If you’re a Honda enthusiast, you probably know all about the D16 as it’s the engine your Civic likely came with from the factory. If you’re not an enthusiast, however, you might not know about the D16, and that’s okay because we all start somewhere. This short article is designed to give you a run-down of the D16, its history, specifications, common problems, and performance potential. It should be noted, if you’re interested in other Honda engines take a look around our site, as we have articles covering nearly every Honda engine. With that out of the way, let’s get started.
Honda D16: Engine Basics and Specification
Production of the D began in the mid 80’s and lasted a little over 25 years. The first versions of the D16 are not the performance-oriented variants that are commonly discussed amongst Honda enthusiasts. Those performance variants like the D16Z6 or D16Y8 did not come along until the 90s. The D-Series line-up ranged from a pretty weak 1.2L up to a 1.7L, but the D16 is a 1.6L as the “16” in the name designates. In the US the D16 was only available as a single cam, but Japan received the ZC variant which used dual over-head cams. Unline B16, the D16 is relatively weak on the performance side, as the D-Series was designed to be the “economy” focused Honda engine of the time.
- Production Run: 1986 – 2006
- Cylinder Block Material: Cast Aluminum
- Cylinder Head Material: Cast Aluminum
- Configuration: Inline 4-Cylinder
- Valvetrain: SOHC – Four Valves per Cylinder – VTEC and non-VTEC Variants
- Bore: 75mm
- Stroke: 90mm
- Deck: Open Deck
- Compression Ratio: 9.1:1 to 12.5:1
- Horsepower: 103hp to 132hp
- Torque: 99 ft-lbs to 116 ft-lbs
Vehicles Used in Competition and The Honda D16
NASA’s Honda Challenge had a change of rules in 2005: cars who wanted to compete using a D-series engine were allowed to weigh in 400 pounds lighter than drivers with K20 under the hood. Everyone stuck with their good K20 engine which had been dominating the series. Bernando Martinez was the only racer to switch to the D-Series platform. He was allowed substantial modification, unlike the K20 power competition which was forced to stay stock. D-series motors could run any OEM Honda parts they needed in the bottom end, and to top that off aftermarket were allowed in the valve train as well as no limit on head prep.
It was doubtful the smaller engine could ever match the competition. Berando’s Frankenstein engine proved to be a worthy competitor, using a mix of D16, D17, and aftermarket parts, when it was all said and done his little engine had a 13.2:1 compression ratio and output an impressive 171whp and 135wtq. His hybrid had other drivers calling it the “inbred motor.” Ultimately it was not able to beat out all of the K-Series competition, but it proved that the D-series could be used competitively.
Honda D16: Performance Potential
There are those that would argue the only way to more power is by changing motors or doing a turbo charge, but we disagree. There are other more cost-effective ways to squeeze a little more power out of your Honda engine. We’ll point them out now, so you can line up all your options before deciding between either switch engines, or turbo charge.
- Catback, header, and intake modifications alone won’t do the job.
- Installing a Y8 intake manifold will make a difference. This option isn’t that expensive, and when you consider the benefits, it’s worth every penny.
- Try removing the power steering, looping the lines, and installing a breather. This kind of modification isn’t expensive and pays for itself at the gas pumps.
- Big power gains always hide in the cylinder head. With proper porting, polishing, and reshaping, big gains can be found here
Most modifications are relatively easy to handle since they are typically nothing more than bolt-on improvements. However, they can only do so much, and that makes a good case for forced induction to get what you need. Many would consider this option a costly one, and they might be right, but it can be counted on to deliver the power when the gas pedal is pressed into action.
D16Z6 or D16Y8, Which Is the Better Choice?
As you might expect, the D16Z6 and D16Y8 have, but there are important power and mechanical differences. We believe Honda has never been the kind of company to have a “good enough” attitude towards their products and the D16 series proves it. Both motors have been in Honda vehicles for many years now, and they each have their pros and cons. Understanding the difference between the two is important before you go any farther on an engine swap.
Everyone has their idea on which engine is best for performance builds. There’s not much difference in stock specs between the two on horsepower or torque yet each peak at a different end of the power band. Also, compression ratios, and cylinder head flow isn’t the same. Following are a few more slight but noteworthy differences.
- Head gaskets are of a different thickness.
- Connecting rod strength isn’t the same but using aftermarket parts cure this problem.
- Flow of intake manifolds and block strength varies quite a bit.
- Y8 produces 127 horsepower and redlines at 6,800 RPM with a limit of 7,200 revs.
- Z6 produces 125 horsepower and redlines at 7,200 RPM with a fuel cutoff at 7,400 RPM.
- Z6 has more low-end usable power, and Y8 power is mostly top end.
- Compression ratio for Z6 is 9.2:1, for the Y8 it is 9.6:1.
The chamber on the Y8 is smaller but angled for a better burn, and the camshaft has a longer duration by about 1 – 2 degrees. There are often debates whether the Z6 block and bottom end are stronger than the Y8’s block, and the possibility of minute differences in block rigidity are both debatable. When part numbers are cross-referenced, both the Y8 and the Z6 have the same con-rods. Keep in mind that even though the cylinder heads are the same, there is a difference in the camshaft and rockers.
If you’re still craving more information about the Honda D16, we recommend checking out the D-Series Wiki page.