Honda Type R tuning and modifications.

"It's a long way to Type R rari..."

The Honda Type R is the most desirable badge from Honda.

These cars are a road legal race optimized version of the standard models.

Engines are blueprinted and balanced and all components used are precision machined and optimized for the best performance.

Before we look at the tuning options for the Type R we shall look at the history of the model type and see what Hondas intentions and aspirations were.

Rather than use turbos and superchargers Honda have concentrated on creating a high revving engine and produce some of the most powerful NA (naturally aspirated) engines to come out of a modern manufacturers production line.

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


The JDM spec Civic Type R remains one of the best front wheel drive cars around

The R in Type R stands for Race and original models were very much trackday cars.

See our K20 tuning guide for more detail on that engine..

And the K24 tuning guide

The Integra Type R produced in 1996 was based on a design shared with Rover. Indeed the similarities between the Integra and Rover 200 are striking with the only notable exterior differences being the lights and slightly amended bumpers.

The Integra Type R had no radio, no sound deadening a close ratio 5 speed gearbox and fully refined race spec engine.

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Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Engine Tunes - engine tuning/remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  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 to turbochargers and 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.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

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

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

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

The engine modifications included higher compression pistons, polished ports, stiffer valve springs and tune/remap to optimize the timing of the engine. This produced a car able to accelerate to 60 mph in a little over 6 seconds, a feat which many cars today will struggle to achieve.

The Type R engines make great tuning projects and thanks to their popularity there is a lot of parts and tuning parts around.

Mapping will help unlock the full potential of all the parts you've fitted to your Type R.

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

It is the main goal to any engine tuning task to force more air into your Type R

Air Intake manifolds transmit the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine cylinders.

The bore size, shape and flow rate of the Air Intake manifolds can make a large effect on to fuel atomisation on the Type R.

On popular production engines intake are in desperate need of an upgrade, although some OEM provide reasonably well designed intake.

Fitting big valve kits, doing some 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also increase bhp and torque, and as an added benefit will give you a greater bhp and torque increase on other parts.

To cope with the extra power the chassis was stiffened and suspension was refined to give excellent handling characteristics. A limited slip diff helps to keep the power down in difficult conditions.

Type R specs later became more comfortable but still retain the high revving sporty engine and suspension tweaks. We have type R spec models of the NSX (already a sports car in it's own right) the Accord and later the Civic.

The Uk spec Civic is very different from the JDM spec Civic and really is more friendly and family oriented. The JDM spec civic Type R is still hailed today as one of the best front wheel drive cars around. We are just waiting to see if the rumors of the new S2000 Type R are true.

Type R engines make good subjects for an engine swap in the lower spec models. Particularly with those of the same engine capacity as the blocks are a bolt in swap with a rewire.

Tuning the Type R is a difficult prospect as so much has been done to the car from the factory. Better flowing exhaust components and a tune/remap to alter the V-TEC kick in point are the most common modifications. Interestingly the factory fitted air box is so good that it is very difficult to find an induction kit that increased performance noticeable, usually the performance levels are maintained.

Turbos are not really an option unless you are prepared to lower the compression ratio of the engine.

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 Type R

If the engine has forced induction mods are giving better power gains and you'll see that turbo engines are made using stronger components.

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

See where you'll find these restrictions and upgrade to stronger pistons, crank and engine components to utilize the power.

There are many people spending a lots of money on turbocharger upgrades on the Type R only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the motor catastrophically fail soon after it's been enthusiastically driven.

Bigger upgraded turbo units commonly experience no power at low rpm, and little turbo units spool up more quickly but won't have the top end bhp gains.

In the last 10 years the market of turbo chargers is always improving and we are seeing variable vane turbo chargers, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and direct these at differently angled vanes in the turbocharger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there's a limitation in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on these engines when loads more air is being drawn into the engine.

Going up you'll find 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting power at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although more complex to install. We have a twincharger bhp adding guide if you want to read more.

Most specialist tuners are using superchargers to increase performance on Type R engines but this is a very specialised area and there are no  bolt on DIY kits available. To discuss tuning the Type R please join us in the forum where we have a large number of members with Type R engines.

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2 Responses to “Tuning the Honda Type R engines.”

  1. TCJBOLDIE says:

    There are bolt on centrifugal supercharger kits available now for the NA Type R’s

  2. TCJBOLDIE says:

    IF you are planning a hi power turbo conversion then it is advisable to have the factory sleeves removes as they can move about seeing they are an open deck design and replaced with DARTON sleeves that require the block to be machined to fitto better locate the top of the sleeves to the block

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