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"Honda Tuning", May 1, 2012

One Man, One Cam

A garage-built Civic from a city no one has ever heard of, with a motor no one ever wanted

BY JOEY LEE

PHOTO BY RODREZ

Each and every week, while perusing the Honda Tuning Magazine reader mail, we encounter a fair share of hate fodder. We don’t mind so much because we enjoy hearing your words of encouragement as well as criticisms to help make this publication even better, and a majority of it is taken in stride. However, there is one particular issue that is frequently brought up that we feel is often misconstrued — the lack of D-series “love.” Many of you feel the single-cam motor doesn’t get its fair shake and, for whatever reason, we purposely exclude it from getting its time in the spotlight. While it may seem like we don’t have “love” for all things D series, the assumption that we don’t care is highly inaccurate. In fact, we enjoy all things Honda when built properly. We take pride in bringing you a variety of different builds no matter how old or new, be it single cam, dual cam, boosted, or naturally aspirated. You just happen to see more of the B and K series because they’re the hot ticket within our community. Even the iconic B-series family has become less prominent, placing the D- and SOHC F-series family on the endangered species list, and the truth is, there aren’t as many high-level single slammer builds popping up these days.

The biggest complaint about the D15/D16 is that they just aren’t capable of making any power. Oftentimes the people putting these motors down have never owned or built one of their own. The vicious cycle of regurgitating incorrect info based on hearsay continues to plague the Honda community. If you’ve personally owned or driven a well-built D-series engine and later moved on to a B, K, or H motor, then you certainly have some credibility to voice your opinion. There does exist a select group of individuals who have been on both sides of the fence and prefer to take the road less traveled — that road powered by just one cam.

Kevin Gonzalez has owned his fair share of Hondas, including B-series-powered models, and has opted to try his hand at the underdog D16Z6. “My first Honda was actually a ’93 del Sol that my grandpa bought me while I was still a junior in high school,” Kevin says. “I’d always been interested in hatchbacks, so I traded with another guy I went to school with who owned a ’92 Civic Si. It had an exhaust and wheels at the time, but I was so clueless about the Honda scene that I didn’t even realize the wheels were Mugen M7s! It needed some work because the body was beat up, so I learned how to do auto-body repair at a body shop owned by my grandpa and my dad. I found out later that it was virtually impossible to get the car registered, so I pulled the B18C1 that was in the car, along with the Mugen wheels, and swapped them over to another del Sol that I bought. I was young and impatient, so not long after I sold that car for dirt cheap and started scouring the Internet for my next Honda.”

Indecisive, Kevin eventually settled for a ’94 Civic DX hatchback that needed a new quarter panel. He then applied his acquired skills as a body repair man and replaced the panel himself, only to lose the entire car soon after in a car accident. He collected the insurance money and once again found himself surfing the web looking for the next used Honda deal. Gonzalez scoured a number of popular online Honda forums and finally found the ’92 CX that you see before you. It looks to be in great condition now, but it certainly didn’t fall into Kevin’s lap that way.

“The whole car needed a ton of work; the body was beat up, the engine bay was a mess, and it had a sock for an air filter! The worst part about it was the transmission mount bracket was completely gone. The mount was held on by a big metal washer and part of a towhook that was pinched together to the leftover portion of the bracket! I was working at another body shop at the time, so I spent all of my hours after work and weekends fixing everything and getting the chassis prepped for paint. I wanted to make it a little faster as well and made the mistake of being cheap and purchasing a generic turbo kit from eBay. I swear it was nothing but problems,” Gonzalez explains. “I didn’t like how the car drove at all with the poorly made turbo kit, so I pulled it off along with the engine and decided to shave the engine bay. I eventually had the Civic exactly how I envisioned it and started to take it out to meets and other events. One night, I made another bad decision and decided to race a friend of mine on the street; I spun out, crashed into a barbwire fence, and ruined the whole car. There was a moment when I thought about getting rid of my Civic after that, but then I told myself that I should rebuild it and make it better than ever.”

During the car’s downtime, Kevin used his bike as a means of transportation to work. In his hometown of Bishop, California, the temperatures often drop down to single digits during the winter, which made him appreciate his car even more. Absence made his heart grow fonder, and he couldn’t wait to finish his Civic. He ordered a new front end for his hatchback, reassembled the entire car, and sprayed it Fiji Blue Pearl. Gonzalez couldn’t help but think about all the bad decisions he had made before, one of them being the sale of his Mugen M7s, so he searched for months on end to find another set with specs to his liking.

“Having a stock D16 motor with a generic turbo kit just wasn’t going to cut it anymore,” Kevin states. “I decided to build the motor rather than swapping it for a B or K because those were just everywhere — I wanted to be different. I did my homework and started collecting the right parts. I sent the stock block to Keesler’s Machine Shop and had it bored, honed, and decked. For the cylinder head, I went the Bisimoto Engineering route and ordered up the entire valvetrain.” As soon as the block returned from machining, Kevin reassembled the D16Z6 motor with ARP studs, dropped it back into the freshly shaved engine bay, and began piecing together his own turbo kit. He opted for a Precision 5557 turbocharger and mounted it to a custom ram-horn turbo manifold. All piping associated with the turbo setup was custom fabricated as well, and fuel came in the form of a Walbro pump and 1,000cc injectors. Once the turbo install was completed, he brought his Civic down to Do-It Dyno in Signal Hill, California, where it was tuned via Hondata’s S300 system. The otherwise forgotten single-cam D16Z6 ultimately made a more than respectable 320 whp at 18 pounds of boost pressure — not too shabby for a “throwaway” motor.

“I’m very proud of this Civic because I learned how to do everything on it on my own,” Kevin says proudly. “From the bodywork to the custom tucked wire harness to my custom made brake lines, it was all me. I invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this build. The next closest tuner shop to my hometown is over five hours away, so it means even more to me that I did it on my own! I made plenty of mistakes as I was growing up, but they’ve helped me become a better person and a more knowledgeable Honda enthusiast. Now that I’ve accomplished my goal of being featured in Honda Tuning, I’m going to use my car for what it was built for and take it out to the track so I can race the hell out of it!” That’s what we like to hear!

BOLTS & WASHERS

PROPULSION

D16Z6

Avid engine mounts

Micro-polished OEM crankshaft

75mm Suzuki Grand Vitara pistons

Hastings piston rings

FJR-spec custom length I-beam connecting rods

Bisimoto Engineering 2.4 camshaft

Bisimoto Engineering valvesprings

Bisimoto Engineering retainers

Ported cylinder head

Precision 5557 turbocharger

Edelbrock Performer X intake manifold

Ported OEM throttle body

Custom intercooler piping

Custom ram-horn-style turbo manifold

Custom turbo dump pipe

Custom 3-inch V-band downpipe

HKS SSQV blow-off valve

Buddy Club Spec II exhaust

TiAL 38mm wastegate

Walbro 255lph fuel pump

Precision 1,000cc fuel injectors

Earl’s fuel lines

Earl’s-AN fuel fittings

Earl’s fuel filter

AEM fuel pressure regulator

All-in-Fab radiator

Earl’s steel braided coolant hoses

Earl’s-AN coolant hose fittings

Competition Stage 5 clutch

Fidanza 7.5lb flywheel

Earl’s steel-braided clutch line

POWER

320 whp @ 18 psi

SUSPENSION

TEIN Flex coilovers

ASR subframe brace

RESISTANCE

OEM ITR 5-lug conversion

ARP extended front wheel studs

Custom brake line tuck

WHEELS AND TIRES

15x6.5 +45 Mugen M7

195/50-15 Diamondback tires

EXTERIOR

Fully shaved engine bay

PPG Fiji Blue Pearl paint

Backyard Special carbon-Kevlar rear wing

INTERIOR

Autopower rollbar

Personal steering wheel

Recaro SRD driver seat

Willans safety harness

OEM S2000 passenger seat

“LA Dodgers”–wrapped door panels and center console

ELECTRONICS

Panasonic head unit

Hondata S300

Auto Meter oil pressure gauge

Auto Meter boost gauge

AEM air/fuel gauge

S2000 push-button start

PROPS

My wife Elise Gonzalez for everything; my whole family; Grandpa; Dad; my Father-in-Law; Ivan; Mike; Ricardo; Carlos; Joe; Miles; Ruben aka Cero; Juan aka John; Ross aka NDN; Fredo Tibb and the guys at Inyo Mono Body Shop; Matt at Sierra Auto Body; The guys at Perry Motors: Pops, Lobo, Fidel, Ron, Little Glenn; Bubba at Do-It Dyno; and all the real homies (you know who you are!); I want to dedicate this feature to my Grandpa Miles Terrasas, R.I.P.

OWNER SPECS

DAILY GRIND

Honda technician

FAVORITE SITES

NWP4LIFE, SoCal1320

SCREEN NAME

Fresh_EH

BUILDING HONDAS

6 years

DREAM CAR

I own them

INSPIRATION FOR THIS BUILD

All clean cars

FUTURE BUILDS

The plan is to beat on my current project at the track

CONNECT

AVID RACING

www.avidracing.com

BISIMOTO ENGINEERING

www.bisimoto.com

HONDATA

www.hondata.com

AEM

www.aempower.com

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