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How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec

Old 07-01-2006, 05:12 PM
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Default How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec

I put this guide together because I'm tired of seeing the SAME threads over and over of simple questions that can be answered in one simple post like this one. This thread is designed to be an end-all, tell-all type thread. Please keep in mind though, that this is still just a general guide. Lsvtec/b20vtec engines are not honda manufactured engines. With that said, there are hundreds of combinations you can build.
Also, please be aware that this guide is assembled on an intermediate level, and anyone reading this guide can perform all of the steps outlined.

Let's begin. Now, there are a few NECESSARY things to do/parts to buy when building a <u>"reliable"</u> lsvtec/b20vtec:

-LS/B20 (same) ARP rod bolts
-GSR/ITR (same) ARP head studs (NON-B17)
-New LS (90-01) B18a/b (for 81mm) or B20 (for 84mm) head gasket (MLS) or aftermarket for your non-OEM bore
-New ACL bearings - LS/B20 (same)
-New Hastings piston rings (or OEM)
-New OEM D/Bseries (same) valve seals
-New OEM Dohc Vtec Bseries (B16/GSR/ITR) 22T water pump
-New OEM P72 GSR/ITR timing belt (not B17)
-New OEM P72 oil pump (96+ GSR/LS/B20/ITR/B16 - all the same)
-Magnetic oil drain plug (important for break in)
-New NGK V-power BKR6E spark plugs (stock LS pistons) OR NGK V-power BKR7E spark plugs for 10.0-12.0:1 compression, or NGK V-power R5671A-8 plugs for 12.0:1+ compression
-Adjustable Fuel Pressure regulator (necessary for stock ECU/injectors)
-In addition, you should replace all remaining gaskets and filters

Note- "same" means that the listed parts use the same part #'s from HONDA/ACURA.

-Shotpeen LS rods
-Hone big end of rods when using ARP rod bolts (if necessary)
-Hone cylinders (if necessary)
-Balance the entire rotating assembly

Do the above, and your motor will reward you with <u>reliability</u>.

<u>Other things to consider for making power:</u>
-A complete 2.5 inch exhaust (header, cat, exhaust piping, and muffler)
-Hondata/Passwordjdm intake manifold gasket
-Adjustable cam gears (even for stock cams, because lsvtec timing will ALWAYS be slightly off)
-OEM P30(SIR2 B16)/P73(ITR) pistons or forged 11.5:1+ pistons (forged aftermarket pistons can be run on stock rods)
-Higher lift/longer duration cams (read below for cams)
-Stiffer valve springs (read below for valve springs)
-Better intake manifold (ITR, AEBS, Skunk2, JG, Ported ITR, custom, etc.)
-Reputable Port/Polish work on the head
-Better header (SMSP, RMF, Hytech, DTR/SSR, Hytech, ANR, Rage, custom, etc.)
-310cc injectors (at a minimum)
-Sleeved to 84+mm
-extensive tuning

Also, I have included the important torque specs you should follow while assembling your hybrid motor:

Fuel filter bolt - 25 ft/lbs
Tensioner pulley bolt - 40 ft/lbs
Crank pulley bolt - 130 ft/lbs
Cam gear bolts - 41 ft/lbs
Exhaust manifold/Header to cylinder head nuts/bolts - 27 ft/lbs
Intake manifold to Cylinder head nuts/bolts - 18 ft/lbs
Throttle body to intake manifold nuts/bolts - 16 ft/lbs
Cylinder head bolts (OEM) - 22 ft/lbs (first), 63 ft/lbs (second) (please see below for ARP's)
Rocker arm locking nuts - 14 ft/lbs
Camshaft holder plate bolts (12mm) - 20 ft/lbs
Cam caps (10mm) - 7.2 ft/lbs

Oil pan to block nuts/bolts - 8.7 ft/lbs
Oil drain plug - 33 ft/lbs
Oil pickup tube to block/oil pump - 8 ft/lbs
Windage tray bolts - 8 ft/lbs
Flywheel to block bolts - 76 ft/lbs
Pressure plate to flywheel bolts - 19 ft/lbs
Main bearing caps - 56 ft/lbs
Rod bearing caps - 23 ft/lbs (Refer to ARP's instructions for ARP rod bolts)
Oil pump to block (12mm) - 17 ft/lbs
Oil pump to block (10mm) - 8 ft/lbs
Water pump to block bolts - 8.7 ft/lbs
Thermostat to block bolts - 8.7 ft/lbs

<u>Now, let's get started</u>...First, we can't get started without the Assembly lube, RTV, and 30W ND oil (to break in the rings.), and coolant. It will be good to have handy a 10, 12, 14, 17, and 19mm box wrenches as well as shallow and deep sockets in the same sizes. It would also be good if you could have those same sockets in both 3/8 drive and 1/2 drive (but it is not necessary). Pick up a 3/8 drive, and 1/2 drive 6 inch extension, as well as the equivalent sized socket wrenches. You will also need a ft/lbs torque wrench as well as a inch pounds torque wrench. Pick up a deep 5/8, 16mm or spark plug socket. Forgive me if i'm forgetting any tools, but these are the main ones. The only additional tools required for working on any other part of the car including installing the engine are 8mm's, 32mm's (axle nuts), and a couple flat head and phillips head screwdrivers. You can get away with just those tools, any additional specialty tools is just preference, like ball joint seperators, etc. Last but not least, pick up a Helms or Chiltons for torque specs. At a bare MINIMUM, have a Haynes handy. You'll need one for a 99-00 civic, as well as a 94+ GSR/ITR. Obviously, A helms manual would be 10x better in any case.

<u>The head.</u> Let's first start off with your choices. There are B16 heads, ITR heads, and GSR heads. IMO, it is never worth buying an ITR head, if you plan on upgrading the springs/retainers/cams anyway. They are amazing heads from the factory, but B16/GSR heads can be had and built for far less. ITR/B16/92-93 GSR heads are built from the same exact casts (PR3), while 94+ GSR heads are built from a different cast (P72) which is why the intake manifold bolt pattern is different (from here on, 92-93 GSR heads will be referred to as B16 heads). ITR heads have a slight hand port job on the intake side from the factory. They also have stiffer dual valve springs, as well as slightly higher lift/longer duration cams and lighter valves. If you want to make more than 200whp with your lsvtec build, you are going to need better cams and springs/retainers do you see why it's just not worth the $1000-1200 price tag on a used ITR head? The question you SHOULD ask is, should I get a GSR or B16 head? Tough question. Here's the deal...B16 heads share the same bolt pattern as ITR's for the intake manifold. They are easier to find aftermarket intake manifolds for than GSR heads, as well as being able to bolt on an ITR manifold. However, GSR heads have a distinct advantage over B16/ITR heads. Although having slightly smaller combustion chambers that raise compression is an advantage, it is the reason why it raises compression, that is the REAL advantage. You see, GSR heads employ flat surfaces in the combustion chamber called "quench" pads. They do raise compression, but the real advantage is this design's ability to deter the possibiltiy of detonation, promote better flame travel, and aid in cooling. Beware though, if you plan on running a GSR head with CTR pistons, there is not much room for mistakes. The clearances are tight. I wouldn't personally run that combination w/ stock cast pistons anyway. So keep that in mind. I personally like the combustion chamber design of the GSR head better. But, I also like the ability to be able to run a P73 (ITR) intake manifold on the B16 head. Now that you can see the advantages of both heads, it's really a toss-up. It's your decision, go with the one that suits your preferences.

Now, if you have the money, and you want to build a powerful setup, I highly recommend sending your head out to one of the many reputable head porters out there like RLZ, portflow, DonF @ DFE, Headgames, Import Builders, or Alaniz. These are just some of the more widely known, but there are some very quality smaller head porting operations going on in H-T. I've seen some of their work and I'm impressed. I would also go ahead and at the very minimum pick up new OEM valve seals, if not aftermarket. These are equivalent to piston rings for the head, as they seal oil out of the combustion chamber. Don't worry though, Honda valve seals are still fine. Valve springs and retainers are also a mandatory upgrade if you ever plan on making power passed 8k with your motor. Companies like Rocket Motorsports, supertech, omni, RLZ, Import Builders, JG, etc. make some great components. I went ahead and milled the head a little just to freshen the surface. It is by no means necessary. But, keep in mind that if you do it, your cam timing may be slightly affected, as well as your piston to valve clearance and compression ratio. Be careful how much you take off. Here are pics of my '00 B16 head:

<u>Vtec head preparation.</u> First, you must remove the allen plug on the intake passenger side of the head. Heating it up with a torch may ease in the removal of this plug, although I've never had to use heat, just muscle. Next, you must tap the head and install the 1/8 NPT pipe fitting included in your lsvtec kit you either purchased or assembled. Make sure to either teflon tape/paste it or use threadlocker, which ever you prefer. I use teflon tape myself. For the dowel pin holes, use the two corner exhaust side head bolt holes. They fit perfect with the golden eagle lsvtec dowel pins.

<u>Now for the block.</u> The stock LS pistons are garbage, unless you plan on turboing this setup, get rid of them. Even in which case, I personally wouldn't boost more than 10 psi on the stock sleeves/pistons, and that's with extensive tuning. I suggest getting aftermarket forged pistons/rods, although it is by no means necessary in an all motor build. Stock cast honda pistons are more prone to detonation than aftermarket forged pistons. They have been used time and time again reliably. But reliability isn't anything more or less than the tuning that is performed after the initial startup. If you do decide to go with aftermarket forged units, be aware there are still many options. Your main options are high or low content silicon pistons. Low silicon pistons expand alot during warmup, causing "knocking" noises. They also tend to burn a little more oil because of this. Your other option is High content silicon pistons. They do not expand nearly as much as low silicon pistons, but the higher content of silicon makes them not as strong. It's up to you to do the research on this.
As for the rings, use whichever you prefer. I swear by Hastings piston rings myself on cast pistons and I personally wouldn't use anything other than them or OEM honda rings. But, if you use forged pistons, use whichever rings they include or recommend. Everyone who is anyone will now agree, that it is MANDATORY that you install ARP rod bolts. LS rod bolts are the same exact rod bolts that come factory in D-series motors. This is THE single point of failure on LS blocks. It's not the rods, or anything else, it's the rivet sized rod bolts. Upgrade to ARP rod bolts! Now for the rods, if you plan on staying with the stock rods, which is perfectly fine, it would be smart to shotpeen them. This will improve the tensile strength of the rod. Just a small piece of mind when you're hanging out at 9k. Some shops charge extra for this, some include it with their rebuilds...but either way, it's cheap so do it. You should also have your rod's journals (big ends) resized when you install ARP rod bolts. Many will tell you it's not necessary, but ARP recommends it. Pay the extra few bucks to have this done, again for peace of mind. ARP doesn't make any money off of this, so why do they recommend it? Because the extra torque placed on the rods using their rod bolts has the tendency to "warp" the big end of the rods. It's not a difference you can see with the naked eye, but it's there. As for bearings, go with whatever you prefer. Some swear by OEM honda, but if ACL's are within standards, there's nothing wrong with them. ACL is actually better if they are within clearance specs, because their's are a trimetal design much like oem GSR/ITR/CTR bearings are as opposed to the LS/B20 Bimetal design, which aids in bearing oil retention. I would also go and get the rotating assembly balanced. Again, not mandatory, but it helps in the high revs. Alot of people like to use girdles. It makes sense right? B16's and B18C's use them, and honda implemented them for a reason right? I agree totally. But I'm a fan of "keep it simple". There are plenty of people running ungirdled blocks revving to 9k or higher. I don't use one. But, you decide. However, this might actually be something you want to consider if you plan to autocross this motor. It will definitely help with the heavy abuse over longer periods. There are about a million other things you can do to the block. Don't buy into gimmicks, and keep it simple. Simple = less **** to go wrong. If you are unsure of all the options you have with assembling a block, talk to a well known engine builder. There are plently of them here on And, if you can get into a conversation with one of them, I'm sure they can clear alot of things up for you.
*For those of you that are familiar with mini-me swaps and removing the oil control orifice in the center of the block, it is not necessary.

Now, here are pics of my block fully assembled (P30 pistons and rings installed, cylinders honed, shotpeened LS rods, arp rod bolts installed, rods resized, crank balanced, polished, and knife edged:

<u>ARP head studs installation.</u> Another near mandatory upgrade. The ones you need for this hybrid setup are the GSR/ITR studs/bolts. Do NOT use the B16 or B18a/b studs. They are the incorrect length. First and foremost, make SURE that the holes are clean and clear of debri. The best way to do this is to spray brake cleaner or intake/carb cleaner down the holes, and use compressed air to blow out the cleaner and debri. Make sure to cover up the cylinders so that crap doesn't get into them though. Make sure to lube up both sides of the studs w/ ARP moly lube (which is included with their bolts), or with 30w oil (Not 10w30, but solid 30w), if you bought them used. Tighten the ARP head studs all the way down with an allen wrench, then back them off about a 1/4 turn (ARP recommends they are hand tight, and this is equivalent). But, beware. When they say handtight, they do not mean tighten them down with your hand. This is just silly because you can't thread the studs all the way down by hand; they won't all be even. What they mean is, thread the studs all the way to the bottom, but do not have the bolts applying any pressure to the block (no torque). You can also use the double nut technique, which is just putting two nuts on the stud, and using a socket or box wrench to tighten the upper nut. This will turn the stud because the lower nut will hold the upper nut in place. This will ensure that they are all at equal height. Do NOT torque the studs INTO the block. This will negate the whole reason you are using studs instead of bolts in the first place. The advantage of studs is this...the block will be "pulling" down on the head, which is the opposite force of combustion, as opposed to the head "pulling" up on the block, in the same direction as combustion, which is what the stock head bolts do. The studs help create a better seal.

<u>Next, I install the oil pan gasket and oil pump.</u> It's simple; you just remove all the 10mm nuts/bolts from the oil pan. Next, remove the oil pickup tube by removing it's 10mm nuts/bolts. Now, remove the oil pump by removing the mounting bolts. Make sure to clean both the block and oil pan mating surfaces so that there will not be any leaks. Also, clean the oil pump mating surfaces. Use brake cleaner or intake cleaner for this. I also used this time to fully clean out the oil pan free of debris and oil with soapy water. Make sure it is completely dry before reinstalling it. You may now install your new oil pump. The next step is not necessary, but most engine builders do this and I do it as well. You should prime the oil pump; and you do this by packing it with petroleum jelly on the inside of the pump gear. Now, spread a good layer of high temp RTV on the block and oil pump mating surfaces. Then, reinstall the oil pump and pick up tube. Torque everything to spec. Slip on the oil pan gasket and then the oil pan. Install all the 10mm nuts/bolts to spec.

<u>Water pump installation.</u> It would be to your advantage if you went out and purchased an OEM ITR/GSR (P72) water pump. But, if you use this water pump, you must also use the ITR/GSR (P72) timing belt. If you use the LS water pump, use the LS timing belt. The P72 water pump has 22 teeth as opposed to the 19 teeth on the LS pump. This means the GSR/ITR pump spins slower at higher RPM's, and vise versa. You may think this is bad, but it is good, because at those higher RPM's with an LS water pump, you will theoretically be spinning the pump so fast, that it doesn't even push water; it just creates bubbles (cavitation). Get it? Ok, so take your water pump now and spread a bead of RTV in the gasket groove, and then slip in the gasket. Bolt up the water pump and torque down to specs. Tighten them down in a criss-cross pattern as you would lug nuts. Torque to spec. Do not overtighten as you can warp the pump or crack it, possibly even strip the bolts. Bad.

<u>Water pipe installation.</u> Slip on the two rubber seals on both ends of the pipe. Slide one side of the pipe into the opposite side of the water pump. The other side gets slid in with the thermostat housing installation.

<u>Thermostat housing installation.</u> Slide the passenger side end of the water pipe into the thermostat housing. Bolt the thermostat housing down with it's two 10mm bolts. Torque to specs.

<u>Now time to install the fan switch (90-91 b18a block), oil pressure switch, and knock sensor.</u> This is self explanatory. Just tighten them down till they can't be tightened down anymore. As for the knock sensor, you need to tap the right hole of the upper alternator bracket, if you plan on running one. You must first drill the hole out with an 11mm drill bit or equivalent. The knock sensor is 12mm x 1.25, so that's what you have to tap the hole with. Grab the tap from your local hardware store. Tap the hole and screw in the knock sensor. This is completely optional. If you like check engine lights flashing on your dash, then skip this step. I however don't. Even though I installed it and have it wired in, I have it disabled through my software. This forces the computer to run in my manually created ignition maps. Don't disable the knock sensor unless you have experience with ignition tuning.

<u>Breather box installation.</u> 96+ LS blocks wont have this, which is why it is better to use the 90-95 LS blocks. Now think about it. Does it really matter how many miles the block you are using for this build has? Not really, because you are going with new rings/bearings/hone anyway right? But, use common sense for this. Get the cheapest 90-95 block you can find. If you are building a B20vtec however, you will have to buy one. Z10 motorsports and Endyn both make nice kits for you. This is not mandatory, but I highly recommend it. If you don't have this breather box or an aftermarket one installed, your motor will develop higher crankcase pressures, and a your oil will accumulate a quicker build-up of combustion by-products I.E. hydrocarbons and water. Make sure the little rubber o-ring is on the box, and pop it into the equally sized opening on the back of the block. Torque down the single bolt on the bottom till it is tight. Done.

Alternator brackets installation. Again, self explanatory. Tighten till tight, duh.:

<u>Time to install the tensioner pulley.</u> make sure to align the spring properly. Then, bolt the pulley down. Don't tighten it all the way just yet, we will need it loose to install the timing belt later.

<u>Last thing to do to the block before we install the head...install the driver's side engine mount bracket.</u> Another no-brainer. Tighten the 3 bolts down till they are tight. It may be to your advantage though to keep them a little loose to give you some room in installing this Bseries into your smaller honda chassis, especially if you have an EF (88-91 civic/crx) chassis like I do.

<u>Block now fully assembled:</u>

<u>Now, we need to begin with the head installation.</u> Make sure you have already installed the oil galley plug into the head and that it sits flush, this is imperative to redirect the oil flow via the external oil lines to activate vtec. Alot of people complain about oil leaks with lsvtec setups. You ask them if they installed this plug and they ask you "what is that"?.....just turn around and walk away. Ok, now the very first thing you need to do is set the block to TDC. This means setting the 1 and 4 pistons to the very top of their stroke. This will aid in the ease of the installation of the timing belt later. You can do this by putting on the crank pulley bolt and tightening it on enough so that when you rotate the crank counter clockwise, it will not come loose. Always rotate the crank counter clockwise. The motor does not naturally spin clockwise, so do not force it to spin that way. Now, there is a mark on the crank gear as well as an arrow on the oil pump. Align the crank gear to this small arrow above the gear and you will notice that the motor becomes set to TDC when the marks are aligned. Now for the head installation...begin by sliding the LS/CRV (90-01 LS or 96-00 CRV, whichever block you have) head gasket over the head studs onto the block. Now install the dowel pins into the exhaust side of the head (for lsvtec motors). Slide the head over the head studs until it rests flush on the block. Make sure the dowel pins line up as this is critical. If the head needs a little persuasion, tap it with a rubber mallet. Next, slide on the ARP washers and nuts. Torque them down to ARP's recommendation (65 ft/lbs on GSR/ITR studs, which is what you use for lsvtec's), not honda's, using the ARP moly lube. But, follow honda's recommended torque sequence:

If you bought the studs used, and if you can't find ARP moly lube, use solid 30w oil (not 10w30). If you do this, torque the studs down to 80 ft/lbs, as per ARP's instruction sheet (read it carefully!!!). To torque the head down, you do it in 25 ft/lb increments. First 25 ft/lbs, then 50, then 65 (if using ARP supplied moly lube), or to 75 and then 80 (if using 30w oil). After you torque to the final torque value, go back and retorque in the proper order, to the same final torque value (65 or 80 depending on what lube you use). I like to add 2 ft/lbs to all my head installs because I know they are going to be abused and because I know not every torque wrench is calibrated perfectly. So, in my opinion, you should torque your head to 67 ft/lbs (if using ARP moly lube) to be sure. Head installed and torqued down:

<u>Vtec solenoid housing and both coolant temp sensors installation.</u> Tighten the coolant temp sensors down until they are fully threaded and tightened; easy enough. The single pin sensor is the sensor for the coolant temp in your gauge cluster, whereas the two pin sensor is used by the ecu to read engine coolant temp, and dictate air/fuel ratio. Torque the solenoid's 10mm bolts down to spec.

<u>Coolant housing installation.</u> Pretty simple; spread a thick bead of RTV where the housing bolts to the head. Torque it's 10mm bolts down to spec.

<u>Cams and cam gears installation.</u> Be careful in choosing cams. GSR cams are great for a stock compression LS block. ITR/CTR cams are also a great upgrade if you can get them for cheap. I believe it's necessary to run AT LEAST ITR dual valve springs with these cams, however, there are some that don't and get away with it. I would caution this though, as I've personally seen two separate motors drop a valve at high rpms with ctr cams/stock b16 valve springs. Other than that, any set of cams you decide to go with is going to require higher compression to make any amount of power. I suggest AT LEAST 11.5:1 compression, if not higher in the 12:1-12.5:1 range (but don't forget to clay your motor for piston to valve clearance). There are plenty of great cams to choose from out there on the market. I would keep it simple and go with the proven cams like Skunk 2's, Rocket Motorsports', Buddy club, Toda, or Jun. They all make great power on these setups. Tuning will be the key to how much power you make. On to the installation. First, make sure you slide the two rubber cam seals that go on the end of the cams behind the cam gears. Then, slide the cam gears onto the cams. Make sure to properly align them with the small woodruff keys, as it is very easy to misplace. Tighten down the cam gears until they cannot be tightened any more. Now the cams. Make sure to apply a GENEROUS amount of assembly lube /cam lube to all the cam lobes and the journals on the cams. This is VERY important. Make sure the cam with the slot on the end goes on the intake side. That slot is for the distributor. Then lay the cams in their respective positions. Here, I am installing a set of Buddy Club Spec III cams:

<u>Cam seal.</u> This one goes at the end of the exhaust cam shaft on the passenger side. Stick it in. Done. (nice shiny one from

<u>Installing the cam caps and camshaft holder plates.</u> If your head didn't come with it's original set of caps, you may be asking for problems. When you buy a used head, make sure you ask this question. Now, make sure they are both clean and free of debri. Don't be frightened as to which ones go into which spots. Conveniently, they are all labeled. They have Either an "I" or an "E" on them for intake and exhaust. The caps are also labeled with numbers. Start with "1" on the timing belt side and go up to "5" on the distributor side. On the timing belt side, make sure you place the cam seals that are behind the cam gears, underneath the first cam caps. These are there so that oil does not leak out from under the cam caps and behind the cam gears. Next, place the camshaft holder plates on the caps. If you look at the underside of the rails, you will be able to see where they lined up with the cam caps to see which one is the intake rail and exhaust rail. Some rails also are stamped with a very faint "I" and "E", but this is not always true. You'll have to see for yourself to know what I am talking about. Now, lube up all of the bolts with oil first before you install them as per honda's guidelines. Torque them to spec. Follow honda's recommended sequence:

Make sure those rubber cam seals stay underneath the first set of cam caps. Installed:

<u>Intake manifold, injectors, and fuel rail installation.</u> ITR/B16 intake manifolds use the same bolt patterns, but GSR heads use a totally different bolt pattern so you must use a GSR intake manifold with them or aftermarket equivalent. I chose to use an ITR intake manifold and the larger ITR throttle body because they just dominate the B16 manifold past 6-7k. But, on the downside, as a general rule, the B16 manifold makes more power upto 6-7k. It just really depends on where you plan on making power. This would also be a good time to buy one of those nice cooler intake manifold gaskets that hondata and passwordjdm make. It is not necessary, but are good for a 1-2 HP increase for only $35-60 which is well worth the money. As for the injectors, contrary to popular belief, ALL Honda B and Dseries motors use the same size injectors (240cc). So, it doesn't matter if you use 92 civic dx injectors or 01 jdm integra type-r injectors, or anything in between, they're all the same size (except i think HF or CX injectors, correct me if I'm wrong).
Now, align the intake manifold gasket onto the head. Torque down the intake manifold's 12mm to spec. Install the injectors with their rubber gaskets. Then, install the fuel rail. Stick with stock on this, I've seen more problems with casting flaws in aftermarket fuel rails, than you'd care to deal with. Stock honda fuel rails are good for over 500 HP, so don't worry. Remember, keep things simple. Make sure not to overtighten the 10mm nuts holding the fuel rail on. Injectors - I would suggest AT LEAST 310cc injectors for a build reaching 180 whp or more, although it is proven to not be necessary. You will just need to run the stock injectors at an extremely high and inefficient fuel pressure, which would require you to own an FPR to adjust the fuel pressure. Keep in mind, higher fuel pressures are bad for fuel atomization so it's best to run larger injectors in the 40-50 psi range. The stock injectors below are for visual purposes only.

<u>Now that the head is installed, we may install the oil line and timing belt.</u> Follow the instructions included with your lsvtec oil line kit, as every kit is different. But, what ever you do, don't forget to teflon tape all fittings! The kit I am using is from and is a proven kit. It replaces the factory oil pressure sending unit with a "T" in which the unit and oil line are screwed into. It's simple, and that's why I like it. I like Golden Eagle's oil sandwich adapter plate and the overall completeness of their kits, however, I do not agree with using the vtec headgasket that they supply with their kits. I am personally not happy with the way a vtec headgasket sits when mated up to a non-vtec block. I much prefer the fit of the non-vtec headgasket. You will find that from one reputable builder to the next, there's a difference in opinion over which one is better. In the end, it will be your decision to make to use one headgasket over the other. Here, I recommend and use the non-vtec headgasket for this application.
There is a small problem I have found with the full-race kit though. That is that their dowel pins are a little loose. I've called them about it on a couple separate occasions and they have yet to acknowledge that there is a problem. I'd recommend buying the dowel pins from Golden Eagle or finding a Golden Eagle vendor on here or Ebay. They're about $20. Or, you could just pick up a complete Golden Eagle kit, but as I've warned earlier, I don't recommend using the vtec headgasket which is included.

<u>Installing the GSR/ITR timing belt (Or LS timing belt if using the LS 19T water pump).</u> Re-verify that the block is still at TDC. Now, rotate your cam gears until the timing marks are aligned (consult your manual for further illustrations and guidance). Once the crank and cams are aligned, you can now install the timing belt. I like to start with sliding it over the cam gears, then work it down over the water pump and tensioner. Then, take the tensioner and pull down on it until it is fully loosened and tighten the 14mm bolt so the tensioner is tightened in the fully loosened position. Slide the belt over the tensioner now and then the crank pulley. Easy. Now, loosen the tensioner with the belt on. Now here's a little trick I learned. Take an old metal coat hanger and use a pair of pliars (needle nose work best) and bend the tip a bit. This little contraption you just made will be used to pull up on the tensioner spring to tighten the belt. You can also wedge a screwdriver under the tensioner pulley and push down on it a bit to tighten the belt, but be careful not to damage the tensioner pulley. While you have the tensioner pulley applying tension to the belt by use of either the coat hanger or flat head screwdriver, tighten it's 14mm bolt. Now the belt is tight. But, do not leave the belt too tight, as this can cause strain on the motor. Follow your manual to find out how much deflection (play) is recommended.

<u>Now we can install the lower timing belt cover, crank pulley, alternator and alternator belt.</u> The LS cover will need to be trimmed to fit over the newer oil pump. No biggy. The cover slips on over the crank gear. Tighten all of it's 10mm bolts down tight. Then slide over the crank pulley and make sure to install another one of those pesky woodruff keys. Tighten the crank pulley bolt down to specs. An impact gun will tighten it just fine. Slap the alternator on it's brackets. Don't tighten it down just yet. Slide on the belt, and push out the alternator with a pry bar or the likes. Tighten the upper and lower alternator bolts now. Please do NOT ever use a broken/cracked/chipped crank pulley. It will throw off the balance of the crankshaft and can be detrimental to the oil pumps operation. This would be especially dumb if you paid to get your crankshaft balanced, as I always do, because it would throw off the balance again. The crank pulley installed below is for visual purposes ONLY.

<u>Distributor.</u> Align the inside marks on the back of the distributor (there are a few lines and marks, just line them up). If the motor is still at TDC, the distributor should go on and be timed perfectly. Tighten it's 12mm bolts down. If you are using an LS disributor, you will have to cut off the front mounting leg, as it hits the vtec solenoid housing, and only the upper bolt will line up. Be prepared for a very small oil leak if you do this (nothing to worry about though). This is not a problem because internally, all obd1/2 distributors are identical (timing wise), it's just the mounting legs that are different.

<u>Installing the valve cover.</u> First, make sure to replace all valve cover gaskets with new ones. Make sure the head surface where the gasket goes is completely clean, dry, and free of oil. Now, smear a small amount of High-temp RTV on the flat pads on the under side of the valve cover gasket. You'll see what I'm talking about. Slap on the valve cover. Now, put on the grommets, then the 10mm nuts. Tighten them down until they are just past hand tight. Do not overtighten as these are easy to strip.

<u>Last but not least, the spark plug and spark plug wires.</u> If you are using the stock LS pistons, use stock B16 spark plugs. If you are running compression in the 10.8-12.0 range go with one stage colder spark plug (NGK BKR7E). If you are running over 12.0:1 compression as I am, run the two stages colder NGK's (#7173, pictured below). You can get away with the 1 stage colder NGK BKR7E, but that's your choice to make. If you get any detonation, go with the next stage colder. Going to a colder plug isn't going to cause a power loss either. First, gap them to the desired range. You want to have as large as a gap as possible until the ignition can't bridge the gap, which is why it's good to increase the gap with aftermarket ignitions, to achieve it's full spark potential. A good gap to start with is .44. At this time, you may apply a thin coat of anti-sieze to the spark plug threads. Install the spark plugs with a spark plug socket, or 16mm deep socket. Tighten them till they stop. Do NOT overtighten. As for the spark plug wires, start with the first cylinder (timing belt side) and work your way to cylinder #4. The firing order is 1,3,4,2. It always is with 4 cylinder hondas. 1 is the top right corner of the rounded side of the distributor cap (look at the cap you'll see what I mean. There's a rounded side and a square side). Plug in the wires going clockwise from there using the correct firing order I gave you. Done.

Now, the engine is fully assembled!

<u>ECU/Tuning.</u> This will be different for everyone.
Now let's think, what ECU will be best for this setup? The answer is NONE. Most ecu's will run this motor, but run it pretty darn shitty. How could you even expect it to run right? This isn't a stock honda motor! You WILL need some way to tune if you want this thing to last threw the day, week, month, year.
If you're looking for an ECU, just get one that you can chip, and has vtec capability. That's it. FYI, generally, GSR ecu's run this setup like poop so steer away from them unless it's already chipped and ready to be tuned.
Also, don't just buy some "skunk2" or "Mugen" chip. First of all, it's highly doubtful it's an authentic program to begin with. Second of all, you're taking someone else's word for what program is on that chip to run your new motor. You MUST be retarded.
Every LSVTEC/B20vtec motor is different and must be tuned INDIVIDUALLY!
So, get an ecu. Have it chipped. Install a wideband O2 sensor. Hook everything up together. Run your software of choice, and tune. You will need to tune for 14.5-15.1 at idle, and then gradually increase that to 13:1 at WOT in vtec. This is just a general rule...but tends to be pretty close to a RULE in tuning.

I run OBD0 just because of it's simplicity. Honestly, the only significant difference between OBD0 and OBD1 technology is the O2 sensor. Being able to tune stock honda ecu's has been around for awhile and it all started with OBD1. But, nowadays there's plenty of tuning software for OBD0 which has just as much capability as tuning with OBD1. OBD0 tuning software just hasn't become as mainstream as OBD1 software such as hondata, uberdata, chrome, etc. have. I run software called BRE which I downloaded for free from Go there. Read. Learn.
My setup consists of my socketed B16 ecu, Ostrich emulator, BRE software w/ datalogging capabilities, Innovate LC-1 Wideband permanently installed, HP laptop.

<u>Initial startup process for new cylinders/rings:</u>
Fill the motor up with 30W non detergent oil (quality does not matter). Just buy the cheapest you can find. Also, pick up the cheapest oil filter you can find (usually Fram). Check the dipstick periodically to see when the oil pan is full. Try not to fill higher than the upper most dot on the dip stick. It should be around 4 quarts (remember, you need a little extra oil for the vtec oil line).
Fill the motor with a 50/50 mixture of coolant to water. Believe it or not, the more water this mixture has, the cooler the engine will run. But, you need antifreeze in colder climates to prevent coolant freeze/expansion, as well as to prevent the water pump and sleeves from corroding. So, you would be fine to run 70/30 water/coolant ratio in the summer. Water does evaporate though, so check the level a little more often.
Make SURE you have your oil drain plug and oil filter installed, as well as your fill cap re-tightened.
Now, disconnect the ecu and turn the motor over for roughly 30 seconds to build up oil pressure. This is the easiest way to ensure you will not be injecting fuel and spark into the cylinders. Reinstall the ecu you will be using.
Fire the motor up and check for leaks. Make sure to check around the vtec oil line, as well as around the corners of the head, and underneath the distributor. These are common places for motors in general to leak oil. Make sure the oil pressure light extinguishes immediately. If not, turn the car off and troubleshoot. Let the car reach full operating temperature. Immediately begin to tune the car for a 14.1-15.1 AFR at idle. The closer to 14.7:1 the better. That's it. For the rest of the tuning, I'd suggest a street tune first then tune on the dyno, but every tuner has his/her own ways.

<u>Oil changing schedule:</u>
Startup - 30w non detergent, change after warm up
after 20 miles - your favorite non-syn
after 100 miles - your favorite non-syn
after 500 miles - your favorite non-syn
after 1000 miles - your favorite non-syn/synthetic (it is now safe to run synthetic)

You should stop seeing metal shavings in the oil after the 100 mile oil change. I strongly recommend using a magnetic oil drain plug for freshly built motors. You don't want all those shavings being pumped to the bearings, cams, or splashing on the cylinder walls...bad. Don't worry though, they will be there, no matter how close the clearances are.

<u>Now for the break in.</u> Try to vary the revs as much as possible, with alot of short blasts. It is very important that you let the engine "brake" itself by just letting off the throttle and letting the vehicle slow down on it's own, while in gear. This creates a vaccum in the cylinder and forces the rings outward, which wears down the peaks in the cylinder's fresh hone. Do this for the first 20 miles, and then proceed to beat the **** out of the motor, up to it's maximum rev range, as long as it is tuned accordingly. As long as the bearings are within spec and the rod bolts were torqued correctly, there is NOTHING to worry about.

I guarantee you WILL NOT burn oil using this break in method. If you do, you probably have leaky valve seals or bad rings/cylinder hone, or maybe possibly even other major problems with alignment of the sleeves themselves.

I also posted this on another forum, so don't complain if you saw it there. I'm just trying to spread my wealth of information and better educate the honda community.

Please excuse the fact that these pictures are from cardomain. I pulled them from my car profile, in which I posted the same write-up. Free hosting!

&lt;3 for the H-T community.

Modified by bambam at 6:35 PM 6/22/2008

Last edited by bambam; 04-04-2011 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 07-01-2006, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec (bambam)

Best Write up ever. Good Job & thanks!
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Old 07-01-2006, 06:34 PM
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Default Re: How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec (SiR Inspired ED7)

great Write up
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Old 07-01-2006, 07:17 PM
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Default Re: How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec (flesh199)

needs cliffs
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Old 07-01-2006, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec (SkRiBLaH)

Thats the ish right there.

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Old 07-01-2006, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec (volcom40street2)

This will make a good quick-like reference if I ever find myself in the situation
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Old 07-01-2006, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec (bambam)

This is one of the best threads in a long time.
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Old 07-01-2006, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec (American.Graffiti)

Nice write up. Loose the aem 3 bolt cam gears man
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Old 07-01-2006, 09:46 PM
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Default Re: How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec (mtber)

I hear ya. I'm in the market for some now. I have those bitches torqued like a ****.
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Old 07-01-2006, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec (bambam)

very good info
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Old 07-01-2006, 10:38 PM
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Default Re: How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec (black cx)

hopefully this will end all questions about lsvtec/b20vtecs...make it a sticky?
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Old 07-01-2006, 11:41 PM
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awesome write-up, will most likely be using it to build a friends LSvtec. My only comment is i heard D16y7 engine injectors are 190cc and not 240cc like others, not sure if this is true or not?
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Old 07-02-2006, 12:55 AM
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honestly, I've never heard of that. The only injectors I've heard of being smaller are civic cx and crx HF (which I'm still not entirely sure is true). However, I do know that 88-91 civic/crx Si injectors are 240's. I wouldn't see a reason for honda to use a smaller injector with the D16Y7, which is basically the same motor, with similar power numbers.
If you are worried, upgrade to a known set of 240's. If you're going with higher compression, get larger injectors. 310's are a decent size that don't require alot of tuning. You can get them pretty cheap from
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Old 07-02-2006, 01:10 AM
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awesome write up

I vote for a girdle on the bottom end. No girdle is fine for a drag car and daily driver, but I would be a bit worried on a road course running a minimum of 20mins/session revving between 5000-8000+rpm....

The above reason is also why I would want to add at least the factory oil cooler.

But again, build for YOUR OWN PERSONAL application(s).
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Old 07-02-2006, 01:25 AM
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<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by RagingAngel &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">awesome write up

I vote for a girdle on the bottom end. No girdle is fine for a drag car and daily driver, but I would be a bit worried on a road course running a minimum of 20mins/session revving between 5000-8000+rpm....

The above reason is also why I would want to add at least the factory oil cooler.

But again, build for YOUR OWN PERSONAL application(s).</TD></TR></TABLE>

Good point. Autocrossing is a whole 'nother sport.
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Old 07-02-2006, 01:59 AM
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this is one of the best write-ups ive ever sen. good job and thanks

to the mods: make this a sticky so we dont have to see the same questions about b20/vtec and lsvtecs everyday. thanks
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Old 07-02-2006, 08:19 AM
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Great th/read. Kudos to you.
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Old 07-02-2006, 08:26 AM
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All Ls-vtecs and B20-vtecs are perfectly reliable, even when speaking in terms of a stock head and bottom end. It's the people who build/drive them that make them unreliable. Everything has its limit, stay within those limitations and you have reliability.

Reasonable rev limits on stock bottom ends, proper fuel management, and good assembly practices are the keys to reliability.

I've seen guys build B20vtecs locally with thousands of dollars. Endyn rollerwaves, crower rods, arp head studs, sleeved block....the whole deal. They started it up, drove down the road and never came home until the tow truck brought them.

Reliability.....core of that word....Ability.

If the builder isn't able, it won't be reli-Able
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Old 07-02-2006, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec (flesh199)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by flesh199 &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">great Write up </TD></TR></TABLE>
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Old 07-02-2006, 10:56 AM
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Default Re: How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec (bambam)

Thank You Sir... I was actually going to start a thread about at what point in the builds of the motors the reliability is lost.
If you don't mind me asking, how many miles have you put on that motor? Or better yet, in your experience, how many miles are people averaging out of "well" built motors?
I'm hoping ~50k miles is attainable with daily (easy) driving with the occasional trips to 8.5k on the weekends.
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Old 07-02-2006, 11:11 AM
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Default Re: How to build a "reliable" lsvtec/b20vtec (SH4DY)

I don't think 50k out of a well tuned and well assembled lsvtec will be a problem. If you plan on making ANY trips to 8.5k, It is mandatory to upgrade to larger 3/8 ARP rod bolts. Also, this isn't a factory motor, so finding a factory ECU to coincide with it perfectly is impossible. Even if you are using a stock block and stock head, you should still consider tuning. Tuning is, and always will be the key to how long a motor lasts.

To answer your question about my motor, I have just over 700 miles on it now. That's with nearly 100 trips to 9k as well. This is my weekend/track *****. I have another car as a daily driver. Don't be fooled though, as this motor (which is in my 88 crx) is more than capable of handling daily driver functions.
I assembled, installed, and tuned the motor all myself. The motor doesn't burn one ounce of oil whether it's idling, or I'm shifting at 9k. I use and swear by GC (German Castrol Syntec Green) oil.

What is the stock LS's redline (place on the tach where it transitions from white to red)? If you assemble a stock block/stock head lsvtec, you're motor will last forever as long as you don't go above and beyond the white. Just because the head can handle the high revs, doesn't mean to rev it that high.

Please keep in mind though, that revs kill motors. The higher you rev your motor, the higher the stress applied is compounded. Regardless of how well built my, or anyone else's motor is, it's life has been seriously reduced. Most likely, I will be taking it out for a rebuild (rings/bearings) within 7-10k miles. That's just the consequence of reving the **** out of a motor.

Modified by bambam at 2:28 PM 7/2/2006

Modified by bambam at 2:30 PM 7/2/2006
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Old 07-02-2006, 11:20 AM
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<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by RC000E &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">
Reasonable rev limits on stock bottom ends, proper fuel management, and good assembly practices are the keys to reliability.</TD></TR></TABLE>

I agree with you totally. Stay within the motors "able" rev range, tune the air/fuel's, and having proper assembly practices will always be the key to reliability in any build. A motor's "able" rev range is rarely the same as it's "intended" rev range. Why build a motor to only handle the stresses of 7k, when it's intended to have a power output that carries through 9k?
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Old 07-02-2006, 12:24 PM
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quick question, why dou you say to tq the head down with 10 more than ARP says when not using ARP lubes?
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Old 07-02-2006, 12:37 PM
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<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by sheepey &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">quick question, why dou you say to tq the head down with 10 more than ARP says when not using ARP lubes?</TD></TR></TABLE>

That is directly from ARP's instructions man.

Quoted from the instructions -

"Torque the nuts to 70 FT LBS for ARP MOLY ASSEMBLEY LUBRICANT or torque to 85 ft lbs with 30 weight motor oil."

It also says....."due to the expanision rate of aluminum, it's recomended that the torque should be 65 ft lbs with ARP MOLY ASSEMBLY LUBRICANT".

What this means, is that it SHOULD be 65 ft/lbs with the ARP lube and add 15 more ft/lbs (totalling 80) if using 30W oil.

Moly lube applies more friction than 30W oil. That is why you torque them less.

I personally like to add a few more ft/lbs when using ARP moly lube, which usually puts me at 70 ft/lbs. Anything in the 65-70 ft/lbs region is going to be fine. Remember, not all torque wrenches are created equal. Your torque wrench can be clicking at 65 ft/lbs. but actually be at 62.

Hope this clears things up.

Modified by bambam at 3:55 PM 7/2/2006
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Old 07-02-2006, 12:46 PM
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good write up
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