The Honda Civic is the hot rod of our generation.
I’m not the first person to say that. But its something I believe in. But thinking about it… it’s only really true in my mind from 1988 to 2000. After 2000 you didn’t need to do engine swaps and the first and second generations almost never got swapped and engine swaps in third generation civics is the preserve of a small elite.
However, for in the interest of simplicity I am not going to list engine swaps for the EF (Fourth Gen/4G) and I am going to focus on the EG and EK civic from 92-96 and 96-00 respectively.
Firstly: It is worth pointing out that not all cars are worth doing an engine swap in. If your Civic is rusted through just don’t bother! Buy a decent shell or a car with a good engine in.
This is a rare swap and I’m not sure if I’ve seen it done more than twice in the UK. I’m pretty sure both those occasions were because the engine was laying around and would fit and run without much hassle.
These engines are most often found in import CRX Del Sol’s but also came in a few other JDM cars. Producing 130bhp they are pretty similar to our native D16 lumps. The mounts will line straight up and the wiring is pretty simple after you secure an ECU.
Obviously you should only consider this upgrade if you don’t already have a D16 or a B series engine fitted as standard.
There are many, many, many versions of the D16 engine and they were not all created equal. The one you will come across the most is the D16z6 known in the USA as a ZC. Featuring the p28 ECU that you’ll need for many of the engine swaps here this used to be a very sort after conversion. For a few hundred quid and a weekend you can drop this 1.6 litre engine and enjoy its 130(ish)bhp. Whilst doing this many people will take the brakes from the donor car as the z6 cars came with 242mm up front and discs (rather than drums) on the back.
Just as a personal note, if you have an EK with the 1.5ltr D15z6 I wouldnt bother swapping it out. You’ll only gain 15bhp and I have quiet the soft spot for that motor.
B16A2 (and similar)
The legendary B16 came in many guises in its near twelve year history. The B16A2 is the most common but actually comes in more than one variety moving from different OBD setups which will affect any potential swap.
Obviously if you have a VTI or Type R you aren’t going to do this swap. But with 160bhp on tap and straight swapability these conversions are very popular for cars that came with D series engines. Prices for B16 engines have varied greatly over the years and with the miles and other options increasing this swap is going to become cheaper in the medium term.
B16B (Type R swap)
What did I just tell you about how there are a few types of B16? And how they are going down in price? Well guess what… This B16 is expensive and will stay that way FOREVER. Expect to pay top dollar for arguably Honda’s best engine.
Coming standard in EK9 Type R Honda Civic’s these engines pumped out 185bhp with a redline of 8,500rpm
B18c4 (MB6 VTI swap)
The B18 comes in different guises… This swap is reserved for Europeans only (sorry Americans!) although you could probably pretend the B18C4 is a C1 with its virtually identical output. Where the B18c4 shines is that it is abundant in the UK and Europe coming in our Rover/Honda MB6 Civic. The engine puts out 169bhp and 128ftlb of torque which doesn’t sound much more than the B16A2 at 160 and 111 respectively but dont sniff as there is no replacement for displacement and those figures are conservative… The box with this conversion comes with an LSD, an added bonus but be aware the gearing is longer. What is really, really, really, really, really awesome about this conversion is… Everything drops straight into an EG and if you have an EG ESI all you need is a chip in your ECU. You dont need mounts, wiring, nada (except that chip). Oh did I mention the supersized brakes swap straight onto your EG too? 282mm up front and 262mm on back but with a new 4×114.3 pattern. Nice move…
B18C/C6 (ITR type R)
You might have thought with a meticulous engine number system they could have numbered each engine differently.. but no. Whilst there is just the one B18c6, there are more than one B18C engines. So please, please watch out for inferior versions.
Basically a B18C with 197bhp came with the JDM Integra Type R and a B18C came with the JDM SiR and GSR with 178bhp. You should be able to tell by the red vs black valve cover and LSD stamped on the gearbox but you might not be so lucky. Oh and the Type R B18C changed slightly depending on whether it was pre or post 98. Confused? Maybe.
The B18C6 came with the UKDM Integra Type R and had very similar but slightly different stats to the JDM version.
Fitting these engines is very similar to your other B series swaps. Try and get the short ration LSD box at the same time as your engine.
The B20B is a frankenstein engine. It puts together a b20 block with a b16 vtec head. Remember how I said there is no replacement for displacement back there, well that’s basically the idea here. A 2litre vtec B series is the result. B20’s are usually sources from Honda CRV’s, but not all are the same… and b16 heads come from lots of sources. Conversion kits are readily available from Golden Eagle. The results vary and a minority struggle with reliability. Expect over 200bhp with a map on a pretty basic setup.
I should also mention people swap the standard b20 without the head conversion too. If you fancied it.
The H22 comes in Honda Preludes and are dirt cheap compared to other high powered Honda engines. With a 2.2 litre capacity the H series was the flagship mass produced engine eventually being dropped for the K series. Watch out for different varients, UK versions more often that not came with 187ishbhp and a black valve cover, although red top H22a8 (200bhp) came in later Preludes and red top H22a7’s (207bhp) came in the EDM Accord Type R. Jap versions came with H22A’s with 197ishbhp and some H22A’s with 217bhp in SIR and Type S preludes and JDM “euro” Accord (but good luck getting one of those).
To swap you’re gonna need different engine mounts and some patience as it often doesn’t go to plan with driveshafts etc. You are also going to have to do some wiring especially around the injectors to account for Saturated vs Peak and Hold change.
The true benefit for a H series is displacement which delivers lots of extra torque. You’re looking at 152 ft lb at 5,500 rpm in a base level H series whereas the b16b Type R has 118 ft lb at a significantly higher 7,500rpm. Even the K series that replaced the H could only muster 139 ft lb at 5,900 rpm in standard UKDM form.
H2B ( H series with B series running gear)
Like the sound of that H series? Oh but sorry I forgot to mention that most of the gearbox’s have really long ratios. Well we’ve got a solution for that. It’s called the H2B. Escentially we mate a H engine to a B series gearbox (any will do) using what we call a moon plate. You use B series engine mounts, still have the wiring to do but fitment is slightly better. Although the sump will sit at an angle. And you will almost certainly have to swap your power steering for an electronic boosted one and you can forget about keeping AC, but who was gonna keep that anyway? Oh and you will have to come up with an Alternator solution too but there is a kit for that. Oh and probably raise your bonnet slightly…
Now you have a cost effective engine with a wide array of gearboxes and only a few people whining about extra weight.
When I say F series I mean real F series, not the weird F series they put in the s2000 for a while. For the most part these are basically nonvtec H series (or with SOHC vagina vtec) and you shouldn’t bother. Whilst you could pick up a super rare F20B 2 litre DOHC vtec (that puts out more power than a K series) no one would know you’d been super cool and done it so keep it in the Accord it came from. If you bother to put an s2000 F20C engine then you probably have too much money.
Talking of too much money…
Basically the USA got lots of poor K series (and one ok), the UK (and Australia/New Zealand) got ok K series and the Japs got the best ones.
They are pretty popular to swap into older Honda Civic’s cost notwithstanding. Last time I looked it would cost be £5,000 to do the swap which is why I did a H2B for £1,500. You’re gonna need mounts and lots of gubbins to do this swap. But as time progresses, engines and parts reduce in price making the swap more and more popular. Whilst b18 swapping an EG can add to its value over the costs a K swapped civic will struggle to recoup the costs of the swap. In the UK at least you could buy an EP3 Type R for less than the swap would cost, so unless it is scene points you’re after, it might just be easier to do that.
Why no K2B?
Basically Honda decided that its engines should run the opposite way round. So if you did the swap you would have five reverse gears and one to go forward.
J (V6 Civic swap)
Want a V6 civic? Well you are probably stupid but you can do it if you want. There are mounts out there to make it nice and easy to have a super heavy low output engine in the front of your Civic. I admit it would be kinda cool though…
Not so easy conversions
Hey anything is possible right? We’ve seen 1.8 20vT VAG engines in, LS1 swaps, I mentioned s2000 rear wheel drive swaps. Go nuts, its your money and time.