Honda Civic 5th Gen Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Honda Civic 5th Gen engine!"

The Honda Civic 5th generation was offered between the years 1991 and 1995. These cars were heavily modified globally and thus several manufacturers offer performance parts for these cars.

Due to a request for information from a site visitor, we've put together this how-to guide to cover the key sections we feel to be the primary portions you can do to 5th Gen Civic: Namely the best mods for tuning and modification upgrades.

To provide an overview of Civic 5th Gen performance enhancements, the goal of this article is to highlight the most noteworthy ones. There's a lot of promise in the Honda Civic 5th generation, and you can unlock that potential with carefully selected performance upgrades like suspension upgrades, turbo kits and camshafts.

So, let’s discuss some of the important mods and upgrades that you can perform on your car belonging to the Honda Civic 5th generation.

History of the Civic 5th Gen Civic & Engine Swaps

5th Generation Honda Civic

The following engine choices were available for the 5th generation Honda Civic:

The following are the most popular Honda Civic 5th generation swaps:

  • Because it is a bolt-in technique, the B16A2 and B16A3 can be simply replaced. In this procedure, the VTEC will need to be connected, and shift linkage from Hasports will be required.
  • The B18B is likewise a direct bolt-in replacement. However, the shift linkage from Hasports will be required for this switching as well.
  • The B17A, B18C1, D16Z6 and D16Y8 are bolt-in swap possibilities that will need VTEC wiring.
  • B18C5 and B16B may be bolted in entirely. However, this will involve OBD conversion and the wiring of the VTEC.
  • H22A switching will be more difficult than the previously listed methods. This is due to the fact that it will need the usage of a hasports mounting kit. Aside from that, the VTEC will need to be connected.
  • We do not advocate switching the B16A since it is very time consuming and costly in general.

Tuning the Honda Civic 5th Gen and best Civic 5th Gen performance parts.

We have Civic tuning guides covering Civic 3rd Gen Mods, Civic 4th Gen Mods, Civic 5th Gen Mods, Civic 6th Gen Mods, Civic 7th Gen Mods, Civic 8th Gen Mods, Civic 9th Gen Mods, and Civic 10th Gen Mods

Best Civic 5th Gen parts

Just because specific mods are popular with Civic 5th Gen owners it doesn't mean you should fit it, so we'll focus on the best mods that will give your Civic 5th Gen the best power gain for you spend.

Tuning tips and articles

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

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your Civic 5th Gen. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best mods for your Civic 5th Gen

  • Sporty Profile Camshafts are are often the best upgrade for an engine. With VTEC you already have a sporty profile and getting it to cut in sooner works really well.
  • Flywheel lightening - a lower mass flywheel will significantly improve the engines free revving nature. In some cases flywheel lightening is not a great mod for all Civic 5th Gen engines.
  • Braking Mods - Improve your ability to stop should be listed in your priority list.
  • Civic 5th Gen Handling modifications - Getting a suspension kit greatly enhances your Civic 5th Gen road holding and cornering. Poly Bushes and Coilovers are typically fitted to achieve this
  • Flowing and porting the Head - Head work will get air flowing into the engine while removing turbulence or restrictions.
  • Turbo Mods - Adding a turbocharger is the most significant way to improve intake air supply, which permits you to use more fuel and make better power figures. Typically one of the most costly mods it offers big gains.
  • Remapping - altering the fuel and timing maps can add around 15% more power to your Civic 5th Gen depending on your engine.
  • Intake Modifications and high flowing exhausts - NB: on their own these mods won't ADD TORQUE , but they permit you to release power after other modifications by lessening the restriction.

Civic 5th Gen Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Piggy back ECU, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Sports exhaust manifold, Suspenson (mild drop), Panel air filters, Intake manifolds.

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

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

Civic 5th Gen Handling/Suspension Upgrades

Adjusting the handling is often the first step in using the Civic 5th Gen.Adjusting the Civic 5th Gen's handling is often the first step in modifying it.

Handling mods are often the initial step for the Civic 5th Gen.

A car’s suspension plays a key role in the ride quality and its handling. Thus having a good suspension is imperative.

Springs

If you are looking for high-quality springs for your Honda Civic 5th generation car, here are some good options for you:

  • D2 Racing Pro Lowering Springs;
  • Eibach Pro-kit Lowering Springs;
  • Eibach Sportline Lowering Springs;
  • H&R Lowering Springs;
  • Megan Racing Performance Lowering Springs;
  • Skunk2 Lowering Springs.

The lowering springs reduce the centre of gravity of your vehicle. This not only reduces the drag coefficient but also ensures better handling and easier cornering.

Such springs cost between $150 and $250.

Suspension Kits

You can also install one of the following suspension kits on your Honda Civic 5th generation vehicle:

  • SiriMoto Rad Chassis Suspension Kit;
  • SiriMoto Rad Subframe Suspension Kit;
  • Eibach Pro-Plus Suspension Kit;
  • Eibach Sport-Plus Suspension Kit.

These suspension kits range in price from $230 to $680.

Coilovers

If you want optimal performance, there is no alternative to Coilovers. They are expensive but rightly so because they deliver unmatched results.

Some of the Coilover options for your Honda Civic 5th generation vehicle include but are not limited to:

  • D2 Racing RS Full Coilovers;
  • TruHart Street Plus Coilovers;
  • Skunk2 Pro ST Full Coilovers.

These Coilovers start from around $400 and range all the way up to $950.

Coilovers enable you to adjust the suspension height and this allows you to tweak your cars handling to suit your driving style.

What considerations must you make when setting up and selecting your suspension if your Civic 5th Gen serves as a daily car as well?

Improvements to the bushings

Bushing mods are needed so what's involved?

The suspension components of the Civic 5th Gen may be fixed to the car's chassis through bushings, which are rotatable rubber mounts. These rubber ones will degrade as they age.

By replacing new OEM rubber bushings, you may greatly improve your vehicle's performance.

Because the polyurethane bushes are firmer, the ride may be a bit more harsh, but they will last longer and maintain the handling.

Worn bushings may also hasten the stress of other suspension components due to the increased vibration and play.

A new set of poly bushings may be able to mitigate the excessive play that comes with rubber bushes.

Some poly bushings are hard to locate, but most will find the primary mounts readily available in their local stores Custom poly bushings are often made to your requirements.

Many people believe that a 80mm lower Civic 5th Gen suspension kit from a franchised component shop would be optimal. However, this is not the case - suspension design and setup is quite complex.

Vendors may assert that their Civic 5th Gen suspension kits are compatible with any or all of the Civic 5th Gen model years.

To adequately support a diverse variety of vehicles, the "generic one set for all models" approach is obviously a mistake as engine weights and equipment trim levels all affect the cars handling characteristics.

How low should you go on the Civic 5th Gen?

According to TorqueCars research and testing, the maximum amount of suspension drop for most road vehicles is 26 - 40 millimetres, whereas cars that are factory fitted with lowered springs have a maximum suspension drop of 18 millimetres.

These tolerances may be drastically reduced if the wheel size is changed. Even with 17" wheels and stock suspension, lowering the vehicle might result in a slew of problems.

Civic 5th Gen Brakes

Having good brakes on a fast car is really important. Here are some of the braking upgrade options for the Honda Civic 5th generation cars:

  1. StopTech Big Brake Kit;
  2. StopTech Sport Brake Kit.

If you don’t want to get the complete kit and wish to get just the individual items, here are some of the options for you:

  1. Hawk Performance Ceramic Brake Pads;
  2. Hawk High-Performance Street HPS 5.0 Brake Pads;
  3. StopTech Sport Drilled Rotors;
  4. StopTech Sport Slotted Rotors.

Civic 5th Gen Camshaft Upgrades

Performance camshafts helps you to boost higher RPM power and we generally recommend this as a primary mod on petrol engines, and secondary on Diesels to a remap. You will usually get a top end power gains through performance camshafts on most engines.

With VTEC you already have a sporty profile and getting it to cut in sooner works really well and reduces the need to source a fast road cam for your Civic.

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

Fast road cams tend to push up the power throughout the rev band, you could drop a little bottom end bhp but your higher rpm power will be lifted.

Race cams, push up the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

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

I would be surprised if you have found a Civic 5th Gen Motorsport and race camshaft is much fun when on the daily commute.

This is because the lumpy idle will make the car more likely to stall and smooth driving at low rpm becomes impossible. If you are developing a track car this doesn't matter as you are in the high end of your RPM range anyway and that is where you want the power to be.

Each engine responds differently primarily due to the airflow when cams are fitted depending on the cam being more aggressive cam durations so view each engine and camshaft as unique due to manufacturing tolerances and quality variations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The ECU mapping and fuelling and fuel pump and injectors also have a large bearing on the torque gains you'll hit.

Extending exhaust or intake durations can adjust the torque curve, and on most engines there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations and valve lift.

Plan your options and then find your upgrades and set yourself a power target to avoid expensive mistakes.

ECU Mapping Improvements for the Civic 5th Gen

A remap should help to to establish the full potential of all the modifications you've installed on your Civic 5th Gen.

(Sometimes remapping the ECU is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and most of these exceed the specs and performance of your factory ECU's but ensure it has knock protection and that you get it installed right.)

It will usually give around 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but figures achieved will depend much on the modifications you've done and the condition of your engine.

There are several companies out there that offer remapping services for your Honda Civic 5th generation car. These remapping services are engine specific.

The Stage 1 tune for the Honda Civic 5th generation with the 1.6 ESI engine (125hp) increases performance as: 14 hp; Torque: 20 Nm.

Air Flow improvements on the Civic 5th Gen

It is the main goal to any car tuning project to force more air into your Civic 5th Gen

Cold Air Intakes

The most fundamental part of any performance modification is to get increased power and torque.

Cold air intakes are the favourite upgrade for several vehicle owners because of the performance boost they deliver with relatively little input.

Here are some of the cold air intake options that exist for the Honda Civic 5th generation cars:

  1. Injen Evolution Cold Air Intake;
  2. Skunk2 Composite Cold Air Intake;
  3. Weapon R Secret Weapon Stealth Air Intake;
  4. PRL Cobra Cold Air Intake;
  5. DC Sports Cold Air Intake;
  6. HKS Cold Air Intake.

Some items such as the Weapon-R's Secret Weapon claim to increase the power of your car by 6 to 14 hp with a simple installation process but we've found you need to do other mods to fully realize the benefits of this upgrade.

Cold air intake systems normally start around $200 and go upwards as the quality increases.

Performance Air Filters

You can also use a performance air filter for improving the flow of air to your car. Such air filters offer lesser restrictions to airflow. Options include:

  • AEM Performance Panel Air Filter;
  • Weapon R Secret Weapon Air Filter;
  • Mishimoto Performance Air Filter.

These air filters start from $40.

Intake Manifolds carry or channel the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

The shape and flow rate of the Plenum can make a big change to fuel atomisation on the Civic 5th Gen.

On popular production engines intake are ripe for performance upgrades, although a few car makers provide well optimised intake.

Larger Civic 5th Gen valves, doing some port matching and head flowing will also raise bhp and torque, the fantastic side effect is it will give you raising the bhp and torque increase on other parts.

Civic 5th Gen Turbo upgrades

NA (naturally aspirated) 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 Civic 5th Gen

Increased induction with something like a turbocharger upgrade provides excellent power improvements since more air is able to enter the engine, which burns more gasoline.

However, the power of any engine is limited.

Consider upgrading your crank and pistons in order to handle the extra power.

There are a lot of individuals that spend a lot of money on turbo enhancements for the Civic 5th Gen, only to have the Civic 5th Gen blow up in flames as soon as it's been driven hard.

Smaller turbos spool up rapidly but lack the power improvements seen at higher rpms in comparison to larger, improved turbos.

Supercharger Kits

Adding a supercharger kit is a great way to take the performance figures of your Honda Civic 5th generation to the next level.

The KraftWerks Supercharger Kit is a good option for getting increased performance out of your car.

However, for this kit, you will need to use premium quality fuel (91 Octane or above). Besides this, the use of colder spark plugs with such a supercharger is also recommended.

Intercooler

For delivering the best results, cars need to have a constant supply of cold dense air. An intercooler plays a vital role in ensuring that this air remains available to the engine at all times.

Here are some of the intercoolers that you can install on your Honda Civic 5th generation vehicle:

  1. Mishimoto Universal Intercooler;
  2. Perrin Intercooler Kit;
  3. Injen Intercooler;
  4. PRL Intercooler;
  5. GReddy Intercooler Kit.

Other than the Mishimoto which costs around $200, other options range upwards of $500.

We've seen variable vane turbo units over the last 20 years, which enable the vane profile to be adjusted based on speed to reduce latency and boost top-end power.

The exhaust flow from dual scroll turbo units is split into two channels and directed to the turbo charger using different-profiled vanes. Engine scavenging is improved as well.

When the engine is drawing in a lot of air, the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the Civic 5th Gen has a limit.

Going higher, you'll discover 4 bar air sensors that can handle significant increases in power, while the OEM sensor only reduced output by a little amount.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp and torque gains, although more complex to get working. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Civic 5th Gen Radiator Upgrades

For delivering high performance, having an effective cooling mechanism for your vehicle is a must.

Thus, if you want to get a new radiator for your Honda Civic 5th generation, you can choose from:

  • Mishimoto Aluminum Racing Radiator;
  • Skunk2 Alpha Series Radiator;
  • Koyo High-Performance Radiator.

Such radiators cost anywhere between $200 and $250 each.

Civic 5th Gen Fuelling Upgrades

Don't overlook the need to uprate the fuel delivery when you are increasing the bhp and torque - it makes the car more thirsty. Boosting the fuel pressure can provide a better the acceleration responsiveness.

So, you’ve ensured greater airflow to the engine and have installed a great cooling mechanism but what’s the benefit of all this if you can’t deliver more fuel to the engine.

After all, it’s the air and fuel mixture that leads to combustion, which produces the power for a vehicle.

So, let’s see all the different options you have.

Fuel Injectors

Fuel injectors are the parts that ensure that an adequate amount of fuel is delivered to the engine for generating power.

A larger mixture of air and fuel means higher power and torque. So, you need to replace the stock fuel injectors of your car with parts that deliver more fuel. Some of the options in this regard include:

  • Grams High-Performance Fuel Injector Kit;
  • DeatschWerks Fuel Injectors.

These parts cost upwards of $400.

Fuel Pump

Here are some of the fuel pump options that can replace the stock part of your Honda Civic 5th generation vehicle:

  • DeatschWerks In-Tank High Flow Fuel Pump;
  • Walbro In-Tank High Flow Fuel Pump;

These fuel pumps cost approximately $100.

Fuel System Upgrade

If you are looking for a complete fuel system upgrade, the Hondata FK8 Civic Type R Fuel System Upgrade is your best bet. However, this system costs around $2900.

Other Fuel Related Upgrades

Here are some other fuel system related upgrades that you can perform on your car:

  • Hondata Injector Driver: Costs $390;
  • DeatschWerks Adjustable Fuel Pressure Regulator: Costs $125;
  • AEM High-Performance Fuel Filter: Costs around $130.

Most tuners we speak with say to over specify your injector capacity.

The rule of thumb is to add another 20% when buying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and provides a little spare capacity should the engine need 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.

Civic 5th Gen Performance Exhausts

If your present exhaust is causing a flow restriction, you should consider replacing it.

Most factory exhausts have adequate exhaust flow rates even for minor power improvements, but if you want to make significant gains in horsepower, you will need a more powerful exhaust.

Exhausts for sports cars are normally designed to increase airflow out of the engine, but don't go too broad or you may be limiting your flow rate. For optimal performance, keep the exhaust pipes between 1.5 and 2.5 inches in diameter.

The bigger size and surface area of a sports catalyst, for example, make it ideal for road-going automobiles since it almost eliminates this constraint and boosts performance to levels you'd anticipate even without a catalyst fitted.

This maintains the automobile legal and allows for maximum exhaust flow, owing to the increased interior surface area and design. Since removing a catalyst from a road-registered automobile is against the law in many places (and you can't even replace a functional catalyst in some), the alternative test pipe mod or cat removal should only be used off-road.

Civic 5h Gen Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels will help the brake cooling and are usually lighter than steel ones. If you are serious about performance then you will need to carefully choose your tires - ideally with a soft compound tire. The downside to large alloys on your Civic 5h Gen is that you alter your final drive ratio so this will have a negative effect on acceleration.

Although some people have with bigger wheels we would stick to a 15 inch rim size as the maximum and actually prefer the feel of 14" rims on the 5th Gen Civic.

No modification can be considered complete unless the vehicle appears sporty and aggressive. Wheels play an important role in the overall appearance of a vehicle.

Some of the companies that offer great wheels for your Honda Civic 5th generation vehicle include:

  1. Enkei;
  2. SSR;
  3. Gram Lights.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the Civic 5th Gen

The Civic 5th Gen engines are not bad as far as reliability goes as long as they are regularly serviced.

Carbon build up in the head, particularly around the valves which will cause flat spots and loss of power, this is a very common problem on direct injection engines but should be looked out for on all engines. We have tips on intake cleaning guide By avoiding short journeys where the engine doesn't warm up and using good quality fuel you can reduce this risk.

Service time oil changes are highly recommended on the Civic 5th Gen, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

If you want to learn more, or just get more pointers on Tuning your Civic 5th Gen engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Civic 5th Gen tuning options in more detail with our Civic 5th Gen owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Honda tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be.

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

We love to know what our visitors have got up to and which upgrades work best for them on each model of car. We use your comments and feedback to improve the accuracy of these Civic 5th Gen tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

Check out my YouTube channel, we're regularly adding new content...


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