Guide to performance tuning the D17 engine from Honda

"Thanks for reading our Honda D17 Tuning tips"

A good solid engine that has powered many Civic versions, the block has the potential to handle power of around 200bhp, or more if you strengthen it, but this does require quite an outlay.

We detail the best approach to D17 tuning and outline the best modifications for your car. Honda D17s are awesome to work on and with carefully chosen motorsport parts you can certainly maximize your driving enjoyment.

Can you tune a D17?

The answer to this is that you can tune anything but the real question is value, and this, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Spending around 1000-2000 banknotes in your local currency will potentially give 140hp at the wheels, this, in my opinion, is a very high price to pay for an engine power upgrade of around 20hp, but many will just love doing car projects, and if you throw in forced induction and other options you can make even more power.

History, Power & Specs of the D17 Engine

  • 01–05 1.7 L D17A1 (Civic) DX/LX
  • 01–05 1.7 L D17A2 (Civic) EX VTEC/VTEC-II
  • 01–05 1.7 L D17A6 (Civic) HX VTEC-E
  • 04–05 1.7 L D17A7 (Civic) GX

These all come with  OBD-2 MPFI an ultra reliable fuel controller. four valves per cylinder and some were VTEC and there were various kick in points.

D17A

2001–2005 Honda Civic (Japan)
Displacement : 1,668 cc

Power

  • 120 hp (85.8 kW, 120 ps)@4900 rpm (lean burn)
  • 140 hp (96.9 kW, 140 PS)@6750 rpm Torque : 160 Nm (118 lbft)@4800 rpm

D17A1

  • 2001–2005 Honda Civic DX/LX/VP

Displacement : 1,668 cc

  • Power : 115 hp (85.8 kW, 117 ps)@6100 rpm 110 lbft (15.2 kg/m, 149 Nm)@4500 rpm

D17A2

  • 2001–2005 Honda Civic EX (US only)
  • 2001–2005 Honda Civic LX (Europe)
  • 2001–2005 Honda Civic Si (Canada only)
  • 2001–2005 Acura 1.7 EL (Canada only)
  • 2000–2007 Honda Stream 1.7 (Japan)
  • 2004-2007 Honda FR-V 1.7 (Europe)

Displacement: 1,668 cc

Power

  • 127 hp (95 kW; 129 PS)@6,300 rpm North America  114 lbft (15.8 kg/m, 154 Nm)@4,800 rpm
  • 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp)@6,300 rpm Japan: 154 N⋅m (114 lbft)@4,800 rpm

VTEC Switchover: 3,200 rpm

D17A5 VTEC-E

  • 2001–2005 Honda Civic 170i VTEC (South Africa)
  • 2004 Honda Stream VTEC (Indonesia)

Displacement : 1,668 cc

Power

  • 130 hp (97 kW; 132 PS)@6,300 rpm Torque : 155 N⋅m (114 lb⋅ft)@4,800 rpm

VTEC Switchover : 3,200 rpm

D17A6 VTEC-E

  • 2001–2005 Honda Civic HX

Displacement : 1,668 cc

  • Power : 117 hp (87 kW; 119 PS)@6,100 rpm 111 lbft (150 N⋅m)@4,500 rpm

VTEC Switchover : 2,300 rpm

D17A7

  • 2001–2005 Honda Civic GX

Displacement : 1,668 cc

Power

  • 100 hp (75 kW; 101 PS)@6,100 rpm Torque : 98 lbft (13.5 kg/m, 133 Nm)@4,000 rpm

D17A8

  • 2001-2005 Honda Civic Coupé LS (Europe)

Displacement : 1,668 cc

Power

  • 85.8 kW (117 PS; 115 hp)@6100 rpm 110 lbft (15.2 kg/m, 149 Nm)@4500 rpm

D17A9 VTEC-E

  • 2001–2005 Honda Civic Coupe ES (Europe)

Displacement : 1,668 cc

Power

  • 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp)@6,300 rpm Torque : 145 Nm (107 lbft)@4,800 rpm

VTEC Switchover: 2,500 - 3,200 rpm

D17Z3 VTEC

  • 2001–2006 Honda Civic EX (Brazil only)
  • 2005–2006 Honda Civic LXL (Brazil only)

Displacement: 1,668 cc

Power

  • 130 hp (97 kW; 132 PS)@6,300 rpm 114 lbft (15.8 kg/m, 154 Nm)@4,800 rpm

VTEC Switchover: 4,800 rpm

D17Z2 SOHC

  • 2001–2006 Honda Civic LX (Brazil only)
  • 2004 Honda Civic LXL (Brazil only)

Displacement: 1,668 cc

  • Power: 115 hp (86 kW; 117 PS)@6,300 rpm 114 lbft (15.8 kg/m, 154 Nm)@4,800 rpm

RPM redline: 6,800 rpm
Rev-limiter: 7,000 rpm

Best D17 tuning parts

The optimum mods on an engine are in our opinion the ones that give the best value for money.

We won't be swayed by popular D17 mods, they need to be cost-effective.

What about performance cams on the D17?

Significant gains can be made on most cars from camshaft upgrades. Altering the camshaft profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the torque and power output.

Fast road cams tend to raise the performance throughout the rpm band, you could drop a little low end bhp but the higher rpm power will be lifted.

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

For a typical daily driver must carefully try to match your bhp range to the usage of your car.

I'd never have thought a Motorsport cam is a pleasure to live with when driving in heavy traffic. With VTEC the argument for a cam is a moot point, especially when you can force the VTEC to engage at a lower point.

The Crower cams are a good option and they have a selection of profiles to choose from so you should find something suitable but to really benefit you need to raise the redline which something like the Apexi V AFC2 will achive.

On the really aggressive profile you'll find that the low end idle will be very lumpy and irregular, so something you would not 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.

The D17 does sound really cool with an aggressive cam profile though!

Some D17 engines respond better to more or less aggressive cam durations check your engine on a rolling road and get the mapping optimized.

The engine timing and fuel pump and injectors also will make differences on the bhp gains you'll hit.

A longer valve duration can alter the bhp 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.

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

Best Engine Mods for your D17

  1. Mapping - remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  so on the D17 aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are your options with Apexi and Hondata getting major implementation.
  2. Get the VTEC to kick in earlier, this will be equivalent to fitting a fast road cam but for those after the ultimate track day there are some decent camshaft upgrades out there.
  3. 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.
  4. Upgrades with turbochargers & 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. Not easy on the D17 but certainly not impossible and has been done  a few times.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the D17 head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  6. Lighter flywheels make the engine feel far more sporty, it will predominantly improve acceleration rather than add power or top speed, but anything that makes the car lighter has merits.

The common D17 tuning stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Intake manifolds, Fast road camshaft, Remaps via piggy back ECU, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Panel air filters, drilled & smoothed airbox.

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

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

The D17 units respond well to upgrades with the block strong enough for 200hp and we're pleased to see that there are quite a few choices of upgrades and tuning parts around but the cost can quickly add up!

Swapping heads on the D17

There are many similarities in Honda engine designs making head swaps a great option, so let's look at an example head swap in true TorqueCars style, and see what  the considerations of such a mod are.

It is possible to mount the EX head on the LX block because the LX and DX blocks are identical save for their compression ratios (9.9 vs 9.5), a lower compression ratio will also be beneficial if you plan to turbocharge your engine.

Putting an EX head on a DX/LX bottom results in significant benefits from the magical VTEC effect!! Due to reduced compression in the DX/LX engine compared to the EX, plus the addition of VTEC, you receive a significant amount of improved airflow at higher rpms.

Getting an EX ecu with an EX engine harness is your best bet when conducting a swap like this. Alternatively, you can run the DX ecu with an external vtec controller hooked in to operate the VTEC system. Alternative option: purchase Kpro if you're looking to spend a lot of money.

A digital fuel controller, such as the excellent Apexi V AFC2, provides optimal gasolene/air mix control and has the bonus of offering VTEC engagement control, allowing you to keep your existing ECU and avoid having your key reprogrammed. There are settings and presets in the options for both low and high camshaft lobes, and corrections can be made depending on the throttle position helping you build the ultimate D17.

D17 mapping and ECU tuning options

To run the EX ecu on the vehicle your options are

  • Reflash
  • VTEC controller
  • Kpro
  • Aftermarket ECU

Usually on the D17 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 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but your mileage will vary depending on the tuning parts you've done and the condition of your engine.

Lighter flywheels on the D17

Lighter flywheels transform the feel of the engine, but might not be the best option for a daily driver at the car will tend to bog down on inclines and hills. 5.5kg is about the lightest that works on a daily driver, you should really aim for about 7kg for the optimum effect.

Air intake mods on the D17

Shoving more air into the D17 engine is the aim to any engine upgrade job.

Plenum flows the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine cylinders.

The shape and flow characteristics of the Plenum can make a big improvement to fuel engine efficiency on the D17.

Most intake manifolds are crying out for an upgrade, although a few makers provide reasonably well-designed intake manifolds.

Larger D17 valves, doing a bit of port work and head flowing will also raise torque, and significantly will permit increasing the torque increase on other upgrades.

D17 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.

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 D17

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

Discover these limits and install stronger pistons, crank, and engine components to cope with the power.

We've seen guys spending loads of money on turbo charger upgrades on the D17 only to watch the whole thing literally blow up during it's first rolling road session.

Bigger upgraded turbo chargers tend to experience a bottom end lag, and little turbo chargers spool up really quickly but won't have the top end torque gains.

the selection of turbo chargers is always increasing and we are seeing variable vane turbo chargers, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust flow into two channels and feed these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo charger. They also improve the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there is a limitation in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on these engines when loads more air is being fed into the engine.

We see 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting bhp at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although more difficult to set up.

D17 Fuelling Mods

When you boost the performance you will need to ramp up to the fuel delivery.

More performance needs more fuel. It makes sense to be generous with your injector's flow rate.

As a rule of thumb add 20% to the flow rate when buying an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and provides a little spare capacity should the engine require more fuel.

D17 Exhaust

You only need to uprate your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you should find that your flow rate is good even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Sports exhausts generally help improve air flow through 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.

Common exhaust restrictions are in the filters installed, so adding a freer 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.

Weakspots and problem areas on the D17

The D17 engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturer's service schedules, and use a good quality oil to ensure longevity. Few problems should happen as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

Carbon build up in the head, on higher mileage D17's should be looked out for, 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 the design of this engine, 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 D17, 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 Honda engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss D17 tuning options in more detail with our D17 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 you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date and help improve the accuracy of these articles which are kept updated and constantly revised.

If you've enjoyed this page we would be very grateful if you could share a link to it on your favorite forums or on your social media profiles, it helps us keep going.

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


PLAY VIDEO

PLEASE HELP: I NEED YOUR DONATIONS TO COVER THE COSTS OF RUNNING THIS SITE AND KEEP IT RUNNING. I do not charge you to access this website and it saves most TorqueCars readers $100's each year - but we are NON PROFIT and not even covering our costs. To keep us running PLEASE Donate here

If you liked this page please share it with your friends, drop a link to it in your favourite forum or use the bookmarking options to save it to your social media profile.

Feedback - What do You Think?

Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

Help us improve, leave a suggestion or tip

Your Constructive comments on this article, I really want to improve this article with your help and suggestions.


Please watch this video and subscribe to my YouTube channel.



2 Responses to “D17 Tuning”

  1. James Dillon says:

    Would love to know where to get cam intake and other parts would be nice thank you

  2. Brandon says:

    I am looking for d17 Honda crankshaft for a drag car

Member Benefits

Join our forum today and benefit from over 300,000 posts on tuning styling and friendly car banter.

You will also have full access to the modifed car gallery, project car updates and exclusive member only areas.

(All car owners of all ages and from all countries are welcome).


BMW 335i - 2021 COTY

We gave the BMW 335i our coveted car of the year award, read more about this awesome car and see why 335i Tuning Guide

Tips for N54 Tuning

Tips for N55 Tuning

Popular articles

Tuning Diesels
ECU Remaps
Double Clutch
Induction Kits
Customize a car
Chip Tuning
Insuring Modified Cars
Track day insurance cover
Remap Diesels
Work out your MPG
Clean your DPF
Forza 5 tuning guide


Performance Spark Plugs

Performance Spark Plugs
Read more...

Exhaust Wraps

Ceramic exhaust coatings and exhaust wrap
Read more...

Debadged Grills

How to create a debadged Grill
Read more...

Painting Calipers

Tips on brake caliper painting.
Read more...

Car Torque

Torque in a car engine
Read more...

Hitech Tailored Car Mats

Hitech tailored car mats
Read more...

MPG Calculator

MPG calculator UK miles per Gallon – calculate MPG
Read more...