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, many enthusiasts still do not know about this engine and its insane potential. The purpose of this article is to help get you up to speed on the Honda B16. Let’s dive in.
Honda B16: Engine Basics and Specifications
One big reason the B16 engine is so famous amongst JDM enthusiasts is 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. Regardless of anything else, a highly inefficient engine won’t make very much horsepower or torque. A good example of a thermally inefficient engine that doesn’t produce nearly the power it should is a Harley Davidson V-Twin.
While Honda’s B16 makes a pretty small amount of torque, it revs very high, and horsepower is just an equation of torque and RPM. 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 special 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). VTEC works by using one camshaft profile for low RPM, providing good torque and excellent drivability, and a camshaft profile for high rpm that has a greater lift and longer duration. The lobe profile is switched based on load and RPM to increase power output at high RPM.
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
As far as applications go, there are a lot. Unfortunately, most “performance” Honda cars in the US didn’t receive the B16; rather, they received the D16Z. The only two vehicles which received the B16 in the US were the 1994 to 1997 Del Sol VTEC and the 1999 to 2000 Civic SI. Power output ranges from 150hp to 182hp depending on the model and region Honda sold it in.
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 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)
- 1999-2000 Honda Civic USDM Si (EM1) (B16A2)
- 1992-1997 Honda Civic del Sol EDM VTi (EG) (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 being 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 these 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 the 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 of 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 want 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.
Although I’ve kind of talked up the B16 and made it sound like a good engine swap, in reality, it’s cheaper to build an LS-VTEC, and the extra displacement allows for more low-end torque and more overall power. But, if you love revving your engine out to 9k RPM or even higher, depending on your setup, the B16 is an awesome engine.
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