1993 Civic LX Needs new engine?

My harmonic balancer went out last week on my '93 civic, and tore up the end of my crankshaft rather wickedly. The car has 170,000 miles on it. Nothing has been serviced outside of Honda's standard
replacements, and the aging motor generally just sounds worn and tired, the head gasket has a small leak, and it seems like it's time to either change the motor or get rid of the car.
A friend of my roommate has a 2001 civic, which he swapped the d17a2 motor out of sometime around 40,000 miles in order to make room for a more powerful k20, and is offering it to me at a very reasonable price, with the ecu.
Has anyone here ever done/heard of this kind of swap?
Is it possible? Is it stupid?
Mainly, if I have this swap done professionally, would the extra labor required make it worth it to just buy a (much more expensive than the d17, to me) new d15 and have that swapped in? How many extra man hours am I looking at, roughly?
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Walbert wrote:

this motor doesn't have an harmonic balancer, just a steel pulley wheel.

for a honda, that's maybe half way there. should still be running fine.

if the pulley wheel broke loose, the crank nut was not fastened correctly or it was stripped last time the timing belt was changed. either way, it's a maintenance error.

whatever the reason, if the crank is damaged, the motor is uneconomic to repair. buy a used low mileage replacement from japan - there's loads of companies on the net that import them.

it's not a plug-n-play replacement. the ecu is obdII and the vehicle needs extensive re-wiring for instruments, data port, two oxygen sensors, etc.

it's possible - the question is, how quickly do you want it running and at what expense? if you're paying someone else, the labor necessary to re-wire will negate any saving on buying the motor "cheap" - and the motor is not that great in the first place. if you want to upgrade, buy a b16, b18, etc. the upgrade path is well documented and parts are readily accessible. otherwise, the cheap easy solution is to buy a jdm replacement for your existing motor and do a straight swap, no mods.

look into having the labor done by whoever last did your timing belt. it's their screw up.
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jim beam wrote:

The crank nut was still attached firmly and in tact (not stripped) when the remains of the old pulley were removed. The pulley split in half around the rubber dampener (excuse my lack of proper terminology), though it looks as if it made at least a partial rotation around the crank (the crank is very gouged and the little key piece that inserts between the pulley and crank was nowhere to be found) before the rubber section separated. The power steering pump was also seized up, which I'm lead to believe is the cause of all of this.
With this extra information, would maintenance error still appear to play a part? It wasn't something I had been suspecting as of yet.

A friend pointed me to http://www.boomslang.us /, assuring me that I could install the d17's ECU and use one of their harnesses to attach my existing sensors, with no more than a few sensors needing to be changed or added. The person offering me the motor told me mainly to 'pay close attention to the crank position sensor'. Is this just completely not the case, and I'm landing myself in a wiring nightmare?

I'd like it running before christmas, ideally at the cost of less than $1000 + cost of motor, doing as much labor as possible by myself, which would probably entail most, if not all of the ECU replacement/sensor work.
if you're paying someone else, the labor necessary to

By saying the motor is 'not that great', do you mean that it isn't going to respond well to a turbocharger and 15 pounds of boost, or that, even if well maintained, it's longevity would be less that an equivalent b-series motor? I've only owned this car for the last ten thousand miles or so, and it being my first Honda, I'm still familiarizing myself with the brand.

Is the upgrade path I'm talking about documented at all, because (according to my best googling) I'm beginning to think not.

I'm not really looking for any extra performance... just a car that will last, and am fine with doing any labor that I have the tools/ability to complete. (I'm a computer programmer by trade, and am not much of a stranger to electral/wiring work)

Would be something only the last owner would know about, though he did mention having the water pump very recently replaced when I bought it.
Thanks, Jim. I appreciate your feedback a lot. Every other honda enthusiast I've mentioned this two said something along the lines of "they're both D series... the d17 is a little bit of an oddball, but you shouldn't really have too much trouble getting things working". The negative sides are what I'm really looking to hear.
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Walbert wrote:

ok, you sound like you've done a little homework and are not afraid of what to do - that's good. but if this were my vehicle, and unless this new motor was almost free, or i wanted the science project, i'd go down the j.d.m. road instead. that way:
1. i know it's going to work. 2. there's guaranteed no issues on smog. 3. other than the motor, there's no extra parts to buy. 4. it's cheap - $300-$500.
science projects are great, but they're not for your daily driver. google for 'jdm import honda motor' and you'll be swamped with options!
and don't install the d17 expecting better performance. i know there's weight differences, but my stock '89 with a dpfi odb0 d15 /spanks/ my 2000 civic with d16 obdII mpfi, especially on the top end - even though the d17 is supposedly rated with much more output. if you want performance, again, go for the b-series or even the d16z6.
one more little thing - not that it would ever bother a law abiding citizen - is that obdII ecu's store driver data like speed, braking and driver throttle pedal position info. think what that could mean...
regarding the breakage, maybe it was the steering pump, but i'd have thought it would just break the belt, not the pulley. describing a rubber insert does indeed sound like an harmonic balancer, but i've never seen one on a honda. similarly, it's hard to see how the woodruff key could be missing - it's captive inside the pulley wheel. most bizarre. you could post links to photos of the damage to pinypic.com if you want more comment.
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