If you read the last blog post about my brother’s (Eric) car, you’ll know he was half way back to D.C. from Oklahoma when his transmission decided to give up the ghost. You can read all about it here>>>>>
So hopefully you’re all caught up to date or, none of this going forward will make much sense. As most people with K20’s know things aren’t cheap, and having your transmission rebuilt is one of them. Since both Eric’s car and mine have full DC5 K20A swaps (jdm integra type r) replacing his transmission with a regular rsx/civic si trans wasn’t going to be an option. I mean think about it why would you down grade from that gear ratio and loose the LSD (yes I know that some U.S. based trans come with LSD). If some of you aren’t too familiar with the going rate of a rebuild depending on what you are upgrading or replacing you can get into the high 2k range, or if you wanted to get a JDM DC5/FD2 trans it would be anywhere from 1800-2300 (if you could even find one!) those things are harder to get than a clean title U.S. ITR.
One of the main things I look at when someone has built a car is “did they just throw it together” or did they actually match up correct parts. You know what I’m talking about… The guys that have a “b16” swapped civic but it has an L.S. trans, or the guys that have a “GSR” integra but the car has a B16 motor. I look to see if you just did the cheapest thing possible to slap you jalopy together, or did you put the effort into painstakingly searching the interweb for properly matching parts to make a tasteful build. Of course there are many ways to interpret/miss interpret what I just said. If you’re offend then you are one of those people, If you know what im talking about then we should be friends.
So Eric came to California from Missouri to visit family and along the way he picked up his transmission from me here in Las Vegas. We had arranged to take it to James @ghostwerks he builds the transmissions for the spoon center drive civic, amongst many other purpose-built cars, and has a great reputation in the community. Eric dropped off the transmission and a few days later received some terrible news from James… The trans was COOKED, bearings were melted/seized gears were completely missing teeth. James’ diagnosis was low fluid and the fact that Eric was driving halfway across the country. The prolonged driving, low amount of fluid generated so much heat that the trans just imploded. He said it wasn’t even possible to rebuild it since the main bearing was melted into the case! So obviously this threw a huge wrench in the gears as we now had to source a Y2M3 JDM DC5 Trans from somewhere. Of course the first place we tried was Hmotors Online but they didn’t have any at that time. I put out the S.O.S. to all my Honda buddies but it was proving to be harder than trying to find Candied Island. Weeks went by all the while trying to find to source this very specific transmission. Finally after calling HMO every week, they had one. We did think about trying to order one from eBay, or from some east coast importers but the fear of getting a crappy one was too great a risk. The reputation that HMO has is second to none so naturally it was a safer bet to just wait till they had one.
Eric Ordered the transmission right after Christmas and it was scheduled to come mid January. At the same time Patrick bought a K20A long block and was having it shipped to my house too. When Eric ordered the transmission from HMO he had asked if they could just put it not he same pallet as Patrick’s K20. HMO told Eric that it wasn’t going to be possible for what ever reason. Patricks motor arrived the 1st week of january, and much to my surprise there was more than just a motor on the pallet!It was Erics tranny!!! the next day I went to work putting the trans back on the motor.
Let’s jump straight into what it takes to put mate the trans to the engine. These are the bolts you will need to bolt it back together Notice the different lengths, you must make sure you are putting the right length ones in the correct holes. If you put too long a bolt in a short hole you can poke a hole in the trans case, or engine block. be very careful you know which one goes where. While its out it’s not a bad idea to just throw a new throw out bearing in. We are keeping the same clutch since there is only about 10k miles on it (there is two trips all the way across the country in there too with all freeway no shifting for 100’s of miles) The clutch was never even removed from his long block, so there was no need to resurface the flywheel or use a clutch alignment tool.
Installing the new throw out bearing goes like so: clean all the old grease/dirt/gunk off the main shaft, pivot ball, and the clutch fork. apply a thin layer of grease (not oil) where the throw out bearing slides on the main shaft. Too much and it will fling onto the flywheel/clutch surface and create slippage. Also grease the pivot ball.
Now on to mating the trans to the engine. Take notice that there are Dowels to help align the trans to the engine. they look like thisThere should only be TWO no need to have any more or less. Just place the opposite one another. A good way to get them out is to use needle nose pliers and carefully grab and pull outward, cautiously as to not deform it making it hard or impossible to insert into the trans as you slide the trans together.
Mating the trans can be very frustrating since the tolerances are so tight, but just keep the trans level with the engine and it will make it much easier. Elevating the engine (on a block of wood, brink, shoe, or anything to just prop it up to a level angle)
There is also the flywheel inspection cover on the very bottom of the transmission, this is just two 10mm bolts there is no actual structural strengthening with it. Just make sure you reinstall it before you drive, it helps keep dirt, debris, water, etc from getting into the clutch that would otherwise cause issues.
Eric and I are both using Hasport mount kits. The way the trans bracket mounts to the trans is by using supplied bolts in their kit, so you must remove the OEM studs in the transmission. I’m sure the other mount kits are like this as well but I can’t say for certain. I uses a pipe wrench since I don’t car about the threads. If you do care about the threads you can use the two nut removal process.
I have already done this when I first did his swap so i don’t actually have any how to pictures. But this will give you and idea of what it should look like with the OEM frame rail mount removed. You have to drill out two holes in the frame rail for the new Hasport bracket. Use the new bracket as a guide for where to drill the holes. Slide the bracket on the frame rail and underneath there are two OEM threaded holes. Center those on the bottom then mark on the top where to drill.
I realize that I didn’t take pictures of the rear “T Bracket” that comes with the mount kit. this is a very straight forward install (it only goes one way) and I also didn’t show bolting the Hasport mount to the subframe for the “T Bracket” to mount to, but like the “T Bracket” it’s very straight forward. Now you are ready to drop the motor in.
Heres a slide show of some “Ever” style pictures.
This is a very easy install also. just remove you stock tow hooks reuse the bolts and bolt in the bar. I run ours with the bar sitting as low as it possibly can (top most holes) this way its a little added protection for the oil pan (since the K series oil pan sits so low compared to B/D series) When installing the traction “rods” you don’t want tension pusing or pulling on the lower control arm. This can cause suspension binding. you can feel when you are twisting the “rods” when it begins to get tension in either way, it should feel neutral.
Here is how it sits now as I wait for Eric to buy some other things so we can get it driving.
On the Next installment of “Erics car” we will go over wiring, bench bleeding/bleeding the clutch, wiring, fluids, axles, and starting the car. I will leave you with some random pictures of from the night we swapped it back in. As always thanks for reading. Please like, share, subscribe, INTERACT!