As an automotive enthusiast, you have probably heard of the Honda B16 engine at some point. It’s one of the most talked about engines in the JDM world, and Honda enthusiasts all over the world have this engine swapped into their car. Although this engine is popular, there are still many enthusiasts who do not know about this engine, and it’s insane potential. The purpose of this article to help get you up to speed on the Honda B16. Let’s dive in.
Honda B16: Engine Basics and Specifications
There is one big reason that the B16 engine is so famous amongst JDM enthusiasts: horsepower per liter. Horsepower per liter is a measurement of horsepower liter of displacement. Although this measurement is far from perfect, it is an excellent way to measure an engine’s efficiency. A highly inefficient engine won’t make very horsepower or torque. While Honda’s B16 makes a pretty small amount of torque, it revs very high and is designed to rev that high. The result is a peak of 187 horsepower from just 1.6L! If a Mustang from the same period (4.6L) were to make that much horsepower per liter, it would make 553 horsepower (instead it made anywhere from 225 horsepower to 260 horsepower excluding any specials models like the Cobra).
Honda was able to achieve such great horsepower per liter by utilizing their VTEC technology, as well as having very high rev limiters ((RPM*Torque)/5252 = Horsepower). With an engine that revs to 9k RPM, achieving high horsepower numbers isn’t too hard, assuming parts like the camshaft are designed for it. Using high RPM engines is what allows F1 cars to achieve insane amounts of power from tiny engines. Down below are some basic specifications that you might find useful.
- Production Run: 1989 – 2000
- Cylinder Block Material: Aluminum
- Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
- Configuration: Inline 4-Cylinder
- Valvetrain: DOHC – Four Valves per Cylinder – VTEC
- Bore: 81mm
- Stroke: 77.4mm
- Deck: Open Deck
- Compression Ratio: 10.2:1 to 10.8:1
- Horsepower: 150 horsepower up to 187 horsepower
- Torque: 110 lb-ft up to 118 lb-ft
Honda B16: Vehicles
The B16 came in a host of different vehicles ranging from Civic, CRX, Del Sol, and Integra. There are a few different variants of the B16, but they are all mostly the same except for the B16B. The B16B is special because it does not use the normal B16 bottom end. Instead, it uses a de-stroked B18 bottom end which gives it a slightly different rod length and crankshaft throw. The B16B is also the most popular, outputting 187 horsepower. It was only available in the 1997 – 2000 (EK) Civic Type R.
- 1989-1993 Honda Integra XSi (B16A SIR-V)
- 1989-1991 Honda CRX SiR (B16A SIR-V)
- 1992–1993 JDM Honda Integra “XSi” (DA6) (B16 SIR-II)
- 1992–1994 JDM Honda Civic SiR/SiRII (EG6) (B16 SIR-II)
- 1992–1993 JDM Honda Civic Ferio SiR (EG9) (B16 SIR-II)
- 1992–1995 JDM Honda CR-X del Sol SiR (EG2) (B16 SIR-II)
- 1996–1998 JDM Honda Civic SiR/SiRII (EK4) (B16 SIR-II)
- 1995–1998 JDM Honda Civic Ferio Si (EK4) (B16 SIR-II)
- 1997 – 2000 Civic Type R (B16B)
- CRX’1.6 DOHC VTEC (EDM) (B16A1)
- 1992-2000 Honda Civic EDM VTi (EG6/EG9 & EK4) (B16A2)
- 1992-1997 Honda Civic del Sol EDM VTi (EG) (B16A2)
- 1999-2000 Honda Civic USDM Si (EM1) (B16A2)
- 1999-2000 Honda Civic SiR Philippines (EK4 sedan) (B16A2)
- 1999-2000 Honda Civic CDM SiR (EM1) (B16A2)
- 1994-1995 Del Sol VTEC USDM VERSION (B16A3)
- 1996-2000 Civic Si-RII (JDM version) (EK4) (B16A5)
- 1996–2000 Honda Civic – Middle East & South Africa VTEC (SO3, SO4) (B16A6)
Honda B16: Common Problems
Not too surprisingly, this B16 is known for excellent just like the rest of the B-Series. In fact, almost all Honda four-cylinder engines have excellent reliability. Just like any engine, of course, there are a few well known and documented issues on the B16 engine. The first issue revolves around the camshafts seals which are known for leaking. Idle issues can be relatively common depending on how well the particular engine was taken care of. A vacuum leak typically causes the idle issue. A faulty IAC valve or TPS can also cause this idle issues. Burning oil can happen on pretty much high milage B-Series. Other than the issues we mentioned, the B-Series is pretty reliable.
- Camshaft Seals
- Burning Oil
- O2 Sensors plugged in backward during engine swap
- Idle Issues
Honda B16: Tuning Potential
Although Honda did a great job squeezing huge amounts of power out of the B16, they did leave a little bit of power on the table. The easiest way to extract this power is with an intake and header-back exhaust. You need to be careful with your choice fo aftermarket intake, as most of the cheaper options will draw in more hot air than the OEM intake causing a loss of power. Simple bolt-on modifications will slightly increase power, but a quality tune will extract the most power possible.
If you big power naturally aspirated, you’re going to have to open your engine up. With higher compression pistons, head porting/polishing, and different camshafts, power levels of 200whp are achievable. Of course, adding forced induction or nitrous into the mix will result in much higher power levels. Realistically if you want naturally aspirated power a B20 or K20 would be a great option, as there is no replacement for displacement.
A full-blown B16 with a sleeved block, forged bottom end, big turbo kit, built transmission, and more, is capable of about 800whp. Of course, a 1.6L making that kind of power is going to suffer from massive turbo lag, poor drivability, abysmal reliability, and is not street-able whatsoever. Again, there is a reason the saying “there is no replacement for displacement” exists.
- Cold air intake (with a quality box to stop it from sucking in hot air)
- Header-back exhaust
- ECU Tune
- High compression pistons, different camshafts, head porting
- Turbo kits