Honda b16a1 engine
I’ve been writing a lot about my own project, so today I’m taking a break from updating on that and instead you get to read about one of my all-time favorite engines.
The b16a1 ROCKS.
The b16a1 is the holy grail of CRX motors. It boasts true vtec, aggressive dual overhead cams, a high safe redline, a lsd-equipped close-ratio cable-driven transmission, and a very tuneable ecu. It really is as nice a fit for the CRX as Honda ever made.
All b16 motors are good choices because of the aftermarket available and the near-perfect rod/stroke ratio, but the b16a1 is particularly suited to the ED chassis (88-91 CRX and Civics) because it’s obd0 and uses a cable transmission. If it came from a CRX SiR, the transmission will be LSD-equipped. If it’s from an Integra XSi, it will come without an LSD.
However, there are downsides.
Because the b16a1 was only available in Japan, and was only produced in the CRX and Civic SiR, getting one requires contacting an importer (who will generally buy one from a running car because of modern Japanese smog restrictions). You will not know any of the history of the motor, but if the shop is worth spending time on, they will offer a full test run on the engine (dyno run and leakdown test) to ensure that it’s in working condition.
The other problem that arises is finding replacement parts. The B family of Honda motors benefits from a large aftermarket parts availability, but stock parts are difficult to find because they need to be imported directly.
Overall, the b16a1 is a great choice to put in the CRX. As long as you find a reputable dealer that offers a “complete swap” (axles, ecu, wiring harness, intake manifold, throttle body, exhaust manifold, etc) and the motor and transmission are both in good repair, expect to spend roughly $3,000 USD on this swap, assuming you will be installing it yourself.
That’s just the beginning. There is a wealth of information available for the b16 series. Here’s a good start for your hunt for more: