Identifying 1st and 2nd generation B16A

The legendary B16A is the first engine to use the VTEC mechanism. Appearing in the JDM DA6/DA8 Honda Integra RSi/XSi in mid 1989, the 1st generation B16As produced 160ps at 7600rpm with a max torque of 15.5kgm at 7000rpm and a redline of 8000rpm. This engine was later 'migrated' into the EF9 Civic and EF8 CRX SiRs.

In 1991, the JDM DA6/DA8 Integra RSi/XSi again became the first models to receive the revised 2nd generation B16As. Getting a slightly higher 10.4 CR with different pistons and slightly wilder high cam profiles, the 2nd generation B16A produces 170ps at 7800rpm with a max torque of 16.0kgm at 7300rpm and a redline of 8200rpm. Again this engine later migrated to the EG6/EG9 Civic and EG2 CRX DelSol SiRs. It continues to be used on the EK4 Civic SiRs in Japan and selected Asian markets.

A frequent question asked to TOVA involves how one can quickly identify the version of a B16A engine, ie whether it's the 160ps earlier or 170ps later generations. Again the most definitive way would be to break into the engine and take a look at the pistons and other mechanisms. However in Malaysia, because of the great popularity of engine swaps using imported 'half-cuts' (ie front half of an accident car containing the entire engine bay), a simpler method has been devised to identify the version of the B16A. This involves looking at the valve cover, specifically at the DOHC and VTEC words.

For the 160ps version B16A, the DOHC word will be larger than the VTEC word while the reverse holds true for the 170ps version B16A. Other helpful identifications includes looking for a 'PGM-Fi' plate on top of the intake manifold. The 160ps B16A will have the PGM-Fi plate while the 170ps B16A will not.

However, TOVA cautions that this is a quick and general guide and will not be fool-proof. There have been cases reported of half-cuts with a B16A with 170ps type valve cover but on an EF8 CRX SiR body (which is not supposed to have received this engine at all). Some says that the last few production EF8s uses the 170ps engine while others feels that perhaps the new valve cover designs were used to save production costs. Similarly, some DA6/DA8 Integras may be running around with the 170ps B16A internals but with the older 160ps valve cover designs.

March 1999