Tuning the Honda Accord

"Tuning guide to the best Honda Accord modifications."


Tuning the Honda accord can make for a fun and interesting project.

The Honda Accord was first launched in 1976 ensuring lots of fans, and plenty of tuning parts are around for it.

Later models saw a Honda / Rover collaboration which ended in 1993 when the Rover 600 was launched.

There were a number of different engine choices ranging from the a 1.8 which produce 115 BHP to the desirable 2.2 V VTEC and 2.3.

On paper the 2.3 would appear to be the engine to choose but in reality the 2.2 VTEC with its high revving characteristics is the best model to go for by far.

Check out our video introduction to Honda Tuning, all you need to know about mods and upgrades on your Honda.

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Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

The model range was revised in 1998 and a Type R model was introduced using the 2.2 litre VTEC engine.

For car of its size it was sprightly and could reach 60 mph in a little over 7 seconds.

The 3 litre V6 engine also offers plenty of scope to the tuner which produces 200 brake horsepower in its standard form.

The 1998 models are all noted for their impeccable motorway manners and superb road holding ability thanks to the superb chassis and suspension design.

Engine swaps are popular on the Accord, and we have covered the following engines in detail.

The modern Accord Type R is considered by many to be the best front drive car available.

In 2003 the range was futher revised but for some reason the UK had a choice of just two engines the 2 l and 2.4 litre.

The JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) had the Type R version which still today is regarded by many to be the best front wheel drive car currently available. This makes the JDM Honda accord 2003 on a popular choice with importers.

Although the Accord is aimed at the executive luxury market there is a good selection of aftermarket parts for those wishing to tune up their Honda Accord. The Type R models have very good standard mechanicals and it is a challenge to upgrade the air intake or exhaust system for better performing ones.

Best power mods for Honda Accord engines.

This list of the stages and sports mods is usually carried out by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get started.

Getting the best sports upgrades for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 motor sport parts just won't work well on the road and will make the car undrivable.

Check out our video introduction to Honda Accord Tuning, all you need to know and full guide.

Best Engine Mods for your Car

  1. Engine Tunes - engine tuning/remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Suspension upgrades - fit a decent set of coilovers to drop your Accord a little and sharpen up the handling.
  3. Brake upgrades - fit larger discs and better quality pads for the ultimate braking upgrade.
  4. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  5. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  6. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

Accord Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Remap, Sports exhaust, Suspension upgrade (drop 27mm - 36 mm.), Alloy wheels, Lighter flywheel, Panel air filter, Brake Upgrades

Typical stage 2 mods often include: high flow fuel injector, Fast road cam, Ported and polished head, Power/Sport clutch, fuel pump upgrades.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Sports gearbox, Competition cam, Engine balancing, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves).

You should keep as much low end power as you can and aim for a wide power band across the rev range rather than a narrow top end power hike.

In this article we shall give you a good starting base for the best modifications for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance part. A fast road camshaft typically is one of the best NASP power mods you can do with a single part fitted to your engine.

Enjoy your Accord to the max with our dependable modding tips - do the right mods in the right order.

To be completely frank and honest, on the more modest engine sizes you are wasting your time spending money on modifications, so if this applies to you get yourself an engine swap then apply the following mods.

Accord Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the Accord's handling for loads of people is the first priority in an Accord tuning project.

Good suspension tweaks that often enhance handling for the Accord include a couple of degrees negative camber and 1-1.5 degrees of toe in or out on the front wheels. Toe in for stability, or Toe out to improve cornering.

Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 27mm - 40 mm. and fit motorsport grade stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Top end power should be your overall aim on the Accord with a nice fat peak torque band.

The Accord's handling has become a lot better over the years with each revision. Poly bushings and anti-roll bars should be installed to prevent suspension components from becoming loose and to sharpen up the handling of your Accord.

Improved handling is possible by adding a few degrees of negative camber and some toe-in or toe-out to the front wheels. Toe in for stability, or Toe out for improved cornering, is the choice here. If you wish to become more steady, you should follow these instructions.

Accord Brake Upgrade Mods

It would also pay to improve the brakes, by adding larger discs and or higher friction pads. To increase the braking, you might use larger discs or higher friction pads or both. Most Accords should have a maximum drop of 27mm - 40mm. Your arches might scrape the tires if you go lower than this.

The rear suspension bushes should be checked if you notice a squeaking or grinding noise coming from the back of your vehicle. Poly bushes are a good upgrade option here.

When it comes to your car's handling, you'll have to spend a lot of time and money on a particular tool, but it's worth it. Although polyurethane bushes are an option, we prefer the stock design for the main rear bushes.

Take care not to spend too much money on your brakes. It's not necessary to alter Earth's axis of rotation, only the vehicle. The colder the disc, the better, since the pad transfers heat from the brakes to the discs.

In order to increase your car's ability to stop, you'll need to get new callipers and pads. In most cases, it's necessary to swap out the discs and pads. Using a larger disc will give you an immediate advantage since it has greater friction and distributes more heat.

Accord Brake Pad upgrades

Your Accord's stopping power will improve significantly if you install high-quality brake pads.

Due to the fact that pads have been warmed and cooled a lot, we discover that pad friction diminishes as they become older so replace them sooner rather than later.

It's important to remember that race-spec brake pads are engineered to operate at substantially greater temperatures. That way, even if things become heated, they can remain on the track. Therefore, TorqueCars does not advocate driving these vehicles on public roads.

In the winter, they don't have much of a taste. Even if it just takes a few seconds for them to become warmed up and start biting, the stopping distance is still increased.

The exhaust and intake flow play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car challenging to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a camshaft upgrade with other mods and finish with a performance chip for the best performance gains.

Accord Fuelling Upgrades

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to pay attention to the fuelling.

Most power losses, and erratic idling after uprated kits are done can usually be traced to fuelling or timing issues. To get sufficient fuel you may need to increase the injectors on your engine but allow an extra 20% of your required flow rate as a safety margin, and the pump may also need to be uprated.

A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to update this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

Accord Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine.

Intake mods

Contrary to popular belief there is often a small power gain reached by fitting an induction kit, they only become beneficial and are recommended after you raise the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

All other models in the range will benefit from a good quality stainless steel sports exhaust, sports cat and cold air induction kit. Gas flowing the head is also recommended (again the Type R models are already well machined and optimized).

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally, though we'd just recommend for Accord engines you should just fit a high-performance panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Exhaust mods

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow from the engine but do not go too large or you could very well end up with a reduced flow rate. So generally speaking, keep to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Head work including a gas flow (ported and polished) and 3 or 5 angle valve job will really help to release the potential of the engine. A good fast road performance clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never make false economies or ask a standard clutch to cope. The best mods that we recommend for your Accord are Remapping via aftermarket ECU or piggyback ecu, suspension upgrades, brake mods, and air intake and exhaust improvements if you've done lots of other mods.

We've also seen some tuners experimenting with twincharged applications and making some seriously high power hikes.

Adding forced induction will see phenomenal power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost-effective. It is usually cheaper to bolt on a supercharger than it is to install a turbo. Turbos give boost in increasing proportion to rising engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

The nice directly proportional boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them simpler to map. Alternatively, you could add water injection to minimize knock.

Accord Alloy Wheel Upgrades.

As alloy wheels are less heavy they improve performance and they can help to cool the brake disks. Don't forget that your choice of rubber greatly affects your cars grip and handling. It is not worth compromising performance with cheap tires when you can buy directional tread pattern performance tires.

The drawback to large rims on your Accord is that you're altering your effective final drive ratio so this will have a detrimental effect on performance and acceleration.

Due to this we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 18 inches, although we know some of our members have gone larger than this with no problems.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Accord options in more detail with our Accord owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Honda tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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6 Responses to “Accord Tuning”

  1. Peter says:

    What are safe power making mods for a 1996 Honda Accord 2.2 non VTEC with 230,000 miles on the motor automatic? They must be cheap under 50 bucks. I’m thinking cut the bottom of the air filter box for more flow assuming that method works.

  2. Brandon says:

    Honestly just spend the money on a cold air intake and get rid of your whole stock intake system. I have a spectre cold air intake on my 94 accord non v tech and it works great.

  3. Dakota Kellner says:

    Hi there,
    I am about to turn 18 and am planning on kitting out an accord, would it be more worth it for horsepower to either engine swap it for a k series or a g23, or to just completely redo the stock 2.0 liter engine

  4. Puck Man says:

    Depends on the size and mileage of the stock engine; how much HP is enough for you, and how much you’re willing to spend.

    If you’re looking for the max possible HP gains, you need to swap the engine. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot on bolt on mods (intake/header/exhaust) with very little HP to show for it. With a better engine, those same mods will grant you much higher gains because the engine has better potential.

    On the other hand, it might be worth it to tinker and learn with the stock engine first to get a feel for things.

  5. Paul says:

    Do you have any recommendations for fuel injected engine mod for a first gen Accord?

  6. Tony says:

    If I lowered a 1996 Accord 31mm and switched to 18in wheels, what would be the best tire size to put on? 225/40R18 or could I increase the width a little more?

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