I have loved the DA chassis for a long time. It’s clean lines and ergonomic yet sporty interior had always appealed to me. I also appreciated that it was the first production Honda product to offer VTEC (In XSi trim that is, over seas). It reminds me of a time when Honda built truly unique cars; offering double wishbone suspensions, mechanical LSD’s in almost everything and state of the art engine technology in a compact, lightweight, relatively lightweight and affordable package. Sure, you could say pretty much same things about any Honda product offered with a B series built between 1989 and 2001 but for me, the OG sexy DA will always be “the one” car that I could never get out of my head. I knew at some point I was going to own one…
Fast forward a few years, off and on no matter what I drove I would find myself casually browsing for DA’s. I Had owned a 300ZXTT, SR20DET swapped PS13, SRT-4 (yuck), AE86 coupe, and an S2000 but I had still felt the yearning to build a really clean DA, something that represented all the things that attracted me to Honda’s before I could drive, the import scene and what it meant to me.
I had a '05 S2000 with ITB's and cams. It was a great car, but it was anything but a daily driver. I could not drive in in the New York winters, (where I was living at the time) and needed a daily driver. A good friend of mine had actually found a really clean one owner '92 on craigslist not too far away from where I was living at the time so we went to check it out. It was a pretty solid car, all stock 5 speed LS trim in red. Even the factory tape deck was still in there. It had a bit over 100K on the clock and he was asking a what I felt to be fair $3000. I beat him up on the price a bit and ended up leaving with the car for $2500. Even the AC worked on the drive home, but it did have the pesky ABS light... (more on that later)
Anyway, that is how it all started…
Track day at Watkins Glenn back in 2009, had a ton of fun and didn’t have any off track excursions. At this point I had some bullshit rotas that I got for free, Tokico blues and some knockoff springs. I had also done pads, rotors and steel brake hoses. This was the first time I have had the privilege of driving at Watkins, great track more fun then Laguna Seca in my opinion but that really isn’t the point of this thread, is it? Anyway, while adjusting something under the car at the track that day, I had accidentally dropped the car on a jack stand, punching a hole in the rocker. Needless to say this bummed me out but luckily my boss owned a body shop and one of my buddies was a painter so this happened…
I ended up buying JDM side moldings, 15x7 TE-37s, JDM one piece headlights new in the box, and replacing the windshield and window trim. I also shaved the badges and put a carbon hood on the car, painting it body color. The car was nice, but it needed something else… It was a slow ass LS after all.
I had bought an OBD1 XSi swap from H motors online. Just to check if everything was ok I tested the valves for leaks and they were ALL leaking. Ended up taking the head off and all of the valve seats were hammered in with carbon, this was bad. I sent the head out to Headgames in New Jersey to get new seats cut, bronze guides and get my crower valve train installed to correct seat pressure. Ended up doing a full service on the engine while it was out minus the oil pump. New gaskets, new front and rear main seal, CC stg 2 clutch and flywheel, new water pump, ARP head studs. Also threw in some ITR cams a guy gave me for tuning his car. While the engine was somewhat apart I figured I would build the XSi transmission that came with the swap. Ended up putting in a WaveTrac LSD and carbon coated syncrhos.
I tuned the car with Crome, (it was what I had at the time) on the Mustang dyno we had at the shop I was working at, at the time. It was a fairly stout little B16, made over 180whp but like all B16s, it made a laughable amount of torque.
I had also done an ASR rear 27mm sway bar setup, full S2 control arms all around, Innovative mount kit, Innovative traction kit, ST front sway bar, bushings, and a few other things I am likely forgetting.
The car was a lot of fun in this state of tune, enjoyed tracking it but it really needed a seat, I had my Sparco seat and rail from my S2000 left over after I sold it, so I figured I would put that in. While I was at it I changed my steering wheel to an old school Momo Montecarlo (classic wheel, been around forever) and used the old style Momo steering wheel hub.
This picture shows the steering wheel, GSR tech installed in the LS cluster that came with the car, and my Fastline Performance shifter. (love it)
Some time passed, I ended up moving back to SoCal to work for the company I had previously been employed with when I had lived here originally… Some time passed and I wanted to change up the DA a bit, I was getting bored with the torqueless (but fun in its own way) B16 and wanted to change it up. It was time to take the next logical step, boost!
I knew exactly what I wanted, I had pretty conservative goals and wanted something quiet, maybe I am getting old? I had envisioned a compact mini-ram manifold to keep my PS, a backdoor intercooler and a recirculated downpipe. I had a pretty good relationship with Precision so I went with one of their non ball bearing 5857 billet anti-surge turbochargers and 46mm V band wastegates. The manifold/turbo plumbing and intercooler was all brilliantly fabricated exactly as I had wanted it to be by Greg over at Go-Autoworks.
Greg’s work is top notch, and for what you get the pricing is incredible. I do not know why we do not see more of his stuff because it is every bit as good as the more popular options out there. He uses high grade steel, the welds are beautiful and everything fits together incredibly well. He is also very friendly and willing to make sure you get EXACTLY what you want, even if it is not a normally listed configuration.
You can see some other parts that have yet to be installed in the pics.
I needed an ECU and for me, there was but one logical choice, S300. My buddies over at HA Motorsports hooked me up with this gorgeous PNP ready to rock and roll setup with a custom clear cover and black powder coated case. ELD and PWM were all setup and ready for the hardware…
I got the ECU installed with the HA Motorsports 4bar map sensor and a set of ID725cc injectors. I used an Innovate Motorsports MTX-L wideband (must have, best wideband I have used) and street tuned the car for partial throttle WOT no boost to have a solid baseline for what was to come…
It was finally time to build the engine. I purchased a set of the new JE flat top 10:1 FSR pistons in 81.5mm bore and a set of K1 connecting rods. I had experience with the K1 rods from my previous employment and knew they were more then up to the task.
Having only ever built one engine my entire life I felt it was time to stand aside for an expert. My buddy mike over at Autowave in HB took on the blueprinting and assembly of the engine. I had a B18C5 short block I was planning on doing something with so it went off to the machine shop for a .5mm over bore, line hone and hot tank bath. The crank was spun, polished and chamfered as well. Can not say enough good things about Mike, his father Shane and the rest of the crew at Autowave. There is a reason they have been around about as long as I have been alive. They know what to do, how to do it and they treat people right. What more can you ask from a shop?
Relocated the battery for the intercooler charge pipe.
This is still a work in progress, but here are a few other teasers:
Pure 80’s sex.
New style Tial 50mm BOV.
Thank you for reading, I will post more when I have it, as I have it.