1990 Integra GS - Engine Swap & Aftermarket Mods

Hi everyone,

I’m new to this forum and new to cars as well. I’m from Canada and I brought a 1990 Rio Red Integra GS manual transmission coupe from my friend last summer for $1500 at 248,500 km. I’m looking for some great advice from all of you for what to do with my car. I think it’s gonna to get pretty detailed as I want to be clear and tell all of you my current situation, hopefully it’ll help you to give me some better advice.

I’ll first list off all the things I’ve done with my car since last summer. I replaced the CV Shaft for both the front left and right wheels, Bosal muffler, Two new front tires, Ignition cap and rotor, NGK ignition wire set, NGK spark plugs, Valve cover gasket and sealed cam end plug, Rear brake pads, Machined front/back rotors, Right front lower ball joint, and also did the passenger floor water fix.

I have also recently flushed my engine, added treatment and cleaner. My engine was pretty darn dirty, when they drained it, it was all black… I also had the power steering fluid flushed, coolant flushed, and changed the transmission oil and added treatment. I think all the necessary things needed to be fixed on my car have been done. All the major liquids, except the brake fluid has been flushed as well. One thing is that my blower motor is shorted I think because of the water getting into the passenger floor. I’ll probably do that soon after I’m sure the leak has stopped. It was a lot harder to get it to stop leaking than I thought, using the Shoe Goo method now.

In all, my car should now be technically “worth” around $4200, meaning I’ve spent $2700 on labour and parts for the above mentioned things and other smaller expenses. Not sure if I am getting ripped off…

So the above is the current state of my car, running now at 256,500 km. Some paint was chipped off when I got it around the front and rear bumper, not sure how to fix it… Some rust is forming on the left rear side above the tire area. Other than that, it’s in pretty good condition, I think…

So I like my car, its shape and everything and would definitely consider keeping it and spending more money to make it better. My question is what I can do with it and what are the steps involved in getting me there. I don’t have a lot of money right now so I can’t afford to mod it all at once. However I estimate that my future income will allow me to spend any amount of money on my car. So please base your answer on the assumption that money is not a real issue, however when to spend the money is i.e. what mods I should do first, second, third etc. However I would still like to know the actual cost of each mod of course.

I know this Integra is definitely not a fast car but I like the car itself and the old-school style. I am considering an engine swap, but not sure which engine to swap in. I was thinking of doing the B18C Type R swap, though I know it is not a common swap. What I am looking for is to increase my horsepower and performance while keeping the body of this Integra. Of course my options include turbo, nitrous etc.

People have told me I might as well buy a newer used car and mod that instead i.e. Third generation Integra, Prelude, NSX etc. What do all of you think? Is it really worth it to spend a huge amount of money on a car that’s already 20 years old?? Does insurance even cover the mods if someone crashes into me? I’m all up for suggestions right now because the way I see it, if I don’t plan to upgrade this car, there’s no point in me spending any money at all on this car aside from the normal wear/tear on the car. If I do want to keep it, I want to spend a bit of money here and there, and work my way up to my goal over a period of time.

The mods I have heard that should be done first are the cold air intake and the high performance exhaust. If I’m going to keep this car, I plan to get the intake probably next month.

So my secondary questions for these two mods are:

  1. Cold Air Intake: What brand should I get? And if I decide to do an engine swap, would this mean that my intake would no longer work and I would need to get an intake that matches the new engine?
  2. Exhaust System: Again, what brand should I get? My mechanic said that a high performance exhaust reduces torque especially at lower gears, is this true? I couldn’t really find anything about this on the web.

After these two mods I’m not sure what I should do with my car next. Any suggestions and steps I would want to take? When would be the appropriate time to do an engine swap? I know the Type R costs around $4000-$5000 including the transmission; I may have that amount of money ready in the next 2 years. I also realize that if I am doing an engine swap I might as well do other mods as well such as the clutch, flywheel, anything else?

I am sure I can find a friend or someone in my network to help me out with my car, so I can save a huge chunk of money on labour costs. Of course I realize to truly make my car worthwhile I will need to spend equally as much or less on non-performance mods i.e. new paint job, interior mods, rims, body kit etc. What is the total price range I would expect if I do go through with all these mods?

Thank you everyone in advance, I really appreciate getting some valued feedback and advice from all of you. Referring me to any threads would be great too. If there are any details I am missing, please ask, but I think my situation is pretty clear at this point. Thanks again!

does canada have rain and large standing puddles where you drive? if you drive when there is a chance of putting your bumper in water i suggest not going into the bumper with your filter
if youre going to go with an ITR swap, shorter intakes have proven larger power gains.
instead i would look into getting an intake that goes just behind the headlight and making a small shroud to block out engine bay heat from that area. on a low budget, you can use the side of the battery for one side of the shroud using a DA specific intake that goes around the battery. relocating the battery or getting a smaller one will help here and save weight too.
if none of these issues are present with you, there are only a handful of places that make DA specific cold air intakes. someone else on here might have more insight, but i feel a shroud and a cleverly placed duct will achieve the same results on a safer setup. just some advice.

i would assume that using your cable transmission would be less of a headache and/or hindrance on the wallet than to convert to the hydraulic clutch of an ITR. there might be spline size differences that i dont know about, again maybe someone more experienced here can confirm/deny. i say this out of ease of use and money savings. you could even sell the ITR transmission and make enough money for a nice clutch/flywheel/LSD combo for your current trans. or even gut it for the final drive and LSD, and sell the gearset and case. just some other options for you.
although a full ITR setup is really sexy, its a lot of work.

those are just some opinions i noticed out of your questions, a search on here for most of your other questions can have your answers. i suggest you read a whole lot, most of your questions are of opinion and there are numerous threads on what people have done to thier cars and how they like which parts.

welcome to g2ic :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot for your fast reply OMG Its Weasel.

Yes, I realize that some of my questions could be found with some searching, but I figured I might as well post it all together and give an overall picture. I will definitely be doing a lot more research, but I have done a bit of homework.

We get quite a bit of rain in the winter, but not enough to put my bumper in the water. When it’s bad, puddles here and there, and the odd huge ones, I understand the risk of using a Cold Air Intake with a lot of rain. Regarding short intakes, my guess you are referring to Short Ram Intake then? And by shroud do you just mean a cloth?

Yes, I read up on the cable transmission and hydraulic clutch, but still don’t fully understand what it all means yet. Would staying with my cable transmission reduce performance and would this agree with the old cost-benefit analysis?

And it’s so hard to choose with brand to go with, especially given their cost and my limited knowledge of cars, but will definitely read up on more stuff.

Thanks again!

a shroud, heat shield, airbox, air chamber, etc. its a physical separation of the engine bay air temps and ambient air temps, like this http://ferdster.com/94ProLX/misc/air_filter_heatshield.jpg

with a duct coming up from the bumper you can essentially create the same effect without the long intake tube and hefty price tag…

As far as the transmission goes, ours are cable operated. In 1994+ integras (1992+ civics), the clutch/transissions are all operated by hydraulic pressure. Using one of those transmissions on our cars requires lots of modification, since you’d have to install hydraulic lines, clutch fluid reservoire, etc. Or, an expensive cable-to-hydro conversion kit.

In my opinion there is no need to use the hydro setup in our cars. If you build an all-motor car (non-turbo) and feel that the gears are too long, you can find a short-geard cable tranny from a Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) car and use that. But the long-gears of our LS trans are perfect for a turbo’d car.

As far as the G2 Integra being worth modding… of course its worth it. The 3rd Gen integra is very common, and civics are very common as well… the G2 Integra is a bit more original in my opinion, and the old school styling is worth a lot. Granted, since it is less common, the G2 has quite a bit less support from aftermarket companies, so that translates into less options when trying to upgrade certain parts of our car… but its nothing too bad.

Bottom line, if you like the body/styling of the G2, stick with it. Secondly, you need to determine a power goal, and what you would like to do with the car (auto-cross, drag-race, daily drive, weekend warrior, etc)… once you have a rough idea of what you want the car to do, we can help with ideas that will get you and your car to that finish line (literally and figuratively)

Hope some of that makes sence… its 3am and I’m exhausted lol.

Thanks for clearing it up OMG Its Weasel. The picture helps a lot! :smiley:

Thanks for the encouragement unified112 and the advice especially at 3 am! Yes, though you tend to notice more of the same type of car around town once you own one, most if not all the DAs I’ve seen are not modded, probably first-owner. It’ll be nice to stand out from the crowd.

By power goal do you mean like a certain horsepower that I would like to achieve? If you mean that, I don’t really have a certain number in mind, of course, higher the better right? I obviously don’t want to spend an outrageous amount of money for a slight/minimum increase in power, but I don’t really have an upper limit at this point.

This is my first and only car and I’m not sure if I am considered a heavy driver. As you can see, I only drove around 8000 km in less than a year. The maximum I usually drive is 40 km/day when I drive to school, but that’s not very often, I usually take the bus :D. I may have a job lined-up in the future that is located away from where I am living now. As such, there is a high chance I will only drive this car on the weekends and not for work/school.

Hey everyone,

I want to ask something. If I’m looking to get the most performance and power out of my car, should I just rebuild my existing motor or swap something else in? I’m looking for the best way to spend my money (cost effective) to get more power while being economically sensible. Thanks!

[QUOTE=Beck23;2163445]Hey everyone,

I want to ask something. If I’m looking to get the most performance and power out of my car, should I just rebuild my existing motor or swap something else in? I’m looking for the best way to spend my money (cost effective) to get more power while being economically sensible. Thanks![/QUOTE]

best sost effective way to get alot of power. lots of spray.

reliable. no. lol.

do the research man. its all here.

[QUOTE=Beck23;2163445]Hey everyone,

I want to ask something. If I’m looking to get the most performance and power out of my car, should I just rebuild my existing motor or swap something else in? I’m looking for the best way to spend my money (cost effective) to get more power while being economically sensible. Thanks![/QUOTE]

there are a number of threads about part cost (not just initial cost, but long term as well) and longevity/reliability of said parts/builds.
remember, this forum has some members that have had their integras since the first day they rolled off the showroom floor more than 20 years ago. there are A LOT of threads here about A LOT of things.
get familiar with the search option here, itll help you get answers before the general forum population has time to reply. if you cant find it searching, then ask. it helps everyone involved.
have fun with your first car.