Looking for advice for my first D-Swap - D-series.org

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Old 09-04-2018, 12:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Looking for advice for my first D-Swap

Hello everyone.
I would Really Appreciate some straight clear concise advice from some of the pro engine builder's and experienced D-Series motor swappers on this site..
I have a really nice California sourced 89 Si hatchback, which is typical high miles (260k!!) but has a beautiful rustfree bodyshell.. I also have scrounged around for years and finally have the parts to assemble a mint condition OEM interior including upholstery that looks new.

I'm Ready to begin a full restoration of the car, and I plan to totally strip the car down to the bare bodyshell and repaint it better than OEM. During the process, I want to upgrade the drivetrain, but I want to retain a quasi OEM look to it... therefore, I have ruled out frankenstein-like contortions such as jamming K20's or H-series motors into the car. I prefer to retain a D-series based motor, however, I want to upgrade the power at least 50% from stock.. So, that means I'm shooting for about 150-200hp, and (hopefully) a corresponding increase in torque too...

My main question is.. What do you guys on here suggest for the MOST STRAIGHTFORWARD and Least headache for a swap?

a) swap out the complete drivetrain for a 93 Si/Ex D16z6 with hydraulic trans?
(as far as I can tell, this will require extra work to convert the clutch pedal to hydraulic shift).. also some rewiring work to make the VTEC function properly in the car (is a RyWire harness available for a simple plug and play for this swap?) Someone has also told me that the left side engine mount on the D16z6 will not fit on the 89 Civic chassis.. is this true??

b) to avoid potential engine mount complications and also hydraulic clutch swapping...
how about the possibility of simply buying a rebuilt D16z6 head and swapping that head onto the existing OEM D16A1 block. If I do this, I would almost definitely want to rebuild the bottom end with new bearings and pistons, etc etc so I end up with a totally new motor

I have always thought that the above head swap is what people do to CRX Si's and call a "Mini Me" swap... but now lately, I hear people telling me that a "mini-me" swap is actually when you put a D16z6 Vtec head on a 1488cc (DX) D15 block!! IS THIS CORRECT?
Why would anyone put the Vtec head on the smaller displacement block? I often see lots of D15 Vtec motors for sale from the JDM motor importers..., isn't it just cheaper and more reliable to buy a factory assembled D15 motor that already has a Vtec head on it? I admit that all of these combinations have me confused!
So, choice
c) would be assembling a D15 block with a D16 Vtec head...?

d) I assume that to reach the power level I'm looking for I must count on installing high compression pistons, headers and maybe upgraded "Stage 1" cams? and maybe a Skunk2 or Edelbrock intake manifold too?

I wish to avoid the extra complication of turbo's, etc....

OK, so that's about it... what do you guys out there suggest for me?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-07-2018, 12:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Considering the Japanese Spec version of the car (1989 Civic SiR ) came with a b16, why don't you just do that. You can still call it stock...
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Old 09-08-2018, 05:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm putting a z6 in my 90 hatch right now. Yes motor mounts differ. Remove crank pulley timing belt cover and swap the mount. That's what I'm doing. U will need p28 ecu. If it's dpi u Will need injector clips and wired. vtec wired, knock sensor and o2 sensor wired. Not sure about anything else. I'm not that far yet and still have to get everything for the wiring myslef
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Old 09-08-2018, 09:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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a single cam motor from a 90-93 accord or 94-97 accord (non vtec) has the general appearance of a D series, yet would enable you to gain quite a bit of performance while maintaining VERY good gas mileage.

The F22 motors are pretty low compression and very durable, so sometime in the distant future you want to have some fun, something as simple as a shaved head and a header can make a very noticeable change in driving behavior, even without tuning.


Keep in mind also, when you complete your restoration, if you leave everything stock and undamaged, SOMEONE will give you some decent coin for it, regardless of mileage.

Just do a good job!
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