Guide to Civic Engine Swaps

"Engines that fit in the Civic"

Here is a list of engines our members have put or tried in their Civics, along with a pros and cons guide to each one.

Some of the best and most impressive power upgrades include engine swaps, so rather than spending money on tuning up your engine see which of the following engines will help you to reach your power goals on your Civic.

Engine swaps are a great way to bump up the power on your Civic and we've seen some pretty awesome conversions, turbocharged engines, and cross platform swaps.

Popular engines suitable for Civic engine swap projects

  1. Any D Series (D16 - D17)
  2. D16 ZC
  3. B16A
  4. B16B
  5. B17 A1
  6. B18B1 (A rare holy grail swap)
  7. B18C1
  8. B18C5
  9. H22
  10. K20A

Often when you've paid out for lots of modifications for your engine, sorted out the inherent problems, and finished the project you discover that you could have got similar power just by swapping the engine for a more powerful unit.

A much simpler route to adding reliable power to your car, and in the case of many swaps on the Civic, are virtually a bolt in mod.

Doing an engine swap can also give you a better base to work from for your tuning projects and by applying additional mods to this new engine, you can achieve a much higher power figure that you never could have done on the original unit.

Swapping the engine is always a large task, and the complexity depends on the donor vehicle's generation compared with your own.

Same generation swaps are easier.

There are many swaps done that only gain around 10hp, but with other mods, the advantages add up with the new engine usually having more potential for tuning, or for example adding forced induction.

This shows the importance of doing your research.

Alternatives to engine swaps

Many of the engine heads can be swapped out, so non VTEC heads can be swapped for better flowing and "higher compression" heads or for different cam profiles.

The EX head will fit on the LX block without modification.

For example, the LX and DX blocks are identical with the exception of the compression ratios, which are 9.9 and 9.5, respectively. If you intend to turbocharge, a lower compression ratio will be advantageous.

Vtec is gained by putting an ex-head on the DX/LX bottom. The DX/LX engine has an advantage over the EX engine due to its lower compression ratio; when combined with Vtec, this results in significantly more air entering at higher RPMs.

ECU tweaks and wiring for head/engine swaps

Getting an EX ecu with an EX engine harness is one of your wiring possibilities when completing a change like this. Another option is to run the DX ECU  with a Vtec controller hooked in to regulate the vtec system. Alternatively, if you wanted to spend a lot of money, you could purchase Kpro which gives more control over everything.

With the Apexi V AFC2 digital fuel controller, you can utilize your existing ecu without having to have your key reflashed. It also provides for optimal fuel control and VTEC engagement control, which also allows you to keep your old key. It is possible to make corrections based on the throttle position, and the specifications for both low and high camshaft lobes are included. This is what is required in order to modify the VTEC engagement points without causing damage to the engine.

Other options include a reflash (not an option in some areas and on certain Honda ECU's),or the aftermarket ECU route :- Bespoke Vtec controller, or Kpro can all help you set this up and get it working on an EX ecu.

Notes about Civic Engine Swaps

Engine swapping is a complicated process as not every engine can replace the stock one. This is why it is vital to know the various swapping options that you have for your Honda Civic.
Here we discuss the list of all the engine swaps that can be performed for the various generations of Honda Civic ranging from the 3rd to the 9th generation.

Be Careful About The OBD Series

While swapping an engine you also need to check for local laws as in many parts of the world you will only be allowed to swap engines with the same or newer OBD series.
The OBD series for the different Honda Civic generations are as follows. This information will enable you to make an informed decision while proceeding further with the swap.

  • 1991 and earlier – OBD 0;
  • 1992 to 1995 – OBD 1;
  • 1996 to 1998- OBD 2;
  • 1999 to 2000 – OBD 2b;

Honda Civic 3rd Generation Swaps

The Honda Civic 3rd generation was launched in 1984 and was offered until 1987. It came with the following engine options:

  • ZA1/2 I4 1187 cc
  • EV/EV1 I4 1342 cc
  • EW1/2 I4 1488 cc
  • EW3/4 I4 1488 cc
  • EW5 I4 1488 cc
  •  ZC I4 1590 cc

The most common swaps for the Honda Civic 3rd generation include:

Hasports is a trusted name that offers a wide array of components for the Honda Civic engine swaps and thus you can find the mounts from this manufacturer.

Using the D series engines is a difficult process as fitting them isn’t a bolt-in process, unlike the B series.

However, some car enthusiasts claim that the DOHC D16A fits easily due to its bolt-in nature.

Honda Civic 4th Generation Swaps

The Honda Civic 4th generation came with the following engine options:

The B16A, B18A,  and the ZC are the most commonly swapped engines for the 4th generation Honda Civic. Some other options include D16A8, D16A9, B16A2, B17A, and B16B .

The swapping for D16A8, D16A9 and ZC is completely bolt-in which makes it a fairly easy process. However, the B16A, B18A, B16A2, B17A and B16B will require mounts from Place Racing or hasports.

Another point to consider is that while swapping with the ZC, you might need to get a new hood or alter the existing one.

Honda Civic 5th Generation Swaps

The 5th generation Honda Civic was offered with the following engine options:

The most common swaps for the Honda Civic 5th generation include:

B16A2 and B16A3 can be easily swapped as it is a bolt-in process. The VTEC will have to be wired in this process and shift linkage from Hasports will be a must.

B18B is also a bolt-in swap. However, the shift linkage from Hasports will also be needed for this swapping.

B17A, B18C1, D16Z6 and D16Y8 are bolt-in swap options that will require wiring of the VTEC.

B18C5 & B16B can be completely bolted in. However, this will necessitate OBD conversion and the VTEC will have to be wired.

The H22A swapping won’t be as easy as the above-mentioned options. This is because it will require a mounting kit from hasports.

Besides this, the VTEC will also have to be wired.

We don’t recommend swapping the B16A as it involves too much work and the overall process is quite expensive.

Honda Civic 6th Generation Swaps

The various engine options offered in the 6th generation of the Honda Civic include but are not limited to:

Here are the engine swap options for the 6th generation of the Honda Civic.

B18C1, B16A2, B18C5, B16B, and D16Y8 can be completely swapped as bolt-ins. However, the VTEC requires wiring.

Although swapping the B16A3 or the D16Z6 is fairly easy due to the bolt-in nature. However, besides wiring the VTEC, the OBD conversion is also required.

The B18B1 is the easiest of the bunch to swap because of its bolt-in swapping nature with no other modifications required.

The most difficult engine to swap for the Honda Civic 6th generation is the H22A which is not a bolt-in swapping process. Thus the use of shift linkage from hasports becomes a must. Besides this, the VTEC also requires wiring.

Honda Civic 7th Generation Swaps

The Honda Civic 7th generation was offered with the following engine options:

The swapping options for this generation include:

K20A2, which is an easy to swap complete bolt-in process. The shift linkage requires modifications;
K24 which also involves a bolt-in swapping process. Similar to the K20A2, it requires shift linkage modification.

Honda Civic 8th generation Swaps

The 8th generation of the Honda Civic was offered with the following engine options:

Most people swap the R18 with the high-performance K series engines. However, this requires additional stuff such as mounts, wiring harness for the K series engine, dash harness, and aftermarket header.

Some people also go for swapping the R18 with the B20 which has a bit more torque but the general performance of both engines is the same. That’s why swapping the R18 with the B20 is probably not a good option.

Honda Civic 9th Generation Swaps

The Honda Civic 9th generation was offered with the following engine options:

There are forums full of people attempting to swap the K24 with the K20A. However, we don’t recommend that as it is more of a downgrade than an upgrade.

A good option when it comes to swapping the engine of the 9th generation Honda Civic is the K20Z3.

We have Civic tuning guides.

A guide to Engines for your Civic Swaps.

Any D Series (D16D17)

A great choice, and probably one of the most popular Civic engine swap options out there, the VTEC is the engine of choice. The D series is a great bolt-in option, and give decent power, thanks to the high revving nature of the engines.

With further mods you can take this further, but this starts to get costly, we see the D series as a straight swap option rather than a fit and tune up, although this is certainly possible.

- Civic
- Most have around 109 BHP (highest is 130 BHP)
- Have potential (200 BHP)
- 103ft/lbs torque (not much less than a B16A)
- Non-VTEC
- Don't respond well to bolt ons
- Only way to get power is forced induction but will need lower compression
- Enough if you aren't looking for high power figures

D16 ZC

The D16 ZCX which was never issued in America can easily be bought and found.  If you have Never Ridden In a Built ZC Motor especially with a Form of Forced Induction then you are Missing Out!

- almost will Bolt right up to an EF
- It's a LOW TORQUE MONSTER
- Cam profile is more aggressive on the Non VTEC SOHC
- ZC only came in EG5 Civic bodies
- Comes with DOHC/SOHC VTEC!

B16A

- Civic VTi
- 160 BHP
- 113ft/lbs torque (not much more than a D series)
- VTEC
- Inexpensive in comparison to other engines
- Good transmission

B16B

- Civic Type R (6th generation)
- 170 BHP
- 117ft/lbs torque
- VTEC
- Almost as expensive as a B18C5, but less power

B17 A1

Honda b17a1 which came in the db2 platform (92-93gsr Integra) and was the first B Series Motor to be marketed in North America and a lot of people may not know this but it also came with the ys-1 cable tranny which was different than every other B Series Motor because it was fitted with a different input shaft and a shorter final drive ratio!

- 1992–1993 Integra GS-R (USDM VTEC Model VIN DB2
- 160 BHP
- 117ft/lbs torque
- VTEC
- Hard to find and has become a Holy Grail Civic swap

B18B1

- Integra
- 142 BHP
- 127 ft/lbs torque
- Non-VTEC
- May as well get a B16A for a less
- Longest B series transmission

B18C1

- Integra
- 170 BHP
- 121 ft/lbs torque
- VTEC
- Huge potential for power and torque
- Common swap (making the swap easier with lots of support and guides out there)
- Expensive as they are becoming rare but if you find a good one you're on to a winner

B18C5

- Integra Type R
- 195 BHP
- 134 ft/lbs torque
- VTEC
- Best (factory) transmission on a B series
- Huge potential for power and torque
- Best swap for a Civic at the time of writing as it's well supported and gives a great power boost.
- Common swap
- Very expensive

H22

- Prelude/Accord
- 190/200 BHP (conflicting information)
- 156 ft/lbs torque
- VTEC
- Weighs more than a B series engine
- Very expensive
- Large potential for power and torque gains
- Harder to install than a B or D series engine (but not impossible)
- Less common swap (meaning less information around but if you know what you're doing you it's a rewarding project.)

K20A

- Civic Type R (7th generation onwards)
- 212-227 BHP (depending on model)
- 149-158 ft/lbs torque (depending on model)
- I-VTEC
- 6 speed transmission
- Responds well to bolt ons
- Most have low mileage
- Incredibly expensive, wait until they are a few years old before sourcing one
- More difficult than a B or D series swap
- Limited information out there but it's becoming more common as a project.

We have more information on Civic tuning and plenty of tuning articles to read if investigating mods and discovering new power upgrades is your thing.

Please join our friendly forums to tell us about your Civic projects or ask for advice and tips from our seasoned Civic owners and members.

There are also a wide range of other Japanese engines that you could potentially use in your Civic project, read our full guide to the best Japanese engines for tuning projects.

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


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7 Responses to “Civic engine swap guide”

  1. Dan says:

    I was wondering about the potential of the newer honda engines like the R series and L series. Is it possible and worth it to swap any of those into an EK or EG?

  2. TorqueCars says:

    Anything is possible, but it’s not always practical. Thanks for flagging this up, it looks like this outdated article needs a refresh so I’ve put it on my work list for further research. Stay tuned.

  3. Mitch says:

    Hi I’m looking for help, i am new to engine swap but I don’t have a lot of money and I’m swapping a 1.4 civic to a 1.8 vtec it’s a f18b2 will i need to swap the fuse box on the 1.4 to the 1.8 or could i leave it thanks in advance

  4. Gyula says:

    Hi,

    sorry I cannot help you, but I just had the same thought. Have you already tried the swap? Did it work?
    Thank you!

    Gyula

  5. Nathaniel Quessy says:

    I have a stupid high schooler question. If I were to get a civic with a blown motor. Would I be able to swap motor and trans from a 08 Nissan Versa. I have a rolled chassis in the back with a strong running 1.8 power plant but I’m just not sure if the swap is even worth my time

  6. Karl Kuoppala says:

    Can a 1.3l or a 2.0l be easily fit into a 1.7l 2005 Honda Civic? Its for my daughter and the 1.3l are very cheap and 2.0 seem more available and add some added power to the swap.

  7. TorqueCars says:

    It depends what you mean by “easy” because swaps are rarely that, they require gearbox changes at times and you need to sort the ECU management via an aftermarket ECU. For power upgrades on the 8th Gen Civics, most people I have talked to are fitting 2.0’s and I’m hoping to add more information on this swap in the near future so please stay tuned! The other question is will she be able to get insurance on the new engine, it depends on her age and area more than anything. Unless you are doing the work yourself it is usually cheaper to just buy another car with the engine you want, but I realize there is no fun in that and you might just want an interesting project.

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