Guide to performance tuning the B16 engine from Honda

"Honda B16 Tuning"

We examine the options for your B16 tuning and summarise the optimum modifications.

The inline 4 from Honda has proved to be a very popular engine among our visitors and users, and rightly so, thanks in part to the solid build quality and high circa 8500rpm red line.

Thankfully there is a wide range of performance parts out there, and the only problem is choosing mods that work well together, which we aim to address in this B16 Tuning guide.

Honda B16s make awesome project cars and with the best tuning mods you can dramatically enhance your driving fun. Let's look first at the engine range, the cars they were fitted to and the power specs for each block.

This will give a good overview of the best blocks for engine swap projects, with the higher power units generally returning more power for your mods than the lower power ones.

We cover the B17 and B18, B20 in another more focussed article, although they share the B series design and block with a few differences.

History, Power & Specs of the B16 Engine

B16A (First Generation) VTEC

  • 1989-1993 Honda Integra XSi
  • 1989-1991 Honda CRX SiR (EF8)
  • 1989-1991 Honda Civic SiR (EF9

Power: 160 hp (119 kW; 162 PS) at 7,600 rpm & 150 Nm (111 lbft) at 7000 rpm

B16A (Second Generation)

  • 1992–1993 Honda Integra "XSi" (DA6,DA8)
  • 1992–1994 Honda Civic SiR/SiRII (EG6)
  • 1992–1993 Honda Civic Ferio SiR (EG9)
  • 1992–1995 Honda CR-X del Sol SiR (EG2)
  • 1996–1998 Honda Civic SiR/SiRII (EK4)
  • 1996–2000 Honda Civic Ferio SiR (EK4)

Power: MT: 172 PS (127 kW; 170 hp) at 7400 rpm & 157 Nm (116 lbft) at 7000

B16B (Type R) DOHC VTEC

  • 1997–2001 Civic Type R

Power: 185 PS (182 bhp; 136 kW) at 8,200 rpm

B16A1 DOHC VTEC

  • CRX'1.6 DOHC VTEC (EE8) - European market (EDM)
  • Civic'1.6 DOHC VTEC(EE9) - European market (EDM)

Power: 150 hp (112 kW; 152 PS) at 7600 rpm

B16A2DOHC VTEC

  • 1992-2000 Honda Civic EDM VTi (EG6/EG9 & EK4)
  • 1992-1997 Honda Civic del Sol EDM VTi (EG)
  • 1996-1997 Honda Civic del Sol VTEC USDM (EG2)
  • 1996-1998 Honda Civic AUDM & NZDM Vti-R (EK4)
  • 1999-2000 Honda Civic AUDM Vti-R (EM1)
  • 1999-2000 Honda Civic USDM Si (EM1)
  • 1999-2000 Honda Civic SiR Philippines (EK4 sedan)
  • 1999-2000 Honda Civic CDM SiR (EM1)

Power: 160 hp (119 kW; 162 PS) at 7,600 rpm & 111 lbft (150 Nm) at 6,500 rpm

B16A3 DOHC VTEC

  • 1994-1995 Del Sol VTEC USDM VERSION

Power: 160 hp (119 kW; 162 PS) at 7,600 rpm & 111 lbft (150 Nm) at 6700 rpm

B16A5 VTEC

  • 1996-2000 Civic Si-RII (JDM version) (EK4)

Power: 174 hp (130 kW; 176 PS) at 7800 rpm & 150 Nm (111 lbft) at 6300 rpm

B16A6 VTEC

  • 1996-2000 Civic Si-RII (JDM version) (EK4)

Power: 174 hp (130 kW; 176 PS) at 7800 rpm & 150 Nm (111 lbft) at 6300 rpm

Best B16 engine mods

Just because a upgrade is popular with B16 owners it doesn't mean it is good, instead we will focus upgrades that will give your B16 the biggest power gain return for your cash.

B16 head swaps are popular with VTEC being added to the non VTEC as a relatively simple and significant power hike, although a decent cam profile will virtually match this for top end.

The cam profile plays a big part in the engines power output so cam upgrades make quite a large difference. The intake and exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen cam profile, so large engines power gains are on offer for cam upgrades.

Fast road cams normally boost the torque over the rev band, you might lose a little low end bhp but high end rpm power will be better.

Motorsport and race cams, boost the high end rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

For a road car must carefully try to optimize your engines power to your driving style.

I would be surprised if you find a Race camshaft is a pleasure to live with when driving in heavy traffic. The low end idle will be very lumpy and irregular, so something you would notice on a track when you drive in the upper third of the rpm band, but on roads this is a serious issue and we've heard from lots of drivers lamenting their decision to add an extreme competition cam profile to their engine.

Each engine responds better to more or less aggressive camshaft durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The map and injectors and fuel pump also have an effect on the torque gains you'll make.

Longer valve durations can alter the torque band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Intake headers, Sports exhaust manifold, Fast road camshaft, Remaps, Panel air filters .

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, high flow fuel injectors, Fast road cam, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, .

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Twin charging conversions, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Competition cam, Engine balancing & blueprinting, increasing the compression ratio.

The B16 power plant are great to work on and we see that there is a growing number of parts and tuning parts around.

Remaps will help release the full potential of all the tuning mods you've fitted to your B16.

(In some cases, as the factory ECU is locked flashing is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.)

It will usually give you around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and 15% on NASP engines, but you mileage will vary depending on the tuning mods you've done and the condition of your engine.

Pushing air and fuel into the B16 engine is the whole point to any performance tuning task.

Air Intake manifolds take the air during the suck phase from the air cleaner and allow it to be pulled into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Design and rate of flow of the Air Intake manifolds can make a noticeable difference to to fuel atomization and engine efficiency on the B16.

On popular production engines intake headers are in dire need of aftermarket tuning parts, although some manufacturers provide reasonably well designed intake headers.

Big valve conversions on the B16, getting port work and head flowing will also improve power, and importantly will afford you a better power increase on other parts.

B16 Turbo upgrades

The more air to get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes massive power gains.

NASP engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your B16

There are reliable limits for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some only just able to handle stock power

We recommend you find these limitations and upgrade to higher quality crank and pistons to utilize the power. It's not unheard of people spending a lots of money on turbo upgrades on the B16 only to have the B16 go up in smoke soon after it's been finished.

You'll commonly see there is a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on these engines when a lot more air is being drawn into the engine. Going up you'll find 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited bhp at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large power gains, although more challenging to get working. We have a twincharger power adding guide if you want to read more.

Fuelling

Don't forget to improve the fuelling when you are increasing the bhp and torque - it makes the car more thirsty.

Don't forget to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

As a rule of thumb add 20% capacity when buying an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and gives a bit of spare capacity should the engine need more fuel.

B16 performance exhausts

You should look to boost your exhaust if your current exhaust is actually creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll find the flow rate quite well even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Do not go with the largest exhaust you can get this will reduce the exhaust flow rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Common exhaust restrictions can be traced to the emissions filters installed, so adding a higher flowing race alternative such as a sports catalyst pretty much removes this restriction, thanks to it's larger size and surface area, and will effectively raise the performance to levels you would expect without having a catalyst installed, but keeps the car road legal.

Weakspots and problem areas on the B16

The B16 engines are generally extremely reliable and solid as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained. Problems and weakspots are thankfully unheard of if the car is well maintained and looked after.

Regular oil changes are vital on the B16, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

Camshaft seals can leak, they have been known to burn oil, especially if not properly serviced and looked after.

Keep an eye out for idle issues, these are usually down to the TPS or IAC valves.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your Honda engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss B16 tuning options in more detail with our B16 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.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which parts work best for them on each model of car. Comments are used to improve the accuracy of these articles which are continually updated.

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