Rebuilding and reassembling your engine can always be a stressful time, especially when you are working on your project yourself or on a budget. The process of engine assembly is straightforward, but the thing we get the most questions about is engine cylinder honing by hand.
Engine cylinder honing refers to the process of honing or “scratching” the cylinder walls in your engine. This scratching process is specifically designed to help the piston rings set properly, providing maximum seal and more power.
Honing your own cylinders isn’t as daunting a task as one might think, and you can save yourself some cash and time taking the DIY approach. Knowing how to hone your cylinders is key, as most of this job relies on technique rather than tools. Of course if this is something that seems too extreme for you, most machine shops will deck and hone your block for a nominal fee.
Today I’ll be showing you how to hone your cylinder in a Acura Integra GSR engine, named the B18C1. This block is a 1.8 liter 4 cylinder application and we’ll be honing this block in preparation of installing new rods and pistons.
Before we start assembling our motor, the engine block will need to be cleaned and prepped to accept the new rods, pistons and piston rings. Before honing your engine block, make sure that the main bearing caps are installed and torqued to specification.
Remove the windage tray (if applicable in your engine) and the crankshaft, rods, pistons and pumps. Clear the front of the engine from any water and oil pumps and place your block on an engine stand for ease of access.
There are two types of honing kits that are generally available to the public. The flex hone and the brush hone which both have very different ways of cutting your cylinder walls and restoring the cross-hatching you need for your engine.
Choosing from either one of these honing tools is easy to do, although the methods in which you want to hone are different. For ease of install and ease of use, we’ll recommend the brush type honing tool, and for those more experienced the floating stone hone tool is quite nice for a fine finish.
For all motor small displacement applications as this, you need as much ring seal as possible making the floating stone tool much more desirable.
The first order of business when learning how to hone your cylinders is determining engine bore. The bore of the cylinder is the diameter, and this value will allow you to pick the correct hone tool for your job.
The bore size for our Acura Integra is 81mm but your engine bore size will differ. Make sure to reference your owners manual or check our FAQ section for your engine specifications. Or you can search by using engine code.
What you need to hone your engine
- Honing Oil or Assembly Lube
- plenty of shop rags
- electric drill
How To Hone Your Cylinders
- Mount the ball hone onto your drill and secure safely. Always use the proper eye protection and safety guidelines when working on vehicles to prevent personal injury.
- Rotate engine on engine stand with oil pan removed
- Lubricate the cylinder in question with honing oil or WD-40
- You must compress the hone to get it into the cylinder you want to hone first
- Activate the drill and move ball hone up and down the cylinder.
- Have a friend lubricate as you work
You are looking to “scratch” or hone the surface of your cylinder walls by creating a fine criss-cross pattern that should intersect at 60 degrees. You want to achieve this look and do it as quickly as possible, you are looking to remove as little as you can.
Some important tips when honing your cylinder
Never take the ball hone out of the cylinder walls while it’s spinning. Always allow the ball hone to come to a stop while keeping the up and down motion, then compress the stones and remove.
Wipe and lube generously to clean your cylinder wall, you should be able to see the finish and crosshatch easily.
When you are done with one cylinder move onto the next working slowly and carefully. Avoid making any marks or damage that might otherwise compromise ring seal.
Take Care of Your Rings – When you have completed honing your shortblock, take a small very fine file and clean the top edges of the cylinder bores clean.
Clean Up – Clean and wash your motor with soapy water, we prefer to use our hands to clean away any abrasive material that might remain. Take this time to use a wire brush and clean your oil and coolant ports as much as possible.
Rinse your block thoroughly and apply a light coat of oil or WD-40 if you mean to store the engine for long periods or it’s still waiting on parts. Need a guide on how to install rods and pistons in a GSR as well? Check out our guide here.