "user-friendly" clutch in the near future. I'm
still debating whether or not to leave the 6-puck alone.
I need to do some suspension work before I really do anything else.
My Tokico HP's are loosing their effectiveness. Plus the shocks cannot
compensate for the extra weight of the new engine. After shocks, I
need to look into replacing a few bushings to try and tighten up the
responsiveness of the car.
Once that's out of the way, I've been toying with the idea of using
the Honda CR-V's engine block to make some intense low end torque. The
CR-V's B20 block is compatible with any B-block hardware available.
What I would like to do with a B20Z block is send it out and have it
prepped to work with my current cylinder head. Before I decide how I'm
going to build the block, I need to determine if I want to go turbo
If I don't choose to go turbo, in the future, I would like to raise
the compression as high as I can while still using premium pump fuel.
If I choose to go turbo there are many other factors that need to
be resolved before I can install a turbo.
Swap "How to" by C-Speed Racing Development
A Year Later...
After year of tinkering and tuning, I thought it would be a great
idea to give my impressions after about 27,000 miles. First, I want
to address the concerns and issues the I brought up in "The Next Step"
I nearly logged 14,000 miles on the ACT 6-puck clutch and decided
that the aggressive nature of the clutch was too much for a daily
driver. Driving to work in the morning with one eye open provided to
be a very challenging task. I broke down and installed ACT's Street
disk and used the same pressure plate. Read about my impressions
It didn't take very long to realize that my Tokico's just plain
sucked! After a few autocrosses, I realized that I was running slower
than I did with the old engine. Why? The car was too fast for the
suspension to keep up. At first, I was very disappointed with the
fact that a relatively stock DX hatchback could out run me. My first
step was to replace the 80,000 mile Tokico HP's (yeah, I think they
had a lot to do with it!). I installed KYB AGX shocks.
I could tell the difference immediately! I picked up the pace at
the track but I was still not satisfied. I was still
encountering nasty under steer. My next step was to replace the
Bridgestone RE730's with their S03 Pole Position tires mounted on
Kosei K1 racing wheels. In the meantime, I added Z-10's radius
Armed with the new hardware, I headed out to see what I had
accomplished. Much to my surprise, the car handled superbly. The
combination of new shocks, tires, wheels, and radius arm kit proved to
be a winner. I managed a spot as the 5th fastest out of 110 drivers
on my first day out! Each race following that successful event was
met with equal or better performance.
I've learned quite a bit about racing and my car this last season.
The need for finesse and proper tuning became very obvious. What I
find really interesting, is that I'm not done with my proposed
I also resolved the problem with the small radiator fittings using
Fluidyne's Civic radiator with larger Integra fittings. Read about it
Another modification that I feel needs to be mentioned is making
cheap Poly Urethane motor mounts. Ben, my Nissan buddy, pointed out
that you can buy different forms of Urethane that can be used to fill
motor mounts in order to make them firmer. The newest trick was to
use 3M's window weld. Check out my how to and impressions
On the topic of the B20 and the possible future of the B18C1: I
don't think I'll go through the trouble to gain .1 l of displacement
(B18C1 crank in a B20 block). Prior to picking up my
240SX, I felt that I wanted
to build a turbo engine that started life out as a turbo engine. The
SR20DET from the Silvia is a perfect candidate. That will be covered
in another article. I realized that I love the way the civic feels
and sounds. I decided that any engine building will be strictly NA.
I'll probably go with some CTR pistons and cams, do a little work with
the head and intake manifold and run a Hondata stage 4 ecu.
What do I think after a year of fun (and frustration)? I still
couldn't be happier with the car. I won't publish my quarter mile
time simply for the reason that I can't nail down a good launch. I
build this car to race on a track, not in a straight line and it
shows. I will say that I managed to run better than 95 mph trap
speed. That should be enough info to give you an idea of the
A few more pictures of the operation