B16a Swapped

B16a Swapped

Swapping a B16 into a car isn’t anything people can get to excited about anymore. Lets face, Im a small part of the population that thinks B16’s are the best engines ever made. Sure they’re not the most powerful, but what they lack in power they make up for in smiles. The B16 engine was Hondas first engine ever made that produced 100hp per liter, and impressive fuel mileage to boast. The B16’s rev happy capability enabled it to sip fuel as you drove around town doing you’re mindless errands, then when you are out attacking Mt Akina at night you could quite literally “Unleash the Beast.” Reving the engine above 5500 rpm would allow you to enable the third lobe (VTEC) variable valve timing and lift electronic control and activate a more aggressive fuel map. What Honda had accomplished was nothing short of perfection. For the first time ever in a mass produced car, could you get comfort and performance all at the same time. Not only was the B16 the first ever mass produced engine providing a ground breaking naturally aspirated 100 hp per liter. It was also able to do this very reliably due to it’s bore being 81 mm, the stroke only being 77.4 mm, and the rod length being a mere 134 mm, giving it a near perfect rod stroke ratio of 1.754:1. What that all translates to is the B16’s ability to rev and not encounter excessive wear. There wasn’t large amounts of stress put on wrist pins, piston rings, cylinder walls, or bearings which means that this motor wasn’t prone to overheating issue’s due to friction caused by bad rod stroke ratios. Now of course no engine manufacture produces engines that are set up to fail. Take for instance the B18c: It has a R/S ratio of 1.58:1 with a bore of 81 mm, a stroke of 87.2 mm and a rod length of 137.9 mm. Yet this is still a phenomenal example of Honda engineering and still has the capability to rev very high. It just does it with a little bit more stress, and heat. Lastly let me give the example of a B18B: It has a R/S ratio of 1.56:1, a bore of 81 mm, a stroke of 89 mm, and a rod length of 137.9 mm. This is why they say you can’t just slap a Vtec head on a LS (b18b) block, more commonly known as “LS/VTEC” and expect it to be reliable. YES, it will work and yes it will be fast… But because of its not so good R/S ratio it will sooner wear out, than last long. Wrist pins, rings, walls, bearings. None of these were designed to rev like that in a B18b block. Which brings us back to the all mighty B16a and what makes it so incredibly reliable… It’s R/S ratio, and amazing Honda engineering.

As you can see, I have a tremendous amount of passion about this engine. It may not be the most powerful, but what it lacks in power it makes up in excitement and fun. There once was a time when you could drop a B16 into a stripped out Hatch and be king of the streets (25 years ago) But now days with the way cars are being built unless your Honda is making 300-500 HP you’re just not going to be faster than much. For me though, this B16 build is much, much more than trying to build a fast car. This should be obvious to you by now but if its not, let me go over some of the reasons I chose to do this swap.

As most of you should know, I have a EG that has a K20 in it. Its got all the bells and whistles… JDM DC5 swap, 5.1 FD 6 speed kaaz LSD, tuned to 251 hp, 15×8 Te37’s with 225 Nt01’s, spoon calipers, ETC… When I track this car I feel like its not helping to develop me as a driver. All I have to do it just floor it everywhere and I can set decent lap times. The cost of a K20 is pretty steep compared to a B16, so the fear of blowing the engine and possibly not being able to afford another one right away is always in the back of my mind. Now if the B16 blow’s, then it’s just another 500-800 bucks for a short block or I can just as easily get the blown one repaired for a fraction of the cost it would be to repair a K20. Reliability, you heard me ramble on at the start of this article about how reliable a B16 is, now let me tell you why I want to focus so much on reliability. Since I live in Las Vegas, this means I will be driving to a lot of out of state events. Making sure my car is reliable enough to drive me to the event, let me beat the crap out of it all day on track, then get me back home safely is asking a lot but i’m confident the marvelous B16 is up to the challenge. The B16 just “looks so right” in the engine bay of an EG/EK/DC chassis. Don’t get me wrong, a K20 swapped car looks good too, but there is just something about the way a B series sits in the engine bay. These chassis are designed and come with B series engines stock, this makes them very easy to work on while the engine is in the bay. Put it this way… would you rather change a timing belt on a B series in a EK chassis or a timing chain on a K series in the same chassis? Even simpler things like availability of parts. Most B series parts are all interchangeable and readily available at parts store, junkyards, or social media. This can not be said for the K series. When doing a B16 swap you’re not going to have to worry about getting axles that can handle the torque, What torque! or having to worry about custom fuel lines/systems, K-pro, shift cables/boxes, cooling upgrades, or permanently modifying your chassis to get it to fit. The B series just quite literally drops right in using parts you can cheaply source from autozone, or the junk yard (not saying you should though, but it is an option). The B16, for me it hold a sentimental value too. When I was in high school all I could think about was… How am I going to afford getting a B16? after graduating high school I was finally able to achieve this dream. Every time I see a B16 (or any B series) it takes me back to when I was fresh out of high school. I had no life plan at the time other than street racing, canyon carving, and doing “JDM” things with my friends. B16’s are special to me because they allow me to reminisce about the good ol day’s and how much fun life used to be before becoming an adult with responsibilities. The final and most important reason for me to go B16 was LSD (limited Slip Differential). As you know I was tracking my 4 door for almost 2 year with a stock D16y8 that had a SI/EX (B000) open diff trans. As my driving started to improve and I was able to extract just about everything the D16 had to offer, and I started to notice some uneven wear on the front tires due to unevenly spinning wheels on tight turns and I knew that a LSD would remedy this. I know what most of you are thinking right now… was my alignment off? No my alignment was not the culprit here, it was the repetitive hot lapping that I was doing for almost 2 hours at a time on “open test days” that would cause this uneven wear. So why not just get a LSD for the D series? I can’t think of any D series that came stock with a LSD (maybe the ZC trans ?) this meant that there wasn’t a readily available LSD trans, and the cost to build a D series trans would be astronomical (you figure once its open you should upgrade the FD, new synchros, maybe different gears, and install an aftermarket LSD) Add all that up and ask you self, is it worth all that money just for a measly SOHC motor? Upgrading to a B series was the next best option. Sure I may have spent a little more than the cost of fully building a D series trans on my whole B16 swap, But what I got was the most reliable Honda motor ever built. Sure, most people say that D series are pretty bullet proof, but they lacked the excitement that a B16 could deliver. For me the choice was obvious, since power was never what my goal was, the B16 was the motor for me!

In late December 2019, I drove to California and picked up my swap from Hmotors. I purchased a 92 XSi B16a long block, and 97 spec ITR trans. I chose to go with a 97 spec R trans because it would offer me a little bit shorter 4th and 5th with a bit longer of a FD (4.40) to help me keep the RPM’s down on those long highway trips to California for track days.

This article is the final post of my 5 part series dedicated to the B16 swap. Below I will post the Links to the previous 4 parts.

Starting off with the first part… Welding in the oil pan baffle.

http://functiontheory.com/2020/03/how-to-b-series-weld-in-oil-pan-baffle/

Then the complete refresh of the whole motor.

http://functiontheory.com/2020/04/b16a-refresh/

How to do a DOHC VTEC valve adjustment

http://functiontheory.com/2020/04/b16a-valve-adjustment/

Finally, installing the clutch/flywheel and mating the trans to the engine.

http://functiontheory.com/2020/05/b-series-clutch-flywheel-install/

Please take a look at the above articles, they will help you understand what is needed to get everything ready to swap the motor into the car.

In this article, I will be going over taking the old engine out, what parts are needed to properly swap everything in, and the actual swapping of the motor. Hopefully by the end you will have good idea on what is needed to swap a B16 (and pretty much any other DOHC VTEC, or DOHC motor) into an EK chassis. Please keep in mind that this is NOT a step by step process. There are countless articles on the internet about how to swap a B series into a EK chassis, but I do feel like this article will help make things very clear for any newcomer or first time engine swapper. If this isn’t your “first rodeo” please just read along and enjoy.  This article will cover more than just “an engine swap” Im changing brakes, suspension, interior, exterior, and even doing a little “paint work.”

Starting off, this is what the car looked like when it entered the garage.

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Stock D16 in all of its glory.

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I start off by disconnecting the battery and removing the battery tray. This is a must if you are swapping a motor on a EK chassis since the EK harness runs into the car where it connects to the ecu. (you must remove the passenger side plastic kick panel to access the ecu and disconnect it) this way you can pull the wiring harness through the firewall and place it on top of the motor. Yes I will be reusing this harness on my B16 swap.

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I usually start at the battery and work my way around the engine (counterclockwise, or clockwise it doesn’t matter) disconnecting anything thing that is not the “main part” of the engine or anything that is connecting the engine to the chassis.

  • Battery
  • Starter signal wire
  • Intake
  • fuel line (from fuel filter)
  • Trans ground wire
  • Clutch line (if you still have a stock clutch line you can just unbolt the slave from the trans and tuck the slave and rubber line out off the way behind the headlight. If you’re like me and you already have an after market SS clutch line from the Master you can just disconnect the SS line from the slave and pull it out of the way. You will need to bench bleed the Master if you do it this way and let all the fluid drain from the master.
  • Fan switch
  • Trans vibration mount (if you have one. I didn’t because I was running aftermarket stiffer mounts)
  • AC/PS I don’t have any of this. But if you do you will have to discharge the AC system and unbolt the compressor from the block. As for the PS you just have to disconnect the return line to reservoir, and high pressure line (you can leave the PS pump on the block if you want. Or you can leave all the lines connected to the PS pump and just unbolt the pump and tuck out of the way behind the drivers side headlight.
  • AC vibration mount
  • valve cover ground
  • Cruise control wire, and cable.
  • fuel return line from regulator to firewall
  • brake booster vacuum line
  • throttle cable.
  • wire harness through the firewall, leave connected to the motor.

This is everything that can be done with out having to jack up the car. There might be some small things I have forgotten, or your car might have a few more or less things than mine has.

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Now its time to jack up the car and remove the stuff that is a little more difficult.

  • Drain the coolant. once drained you can remove the radiator. Leave the hoses connected to the radiator, just disconnect them form the motor. This is just what I do to make it easier. You can help prevent some mess by leaving them connected to the radiator, but there is nothing you can do to completely stop any drips from happening. just be ready with a towel.
  • If you have AC you should remove the condenser too. you don’t want to damage it when you are pulling out the motor.
  • Drain the fluid from the trans. This is done by removing the bolt with the square socket head on it. there is only about 2 quarts in a manual trans/ and if your car is auto there is about 3-4 quarts that might come out.
  • disconnect the header where it bolts to the cat.
  • Remove the 32 mm axle nuts. (both sides)
  • Pop off the suspension fork to allow the axle to be completely removed. you will have to pop the lower ball joint off to allow the spindle to be pulled outward so the axle will come out of the hub. (both sides)
  • Next you will have to pry the axle out of the transmission (this can be either hard, or easy its all just luck) (both sides)
  • Now re assemble the front suspension. (just with out axles)
  • Remove the shift linkage. The stabilizer is easily bolted to the trans, but the shift rod is held in by the infamous “bitch pin” there is a “C” clip covering the pin. pry the clip off then use a 5mm punch and a large hammer to hit out the pin.

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Remember what I said about reassembling the suspension. put the wheels back on and lower the car down. this makes it easier because the car is still mobile. Also you wont have to raise the engine as high to get it to clear the core support when removing.

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With the car back on the ground you can now disconnect the heater core hoses from the engine. you can do this at any part through the process, I just chose to do them last. (less mess I guess)

Below is what it should now look like. As you can see there is nothing connecting the engine to the chassis with the exception of the 3 motor mounts.

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At this point you can remove the X1 bolt connecting the rear engine bracket to the mount on the cross member. (the two side mounts will keep the engine in place)

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Another view of everything disconnected.

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Below is just a bunch of pictures taken a different angle so you can get a better idea of whats going on.

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It now time to pull the engine. Its best to use a cherry picker (engine hoist) but you can drop the motor out of the bottom using jacks (this is more difficult IMO)

If your car is low like mine is, its possible that the cherry picker wont fit under the cross member. just jack up the car slightly from the side (pinch seam under car directly below the mirror) slide the cherry picker in place then lower the jack back down. The cross member will rest on the cherry picker, but usually once the weight of the engine is removed it will no longer make contact.

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Raise the engine up just high enough to clear the core support.

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VOILA!

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Now either set the engine down on the cherry picker legs so that you can roll it around, or drop it on a furniture dolly.

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EWWW, what a mess! At this point I cleaned the whole bay with simple green, a nylon brush, then pressure washed it. I then repainted a few spots on the engine bay with some rattle can “paint match” paint from autozone. One time at the track my battery was too full of water and the G forces cause its to leak and it got all over my fire wall and ruined the paint. This drove me crazy. Im not trying to build a show car, I just wanted to make it look a little cleaner. Unfortunately, I only took the after pictures with the phone (sorry for the quality)

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Below you can see what it looked like all cleaned up. Yes I did get some over spray on the brake lines and a few bolts. No worries though, just take some nail polish remover, a cotton ball, and just carefully remove the overspray.

Below I will talk about the first issue I came across. This may seem like common knowledge and it’s a little embarrassing for to even admit, but the goal is for others to learn from my mistakes. Keep in mind this was my first time swapping a B16 into an EK chassis. I have done B16’s into EG’s and B18c’s into DC chassis but none of that could have prepared me for the issue below.

My engine is sitting slightly higher on the driver side. I know the picture below is crooked too but you can see how the engine is about a half inch higher on the right side.

Below you can see the level sitting on the valve cover, and on the intake manifold. (cell phone pics still) Before you go off telling my the car is not level. trust me it is, I set the level on the frame rails “chassis” in the engine bay and on both sides the level bubble was even.

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At this point I was pretty bummed out… Depressed even. Remember above how I was saying I loved how a B series looked in the engine bay. Well, a crooked motor is not what I wanted to look at. I even had Angie come in to the garage and tell me what she saw, and right away she could see it was higher on one side. It wasn’t just my OCD. As it turns out, you can’t run a 3 bolt post mount on a B16 in an EK chassis. I had run a 3 bolt post mount previously on my B16 when it was in my EG without issue which is why i assumed it would be fine in the EK.

A few years ago when I was doing the original D16y8 swap into the 4 door, I got Hasport mounts with the 3 bolt driver mount and just switched to a 3 bolt post from another SOHC motor. I figured that if I ever went B series in the future I could just use the same mounts (since most after market mounts for B/D series are the same). So below you can see the engine mounted in the car withe the 3 bolt mount.

I thought maybe the post mount I was using was wrong. so I tried a GSR one, an LS one, and a B20 one. they all three left the engine slightly higher on the drivers side. So I took to the internet and began to look at every picture of a B16 in an EK chassis and they all shared on thing in common. They all had a two bolt post mounts. Personally I preferred the look of the 3 bolt to 2 bolt which is why I got the three bolt mount for the SOHC, but it looked as though I was not going to be able to run a 3 bolt mount. I hopped on JHP and ordered just a singular driver side EK mount (2 bolt style)  Below you can see the B20/ls one left vs the B16 one my motor came with on the right.

Below you can see the two style of driver side mounts and can also see that I was using an oem EG driver mount (slightly modified to fit the Hasport bracket) to see if my theory was right about using a 2 bolt post mount. After installing the OEM one the engine sat correctly and I knew that getting the 2 bolt style Hasport mount would fix my problem.

Below the new 2 bolt mount is installed and the engine is now level. (strut bar to confirm) it looks barley, slightly not level with the strut bar, but that’s because the bar was not bolted down. I wish I had a picture of it crooked with the strut bar for reference.

I was once again happy, and excited about the swap. too bad my ICB order was taking forever to come in.

My car is a 98 so its an OBD2-A. I was able to use the SOHC Vtec/EX harness that was previously on my old motor. my motor is an OBD 1 motor so there is no need to plug in the CKF (crankshaft fluctuation sensor) sensor in since there is not CKF sensor on the OBD1 motors. If you were trying to stay smog legal and run a B16 in an EK you would have to get an EM1 SI engine harness because the CKF sensor on a SOHC is 2 wire and a DOHC is three wire. Im sure there is another way around this but I just don’t care to find out since Nevada doesn’t have strict smog like California and the motor will run fine because there distributor will give the CKF signal to the ecu. You could technically bolt up a OBD2 B16 CKF sensor to an OBD1 B16 since the oil pump should have the provisions to bolt the sensor to.

See link to FF squad about the CKF bypass trick http://technet.ff-squad.com/ckftrick.htm

Since my B16 was OBD1, and my harness was OBD2, this left me with two different options.

  1. Buy conversion plugs to convert the fuel injectors from OBD1 to OBD2, and a conversion harness to convert the distributor from OBD1 to OBD2.
  2. (what I chose to do) but an OBD2 distributor, and OBD2 injectors. (I think the conversions harness’ look tacky)

Lastly the OBD1 alternator will not work with the OBD2 wire harness. ones a circular plug and the other is a square plug. To fix this issue I just got an OBD2 alternator. Remember that most all B series stuff is interchangeable.

Using a OBD2-a SOHC Vtec wire harness means that everything is already wired and I just needed to extend three wires since the Vtec solenoid is on the rear of the SOHC engine behind the distributor, and on the DOHC engine its in front of the distributor. below you can see how I extended and soldered two of the three wires and covered them with heat shrink. I just didn’t take a picture of the third single wire.  The two wires are Vtec pressure switch, and the one wire is solenoid ground.

Keep in mind that if you have a JDM OBD2 motor it will not have a VTPS seen below in the image from ff squad

vtps

 

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The next bump in the road I hit was the rear T bracket. I still had my T bracket from when I had a B series in my EG, and much like the 3 bolt mount I thought I could use the T bracket from the EG (which after I thought about it, I realized how silly that was. The cross member on the EK is much different than the EG/DC chassis cross member) So doing any B series swap on an EK requires the EM1 civic SI T bracket. Doing any B series swap on the EG/DC chassis requires the use of any DOHC VTEC rear T bracket from any EG/DC chassis. Hopefully I clarified this for some of you (like me) that didn’t know. So I jumped on Hondaparts unlimited and order a brand new EM1 SI rear bracket (brand new from Honda its like 60 bucks) and all new hardware to go with it.

Below you can see the EG/DC rear T bracket on the left, and on the right the brand new EM1 SI rear T bracket. (remember the motor will sit in the engine bay with just the two side mounts) I was just so anxious to get the swap in that I didn’t want to wait for the correct T bracket to arrive. You can always just install the rear T bracket by laying under the car.

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With all the mount issues sorted I rolled it out into the day light to see what it was looking like.

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To correctly run an ITR intake manifold you need the P73 type r throttle cable bracket. This is still available brand new from Honda (which is how I got mine) and I’m also running a type r throttle cable too (which I tried to order but is discontinued) thankfully Pat had one laying around.

You’ll also notice that I have the stock header on, and I was actually planning on running the stock header since I wasn’t too concerned with power. Unfortunately the OEM header was hitting the JDM Type R block stiffener I was trying to run. (im sure I could have ground it down, but that wouldn’t have worked for me)

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I rolled the car back in and called it a night, as I was still waiting on parts to arrive in the mail.

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With so much uncertain information surrounding the CTR N1 crank pulley, and weather it’s harmful or not to anything other than an actual B16B has been the bane of my existence since 1999. Why would Honda make something that wasn’t well thought out? It is true that the B16B is made with more “race stuff” hand assembled, coated bearings, and pistons. The theory is that there is no harmonic balancing on the CTR N1 pulley, and that under higher horsepower applications it can damage the oil pump. A broken oil pump means oil starvation. Till this day im unsure of what running a CTR N1 pulley will do to an engine in the long term, and ill probably always be too scared to find out.  You would assume then my next move would be to just buy an ATI damper. Unfortunately The race version ATI damper requires being pressed on, and that’s too far from OEM for me. So the next best thing that I came up with many, many, years ago and have had thousands of thousands of miles on. (I know I wasn’t the first person to come up with this.)

I take the OEM 3 rib pulley.

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And I shave off the power steering, A/C rib. I do this at my garage and try my best to keep it as balanced as possible, I’m sure it’s not perfectly perfect but it works for me and that’s whats the rubber OEM damper is there for anyway right?

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While I waited for the rest of my other parts to come in, I took the opportunity to install a walbro 255lph fuel pump. Its always a great idea to install one of these when you do a swap. Having peace of mind that you wont run into any fuel issues is worth the 100 bucks it costs for a walbro pump. I’ve done a DIY on installing a fuel pump before on the blog (you can go back a few pages to check it out if you want, but ill quickly run through it right now)

Underneath the rear seat you will find the fuel pump. Simply unscrew the x4 philips screws holding on the fuel pump cover. Then unplug the power to the pump, and take off the pressure line, and return line. Then unbolt the X6 10 mm nuts that will make it so you can remove the whole unit.

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OEM unit on the left, and the walbro one on the right. There is a slight size difference but don’t worry it will still fit just fine. Another cool thing about using a walbro one is that you don’t have re wire anything, it just plug and play.

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Way back I made my own rear strut bar/c pillar EM racing bar style rear brace thing for my EG. One day decided I was over it and just went with a cusco carbon rear strut bar. I cut the parts off that I had welded to my chassis and saved what was essentially just a rear strut bar. When I first got my EK I decided to throw it on, and its been on ever since. Pat recently parted out his integra so I bought his PWJDM rear strut bar to match my front PWJDM one.

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A few days later some parts I was waiting for finally rolled in. You may have noticed that I already had spark plug wires on the car, those were borrowed. Now I have my own fresh set of them.

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Along with my new header i’ll be installing brand new OEM header studs, nuts, and gasket.

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Remove the old studs using the two nut trick.

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Install the new studs the same way (two nut trick)

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Next it was on to the cooling upgrades. Yes running Hondata s300 you can set the temp you want the fan to come on, but I wasn’t actually sure if I was going to get s300 yet or not. (as you can see in the picture above I did)

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Along with the spoon thermostat, and fan switch im also replacing the heater hoses, and brand new OEM radiator hoses (not pictured) and of course brand new OEM hose clamps.

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Below is the Money shot. I skipped over installing axles, shift linkage, and the header. But if you managed to remove all of those to pull the motor then you will just be reinstalling them in reverse order. As far as axles go, any old B series manual, hydro trans axles will work. Make sure you have the half shaft that matches too. Basically any 94-01 Manual Integra, 99-00 civic SI, 95-96 delsol vtec axles will work, or JDM 92-95 B series, JDM 96-00 B series. As for shift linkage, you must use B series hydro linkage same years as the axles listed above. Lastly the header, this is super basic and just bolts right up when you use a test pipe meant for a B series car. I use the PLM three piece adjustable one.

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Other things that I made sure to replace was the shift fork boot, and brand new OEM slave cylinder.

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I also picked up a front lip too.

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Installed spoon calipers and project Mu r999 pads. (two more cell phone pics) The reason I went from the NSX calipers to the Spoon ones is to help even out the pad wear. The 4 piston caliper will evenly apply pressure to both pads, rather than calipers that have pistons only on one side. Under heavy track use, the inboard pad of an OEM caliper will wear quicker than the outboard one.

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I also went back to the Fastline shifter from the hybrid one. The Hybrid one is way to noisy because the tolerances in bearing they use for the shifter make an incredibly loud vibration noise.

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There it is, The completed B16 swap in my 4 door. As it is now I have driven the car a few times, maybe a total of 20 miles. On it’s maiden voyage I ran into a small issue of a bad axle seal that leaked all over the bottom of the car. This was a quick fix, but required draining the trans since I had to remove the axle. Since the seal was replaced I have driven it only a handful of times because I’m waiting on a AFR gauge to come in the mail so I can can hook it up to my Hondata and get some proper datalogging. Im so happy with how everything came out and it may be to soon to make this judgement but it might be possible I love the EK more than the EG now. Now, if this Covid-19 stuff can just be over so we can all get back to the track that would be great.

As always, I thank you for reading my ramblings. This post had a lot of info I had to cram into it, and honestly there were some points I was pretty frustrated when doing the swap that I didn’t even take all the pictures that I should have. The whole process took me a total of 2 weeks (which is why some of the pictures are in the day, and some are at night) normally I would give my self 2 solid days to thoroughly complete the swap, but due to lack of knowledge and slow parts delivery it strung along for too long. My garage was in shambles, and I couldn’t sleep well at night with the uneasy feeling of an incomplete project always in the back of my mind. I hope you were able to take some important things away from this, and I hope that I was able to show you that it really isn’t hard to swap an engine (as long as you know what parts you need) Basically the parts will either fit, or they wont, you shouldn’t have to modify, fabricate, or design anything for a B series swap. It’s truly all bolt on. Please, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email Billy@Functiontheory.com, DM on Instagram @Functiontheory, or just comment below. I WILL REPLY!

 

 

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