Last Updated: 02/07/97 by W. Justin Bedard
Ok, right now you're probably saying to yourself, "Why the hell is this guy writing
an article on how to build a motor especially after what he did to his motor???" Yes,
that was my motor Tuan held a little memorial for and other
"friends" turned their web pages black for. But ask yourself this: Would you
ever take boxing lessons from someone who has never been in the ring?
If so, don't read on. But if you want to learn from someone who's been through the bad
times, as well as the good times and you want to learn something; read on.
It all started with the purchase of my 1990 Acura Integra back in November of '94. Sure,
it already had 72k miles on it but the interior and exterior were in almost perfect
condition. The car had a little oil burning problem which I tried to solve every way
possible: new head gasket, oil pan gasket, cam seals, and valve seals. I guess you can say
it didn't work. I threw a rod bearing after owning the car for slightly over a year and
22k miles later.
It wasn't a pretty sight!
But I've seen worse *shudder*.
This left me with a bunch of questions to answer. I am a performance enthusiast. It
isn't easy for me to just throw in stock parts when something breaks. I already installed
some items from JG and had an exhaust system to go along with it and now had a chance to
do something with the internals. This means rods, pistons, bore, stroke, compression ratio
and crankshaft could all be changed if I wanted to (and if I had an endless pit for a
wallet). Other considerations were to go turbo, nitrous or el natural.
We'll start with the easy choices. The crank was going to remain stock. It was just
going to be mic'd for tolerances and detailed to fill in any microscopic cracks. Some people
polish the crank for additional strength and some go one step further and buy an
aftermarket one. Since my car was going to remain a street car, the crank only had to be
Another thing to consider with the crank is whether or not to knife edge it. Justen
Simpson: Knife edging the crank is not done so the crank passes through the oil in the
sump more easily, the crank shouldn't even touch that oil. Knife edging is done simply to
reduce the reciprocating mass of the engine similar to lightening your flywheel. This
process, usually, only provides a small benefit and reduces crank strength so really it is
only recommended for race engines.
The rod and main bearings were going to be Honda issue. I don't know if there are any
aftermarket bearing out there for Hondas or not, but stock is good enough.
Stroke was to remain stock. There's not much room to do any work in this department and
probably not worth the cost for the minimal gain.
The rods were gonning to be from Crower. Your main choices for rods are Crower,
Cunningham and AEM Hyper rods. There are lots of others out there, but these are the 3
favorite in the Honda world. I chose Crower because they were $50 cheaper and they proved
themselves worthy when they survived the severe detonation of my engine. Rods cost upwards
Stock Integra rods are suppose to be pretty strong. If you keep the stock ones, get them
mic'd and detailed. Or you can go one step further and have them polished for extra
strength. Make sure you add free floating bushings to the stock rods. This will cost
approximately $50-$75 and is good for up to 5-8 hp according to Marcus Williams at Appex
Racing in Houston.
The Crower rods are made from 4140 chromoly, a good, strong, light alloy. These rods are
supposedly up to 60% lighter then stock. They look really good too! Too bad no one can see
them once the engine is together.
Mugen makes Main and rod bearings for the first gen Integras. I guess that Mugen was
highly involved with IMSA back in the days and developed many cool parts for that car
including racing trannys, gaskets, and other products. I don't know it Mugen makes
bearings for any other Integra.