Believe it or not, there’s still quite a bit of misinformation about the B16A and it’s many variants. Many customers are either misinformed or flat out wrong about the generation B16 they own. While that’s not a bad thing in and of itself, when vendors begin to wrongly advertise or sell the wrong thing to customers, that’s where it pays to know how to identify you B16.
Many JDM engine importers that sell Honda engines will go the extra mile to let you know exactly what you are getting. But some either do not know the difference, or are trying to scam customers into purchasing first generation B16’s at second generation pricing.
Further complicating matters is the large selection from which to guess from, so attention to detail is important when shopping for motors. That’s where we are here to help with a complete guide on how to identify your B16 and get exactly what you pay for.
When discussing JDM imported engines, there’s a few versions of the B16 you are likely to see at your importer. The first generation B16A utilizes a 10.2:1 compression ratio and puts down 160ps of horsepower. The second generation B16A received a bump in compression to 10.4:1 and with changes to the cam profile puts down 170ps of horsepower.
These are the two motors that are most commonly mixed up by JDM importers as well as people purchasing the motors themselves.
As we discussed in our How To Identify your Honda Engine, the JDM naming convention does not carry a number at the end. Sticking to the JDM four digit code is an easy way to tell what you it’s a B16A, but not what generation of B16A it is.
You will note the following changes to the B16A found in a 1992 EG6 above.
- Absence of a PGM-F1 label on the intake manifold.
- Absence of vacuum dashpots on the intake manifold and throttle body.
- MAP sensor is an integral part of the throttle body, not an external one with a tube.
- The Intake manifold has no bulge on the back side (side facing the firewall).
- Connector plugs on the engine harnesses are grey instead of milky white.
This JDM B16A should only have one 4 wire narrowband oxygen sensor, without the downstream unit installed after the headers.
A lesser known way to identify the generation of B16 you are looking at is the string of numbers that can be found on certain blocks. Unfortunately this is not a surefire way of identification because this stamp is not always present.
If the motor and transmission are together, and you know that they have not been seperated a good way to identify them is from a hydraulic transmission ( second generation ) and a cable transmission ( first generation )
Knowing how to identify your B16 can save you over $1000 dollars when shopping for a B16 engine swap.
Electrical connections can also show you exactly what you are working with. B16A’s with gray connectors are second generation motors, while clear white connectors are first generation.
It’s usually not a good idea to look and compare valve covers, because these can be changed far too frequently to be a reliable source of identification. If you open the oil cap on your JDM B16A, you should be able to see the oil spray bars as part of the VTEC mechanism.
The first generation has cast aluminium oil spray bars while the later generation ones are made of extruded aluminium.
In the end, when shopping for JDM motors and engine swap motors, it’s always a good idea to know how to identify your B16 or the motor you are looking for.
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