November 25, 2015

Honda b16a1 engine

Posted on February 13, 2010 by in In the Garage

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

More Info

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:

  • Identify a b16
  • Ryans CRX (I can’t find Ryan’s original build thread, but droppedcrxsi was one of the best b16a1 writeups I had ever found.  Now this site is a forum, and I haven’t browsed it yet)
  • B16a1 Nitty Gritty
  • Wikipedia B-series

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8 Responses to “Honda b16a1 engine”

  1. Bam 22 August 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    i only wish i could have been lucky enough to afford that motor for one of my crx.  it is a truly remarkable motor,  i have one seen one of those swaps in person, and i wish i could have taken it for a spin
    i would have to say the just the regular D16A6 is my favorite. i dont say this because it is a strong motor or anything truly special, but consider this, they are known for crossing the 300,000 mile, they are easily modifiable and just a lot of fun right out of the box, the are extremely reliable.
     Ive always been a fan of that motor

  2. Jesse 22 August 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    I’ll admit that the b16a1 is generally overrated, but that’s because so many people have entirely unrealistic expectations about how it performs. It’s a solid way to get 130hp to the wheels in a small FF-platform car, and it gets its just dues for that.

  3. Grant 4 September 2010 at 9:56 am #

    This is the best walk-thru/swap how-to ive seen on the b16 swap.

  4. Grant 4 September 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Sorry im an idiot. i should probably post the link.

  5. Colin 3 November 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    I’m sure i have got a b16a1 engine in my old h-reg civic vti at work. I must check on it, if so any one want to make me an offer

  6. Gabriel Aires 3 April 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Hi, have somebody knows about a little noise caused by the v-tec valve/solenoid just in the B16A1 motors?

    Sorry about the off topic. Cumps

  7. joe 17 November 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Es any buddy knw where I can get a head gasket for this motor can find the right one anywhere.

  8. dylin bumpus 27 January 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    b16’s do not cost that much, you could find a swap like mine for around 650-1000 depending on mileage, condition and the care-taking of the internals, deffently not a 3,000 dollar motor guys, i bought my whole crx Si for 1650 ,well worth it tho with 71,000 miles on itt!

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