Top 8 Effective Tips to Make a Honda Civic Fast

When people mention street racing the first thing that pops into everyone’s mind is a Honda Civic, and this comes as no surprise considering the impressive power you can achieve from such a small motor with the correct setup, so iv put together a list of top tips to make a civic fast without breaking the bank.

1 Weight Reduction

When it comes to making a civic faster the first thing to do is start by removing any unnecessary weight you may be carrying, this includes the rear seats, carpet, and any interior plastic trims that you don’t need, this weight might not sound like much but combined the interior of a civic can weight up to 40KG which is more than half the weight of an average adult male.

Some people recommend removing the roof lining as well but from experience, I wouldn’t advise this unless it’s a track car your building, the reason being that condensation can build up on the bare steel roof and start dripping down in your face when your driving.

ef track civic

Another weight loss opportunity is by removing the sound-deadening tar from the floor of the car. I removed this tar from a 96 EK Honda Civic and the weight of the material I removed weighed in at 5.2KG. This sound deadening only comes in base trim models, JDM Type R models were designed to be lightweight so they came without sound deadening.

Depending on your climate you could also remove your A/C pump, piping, and radiator, this will not only make the car lighter by around 15KG but it will also make your car slightly faster. This is because the A/C pump is by a belt that is turned by the engine causing load on the engine.

Once you remove the belt for the A/C pump from the engine you drastically reduce the load on the engine giving you slightly more power and much greater fuel efficiency.

If money isn’t an object you could also replace your stock doors, wings, hood, and roof with a carbon fiber or fiberglass replacement, this would shave a whooping 50KG off the curb weight of the car and make it far more responsive quicker off the line.

Overall you could be looking at a combined weight reduction of around 110KG if you decide to go all out and make your Civic as light as possible.

2 Upgrade to an Aftermarket Catback Exhaust + Header

The basic principle of an engine is “air in air out” and the faster you can do both of these things the faster your Civic will be, this means installing a bigger exhaust system to allow the exhaust gasses to leave the engine as fast as possible.

buddyclub spec2 exhaust
Buddy Club Spec2

Installing a good quality Catback exhaust system coupled with a 4-1 exhaust header will give you an increase in horsepower of about 15BHP with the correct remap done on the ECU plus it will have a much more aggressive sound.

Catback exhaust systems come in many shapes and sizes and choosing the correct size is important when it comes to increasing the power of your car. A common misconception is that bigger means better when that is far from the truth.

For any Civic below 300BHP, a 2.5-inch cat-back exhaust system is plenty big, anything bigger than 2.5 inches, and the car will lose power, drink fuel and sound terrible with a sickening drone. For a practically stock Civic with just some simple bolt-ons a 2.25-inch exhaust system is more than enough, this will give you slightly better mid-range power compared to the 2.5-inch.

My recommendation for a cat-back exhaust system is the 2.25-inch Buddy Club Spec2, I have this system on my B18C DC2 Integra and it sounds and performs amazingly. Low to mid-range power was improved drastically compared to the stock system.

buddy clun spec2 catback exhaust
Buddy Club Spec 2

Buddy club exhausts are a straight-through system, using no resonator in the center section giving it an aggressive raspy sound. Compared to other cheaper generic exhaust systems Buddy club is very reasonably priced and guarantee’s the highest quality workmanship and materials.

When it comes to headers it depends on what your goal is, a 4-2-1 header will give you more mid-range power and a slightly more muffled sound due to slightly more restriction in the headers pipes where they merge into each other.

The other option is a 4-1 header, a 4-1 will give you more top-end power and a much louder sound due to having less restriction because the four pipes merge straight into one outlet, meaning a faster flow of exhaust gases resulting in more power.

The header I currently use is a 4-1 PLM manifold and for a relatively cheap manifold its made to the highest standard, plus no matter how hot it gets its never cracked which is a usual problem with cheaper manifolds.

After installing my complete setup I gained approximately 16 BHP, this may seem like very little but when it comes to horsepower every one helps.

3 Install a K&N Cold Air Feed to Increase BHP

Installing a good cold air feed is one of the most simplest yet effective things you can do if you want to make your Honda faster.

Stock air breathers are typically in a breather box at the front of the engine bay behind the headlight with a pipe running from the box into your throttle body which supplies your engine with cold air.

The problem with stock breather systems is that the amount of air that can actually enter the breather box is extremely restricted meaning the air going into your engine is also restricted.

By installing an aftermarket K&N cold air feed (amazon link) you are eliminating the breather box and stock air filter and replacing it with a large filter on the end of a straight pipe of a much larger diameter that feeds straight into your engine via the throttle body.

k&n cold air feed

There is a massive amount of cold air feeds on the market with most of them doing the exact same thing, so the choice is down to personal preference but the one word of advice would be to keep it out of harm’s way of debris from the road or wheels, you don’t want it sucking up dirt, dirt being sucked into the engine could cause engine failure.

4 Install ITBs (Individual throttle bodies)

Getting air into your engine is just as important as letting it out, the golden rule is more air+fuel=more power so if you want to make your Civic faster you’re going to need this bit.

ITBs (Individual throttle bodies) increase the power of a car by providing each individual intake port with its own individual throttle body rather than the stock intake manifold setup which has just one throttle body feeding air to all four intake ports via the intake manifold.

By installing ITBs with a set of trumpets you basically eliminate the need for an intake manifold and the throttle bodies just bolt directly to the head, you can expect an increase in HP of between 30 to 50 BHP out a four-cylinder engine with the correct tuning and remap.

ITBs individual throttle bodies

The benefits of ITBs compared to an intake manifold is that each cylinder of the engine has its own individual throttle body feeding it air, another important benefit is that atmospheric pressure builds up in the trumpet of the throttle body, and once the throttle is pressed, this pressure forces 150 times more air into the engine than a stock intake manifold.

When it comes to the fuel to air ratio of an engine the the ratio needs to be exact, if not your motor wont run correctly. If your engine is getting to much fuel it will run rich and if it is getting to much air it will run lean.

The trouble with ITBs is that they can be tricky to tune correctly because instead of only adjusting one throttle body to match the fuel ratio you now need to balance all four throttle bodies along with getting the correct air-to-fuel ratio.

The easiest a cheapest way to balance or sync throttle bodies is by using a synchrometer, which measures the suction or airflow through each throttle body and gives you a reading, then once you have a baseline reading you can adjust the other three throttle bodies using the adjustment screw on the body until all four throttle body readings are equal.

The most common ITBs used on Hondas are Weber. Weber have been manufacturing aftermarket carburetor’s since 1923 and still to this day are leading the field when it comes to performance and design.

You could pick up a set of second hand Weber ITBs for a Honda for about $500 if you manage to find a set which is really cheap considering the power gained from a simple bolt on, plus the sound of ITBs is real deep and throaty.

5 Install a Bigger Diameter Throttle Body

A cheaper more convenient option for ITBs is to install an aftermarket throttle body. A stock throttle body on a Honda Civic B series engine is 65mm in diameter, by installing an aftermarket throttle body you can increase the size of the throttle body giving you far more acceleration and top-end power due to a higher flow of air reaching the cylinders.

My recommendation would be to install a 70mm Skunk2 throttle body (amazon link), this will give you loads more air into the cylinders without needing to upgrade or modify the intake manifold or ECU. When you go bigger than 70mm on a stock engine the air ratio will far exceed the amount of fuel it receives.

skunk 2 70mm throttle body
Skunk 2 Throttle Body

An ECU in a car controls absolutely everything the car does hence why it also has the name of “the brain of the car” because it sends and receives the signals the car and its components need to operate correctly and on time.

An ECU is designed to be adaptive and varies slightly depending on the conditions or load put on the engine. For example, by installing a larger throttle body you are providing the engine with more air, in turn, the ECU must compensate for this increase in air by increasing the amount of fuel given to the engine to keep the air-fuel ratio in balance. There are however limits to this variability and if you give the engine more air or fuel than the ECU can compensate for your engine will either run lean or run rich.

6 More Air Needs More Fuel Install a Walbro Fuel Pump

When it comes down to the deciding factor of how fast you can make a Civic the main thing is how fast you can get fuel to the engine, because with all the horsepower in the world, without fuel your not going nowhere.

Installing a Walbro fuel pump (amazon link) will increase the performance of your car due to the higher rate of flow the Walbro pump is designed for compared to a stock fuel pump. Walbro fuel pumps come in two different flow rates, 190 ltr/hr and 255 ltr/hr at 40 psi that compared to the stock fuel pump which for non-VTEC engines is 79 ltr/hr and for VTEC engines the flow rate is 135 ltr/hr at 40 psi.

walbro IN TANK fuel pump
Walbro In Tank Fuel Pump

Walbro fuel pumps are very easy to install and you can expect to have your stock pump replaced in less than one hour even if you have zero experience.

The fuel pump is located inside the fuel tank and can be accessed by removing the bottom of the rear seat and opening the ring of bolts surrounding the cover plate seen in the picture, then it’s just a matter of twisting off the plastic ring and removing the pump from the assembly.

A Walbro fuel pump will cost you about $50 and is a simple plug-and-play modification that needs no tuning after being installed.

7 Install a Turbo Kit to Make a 400HP Civic

If it’s big BHP you want, installing a turbo is by far the easiest way to make a civic fast. Installing a turbo will give you an instant increase in power of approximately 40% on a base MAP running low boost.

A turbo is attached to your engine via the exhaust manifold and works by recycling the exhaust gases that would be otherwise lost through the exhaust. These gasses then spins (spools) up the exhaust turbine wheel inside the turbocharger.

The exhaust turbine wheel is attached to a turbine inside the compressor side of the turbocharger which when spun, compresses the air and forces it back into the engine via the inlet manifold which then produces a massive increase in power.

turbocharged b series honda

When it comes to installing the turbo although it’s relatively straight-forward, there are still some modifications that will need to be done, depending on the kit you buy, that’s why it is important to choose a good quality turbo kit from a reputable well-known manufacturer.

Iv seen cheap turbochargers explode and get sucked into the engine, so remember that if you’re tempted to buy a cheap turbo.

Here’s an article you should check out covering 8 of the best reliable turbo kits for Hondas, if you follow the guidance in that article you will safely make 400BHP with nothing to worry about.

8 Complete Engine Swap

The most common and obvious option is a complete engine swap and when it comes to Honda Civic the choice of engines you can use is endless due to most Honda engines being either a straight swap or with minor adjustments needed.

The most common engine being used now by most Honda enthusiasts is the K20A JDM Type R engine, this engine came in the JDM Honda Integra DC5 Type R and the Acura RSX Type S between the years of 2002 and 2006 and produced an impressive 220BHP from a two liter four-cylinder DOHC VTEC engine.

honda k20 engine
K Series Engine with ITBs

To install the K20 engine into any civic pre-2001 sixth generation or older you will need to use aftermarket engine mounts and, this is because the K20 engine is turned the opposite way to the stock B and D series engine, meaning the exhaust header is facing the rear of the car rather than the front.

Engine mount conversion kits can be easily bought for any model civic pre-2001 but the main thing to remember is buy good quality, the engine mounts are all that holds the engine in the car, you don’t want cheap mounts breaking off and losing your engine.

Hasport is leading the field when it comes to aftermarket engine mounts. Hasport mounts are made of solid T6 Aluminum with a tolerance of 1/1000th of an inch with a black urethane bushing. Hasport is so confident with their design that they offer a lifetime warranty on all their engine mounts, giving you absolute peace of mind when your hammering gears.

hasport conversion mounts

A set of Hasport conversion mounts (amazon link) will cost you between 5 and $600 depending on where you decide to buy them which is very reasonable considering its lifetime warranty.

A cheaper option would be innovative engine mounts. Innovative engine mounts are made from welded mild steel with a natural rubber bushing, rather than a machined Aluminum billet and black polymer. The only problem I see with a welded mount is that welds can crack and break when put under enough stress and vibration.

Innovative mounts (amazon link) came in a 96 K20 EK Civic I bought a couple of years back, I drove the car for about a year and never had a problem, although they wouldn’t be as stiff as Hasport mounts they are still perfect for a daily road car with just some bolt-ons.

innovative engine miunts

If your planning on making big horsepower I would only recommend Hasport mounts due to no worries of welds cracking under stress, plus the black urethane bushing has been proven to be much more durable and hard-wearing than natural rubber.

There are also cheaper easier options if you don’t want to replace engine mounts etc.. you could replace your stock motor with a bigger B series engine. The most common engine is the B18C engine, this engine came in the Honda Integra between 1996 and 2001 and produced 197BHP from a 1.8 liter 16 valve DOHC VTEC.

honda b series engine bay
B Series Engine

The B18C engine will bolt straight into any civic between the years 1991 and 2000 with no adjustments needing to be made to the engine mount positions and will give you an instant 197 BHP. For the pre-1991 EF Civic, you will need to use an engine mount conversion kit along with a cable clutch gearbox to install the B18C engine if the car didn’t originally come with a B series engine.

EF Civics came with a cable-operated clutch system instead of the more modern hydraulic system which was only introduced in the 1991 EG Civic. EF civics never came with a B18C engine instead they had a B16A engine with a Y21 cable gearbox, this gearbox, however, will bolt straight onto a B18C engine if you decide to use the B18C.


With over twenty years worth of experience in the motorsport industry and many happy customers you can rest assured that the information you get here on is 100% free, reliable and without the fluff.

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