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Thread: 88 accord engine re-build vs. swap

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb 88 accord engine re-build vs. swap

    greetings from an old dude but honda newbie:

    i posted this on the honda portion of the automativeforums board before i discovered this site. here goes:

    my family obtained for "free" a 1988 accord lxi with five-speed, EFI. we had to put a few hundred bucks into it this summer to keep it going (water pump, timing belt, upper left ball joint, plug and coil wires). it now sounds like the crank bearings are getting rumbly at 178,000-plus miles. the rascal still does not blow smoke. in fact it is smooth as silk up top. (needs a front bumper but the body is straight and merits a paint job after suspension and engine up to snuff). everything things on this thing except the rear speakers and cruise control. amazing.

    now then, do we swap something in (my 16-year-old son jabbers about a b16, etc., but the FAQs make this look dicey what with the cost of mounts and such) for the old power plant, or rebuild from bottom up with nicer pistons, slightly racier cam, header and such. he's talking turbo. i'm talking 150-160 horsepower without turbo.

    appreciate any tips and suggesations.
    His,
    fish280



  2. #2


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    To keep it cheap, a non-turbo b16a should work very nicely. You'd be looking at around $450usd for the engine mounts and $1100usd for the complete engine package with transmission, ECU, axles, etc. I would probably go this route instead of rebuilding the A20A, mainly because the support available for the B series engines. You'll get close to 160hp out of the box, plus more with headers and other modifications. This is also a VTEC engine and I believe gas mileage is the same if not better than the A20A.

    It is somewhat costly compared to a re-build or a new A20A engine you could probably find for $500 or so, but it will give your car the extra "oomph" that it deserves.
    Now:
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  3. #3

    PhydeauX's Avatar
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    If 150ish is you're goal you might as well stick with the a20 you have. A bigger cam, higher compression and a decent header/exhaust system will pretty much do it for you.

    andy

  4. #4
    3Geez Veteran 88LXi68's Avatar
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    if you want to stick with the stock engine talk to these guys... www.openloopmotorsports.com They have 2 3rdGen Accords. One with a JDM B20A and one with a 140HP to the wheels A20A
    '88 LX-i Coupe --- LS/Vtec
    '08 Accord EX-L 6-6 --- Daily Duty

  5. #5
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    ya....I was thinkin about the same thing...
    once I get my 88/89 ex-i..
    i was thinkin about swappin a b16, b18c1, b18c5...
    or doin some work on the a20 and bring that puppy to 150hp...
    which is still enough to smoke most civics and tegs...and accords..
    R.I.P Spoon Se-i 01/17/04

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    A20A1's Avatar
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    where is fish280?
    - llia


  7. #7
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    hey mike,

    fish here in birmingham, alabama. what can i do for you?

    speaking of engine swaps, my son talked with the guys at next level here in bham. those guys say no to b16 swaps and a hearty yes to h22 swaps. they say is it much easier, including the wiring, etc., as long as a transmission comes along with the engine. the shop will provide the engine, tranny, mounts and labor for $4,500-$5,200 or so. my son found an h22 at, i think, www.h22a.com this weekend. motor and transmission shipped wherever we want it for $2,800. now, we are nowhere near ready to take this step. my son has wrestling season coming up, then soccer this spring. but he will have a part-time job after wrestling and full time this summer to pay the bulk of this swap/work. meanwhile, we have plenty o' time for research. thanks for your interest.

    His,
    ><>
    His,
    fish280

  8. #8

    PhydeauX's Avatar
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    Some thing tells me that this shop has no idea what they are gettign into. A b-series swap has a mount kit, axles, and most of the other goodies that are needed available through place racing. The h22a is custom just about everything. $4500-5200 seems really light if the engine is included in that. I'd be thinking about some form of a b18 or a b20 if I wanted a swap.

    andy

  9. #9
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    fish280

    Wow some one else from B'ham, welcome to the board. You will find alot of help on this board from these guys when it come to the accord.

    The guys at Next Level are preaty good and have some experience with off the wall swaps. However, not to knock Josh and them from Next Level you might want to try Holy Smoke Racing Anglo has been doing honda swaps for a long time and they warrent there work. Look them up but they are a little more expencive.

    If you are looking for 150ish hp then just re-build the A20A you will get that easy for alot less then the swap plus I'm sure your son will want some rims plus droped and a nice system.:wavehttp://www.holysmokeracing.com
    Last edited by pric; 10-07-2002 at 07:40 AM.
    87 4dr LX "It was FREE"
    91 CRX Si it was only $500 hehe

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    Talking

    thank you so much, pric. you know, it could be my son confused himself on the motor swap. but absolutely we will talk to the holy smoke folks. we go to church in trussvile and are out that way all the time on weekends, too.

    could be we need to pick up an A20 junker, put it on stand and follow the intsructions on the project thread here. that way we could do it a piece at time; you know, port and polish head one month, this and that the next. hmmmmm.

    thanks again.

    His,
    ><>
    His,
    fish280

  11. #11
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    Hey fish280, if you're going to do that get a digital cam first and make some how to's..yippee.
    please

  12. #12
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    hey guys: i checked the h22a site small print myself. nope, no such swap recommended for an '88 accord. so we're back to a "b" or a zc swap, whatever that is. holysmokeracing here in bham highly recommends the zc swap, and offers a turn key job for 2,800 bucks with a 12-month/12,000-mile warranty. will somebody please tell me what a "zc" is?
    thanks,
    His.
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  13. #13
    3Geez Veteran 88LXi68's Avatar
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    I say no on the ZC. Get a 1st gen b16a or a B18A1 and put a VTEC head on it. The ZC is for a Civic not our Accords. I am doing the B18A1 with a Vtec head on it. (LS/VTEC)
    '88 LX-i Coupe --- LS/Vtec
    '08 Accord EX-L 6-6 --- Daily Duty

  14. #14
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    is the zc a significantly newer model engine and, therefore, easier to obtain and modify? i'm no techno guy but would appreciate some reasons for saying no to that. in fact, i am very grateful for the advice and tips i have received in such a short time as board member. keep 'em coming. this old dog can learn new tricks.

    His,
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    fish280

  15. #15
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    Wink

    ok, i found out the zc is a civic engine, and pretty old to boot. oh well, still researching.

    thinking about buying a junker a20 and building it up, as much as i can at home, then getting a pro to swap it in. oh well.
    His,
    fish280

  16. #16
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    The ZC came in the Civic's and Integra's LS/RS It had 137 hp @ 6,800 & 108 ft/lbs. @ 5700 DOHC non-VTEC. You can get the motor, tranny, ecu, etc. for around $700.00. I would not recomend this swap.

    I guess it depends on how much you are willing to spend and what your goals are for your son's car. Like how much HP you want him to have. The A20A is a good motor to start from and will make the HP that you said you were looking for. I can give a list of all the junkyards in the area. Also a member on the board named dhcarss is a friend and co-worker of mine he has a few A20A's at his house he might be willing to sell one to you if your looking into building another motor slowly.
    87 4dr LX "It was FREE"
    91 CRX Si it was only $500 hehe

  17. #17
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    Thumbs up thanks pric

    appreciate the info. we're still looking and thinking. our mechanic, by the way, say's aaron's (aaron is the son) bottom end sounds like it is going. the mechanic has no stake in this. he has done mucho stuff for free just because we go to the same church.

    he told aaron to take it easy and the '88 will keep rolling, at least for a while. the engine, indeed, is making a sound in the bottom t somewhere, especially when cold and revving. could be the crankshaft bearings are getting sloppy, etc. but i'm not convinced - yet. the engine has AT least 178,000 on it. anybody eve heard of the bottom end going on an A20?
    His,
    fish280

  18. #18
    LX User dhcarss's Avatar
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    I do know someone that has one that sounds like the bottom end is gone but she doesnt want to worry about it, I was going to put a motor in it for her but she is waiting until it goes out, I know what your talking about though, doesnt sound good. If you are interested in talking about the other a20 that I have, or for any other qwestions, feel free to email me, I could even meet up with you and help with it.. later........email - dan68rs@yahoo.com..

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