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article details
Author Shawn Church
Categories CL
Create Date September 12, 2002 09:00
Last Update November 08, 2002 14:59
The J32A2

When we talk about the Acura CL-S 6-spd, the topic that dominates the conversation is the engine. The engine used by the CL is the J32A2 from Acura's pedigreed stable. The J32 has already proven its worth in the automatic TL-S and CL-S, and is a fine motor indeed. Based on the original J30 (first seen in the '97 3.0CL, and then in the '98 Accord V6), the J32 gains its 200cc bump in displacement by way of a larger bore (89mm) than its progenitor. Compared to the more pedestrian J32 in the base TL, the Type-S version uses more aggressive valves and cam timing to move the power curve up.

cl_engine14.jpg (53214 bytes) cl_engine13.jpg (74161 bytes)
J32A2 engine designation stamped onto the block.

To ensure a fat torque curve, a dual mode intake manifold is used. This beautifully designed and crafted piece uses bolted in intake trumpets for each of the six runners! From the large bore throttle body, air enters a split plenum and then moves into a bolted on outer plenum (one for each bank) housing the intake trumpets. From there the charge speeds its way to the intake valves. In the center of the split plenum resides a butterfly valve which opens at a strategically determined rpm to allow favorable resonances from each bank of cylinders to improve intake ram tuning. The net result is an extremely broad, flat torque curve with a nice top end charge.

cl_engine10.jpg (62479 bytes) cl_engine11.jpg (77303 bytes)
Here you can see the dual plenum chambers.

The scary part about the J32A2 is that it isn't even close to being near its maximum. With simple exhaust changes, particularly to the somewhat convoluted exhaust header merge, gains of over 30 hp are common. A 300 hp J32? You betcha!

cl_under8.jpg (91828 bytes) cl_under2.jpg (88281 bytes) cl_under4.jpg (90289 bytes) cl_under10.jpg (77760 bytes)
The stock exhaust system appears to be quite restrictive. Notice the 180 degree turn in the B-pipe. A properly tuned aftermarket exhaust can offer a significant weight savings and additional power.

Acura sources also tell us that the intake and possibly the exhaust system on the 6-spd CL-S is tuned differently to provide a more aggressive sound. Indeed, driven back to back with a TL-S auto, the CL-S6 did seem to sound more throaty. Whether these modifications provide any benefits in terms of power is unknown, as a 6-speed option is not available in the TL-S - yet, so we are unable to directly compare it. We're glad that Acura has taken a look at the aesthetics of the J32. In the CL-S6 it embodies the aural goodness we love to hear in sporty cars. Smooth and quiet while cruising, throaty and aggressive when you boot it. It sounds best inside the car, where we want to enjoy it (other cars, the S2000 for example, often sound better from outside the car).

cl_engine3.jpg (111430 bytes) cl_engine4.jpg (78112 bytes) cl_engine5.jpg (74960 bytes) cl_engine9.jpg (89768 bytes)
Various under hood details.

cl_engine1.jpg (78861 bytes)
Like on many new Honda motors, this is a distributorless ignition system.

cl_engine17.jpg (90205 bytes) cl_engine15.jpg (73497 bytes)
Notice that the J32 uses 5W-20 motor oil for less internal friction.

cl_engine16.jpg (59640 bytes) cl_engine6.jpg (78570 bytes)
These engine mounts noticeably help control any engine vibration from the already smooth J series engine. Inside, the only clue to this powerful engine is the moderately aggressive exhaust note.

cl_engine2.jpg (98744 bytes)
Front shock tower braces help to stiffen the chassis

cl_engine7.jpg (78960 bytes) cl_engine8.jpg (90909 bytes)
The hood is supported by gas struts.

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