Determining the engine-code of a Honda engine

A question often asked is how we can determine the engine code of our Honda's engine. Honda identifies all of their engines by a four-characters code for the Japan Domestic Market, and a five or more characters code for export markets.

For the Japan Domestic Market, the four characters code is made up of a letter, usually taken to identify the engine series; a two digits code indicating engine capacity in litres; and ends with a letter. So the legendary 1595cc (1.6litre) DOHC VTEC engine used in the Integra RSi/XSi and Civic/CRX SiRs has a B16A code. This engine is a 'B' series, 16 indicating a capacity of 1.6litres and ends with an 'A' code which TOVA have not yet managed to find any significant meaning. Another example would be the 2156cc (2.2litre) DOHC VTEC 190ps/200ps engine used on the Prelude and Accord SiRs. This engine is the 'H' series, with 2.2litres and has an engine code of H22A. An exception to this 4-characters code rule is the famous ZC 1590cc series of engine used on various Integra, Civic, and CRX types.

The engine code for export engines are more varied. Honda normally appends a number to the four-character code so the B16A engines for various export markets might be coded B16A1 or B16A5 (eg US or UK markets). Another example would be the B20A2 code for export Honda CR-Vs, where the JDM versions would have a plain B20A code.

However, other variations also exists, eg the 1590cc engine used on current Malaysian market Civics are coded ME516 or MF816 etc. These codes seems to be made up of first a code for the country (M for Malaysia), then a series code comprising a letter plus a number (E5 or F8) and ending with two numbers, again a code for the engine capacity in litres.

The engine code for any Honda engine is engraved at the top of the engine block, just below the head gasket. The code is usually followed (on another line) by a 7 digits engine serial number. For eg, somewhere in the world, there is a 1989 Honda Integra RSi or XSi that has the 1595cc DOHC VTEC engine bearing a code of B16A followed (on the next line below) by a code of 1000001 -ie the first B16A manufactured by Honda.

The pictures on the right shows the location of the engine code and engine serial number clearly.

Sometimes the identification plate in the engine bay also has the engine code and serial number (together in one line) but for the later generations of Hondas, they are usually left out. TOVA would also like to emphasize here that all JDM engines have only 4 characters in their code regardless of the codes that might be used on their equivalent export counterparts.

Temple of VTEC Asia
February 01 1999