The Top Ten Engines to build

1| Honda B-series VTEC

The little engines that started a REVolution…

Example of a Honda B series engineSo why did Honda’s B-Series engine earn the top spot among DSPORT’s Top 10 Engines? It’s not the highest horsepower, not the largest displacement; it’s not even turbocharged from the factory. But the B series featured Honda’s revolutionary Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) technology. VTEC gave the B-series engines the equivalent of two different camshaft profiles. The first cam profile offered low RPM response, good drivability and decent fuel efficiency. The ECU-controlled VTEC system would then enable the second cam profile (higher lift, longer duration) to activate at higher engine speeds, increasing airflow and horsepower production. The 1.6-liter B16A powerplant that first equipped the JDM 1989 Honda Civic SiR produced 160 bhp from the factory, a first for an engine of its size without forced induction. The popularity of the B-series engine didn’t take off in America until it became available in the Acura Integra GS-R. Soon after, engine swaps became a mainstream modification. This modular engine family (cylinder heads, engine blocks and many ancillary components can be swapped or shared between variants) produced a number of different hybrid engine configurations. In addition, the aftermarket supported the platform with upgrades that have carried this engine for over a decade after Honda ceased its production. This is also considered the start of the import performance revolution that (by way of underground street racing) launched sport compact drag racing. When popular opinion felt that a front-wheel drive could not break the 12-second barrier, professional racers like Stephan Papadakis, Ron and Ed Bergenholtz, Lisa and Gary Kubo, Kenny Tran, Tony Fuchs and Dave Shih raised the bar quickly, going into the single digits. Even today, properly build examples have exceeded 1,000 horsepower with turbocharging. This storied history and continuing popularity make Honda’s groundbreaking B Series the number one engine in DSPORT’s Top 10 Engines.


What’s Hot:

• First mass-production VTEC Engine (B16A)Example of a Honda B series engine • Widely available with comprehensive aftermarket support even 11 years after ceasing production • Easy to work on • Capable of exceptional horsepower-per-liter with forced induction • Continues to be the most common performance engine swap • Interchangeable heads and blocks across the entire engine family bringing about many hybrid engine configurations. • Has set FWD records and in some categories, continues to hold records • Offered in a number of JDM applications, making surplus engines from wrecking yards available • Affordable • Excellent flowing heads • Dual stage plenum (B18C1 application)Example of a Honda B series engine • Dual overhead camshafts • Factory crankshafts handle immense horsepower levels • Excellent factory bearings • Properly sleeved engines have produced 4-digit horsepower • Exceptional high-RPM valvetrain • Bore spacing allows sleeved bore increases to 94mm+ • DART offers aftermarket closed-deck version of block

What’s Not:

• Thin factory cylinder liners do not allow significant overboring • Open deck design lacks rigidity • Only B18C1, B18C5 included a girdle to strengthen the bottom end • Crankshaft rotates counterclockwise limiting the number of aftermarket transmission options • Improper machining and installation of aftermarket sleeves results in dropped sleeves, head gasket failures or other issues


Manufacturer: Honda
Years In Production: 1989-2001
Engine Code: B16A, B18C
Displacement (cc): 1,595.6cc, 1,797.6cc
Bore & Stroke (mm): 81mm x 77.4mm, 81mm x 87.2mm
Peak Horsepower (@RPM): 160 bhp @ 7,600 RPM, 170 bhp @ 7,600 RPM
Peak Torque (@ RPM): 111 lb-ft @ 7,000 RPM, 128 lb-ft @ 6,200 RPM
Block Material: Aluminum
Head Material: Aluminum
Compression Ratio: 10.2:1, 10.0:1
Camshafts: B16A: 240-degree (IN), 227-degree (EX)
B18C: 230-degree (IN), 227-degree (EX)
Valves / Springs / Retainers: 16 Valves, Dual Valve Springs, VTEC Valvetrain
Throttle Body: Single
Fuel Injectors: Top Feed, High Impedance
240 cc/min, 270 cc/min
Ignition System: Distributor, Internal Coil
Applications: 1999-2000 Honda Civic Si (EM1)
1994-2001 Acura Integra GS-R (DC2, DB8)
1997-2001 Acura Integra Type-R (DC2)

2 thoughts on “Top Ten Engines | Inside The Engines That Powered An Industry

  1. WelDun1 says:

    Definitely have to disagree with the list…

    1) 4G63T
    2) 2JZ-GTE
    3) RB26DETT (better as RB26DET)
    4) SR20DET
    5) 13B-REW
    6) EJ257
    7) VR38DETT
    8) B18C1/5 & B16A
    9) K series
    10) F20C & F22C

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