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I started off with a JDM 1.5L w/ a PM3-17 head. I picked up a complete B7 w/ transmission, axles, and shift linkage for $100. The head had been beat to hell and needs some work so I decided I'll use it as a learning head. The bottom end was really nice other than the guy I bought it from seriously needs to learn how to do an oil change. It had roughly 120k miles on it, had been owned by an elderly driver most of its life until the kid I bought it from so luckily everything was good to go.

I sent the block in to be cleaned up and honed since there was very little wear on the cylinders - got that done for $90. I cleaned up the pistons and big ends of the rods with a brass brush and hot soapy water (dawn dish soap) and oiled them afterwards to prevent rusting. They cleaned up really nice, there was a little carbon build up that I just couldn't get off but I was happy with the end result. While I was at it I also cleaned up the oil pickup screen.

I ended up using Sealed Power chrome piston rings ($76), main bearings, and rod bearings ($88 for both sets). I had to get new thrust washers which I ordered through my local Honda dealership ($17) as well as new head bolts ($67). I also upgraded to a Fel-Pro MLS .028" headgasket to bump my compression and for better reliability. I got a new Melling Oil Pump ($103) and a Sealed Power timing belt ($21) - I ended up reusing the water pump and thermostat because they looked almost brand new.

I had the head rebuilt by the same shop that cleaned up my block and they ended up milling it .008" and having to replace 2 valves so I was glad I ended up sending it in to be rebuilt rather than popping it onto my rebuilt block. This was where I actually got to see the difference in the camshafts between the A6 and B7 unfortunately I didn't get to do a picture comparison like I had wanted to. I was kind of surprised at the difference in size and am glad I went with the PM3 head over rebuilding the PM9.

I had originally planned on balancing the engine but I ran out of time and money to do so, but I did get a competition clutch ultra light weight flywheel (9ib for $213) and ended up getting a last minute purchase of a Spec D Tuning 4-2-1 full exhaust kit with CAI (2.5") which I am in the process of reviewing http://www.d-series.org/forums/product-reviews/286465-spec-d-tuning-full-exhaust-w-cai.html#post4835585 and I also replaced my slave cylinder ($16) and clutch from autozone ($120) which I think is good for up to 155 ib-ft of torque? I might be mistaken but I feel a stock clutch is suitable for the power I'll be putting down once I get my IM and Injectors dealt with and have a tune here in a few months.

I also am using an EX transmission. I'll be trying out my DX transmission later on this year probably to see the difference.

As of right now I have definitely noticed that the lighter flywheel doesn't hold inertia very well in comparison to the stock flywheel, but that's mostly on hills at low speeds. If I'm driving around at highway speed I can drop it to 4th and be good.

Altogether I have been very happy with this rebuild. I just passed 400 miles and it's starting to become more lively than before. I have a 9.9:1 C/R according to zealautowerks calculator.

Driving impressions are really good - I had a friend who has bad anxiety when it comes to cars and she was thinking I was driving really easy to avoid getting her upset and I wasn't, it just literally does not take very much effort at all to get up to speed. Although I could stand to get an adjustable cam gear and advance the timing a little. I haven't put a lot of effort into it but it's pretty difficult to spin my tires which I don't have a huge complaint about. It does however get up an haul after I get rolling. I'd estimate 0-60mph in about 8 seconds. Which is 2 seconds faster than before.

My biggest complaint is that I don't hit my powerband until 4k and I'm done by 6.5k - I'm wanting to have my rev limiter extended to 7.5k when it's getting tuned so that I can use my power better and run out my first 2 gears a little longer. I'm hoping that will allow me to run to 40 in first and 70 in second. I think right now it's 33 and 63 roughly when my limiter kicks in.

I'm really hoping for over 40% increase in power over a stock B7 once I get the IM and injectors in with a tune.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I've got about 900 miles on my build now and I am pretty impressed with it. Although for a daily driver the ultra lightweight flywheel is a little bit of a hassle. I have to bring it up to 1500 rpm to get a smooth start without lugging it down really bad.

My power kicks in about 3800 RPM and it just takes off from there, I am really happy with the flywheel at this point, although without a huge gain in horsepower I feel this flywheel is too light for most driving situations I find myself in. I think the use of a heavier 12ib flywheel would have been a good choice for quicker acceleration without much sacrifice in rotational inertia around town.

With breaking in my engine and 80% of my driving being well into the RPM most of the time I hit 28mpg giving it a run and letting it slow down against compression to help the rings. And then I got 30.5mpg on my second fill up where I ended up in the mountains and putting it through it's paces.

It gets up and goes really nice, with the exhaust system it's definitely louder than the stock exhaust at a constant highway speed but it's not obnoxious. I'm sure it'll get better as I get used to driving it but this thing seriously opens up and flies for having changed only a couple things. It does lack a little inertia going over hills now but third will still get you to 90 pretty easily if you stay above in the powerband starting at the bottom. The hill I'm referencing this from is about an 8% grade for 1 mile.

The part that really surprises me is that it is so much easier to get to speed. I literally only have to use a 1/4" of motion to get to 60mph. People look at me like I'm putting my foot into it though because it winds out so quickly. By far it's not a high power monster but it definitely scoots.

I would recommend the extra $422 to get the exhaust system and a lightweight flywheel and the use of an A6 cam. In addition I would also recommend an adjustable timing gear for some finer tuning until you get into a tuner. I could probably work out the few kinks in my low end power if I had one.
 

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Brokedick Millionaire
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40,251 Posts
Stiffer engine mounts will make the LW flywheel more manageable.

6800 shift point is fine, but ZC 3-4 really help.

Z6 intake will help.

45+ mpg with ease....

My original D15Beast7 combo just worked for just swapping OEM parts around. The combo is 17 years old now. Keep cruise speed around 2800-3200 rpm, you'll learn to drive it better, then will come the MPG increases.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I just realized the other day my shift point is 6300. I've been mulling it over and am thinking I'd like the limiter to be raised to 7500 rpm or at least 7000. I feel that would put my engine's potential into a better zone.

My old engine, which is identical was getting 33-36mpg average depending on how much I put my foot into it.

After this endeavor I'm really leaning toward rebuilding my old block and finding a jdm vtec crank for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think my timing needs to be advanced a little. Driving around it just seems to be nosediving in power. But once I get going I end up slipping my tires rather easily. This is usually around 2500 rpm. Under 2000 rpm it almost feels like it's working against itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Stiffer engine mounts will make the LW flywheel more manageable.

6800 shift point is fine, but ZC 3-4 really help.

Z6 intake will help.

45+ mpg with ease....

My original D15Beast7 combo just worked for just swapping OEM parts around. The combo is 17 years old now. Keep cruise speed around 2800-3200 rpm, you'll learn to drive it better, then will come the MPG increases.
I was right with my timing being an issue. I advanced the timing at the distributor and everything from city driving to exhaust noise has become a lot better. It even pulls hard again under WOT.

As of now I've been gaining about 2mpg as my engine gets worn in. I just crossed the 1k mile mark on my rebuild and went from 28 to 32 mpg.
 
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