Motor swaps for the 92-95 Honda Civic
One of the best ways to add power to your Civic is to swap the motor.
Why keep throwing parts at your car if it will never gain any real
power. Short of a turbo or nitrous kit, there is no more effective way
to increase your Civic's horsepower. In later posts I will discuss how
to make more power with whatever motor you have, but today I will talk
about what motors can make you more power.
One thing to keep in mind is the laws regarding swaps in your area. Before embarking on any project make sure the motor you choose is legal. Most municipalities require that the motor in your car is the same year or newer than the motor you are replacing. Also, they may require you to carry over all emission components. The easiest way is to purchase an obd1 motor to put in your obd1 car.
If your car doesn't already have vtec the cheapest way gain vtec is with the sohc vtec d16z6 found in 92-95 Del Sol Vtec's, Civic EX's, and Civic Si's. Rated at 127hp it can give your car a healthy boost. These motors can be found very cheap. Add in the fact that no special parts are needed and it is a very cheap swap. The downside is you are very limited in ultimate power that you will make compared to other swaps. Some people choose the jdm d15b. I would stick with the usdm motor for simplicities sake.
Often overlooked is the f-series motor found in the Accord. As with the d16's f-series motors can also be found very cheap. The drawback is a lot more is involved in the swap. Mounts are needed and something will have to be done about the transmission. Accords come with a cable shifter. However, Bisi Ezerohia has already shown that ample power can be made with these motors. Do not confuse these motors with the f20c found in the Honda s2000. These motors are designed for a rwd car and will not fit without extreme modification.
Next, we get into the realm of b-series motors. By far the most popular choice. Anyone of these motors is going to require a mount kit. Otherwise, they are a pretty straightforward swap. Most swapped Hondas on the road today use a b-series.
Cheapest of all b-series swaps is the b18b found in ls/rs Integras. Rated at 140hp they make more power than any d-series motor. This one does not have vtec but it does come with an increased displacement of 1.8 liters and is dohc. It still doesn't have the power of its vtec brothers but it is a very capable motor. Especially if you want to add a turbo and keep the bottom end stock. A similar motor is the b20 found in the CRV. Basically, it is the same motor but a little bigger.
Probably the most common swap is the dohc vtec b16 motor. Rated at 160hp, it is a very potent motor. Bolt-ons produce quality gains and they respond well to turbos. B16's are relatively cheap compared to other b-series motors and plentiful. The only drawback is its relatively small displacement at 1.6 liters.
If bigger is better, the next choice is the b18c1 found in Integra GSR's. With the b18c1 you get dohc vtec but with 1.8 liters of displacement and 180hp. Anything you can do to the b16 you can do with the b18c1, but you will make more power. One perceived drawback is it's shorter stroke. Some people worry that it is not as friendly to higher revs. In most situations this should not be a concern. the other drawback is that it costs significantly more than the b16.
Best of all b-series motors is the b18c5 found in the Integra Type R. With nearly 200hp out the box it is the most potent b-series motor to swap into your Civic. Cost is the biggest prohibition. Also, to keep costs down, many people will just make another b-series motor stronger. This is a good option, but the Type R is the most complete bolt in swap.
B-series motors are not your only option for high powered swaps. Back in the day the big boy of Honda swaps was the h22 found in Honda Preludes. At 2.2 liters it is one of the bigger motors you can swap into your Civic and it is also DOHC VTEC. Out of the box you will make more power and much more torque than you would with a b-series. In the longer run you might find your self limited because the aftermarket is not developed. Also it is not an easy swap. Nothing about it was meant to be in a Civic. Mounts, axels, and custom fabrication is involved. Not for someone scared of a lot of work. If you are up for the challenge though, these can be very rewarding motors.
Newest on the scene are the Honda K-series. Some form of these can be found in most current Honda and Acura equipped with a 4 cylinder. They have the benefit of the latest in vtec technology called I-vtec. These motors have the most potentiall but also come at a high cost. Not only do they cost more but like the H22 were not meant to be in an older Civic. Most everything is custom and and they involve more work. Potential is high, but for now you may choose to stick with a b-series until costs come down and the aftermarket is further developed. For those brave enough, the rewards can be huge.
Here I've listed most commonly swapped motors to put into a 92-95 Honda Civic. In the end, your imagination is the only limiting factor. Everything up to a Chevy 350 has been crammed into a Honda Civic. Most importantly, swap that tired old motor out. The possibilities are limitless for people willing to improve their Civic.
Yan00 on September 25, 2018:
Hello there, I have this honda civic coupe 2000 (SE) and I would like to change the engine to something vtec engine, what is the best vtec engine? And the most compatible and easy to put in? Thank you
Jr92 on January 11, 2017:
Hello I'm new to the civic engines I know the accord F series-K series but what I'm wanting to know is what engine will fit easily into my 94 civic it has a 1.5 non VTEC I'm wanting a VTEC in it. Would the 1.6 be my best bet as far as most compatible and ease to put it in?
Jr on January 11, 2017:
Hello I've always worked on the accords F series all the way to the K series. The civics are new to me as far as engine they look the same. But what I'm wanting to know is I have a 94 civic LX non VTEC it has the 1.5 I'm wanting a VTEC which engine is easily compatible with VTEC ?
Sandeep on January 13, 2015:
You have 1. spark 2. Air/fuel which are the two easiest and most comomn failures. The other things needed in order to run are 3. Compression 4. Timing Those are the next things to check. There is a possibility that the car is flooded. If you hold the throttle to the floor and crank it that will clear it most of the time. Fuel injected cars don't flood unless the spark is very weak, but it does happen on Nissan Sentras and other similar motors.
Lateisha on January 11, 2015:
It's a relief to find soeomne who can explain things so well
matt on December 29, 2014:
Will a gsr engine fit in a 92 civic dx
caleb on October 30, 2014:
Can i put a 2.0 engine out of a crv in a civic ex with a 1.6 and what is needed if possible?
Tom Skibitcky on November 29, 2012:
To say it I took out a blone 1.6 in a crx Ok it had a in the cap coil and what i put now in is a 2.2 vtec with a extrinsl coil so i need to no how to hook the coil to the old wrie harness of the i.6
wnd on July 10, 2012:
Can you swap a 95 Honda accord ex a vtech motor the headers and lifter with a regular Honda 95 motor parts?
kevinJM from Chapel hill, NC on May 19, 2012:
i got a 94 civic cx, what would be the best engine swap for my car?
Jeffrey d16 on May 15, 2012:
I HAVE a freashly done swap from a d15 non vtec i wanted vte it helps so i put in a d16z6 with some 4-1 headers and i short ram intake and a 2 1/4 cat back all the way and u can get a lot a horse power out of these SOHC Vtec's but it takes a lot of money so i relly want a jdm H22a but i wana see wats better
luis on April 25, 2012:
i have a 95 ex and whant to put the b18 could some tell me if i have to change the wire harness and witch one the engine bay or the interior
Evan-Twigg on February 28, 2012:
I have a 93 civic cx , what would be the ideal engine swap for good power and price can anyone let me know
theycallmemain on November 28, 2011:
nice another frankenstien is a f22 block with a h22 head with a gsr lsd tranny pushing 9 p of boost. lot head work and kinda pricy. i would want a 94 eg gsr w/lsd trans pushing low boost maybe supercharged.
Jeff on September 07, 2010:
I'm a Honda newbie, I recently picked up a 93 Civic DX, I put a cold air intake, Headers, and 2 1/2" catback exhaust on it. It will smoke em in first, and get good second gear scratch, but after that it's not very impressive. Thanks for this article, now I know what is compatible with my car and I can make it a real car soon :)
John on September 03, 2010:
Why do people put crv motors in civics or integras the crv has less power
driverdriver1 on June 04, 2010:
im looking for any info at all on engine swaps ... i have a 93 civic si with a b16a and having a couple problems ... anyone that can help me out please add or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .. Thanks mitch
thedrop_shop on May 09, 2010:
i would go with the ls/vtec. its a ls block with all stock internals but arp rod bolts. then i would go with the b16 vtec head all stock with arp head studs. i would use a block guard if you wish to turbo the motor now or later. then throw a t3/t4 turbo and run 14 lbs of boost on e85 and you will make about 420 at sea level with a ok tune. go with the ls tranny. i had this set up. its a great one. reliable and fast!!!
jakewen from North Bend, OR on April 20, 2010:
Hey, I like your frankenstien idea Darrel! I just might have to look for a b20 block....
Car Donations on April 19, 2010:
ahh. the do it yourself er. Admired by all but a mechanics worst nightmare.
Darrel Rhea on October 27, 2009:
You have touched everything but the true power house with the most bolt on aplication, the Frankinstine. I will recommend a good mecheine shop for this one tho. Take the b20 founf in the crv.s and gut it to bare block. replace all the internals to a b16ls with 30 over piston. turns it into a 2.2 long stroke. use the b16gsr head with bigger valves to compansate for the more fuel/air ratio that the 2.2 needs. sit down with your mecheinest to figure out wat octain fuel you wish to run and have him deck/shave the head for your needs. remember if you choice to later turbo the car i would shave to much for compression resones. its easer to run 93 octain for a will than it is to turbo one later and blow it to peaces because 87 octain and boost was just to much. this aplication gives you the choce in the transmission for the b16ls, b16gsr, b18, b20. i would recommend the b16ls because it is a little more high geared. then when it comes the the wiring you use the b16gsr or b16ls but you need a vtech controller wich gives you more options on setting you vtech to get the most of it. and i would recommend a p20 ecm, it delivers the most fuel air ratio. so do some home work and post the info about the vtech b22 that puts out 300 hores power without any boost. and if you have any question e-mail me @ DarrelRhea@HotMail.com. Sincerely V8 Killer, Darrel Rhea