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hcaulfield57
hcaulfield57 New Reader
8/27/18 11:13 p.m.

Looking for some second opinions on what to do for my Civic's engine. I have a 93' Civic DX hatchback that is my daily driver and I modified for STS autocross. It currently has the stock D15B7 (102 hp) with about 220,000 miles. It burns a ton of oil, I smoke screen the entire street in the morning, it runs rough and I have to fill it up with oil every week and a half or so.

My Civic almost always puts a smile on my face so I don't want to sell it for something else. So my options seem to be:

  1. rebuild stock D15B7
  2. find used D16Z6  (125 hp) and most likely rebuild since most are going to be trashed
  3. swap used JDM D15B VTEC (127 hp)
  4. swap used JDM B16A (170 hp)

Option 1 will allow me to stay in STS, but will be time consuming and not that cheap for what you get. Option 2 will put me in FSP and 3 and 4 will put me in SMF. I've just started autocross, and haven't even been able to drive lately for fear of blowing the engine.  Anyone have some thoughts on what to do? I wanted to do a B-series swap for awhile, but at ~100 lbs more than the D-series I feel it will probably ruin the cars nice neutral handling I have now and I think it will be a little overpowered for how I like to drive. I strongly prefer handling, finesse and balance to outright power and feel since I'm learning slower is probably better for autocross. I also want to avoid negative FWD handling traits like torque-steer, understeer, etc. The car already tramlines bad enough as is (although that's probably more an issue of alignment than anything). A D15B is probably the easy option, but it will kill any chance of me being competitive at autocross (not that I am right now). 

I've also wanted to do track days for awhile now, but I feel it's probably unsafe without at least a roll-bar and I'd imagine that makes the car unsafe for the street. So not sure if I want to retire the car as a daily driver or not. For a daily driver I'd probably want something classier like an Alfa Romeo Alfetta sedan, E30 or OG Saab 900. Sorry for the rant, any comments would be much appreciated!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/28/18 8:16 a.m.

My EG had the stock single-came VTEC engine (so it could stay Street Touring-legal) but I also totally loved my B16A-powered CRX.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
8/28/18 8:24 a.m.

If you're willing to go SMF, why not a K motor? Talked to Andy Hollis about his CRX this weekend and with the 2.0 and less weight than the 2.4 he thinks the car is faster. It's certainly blindingly quick. 

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
8/28/18 8:55 a.m.

K all the way. My understanding is they’re nowhere near as pricey as they used to be.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/28/18 9:11 a.m.

Well, I don't think people complained too much about the handling of the B16 equipped Civic SiR/Type Rs, so I wouldn't be too concerned about dropping one of those in. That's the classic swap, but like a couple of other posters above I also think that a K swap is likely to give you more bang for your buck these days.

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/28/18 9:33 a.m.

I know this is going to get me banned, but I'll ask anyway:

How are the autoboxes with k motors (power/longevity/gearing/etc)? Can I make a sweet megashift controller to give me paddleshifters?

Challenge purposes of course, so autox and drag racing in mind.

EDIT: total threadjack as well. I just really love the idea of hondas but have never had one.

aw614
aw614 Reader
8/28/18 9:46 a.m.

Yeah B series Integras are fairly balanced, I you won't lose much going B series in an EG hatch seeing as they came with them from the factory in Japan and in Del Sols. 

While I think going K is great, I think the costs for the swap can spiral out of control, it can be done cheap, but I know if I were to do it on my Integra, I would want to keep every accessory in it like AC and PS. 

I ended up swapping/rebuilding a gsr motor into my nonvtec integra, and it still ended up being as much as buying a JDM motor after everything was said and done, (its still rising ugh lol) 

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke SuperDork
8/28/18 10:35 a.m.

My vote goes for JDM B16 or K swap. Yes the B16 makes more power, but it's not going to cause the driving issues you fear. K swap on the other hand probably will exhibit some torque steer. The benefits of going with the B series swap is that it opens up a lot of transmission gearing and ratio options. The power bump will be welcome on track days. 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/28/18 10:45 a.m.

Not to mention that if you get a real Type R B16 with the transmission, the transmission comes with an LSD stock AFAIR.

codrus
codrus GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/28/18 12:29 p.m.

Is the B18C that much harder to swap than the B16A?  Or just more expensive?

 

aw614
aw614 Reader
8/28/18 12:51 p.m.

More expensive.

hcaulfield57
hcaulfield57 New Reader
8/28/18 1:17 p.m.

Thanks for the responses everyone. K-series is not an option for me due to price and I'd really be concerned about over-powering the car for my purposes. I agree it's probably the "best" Honda engine that will swap into the car, but it's not for me. I know the B-series Civics/Integras are not bad handling cars, but I'm really reluctant to reduce the handling on my car. Can anyone comment on handling of a B-series Civic vs D-series? I just worry it will be understeer city with more weight on the front-end. 

I also don't like holding back power wise and I know if I have a lot of power that will make it annoying to drive around town I suppose. My last fast car was a modified 300ZX twin-turbo and while fast and fun it was only really fun getting onto the highway. I don't like feeling like I'm going to risk my license everywhere I go.

Anyone have comments on safety for track-days? I'm just trying to see if it fits into my budget and needs for the car right now. Would a roll-bar, racing seats and harnesses be a sufficient setup that could be used safely for track days (not racing) and street driving? I know everyone says how dangerous roll-bars are in Miatas, but this car has a lot more room than a Miata so I'd imagine the roll bar would be pretty far back. If I decide to do track days I think the B16A would be much better. As a daily driver I think I'd rather stay D-series, but it would be a shame to get stuck in SMF with a D15B. Maybe just rebuilding a D16Z6 from a junkyard would be better since I could still drive the car as is now and would only be in FSP.

Sonic
Sonic UltraDork
8/28/18 1:24 p.m.

Nearly no handling difference between a D and B.   A B20 is another choice, lots of good torque, but then autox class changes.  

 

I’m getting out of the D series right now and have lots and lots of stuff, where in the country are you?  Anywhere near PA?

 

A roll bar, seats, and belts would be a totally fine addition if you plan on being on track regularly.  Be sure to add a proper head and neck restraint as well 

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke SuperDork
8/28/18 3:09 p.m.

I've had a bunch of Civics. The only difference in feel between the cars was their different suspension setups and tires. Driving style is a big factor in terms of experiencing understeer in my experience. 

A B series swapped EG hatch is a very very fun car. The chassis is way more capable than the power the D series puts out which really kills the fun factor for me. 

codrus
codrus GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/28/18 4:34 p.m.

IMHO, the danger of street driving a Miata with a roll bar is significantly overstated (roll bars only, full cages are a different story).  For some reason it's become trendy to do this lately, I don't know why.

 

Fitz
Fitz New Reader
8/28/18 4:59 p.m.

Would a B16 be an FSP option if you get a US one from an EM1 Si? 

For B vs D you might need to go up 50-100lbs on springs in the front to compensate if you're really dialed in on your setup. If you're starting out in AutoX/DEs you're probably not going to notice that at all.

Safety Wise: You generally either want race everything (roll bar/race seat/harness/HANS) or you want stock everything. Roll bars don't play nice with stock seats/belts because the stock stuff lets you move around a lot by design. You also want a HANS with a seat/harness for the basal skull fracture risk. The bolt in roll bars put the main hoop closer to the driver than I'd be comfortable with, you might be fine with something custom though. As far as whats reasonable for driving on track, that's up to each person. I'm personally fine with stock systems on a slower car (GSR Integra in my case) on the track, especially given that I'm going to be driving to/from events sometimes 5+ hours away. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
8/28/18 5:59 p.m.

We have a bolt in roll bar on the One Lap Civic that is plenty far enough away from our heads that we're good street driving. We kept the three point belts for the street and use a harness/hans on track. Depending on how tall you are you should have enough room to keep things well behind your head on the street in a hatch, much more room than in a Miata. Klodcrawler on here has an M3 with a half cage that's a super nice setup for a street driven track car. 

hcaulfield57
hcaulfield57 New Reader
8/28/18 6:22 p.m.

My understanding for FSP is that the engine needs to be from the same model year, so a D16Z6 would be the only possible upgrade for the car. I don't think it's possible to get a low-mileage D16Z6, so if I went this route I would probably rebuild a junkyard motor I suppose. I might look at pricing from a local junkyard to see how it compares. As I'm reading people's responses it seems to be that it probably depends on what I want the car to be. If I want to retain it as a daily driver I think I'll stick with the D-series and if I want it more as a fun car B-series is probably a better choice. A D15B is so much easier than a D16Z6, but it'd suck to get stuck in SMF with a stock NA D-series engine. I need to read-up on roll-bars, I'm 5'4", so pretty short.  For me, I think tracking the car without some form of protection goes beyond my acceptable margin of safety.  

@Sonic: I'm located in CO, so pretty far away haha.

On a side note, I've wanted an NA Miata for awhile now, but the lack of roll-over protection has always steered me away. Even though I do realize that I'm unlikely to roll a Miata on the street, it seems more like a perception of lack of safety than anything. Every single thread about it reads along the lines of "you'll die without a roll-bar in your Miata and you'll die with a roll-bar in your Miata", so I've stayed away.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
8/28/18 7:17 p.m.

The Miata roll bar issue is a bit different because the car is so small. In a normal size car you just make sure the roll bar is far enough from your head. In a Miata, especially if you're tall, that would put it in the trunk. I wouldn't track a Miata without a roll bar but I wouldn't hesitate to autocross or daily one. If I wanted to track one I would just pad it up with the supplied pads and not worry too much. I do love me some Honda hatch though, so I like where you're going.  

Nitroracer
Nitroracer UltraDork
8/28/18 8:38 p.m.

My Integra is getting a bit tired, but I really do love that B-series engine.  The K-series would give more power for sure, but I'm plenty happy to wind out to 8,000rpm as a new minivan races past me.  The chassis and engine are inherently a fun combination. 

Fitz
Fitz New Reader
8/28/18 8:52 p.m.

Meant to say this earlier, I really don't think anyone at a local AutoX would hassle you much about classing with a d15b vtec in your car. You can float it at your next event to see what people say.

I'm tall with a long torso so my roll bar views are definitely influenced by that.

hcaulfield57
hcaulfield57 New Reader
8/28/18 9:50 p.m.

Yea I know the B-series is supposed to be a special engine, I'm just feeling if I keep the car as primarily a daily-driver it be too much of a temptation to use the power and I'll always feel frustrated with the car for that reason. The car was originally supposed to simply be a daily driver, but I loved the car and wanted to see how enjoyable a FWD car could be for a change. I don't feel a huge enjoyment difference between RWD and FWD - just different. 

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
8/29/18 9:34 a.m.

Turbo D-series? Cause turbo is always the right decision.

Tyler H
Tyler H GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/29/18 9:48 a.m.

Personally, I'd be looking at a K or even a J if you can swing 3-5k for a bonkers swap...otherwise I'd look for the best B-compatible transmission I could find and then slap a B20z on it for ~2k.

B20z is probably be best bang for the buck for net usable torque increase for autox.  There are a bajillion of them for ~$500.  The b-series transmission is the expensive part.

 

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
8/29/18 11:36 a.m.
93EXCivic said:

Turbo D-series? Cause turbo is always the right decision.

The D16Z6 in the s00p3rturd loved teh boostS until it didn’t. That said, we ran a granger valve with no boost gauge and never checked AFR’s, so most likely operator error forced her to her untimely demise.

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