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.

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.

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

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.

Significant gains can be made 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 your cars usage.

I'd never have thought a Motorsport cam 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.

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

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.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Intake headers, Fast road camshaft, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Sports exhaust 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.

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 and we're pleased to see that there are quite a few choices of upgrades and tuning parts around.

ECU flashing should help to to establish the full potential of all the tuning parts you've fitted to your D17.

(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 parts you've done and the condition of your engine.

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

Plenum flow 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 manifold are crying out for an upgrade, although a few makers provide reasonably well designed intake manifold.

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.

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 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 a loads of money on turbo charger upgrades on the D17 only to watch the whole thing literally blow up when 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 setup.

Fuelling

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 injectors 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 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 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 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.

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We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which parts 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 articles which are continually updated.

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One Response to “D17 Tuning”

  1. James Dillon says:

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

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