Honda B17 Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Honda B17 engine!"

The Honda B17 engines are good project engines and with a few sensible performance upgrades like ECU maps, forcede induction upgrades and camshafts you will greatly enhance your driving enjoyment.

Let us consider B17 tuning and report on the premier modifications for your car.

The engine was chosen for the Integra, which was very well suited to this powerplant, and the crankshaft from the B17 is often transplanted into other B series engines

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

  • B17A1 VTEC 1.7 L; 102.4 cu in (1,678 cc)
    160 bhp (119 kW; 162 PS) at 7600 rpm & 117 lbft (159 Nm) at 7000 rpm

Found in:1992–1993 Integra GS-R (USDM VTEC Model VIN DB2

Tuning the Honda B17 and best B17 performance parts.

Best B17 mods

Just because particular modifications are popular with B17 owners it doesn't mean it is good, instead we will only recommend the optimum parts which we have found to be the best ie: that will give your B17 the best value for money to power increase.

You can't easily turn the B17 into a Type R as the stock B17 does not rev happily at such high rpms, without extensive balancing and matching. Plus you need to sort out the valvetrain and cam profile before you even think about raising the RPM limit.

A better strategy in our opinion is to lower the compression ratio and add some forced induction at modest boost, perhaps a supercharger or turbo to get more power from the mid RPM band.

There are also quite a few "Frankenbuild" options for the B series, where B16 heads and GSR cams are used to raise power.

Altering your B17 camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine torque. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the torque accordingly.

Fast road camshafts commonly push up the torque over the rev band, you may lose a little bottom end torque but the high end rpm power will improve.

Swapping blocks for a B18 or B20 will give extra cylinder capacity, and it is interesting to note the deck height of the B17 is the same as the B16 engine.

Motorsport camshafts, push up the high end rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

On a typical daily driver you need to optimize your engines power to your cars usage.

I'd be completely gobsmacked if you have found a B17 Motorsport cam is a pleasure to live with when in heavy traffic because low end power will be very lumpy. Competition cams are designed for maximum power at the top end of the RPM range, a place that most daily commutes will not permit!

Different B17 engines respond better to mild camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ecu map and injectors and fuel pump also will make differences on the power gains you'll get.

A longer valve duration can alter the power 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: Fast road camshaft, Sports exhaust manifold, Panel air filters, Remaps/piggy back ECU, drilled & smoothed airbox, Intake headers.

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

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Engine balancing & blueprinting, Twin charging conversions, Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Competition cam.

Review your options and then buy your tuning parts and set yourself a power target to avoid costly mistakes.

remap should help to to establish the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your B17.

(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 you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but the outcome usually rely on the upgrades you've done and the condition of your engine.

Forcing more air into the B17 engine is the whole point to any performance tuning task.

Intake headers flow the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Structure and rate of flow of the Intake headers can make a noticeable difference to to fuel delivery on the B17.

Many mass produced engine headers are in dire need of an upgrade, although some OEM provide reasonably good headers.

Increasing the B17 valve size, carrying out port matching and head flowing will also boost bhp and torque, and significantly will permit an improved bhp and torque increase on other parts.

Turbo upgrades

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 B17

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

If your motor is turbocharged, parts are simpler to install and turbocharged engines use more solid components.

There are common areas of failure for every engine, with some being extremely strong and some only able to handle stock power

Research these limitations and upgrade to better pistons and crank to cope with the power.

There are many mechanics spending a loads of money on turbo upgrades on the B17 only to see the motor explode on it's first outing after it's used on the roads.

Large upgraded turbo units often suffer low end lag, and little turbo units spool up more quickly but don't have the peak end bhp gains.

Thankfully the selection of turbo chargers is always increasing and we commonly find variable vane turbo chargers, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and direct these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo. They also help the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there's a limit in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the B17 when loads more air is being fed 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 performance gains, although more difficult to install. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so should increase the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a performance increase.It is important to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when specifying an injector, which takes into account injector deterioration and provides a bit of spare capacity should the engine require more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

All the following flywheel power targets will assume an injector duty cycle of 80% and a base of 58psi of fuel pressure at idle.

4 Cylinder NASP engines

  • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 426cc/min 300hp

4 Cylinder supercharged engines

  • 58 PSI 312cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 468cc/min 300hp

Exhaust

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

On most factory exhausts you'll find the flow rate is fine 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 widest exhaust you can source you'll 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.

Typically exhaust restrictions come around the emissions filters installed, so adding a better flowing performance catalyst removes the restriction. We note that performance cats perform similarly to decats and have the added benefit of keeping your car street legal, as decats or catalyst removal is illegal in most territories for road going cars.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the B17

The B17 engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oilthey are regularly serviced and maintained.

Carbon build up in the head, particularly around the valves which will sap power or create flat spots, this is a larger issue on direct injection engines but should be looked out for on all engines. We have tips on removing carbon build up.

Some of our members have had issues with flat spots or glitches after applying mods and upgrades or tuning, this is not usually related to this engines design, so instead see our article on diagnosing flat spots and problems after tuning which should help you get the bottom of this issue.

Regular oil changes are vital on the B17, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your B17 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our B17 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased 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 upgrades work best for them on each model of car. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these B17 articles which are continually updated.

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