First time Engine build.

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Junior Member
Hi guys, I hate to start another thread about a D16Z6 build. But it seams like all the ones I come across are dead or not around my goals. I recently purchased another 91 crx and plan on putting in a Z6. I know there will be a lot of people saying just drop in a B18 or B16. That's not what I want to do. I have rebuilt engines before but never to gain horse power, just simple rebuilds. My goal for this build is between 150 hp to 180 hp, then maybe a turbo down the road if im lucky. I'm not looking to drop a ton of money into this project. This car will be used as a daily driver and will be ran on 91 octane gas. I'm not sure where to start and need a push in the right direction. I have done some research on building a Z6 and came up with a confusing mess of answers. If you guys could help me out it would be greatly appreciated.

The list below is what I have came up with on my own. Some things I'm unsure of are. Piston size and type, rod length, injectors, compression that I need, valve job or no valve job, cam and cam gear, ECU, cold weather start problems, fuel pump, fuel rail. If you guys have any input on what might be better feel free to post your opinion. This is my first build so I'm unsure of what I need or looking for.

Vitara pistons
Eagle h-beam rods
ARP head studs
3 valve job
MSD ignition box and dizzy cap

These are just somethings that I see a lot on different discussion boards and though it was a good place to start.


Member of the 20 nut club
My goal for this build is between 150 hp to 180 hp, then maybe a turbo down the road if im lucky. I'm not looking to drop a ton of money into this project.

this right here is a big problem
first of all 30hp is a pretty wide range... especially on an NA D16
to put out 150-180hp on a NA D16 is going to require a lot of work
work that will be completely useless and need to be undone/changed if and when you decide you want to go turbo

make up your mind right now on what you want to do and dont deviate from that path

if you want to turbo it then do your research, get your plan together, start buying parts and prepping for your turbo setup

if you want to stay NA then do your research, get your plan together, start buying and installing parts, and STAY NA

obviously your power goal will be a lot easier to reach and go well past with a turbo

what is your budget

and just out of curiosity why are you against dropping a B in there


Junior Member
Ok so I just showed how much I know about building an engine lol. I didn't know that you couldn't build for a NA and not put a turbo on it later. Thanks for letting me know that. I would really like to go all motor but I love the sound of a turbo. I am going to stick with all motor for this build. My budget is really up in there air at the moment. I don't want to get to crazy as this will be my DD. For now let's say my budget is $1500 to $2000. I'm a machinist so having parts machined won't cost me that much. So where do I start?

I don't have nothing against dropping a B in there. This just happens to be the motor I have and I got it for nothing. It needs rebuilt anyways so while it's apart I might as well give it some extra horsepower. I would like to drop a B in there but they are hard to find in my area and if you do find one they cost an arm and leg.


Brutal Moderator
Yes, if you plan to turbo later, then just build for turbo and don't worry about how much horsepower or torque it will make will make before the turbo is installed.

If $1500 - $2000 is your total budget, then I'm not sure you can afford a full-on engine build (the pistons and the rods, etc.). I would do a good stock rebuild on the engine that includes the ARP hardware, and then spend the rest piecing together a turbo kit...


Junior Member
Ok so it sounds like my budget won't cut a full on engine build. I was doing some thinking and have changed my mind and I'm just going to turbo the motor. I know E_solsi said to stick with one or the other. Well I'm sticking with turbo and that's final. So now that I have my mind set on turbo, what needs to be done? You say to do a good stock re-build. Will stock pistons and rods hold up with a turbo? What should I do internally to prep the motor for turbo? Should I go with a different cam and cam gear? What about intake manifold, throtle body, MSD box, injectors, fuel rail, apex controller ect..... Also will it hurt to drive the car until a turbo kit is installed?


Stock rods and pistons will normally survive up to 200 hp. If you want to go more than that I would consider a set of eagle h beam rods and some forged pistons. For 2 grand or a little less I would think you could build the motor and than save for a turbo and put it on later.

Short block: I would get all new bearings and seals. A new water pump. New pistons and rods. ARP hardware wherever possible. A new oil pump would be good but not a deal breaker if the old one is in good shape. If you can machine parts on your own time going through the block would be a great idea. smooth transitions and nice radius edges can improve oil flow.

Cylinder head: I would go bronze valve guides. New seals. ARP head studs. If you have the money new valve springs and retainers now can allow you to run a big cam later. 3 angle valve job. Port work can go a long way to making power. If you are unsure about porting the head I would just remove casting flash and burrs and call it a day. If you want to make big power down the road it may be worth investing in some stainless steel or inconel (sp?) valves.

Intake and fuel system: For now run a stock intake, throttle body, and fuel rail. Spend the money on a good fuel pump (walbro 255) and call it a day untill you actually bolt on the turbo. Than you will need new fuel injectors. If my memory serves the stock fuel rail is good to over 300 whp.

Ignition system: Do a full tune up. cap, rotor, plugs, wires. Dont bother with a msd ignition system. From what I have seen a properly maintaned honda ignition system is sufficiant for way more power than most people think. When you go boost you might want to run some colder plugs and maybe a tighter gap.

Summery: worry about building a solid engine for now. Buy and install better externals when money allows.


Junior Member
Thanks a lot for all the info. now I can start ordering parts and start the tear down.


Senior Member
Ive always wanted to build a turbo d motor. If you blow it up you get another one for a couple hundred bucks!

Good luck and I cant wait to see what you assemble.


Junior Member
Well it's been a while since I've been on here. As of today this is how I stand. I've scraped the crx, do to excessive amounts of rust. I bought a clean, virgin 89 hatch. Converted it to 5 speed and mpfi. Swapped out the dash and seats and installed the crx dash, guage cluster and seats. It looks sweet on the inside now. Pulled out the power steering rack and installed a manual steering rack. I pulled the old motor and dropped in the D16Z6. Before putting in the Z6 I had the block notched, eagle rods and Vitara pistons installed, it's also bored to 75mm using apr head bolts. That's all i have done at the moment. I have a spare head that I want to send out for a rebuild. While it's being rebuilt I'm going to have a 3 angle valve job and some other things done but not sure what. This is were I'm going to need help. Besides the valve job what else should I do to get ready for turbo? I guess I'm looking to run a T3/T4 turbo.


Boosted ls/vtec ohh yeah!
It sounds like you invested in all the necessary bottom end parts you need to reach your horsepower goals. As far is the head goes I would just have a valve job done, new seals, resurfacing, and valve guides if it needs it. I just got my head back from endyn for the same work and am very happy with it. I paid $650 bucks for a valve job, new seals, resurfacing, and bronze guides hone fitted for the new valves. The turn around time isnt the greatest but their work is top notch. They can put a finish on an aluminum head that you can see your reflection in. Be careful who you have work on your shit. I had a valve job done by a local machine shop who was supposedly reputable on my build before I cracked my block and started over, and according to endyn it was garbage. The seats were machined off axis to the point they had to sink them a bit to get them concentric again. Endyn has invested in top dollar machinery and have the expertise to back it all up. Their site is if you want to check them out.


Junior Member
Yeah it's been a long slow process due to low funds at the moment. Everything is coming together nice though. Thanks for the info, I'll check them out. We have a couple shops around me that have good rep. I'm going to do some more research on these places before I make my decision. I would hate to spend all that money and them not do there job right.