BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/30/23 1:10 p.m.

I know this forum has a few people with experience in Honda engine swaps, and I think the comment about them being like Legos was something I read on here...

Yes, K-swap is where it's at, but I do like the idea of an EG hatch or a CRX with a "period correct" B-series. A B16A swapped CRX has come up not too far away from me, but the seller doesn't seem to know too much about it other than one of the injectors is playing up (allegedly). Most concerning so far is that he doesn't seem to know which ECU it's running, other than it being "stock".

Is there a good resource for understanding the basics of these swaps so I can go in there with my eyes open? Goggle searches immediately point me at Honda-T*ch, and I don't have access to the amount of mind and eye bleach necessary to dig deeper over there.

Use case would be backup track car while I build up the courage to track the Elise again, and replacement for the SAAB as I'm getting tired of chasing issues on it.

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/31/23 11:42 a.m.

Here are a few links to give you a heads up on what is needed for the swap and an overview of what needs to be done: 

https://honda-tech.com/forums/honda-crx-ef-civic-1988-1991-3/detailed-b-series-into-crx-ef-civic-parts-list-more-2769325/
 

https://www.crxcommunity.com/threads/b16-swap-guide.173/
 

https://hondaswap.com/threads/swap-info-for-ef-4th-gen-civic-and-crx.50719/

 

And here's one with all of the ECU codes: 

https://www.phearable.net/information/tech-area/hondaeculist.html
 

^^^The ECU's on these cars are easy to locate and remove. You can literally just have him remove the ECU and read you the code printed on it to see what you're working with. 
 

One of the links up there also has the engine codes, which you can use to figure out which block the car is running. They're usually printed on the front left side of the block, close to the transmission. USDM vs JDM motors frequently have different block numbers- helpful when you're trying to figure out what's in the car. 
 

I would consider bringing a compression tester. 
 

I've owned and tracked a few golden era Honda's- CRX, EK and DC2. The CRX is the lightest, but I didn't care for the tail-happy short wheelbase on track, nor did I care for the lack of PS around town. It should be noted that I had a 1988 CRX Si (different rear toe mounting point- known to be more tail happy than later years).
 

If I was building an old Honda track car, and didn't care about things like ABS (hard to find on all of them except the Integra), I would probably start with an EG hatch- very little weight penalty over the CRX, better/revised suspension geometry, more headroom (for a helmet), longer/more stable wheelbase, larger parts availability (essentially the same subframe/suspension as the DC2), available PS, OBD1 (preferred for most tuning options like Hondata S300- not that you can't OBD1 convert an OBD2 car like I did with my DC2 GSR), etc. As a street car, I loved my EK- lots of minor incremental improvements over the EG/DC2, but it's heavier than the EG. 

 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise PowerDork
12/31/23 11:52 a.m.

Of all my Hondas (EF/EG/EK), my two favorites were my 90 Crx with ZC motor and Greddy turbo, and my 93 Si EG with a B16. 

 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/31/23 1:51 p.m.

Thanks to both of you, that's really helpful.

The longer I think about the CRX, the less dim the warning lights are getting. I mean, it doesn't even take a semi-incompetent wrench like myself that long to swap out an injector to confirm that it's the problem. And the fact that he didn't even seem to have pulled out the ECU to check what it is seems a little ... odd.

While I'd like to have another CRX, it sounds like an EG would be a better choice. It's been yonks since I looked at one - they do hold a second set of wheels and tires with the rear seat folded down, right? There's an EG fairly close to here that seems to have a lot of at least semi-decent parts thrown at it, although it looks a bit like an almost finished build. But hey, at least it has a B18 out of a GSR - a lot of the cars around here that are already B-swapped have B20Bs in them, and my understanding is that they're not the best choice motor for a car that sees track use.

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/31/23 2:01 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

The B16A is a great engine; 100hp/liter, 8k red line, and since it came stock in the JDM CRX SiR they require very little modification to get into a USDM CRX. I would take a compression tester to diagnose engine health, maybe a spark plug wrench to pull the plugs, and possibly a engine block tester to check the head gasket. The paradox of Honda is that they are so reliable that people abuse them.

Re: ECU. The CRX came with an OBD-0 ECU. Tuning one is nearly impossible, but they are still reliable if you update the 30 year old capacitors. Not a big job, 1 hour and a soldering iron and you're done. You can also easily upgrade the ECU to an OBD1 ECU; these can be easily tuned and the upgrade only requires the ECU and a jumper harness. 

Find out if the transmission has been swapped as well. The B16A isn't a torque monster so you'll want the "shorter" gears that originally came with the B16, or (IIRC) the transmission from the DA B17 GS-R Integra. The transmission in the CRX should be cable actuated; if it has some sort of aftermarket setup that allows a hydro transmission to be used, make sure the setup is working correctly as they can be flakey.

If you can post pics or specific questions I'm sure more people will jump in. It's tough to go wrong with an EF chassis/B16 setup. If it's good enough for Andy Hollis, it's good enough for me =)

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/the-one-lap-crx-is-back/260943/page1/

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
12/31/23 2:01 p.m.

This time last year I did a very period-correct B-swap of my back-up 88 CRX.  JDM B18C Type R motor and trans.  Hasport mounts, Hondata S300, etc.

Details at OneLapCRX.com...scroll back a year to find the b-swap stuff.  Ignore all the K-swap stuff.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/31/23 2:05 p.m.

In reply to Andy Hollis :

Thanks Andy - seeing the latest thread on your CRX directed my subconcious to type "CRX" into FB Marketplace .

In reply to CrustyRedXpress :

I'm on a computer that I purposely block FB on, so it'll have to wait a little bit until I can post a link to the ad. The ad is pretty short on details, and even a few messages I exchanged with the seller didn't clarify some of the details other than the bit about the injector.

It is supposed to have a cable transmission, though.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/31/23 2:12 p.m.
calteg
calteg SuperDork
12/31/23 2:41 p.m.

In reply to Andy Hollis :

I need to get a ride in your CRX. Fairly certain we live 10 minutes away

In reply to BoxheadTim :

That seems exceptionally clean for a 30+ year old CRX. If it isn't crusty rusty, I'd swoop that up ASAP.

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/31/23 3:01 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

Looks good to me. The mounts are probably Hasport-really neat company and they have a lifetime warranty as well. If it's a GSR cable transmission it would have come out of a DA Integra and have the 4.40 final drive, so that's good news. 

http://solblu.teamsolmokan.com/gearatiosbseries.htm

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/31/23 3:18 p.m.

In reply to calteg :

The fact that it looked this clean was why I was interested in the first place. A lot of Hondas of that generation and the EG generation are in a bit of a state, and this looks like it's pretty decent. Of course there is still a chance that it's a bit of a crunchy roll under those plastic side skirts.

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/31/23 6:34 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

An EG should swallow a second set of wheels & tires without issue. I was able to do the same in a CRX and DC2 (which have much lower rooflines). It was even easier in my EK- EG should be similar. 
 

I would make sure that EG actually has a B18C1 from a GSR. Base DC2's had a B18B- 30hp less than the C1. Although not a bad motor overall. B18C1 motors appear to be selling for around $3000 or so these days on eBay. 
 

My understanding is that the B20 isn't a bad motor for track use, if left alone. The liners are considered weak, so they have a bad reputation for cracking under boost or if you swap a VTEC head on them and rev them out (8000rpm). If left with their stock redline, they're not supposed to be too bad. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/31/23 7:41 p.m.

I had a B16A-powered ’88 CRX back in the day and, yes, way, way fun. 

I had the S1 transmission, and just note that fifth was barely an overdrive. I want to say I was turning close to 5000 rpm to keep up with traffic. Still, fun times. 

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