i'm confused, something must be wrong with this picture. you bought a
dependable japanese economy sedan and now you want it to drive like it's got
a big block v8? the logic circuits must be crossed. if you wanted raw
power there were other options available, like a different vehicle...
Lol! I'm not thinking of trying to turn a straight-4 into a V8, I just
want to know some ideas to add some power to my honda, nothing
impressive, and i don't want cosmetics, lowering, spoiler, just some
more horses under the hood, and I dealt more with torque on those
Why not try a Nitrous System from Manchester Honda
(1 800 489-9631)if you're serious about wanting more power. I have
purchased numerous parts from these guys for the past five years and am
super pleased. Good Luck.
Basic mods that almost everyone does are intake and exhaust. Even
a cheap 15 dollar replacement intake will give you more power at
high rpm's. It allows the engine to get more air when it needs it.
Otherwise you'll be depending on the stock air filter box which is
very constrictive - designed for low to mid rpm's. At high RPM's,
the engine can't get enough air to combust the larger amount of
fuel. Adding an intake will give your engine a more throaty sound.
Performance exhaust systems reduce back pressure. I've always been
sketchy on exactly how much power this actually increases with a
Some people gut the catalytic converter. All you have to do is
take off the catalytic converter and remove the insides and put it
back on. This is illegal, but it reduces back pressure and adds
horsepower. Inspectors can't tell by looking at it (which they
usually do is a quick glance).
Don't forget the muffler. High flow. I reccomend Burns Stainless.
A bit expensive sometimes. Also a performance header will benefit
you somewhat. This also reduces back-pressure.
Performance chips. You can probably get cheap Mugen rip-off's on
ebay. I'm not sure how well these work. I'll leave this one to the
Intake manifold. An aftermarket OBX intake manifold can be had for
cheap. More airflow, and better looking, too :> Cheap horsepower.
Throttle body. Bigger throttle body = more air. Possibly a bad
idea if you don't have the air to supply, but the concept holds
Flywheel. If you've got a manual transmission and you want quicker
RPM's, get a lightened chromoly flywheel. The flywheel helps
maintain engine inertia by its weight. It's good for fuel economy
to have a heavier flywheel, I guess, but it's more weight that the
engine needs to turn. Get a lighter flywheel and the crank can
spin up more quickly. Some flywheels are nearly half the stock
weight, which basically equates to nearly half the spin-up time.
Light-weight wheels. There's tons of these on the market. Less
weight for the engine to spin. Put more of your torque power on
the pavement. Low profile tires help, too.
Carbon fiber parts. The great thing that hondas have going for
them is the power/weight ratio. They are light cars. That's less
weight that the engine has to pull. Get a carbon fiber hood to
make it even lighter. I even went as far as completely gutting my
interior on my crx and doing some of my own fiberglass
Ignition. Everyone preaches the MSD performance ignition. It
provides more power for your spark plugs. Personally I think the
difference is negligable as far as power is concerned. You'll pay
a pretty penny for this one. Anywhere from 200 and up. Is it worth
it? Anyone else want to comment on this?
Underdrive pulley. You can get a specialty crank pulley that
underdrives all the accessories but still allows them to function
normally, thus reducing the resistance to the crank movement and
yeilding more power.
Cams. Buy some replacement cams for some basic tuned air intake
and exhaust lift/timing. There are many specialized cams that
provide different effects, depending on your engine config.
Lightweight cam gear. Reduces turning weight. Simple enough. Some
are adjustable to allow you to advance or retard your timing.
Body kit. Sure it's flashy, but some body kits provide better
aerodynamic characteristics and reduce overall weight.
Valvetrain. The main thing that prevents you from revving beyond
the redline is your valvetrain (besides the ECU revlimiter).
Building up the valvetrain with high-quality forged valves,
springs, and titanium retainers will give it much more strength
and allow you to safely rev higher, perhaps up into the 10k to 12k
Send your head to a competant machinist to have him port and
polish it. Basically, he will shape the ports to flow better and
more easily. This is "porting." Stock castings are rather rough
and have slight resistance to the incoming air. The "polishing"
removes a lot of this roughness and allows air to move more
readily into the cylinders (or out into the header). Also, if you
have your head ported make sure you send along your intake
manifold to have the manifold ports matched to the head ports.
Crankshaft knife-edging. The counterweights on the crankshaft
aren't very aerodynamic, and they smack into the oil reserve as
the crank turns. Knife-edging, as done by an experienced
machinist, involves grinding these counterweights to a knife edge
to make them more aerodynamic, and allows them to cut through the
oil reserve rather than smacking into it, yeilding less
resistance, less power loss, quicker revs. If you have this done,
make sure your crank is balanced by a machinist afterwards.
Turbocharging. If you want to add a few pounds of boost you can
get a cheap, bolt-on turbo kit. You don't necessarily need to
modify the block internals if you have relatively low milage. Do
not turbocharge if you're running high compression, as you
experience detonation. High octane fuel and low compression is
needed to prevent detonation. For small amounts of boost (below 7
psi) you should get a block guard. Anything higher and you should
get your block resleeved with ductile iron sleeves. This is
necessary because of honda's open deck, with thin cylinder walls.
The entire block is not made of iron. It's actually aluminum with
iron sleeves in the cylinders. The stock sleeves are somewhat thin
and do not have enough contact with the block to support high
pressures and heat. Aftermarket sleeves provide more thickness and
contact with the block. The block guard converts your open deck
into a semi-closed deck, builds strength in the walls and helps
prevent the cylinders from moving. It's still not enough for high
If you want 10 to 20 pounds of boost, you'll need some serious
cash. Plan on investing in re-sleeving your block with thicker
ductile iron sleeves (ie. Darton, Golden Eagle, etc..), and other
high-quality, high-dollar parts, like forged pistons, forged rods,
bearings, lubrication system, coolant system, fuel system and
possibly a forged crank, specialty gaskets, engine management
system (neptune, hondata) and professional dyno tuning. In short,
high boost is for the rich kids.
Even if you're not turbocharging, replacement pistons could prove
beneficial in many ways. First off, there are many aftermarket
pistons to suit almost any need. In your position, if you're not
going for high boost (I wouldn't), get some light weight forged
pistons and ligh weight forged rods. While you're at it, you may
as well get some superior rings that reduce blowby.
Nitrous. DON'T DO IT. Nitrous is basically oxygen enrichment and
allows you to burn more fuel. Nitrous requires a rich air fuel
mixture, like turbos, and burns VERY hot. Opt for low compression,
high octane. You're risking a lot, like burning a hole straight
thru your block if anything, not to mention detonation or cracking
your cylinders. My friend was running a small shot of NOS on his
B16, running rich with a perfect setup. It wasn't long before it
detonated. The piston he brought me looked like a pancake. NOS is
safe for some people and not for others. I wouldn't risk it unless
you're willing to lose your engine. Building a proper NOS system
will require many mods that you would need for a turbocharged
system anyways, so you may as well opt for a turbo.
"Turbo kit. $3500. Engine mods. $6500. Wishing you'd paid a little
extra for a knock sensor after you lose everything. Priceless."
That's all I can think of right now. I'm tired and just blah.
Anyone feel free to add to this list, scrutinize it, correct my
spelling (spelling nazi's suck) or whatever. Overall, my two
favorite mods are the flywheel and intake. They're a good place to
Be aware that in the '97 (and in any OBDII cars, which are all new cars sold
in the US starting January 1996 and a few before that) destroying the
catalyst will permanently turn on the "check engine" light due to "low
catalyst efficiency." In addition, you will fail any emission inspection
that meets present EPA standards (IM240, IIRC) if you are in the US.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.