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New guy, ideas floating around, I'd like your input.

Discussion in 'Civic and CRX - EF' started by jmanpc, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. jmanpc

    jmanpc Carless

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    Okay, so here's my story: I currently drive a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan. Yes. Har har. I know its funny. Anyways, I'm going to Greece for a semester from September till December. Before I leave, I want to sell the van for ~$11k, keep it in the bank while I'm in Europe, and then build a car when I get back. I'm no Honda enthusiast. I don't know a B16A from a D15B7 from a B18B1. I've been a car enthusiast most my life, and have always been fascinated by them. I have had a friend who has rebuilt many Hondas offer to help me build up a car. Rather than buy another car, I got to thinking about how awesome it would be to have a car that I built from the ground up.

    So anyways, I've always liked the 5th gen hatchback hondas. I can get my hands on a shell for 6 or 800 bucks no problem. I live in Jacksonville, Florida so theres cars and parts everywhere you look. My main focus on building a car would be good reliability, with performance second. So my friend suggested dropping a B18B1 into a 92 Civic hatch, doing some basic bolt-on mods like headers, cams, and intake. Perhaps even a turbo. Again, I don't want anything crazy, just quick and reliable. Do you think a mildly boosted B18B1 (I'd shoot for 200+hp) would still be reliable enough to be a daily driver?

    He says that with 10 grand, I could build a hell of a car (which I don't doubt). Do you think I could make a reliable, quick, and pretty daily driver on 10 grand (Including sound system... I'm a HUGE system geek) I'd do a new engine, new body panels where needed, new suspension, brakes, exhaust, paint, and a thorough recondition of the interior.

    Any words of wisdom? Thanks :D

    Hold the flames to a minimum. I'm a member of other forums and know how it goes. I admit I'm a complete noob in every aspect when it comes to this stuff. Teach me^_^
     
  2. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    For $10k, you can most definitely build a very nice and reliable 200whp turbocharged B series Civic. Hell, you could do it on a D series engine too. It really all depends on what route you want to follow. 200whp turbocharged in a Honda can be extremely reliable.

    Options at that power level:

    B20 engine with a really small turbo- you get 2.0L of displacement and use a small turbocharger to build your power up to your target- advantage is an awesome torque curve that makes the car feel like it has a HUGE engine, disadvantage is cost from a swap and a turbo.

    D16Z6 engine with a medium sized turbo- cheap, economical (smaller displacement), and these engines can easily hold 200whp all day long on the stock internals. You can run 14 flat in the quarter mile or better with a setup like this.

    The options are endless. Do some reading around the site while you're away, and travel safely!

    Welcome to HondaSwap! :wave:
     
  3. jmanpc

    jmanpc Carless

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    Thanks for the welcome and the helpful response. Definitely thanks for the recommendations. Ever since the idea crossed my mind, I've been reading up on different types of engines, trannys, and what they are capable of. One thing I don't know much about is the availability of the engines you brought up. One reason my friend was talking about the B18B1 is that it is very readily available since it was in a ton of 94-01 Tegs. How readily available are the ones you recommended?

    My main goal is a rock-solid daily driver that's fun to drive. I think the B20 you described would be ideal, because a nice torque curve would be good for everyday driving. I don't want to have to hit 7k RPMs to feel the power. I don't really care how it would do on the track (But then again, when I started doing audio I never thought I would do competitions....) I go to school in Arkansas and there are some nice windy, hilly roads.

    Here's a dilemma, though... I get back from Greece on December 18, and leave to go back to school on January 10. In those 3 weeks that I'm home, do you think I could go from a bare shell to a running, reliable car fit to make the 900 mile trip to Arkansas? It'd probably involve putting in the motor, maybe a few body panels, brakes, suspension, exhaust, lights and gauges. I'm not hoping to pull miracles here. I don't care how the car looks going up to school, so long as it runs reliably. I can tackle the intereior and exterior later.

    For reference, I'm looking at a shell like this one:
    1992 Honda Civic Hatch
     
  4. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    Wow. Going from a shell to a reliable car in 3 weeks? I hope you're really good at spinning wrenches!

    If you've never done anything like this before, you could have the engine swapped and the car reliable within 3 weeks. I doubt that you would be able to have it turbocharged within that time, especially with the amount of money that you're targetting to spend.

    You have to follow the classic car guy formula: fast, cheap, reliable- pick two. In this case, you want all three- and the only way to do that is to spend a lot of time putting it all together. Custom homemade turbo systems are usually the way to cheap boosted power, but they have to be put together with a lot of good planning and solid parts. If you've spent the time finding all these parts at really cheap prices, you're golden. If not, well- you either spend more getting what you want in time or you end up with junk.

    To be guaranteed a positive experience, especially in your 3 week timeframe, I would suggest going with a ready to go bolt on turbocharger kit. There are a few good kits on the market that come with everything you need to go from normal car to boosted and tuned without having to leave your garage. The main barrier to a custom turbo kit is debugging and tuning- that can easily consume your entire time limit all at once. A pre-made turbo kit can skip all of that.

    If I were in your position (I'm not going to tell you what to do) with your constraints, this is what I would do.

    Get the 92-95 Civic hatchback shell. It's an awesome choice- easily one of the best platforms to start out with- it even has a roomier engine bay when compared to the 96-00 Civics.

    Get a good D16Z6 engine (came in 92-95 Civic EX coupe/sedan, 92-95 Civic Si hatchback) and transmission. It's the SOHC VTEC powerplant that displaces 1.6L and is rated at 125hp at the crank from the factory. If you can't get a known good engine, buy one cheap and rebuild it from the ground up. If you do all the labor yourself, you could have the rebuild done for well under $1k in parts. If you can swing it, I think the 96-00 transmissions have the stronger shifter fork when compared to the 92-95 transmissions.

    Once you have the car running, get one of these:

    Edelbrock.com | Edelbrock Sport Compact - TURBOS - Performer X

    The Edelbrock kit is probably the best all-in-one mainstream turbo kit that you can buy for your car. It has everything- turbo, plumbing, manifold (cast iron, won't crack), ECU tuning solution, and all the instructions for putting it all on. For your engine setup, you'd want to get the #1502 kit- that's for the D16Z6 in the 92-95 chassis. The turbo setup won't quite make 200whp out of the box, but it'll be pretty damn close. The good thing is that when you start wanting more power, you can install a boost controller, get a better engine tuning option, then crank up the boost and tune to match. You won't have to change out any of the engine hardware. People have made upwards of 250whp or more on the Edelbrock kit on the D series engine before changing out any components.

    The power curve you see posted on their web site is for the B16, but yours with the D16Z6 would look similar because of similar displacements- but you'll probably have even more torque down low because of the longer stroke of the D16.

    I think the Edelbrock kit runs just under $4k.

    With the leftover money (probably about $2k if you started with 10) you could take care of things like suspension, seats, tires, wheels etc.

    Hope that helps. :)

    If I was in your shoes and had a lot longer than 3 weeks, I would recommend a completely different route. :D
     
  5. jmanpc

    jmanpc Carless

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    I think I could have a motor in and running in 3 weeks. I'm no pro at working in cars, but I'm no novice with a socket wrench and a multimeter. I've worked as an audio installer, so I'm not afraid to mess around under the hood.

    I'd be perfectly fine taking it up to school NA. I'd have no problem plopping a motor in it and not messing with it until the following summer. I just want the car reliable enough to get to Arkansas from Florida, drive for 3 months, and then come home in May and work on it further. Then I'll have all the time I need to in order to find the parts I need on the cheap and do all the labor correctly. What kind of possibilities does that open up?

    I know I seem to be demanding fast cheap and reliable. I kind of want to compromise on the cheap and fast. 10 G's is plenty for what I'd like to do; it's no show car. I'm not looking for a dragster, either, just a daily driver with some good pep (Especially after driving an Explorer and a van).

    What if I were to choose the NA route? Would I go with an engine with more displacement, and more aggressive cams, fuel rails, pistons, etc? From a reliability standpoint, would I be better off with a boosted motor, or a tuned NA motor? I have a lot of time to decide, and I'd like to explore all my options.

    Again, thanks for all the help thus far. I'm a noob at this stuff. If you have any stereo questions, though, let me know :)
     
  6. budda

    budda New Member

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    I don't know much about hondas but I do have quite a knowledge about turbos. I'm not sure how much you know or don't know so i'll just list some basics.

    -get a wideband air/fuel ratio guage. they're about 300 bucks. A must have for any turbo vehicle. It will allow you to monitor your fuel mixture so you can avoid running too lean and cracking a piston.

    - Don't worry so much about what psi you're boosting so much as how it's getting in and out of the engine. Porting the head will have more effect than an extra psi or two. With that, a ported manifold and a non constrictive exhaust will do wonders. Its much better to run with a ported head and ported manifolds with 10 psi than it would be to run without porting at 15 psi.

    - Turbo spec valves and pistons. I'm sure stock pistons wouldn't survive in a turbo charged car, so you'll want to get some stronger ones. The same goes for valves. That turbo would cook your exhaust valves in under 3000 miles depending about what boost you're running.

    - of course you'll want to intercool it. More power per psi, and reduced risk of detonation.

    There's all the basics. good luck. Btw, dodge caravans arent all bad :)
     
  7. jmanpc

    jmanpc Carless

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    I love my Caravan. Smooth, roomy, quiet. It's a gas hawg, though. 16mpg city ftl. Thanks for the tips, though.
     
  8. budda

    budda New Member

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    no problem. I'm into dodges. I have a lebaron myself. Fun little car. factory turbocharged. It spurred me to learn about turbos. They're complicated, but alot of fun.
     
  9. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    It sounds like you're still pretty interested in good fuel mileage.

    If you're willing to get the engine in and running first, then drive it NA until your next break, I would just do a good job building up a block for boost. For good fuel mileage, you could go with a smaller engine (like the D16Z6) and a shorter geared transmission, or you could get a larger engine (like a B18 or B20) with a taller geared transmission. The larger engine is going to be a little more expensive to build plus a little more money to swap in, but when you start buying parts like pistons, rods and bearings- they all pretty much cost the same from block to block when you're talking D and B series engines.

    A classic cheap way to go is to swap in a B18 non-VTEC engine, then turbocharge that. You can still run a small turbo to get the quick spool and low end torque but have enough flow to make 250whp on the top end. A configuration like that would be very responsive and a lot of fun.

    The engine build for that would be fairly cheap- basic engine overhaul parts (gaskets, seals, bearings etc), plus forged pistons and rods. Decent forged pistons run around $500 a set, and forged rods can be had for around $300. Run your compression around 9.5:1 to 10:1 and you'll still have good off-boost driveability, but still be able to run lean enough to have good fuel economy. It will also make the car more enjoyable to drive before you put the turbocharger on.

    When you get the time to turbocharge, find a decent manifold, a turbo that makes the power curve you want, then tune tune tune. On a non-VTEC B18 with forged internals, you could make anywhere from 250whp with a really responsive setup with lots of torque down low up to 400whp or more for an all top-end highway racer.

    You could still do it all for less than $10k, given the time.

    If you go the NA route, you can still easily make your 200whp, but you really have to focus on the tuning (not that turbo tuning is less important). You could have it all built, broken in and tuned in your 3 week period if you have all your parts ready to go. There are lots of proven formulas for getting to 200whp all motor, and some of them are quite economical. I watched an internally stock GSR engine (B18C1 from 94-01 Acura Integras) put down 195whp with just intake/header/exhaust and some mild Skunk2 stage 1 camshafts plus tuning. A GSR swap would run you about $3000-4000, add on another $1000 for intake/header/exhaust, then add on $1000 for cams and valvetrain, then another $500-1000 (or free) for tuning. That would usually get you to your 200whp goal, maybe a little less- but it would make for one hell of a fun drive.
     
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  10. jmanpc

    jmanpc Carless

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    Again, thanks for the help.

    Honda Acura B18 LS engines from Integra -- 2 B18 LS engines for 200 bucks. I know that could be indicative of a nasty history, but I figure with 2 motors, I could make one good one. And of course, we can put all the new parts we need to into it.

    The way I figure it, during the rebuild we can put some nice new parts to make more power than stock, and generally a good performer NA. Then, in May, once we get more time we can boost it. What do you think?
     
  11. budda

    budda New Member

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    The rest can be all for naught, but if the blocks are good, go for it.
     
  12. jmanpc

    jmanpc Carless

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    I've been discussing this with my friend, and basically, he wants to severely overbuild the engine for maximum reliability and headroom. Basically keep the block and have it completely reconditioned, and replace the pistons, rods, crankshaft, valves, springs, head and axles.
     
  13. budda

    budda New Member

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    you couldn't go wrong with that idea.
     
  14. jmanpc

    jmanpc Carless

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    Well after combing Craigslist, I have found a couple D16Z6s that need work for $200 and a ready-to-drop-in B16 for $800. With either engine I get, I'd have it rebuilt anyways with new parts for maximum reliability.

    What all parts should I replace to ensure a like-new motor?

    I've been thinking pistons, rods, crankshaft, valves, springs, head, cams, throttle body, plugs, wires, and of course all gaskets and whatnot.... what am I missing? Again, I know some about motors, but not every last part. I'm also considering slapping a high-output alternator on the engine (to fuel my sound needs!) And between a B16 and a D16Z6, which do you think would be the better choice for my application?

    Also, how much could I expect to spend on a complete motor rebuild including new parts? I've been told I'd be looking at 3 large. Higher? Lower?
     
  15. jmanpc

    jmanpc Carless

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    Also just found a 1990 Civic hatch in good condition. Don't know what motor it has, but I could always drop a D16Z6 in there. My friend told me that the standard motor is pretty much an economy motor, and wouldn't make for a good performance engine. On the other hand, the SI motor is pretty nice.

    Car: Civic Hatchback
     
  16. drummingpariah

    drummingpariah Author of the Madness Man

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    Be careful on Craigslist. Sometimes you'll find excellent deals, but you can't expect every engine to be trouble-free (even if the seller says it is). I like Celesta's advice of dropping a low-mileage b20 in (NOT a b20a, for your own sake). You'll probably end up spending around $1500 for something with 20k miles or less (possibly with a warranty), then factor another $1k for swap parts (if you're looking for fun driveability, get a clutch-flywheel and install them while the engine is out). Make sure the engine comes with an ecu, wiring harness, and a manual transmission.

    You'll end up with a very solid, fun-to-drive engine if you put it in any EF-style chassis.

    As far as the chassis goes, try to avoid a DX/STD since they came with DPFI wiring harnesses (only wired for two injectors).

    That Civic in Jacksonville looks like a decent find, as long as it's rust-free. Be sure to check the rocker panels (the body panel under the door) and inside the rear wheelwells for rust, and look underneath the steering column for dangling wires or anything that looks spliced in. Make sure the interior is complete, and take it for a drive. While test driving, listen for BUMP noises. Little squeaks and creaks are fine (that just means the rubber body bushings are worn, which can be assumed for all these cars).

    Bring a rag, and hold it over the end of the exhaust pipe while the car is idling. You should feel a steady pulse pushing OUT from the exhaust pipe. If it pulls the rag in even a little bit, an exhaust valve is propably seated wrong (if you're swapping the motor out, it's not a big deal, but you should be able to talk him down based on the valvejob).

    That Civic appears to be a DX/STD, which is not optimal. If you want to swap in any other Honda motor, you'll need to convert the wiring harness from DPFI to MPFI. This is a common procedure, and it's well documented here on Hondaswap, but it's one more thing you'll have to deal with when you swap motors. That should give you a bargaining chip to talk the price down a little.

    All told, I would say that as long as the car isn't molested (rust, wiring problems, ruined/missing interior), it's worth at LEAST $1k. Each of those problems would drop my offering price by $250.

    For now, don't worry about making big power (turbo, nitrous, etc). I would focus more on getting a solid daily driver that's reliable and doesn't drain your wallet by filling the tank. The more power you produce, the more gas you're going to guzzle, so take it easy and get a feel for how far you want to go with this.

    Also, if you try to do too much all at once, the likelihood of this becoming another person's failed project that sits in the garage for 4 years before being sold off to the highest bidder increases. Take baby steps for now:
    get a running car
    (upgrade suspension)
    investigate motor swaps
    swap the motor
    build the motor to make power

    I suggest focusing on everything BUT the motor first. Those are upgrades that make the car more fun to drive and perform better without costing you gas mileage. That's just my $0.02 but I'm interested to see where you take this.

    Good luck, and take lots of pictures!
     
  17. jmanpc

    jmanpc Carless

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    Thanks for the advice.The reason I would build up the engine first is because I need a reliable engine. While I've got it out, and I'm in there restoring it, might as well slap some nice parts in it to give it some pep. If I end up getting that Civic or one like it, I might keep the stock motor for a couple months to get me to school and back, and then build a motor next summer. In the meantime, I'll enjoy the good gas mileage :D

    And many thanks for the tips on buying a car. I never would've thought to bring a rag. Also, thanks for the tips on where to find rust. I'll keep y'all updated.
     
  18. ci9v8ic89

    ci9v8ic89 98 lx soon 2 b

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    just startin my ride upp too i can sugest what im going to do but its not hatch
     
  19. jmanpc

    jmanpc Carless

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    Found another ad with the same car and an engine shot:

    Civic

    Any clue which engine that is? And lol at the repaint. Apparently it used to be red...
     
  20. Justin91civic

    Justin91civic New Member

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    It looks like it is a d15b2 which is the standard engine for that type of hatch. It is dpfi so just beaware like was said before if you get this then you will have to do some wiring to swap any other honda motor in.
     
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