Cheap tuning- 1993 Honda Accord

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Greetings, gentry! I have been thinking a lot lately about what I would like to do to my car once I get it (and have some income from a job). I'll have a very limited budget, so if you were thinking of telling me to swap the engine to the tune of $3k, then don't even bother. I know that there is the typical exhaust/intake-type stuff, but are there any brands that you'd recommend? I realize this is going to walk a fine line with advertising, but we'll see how it goes. It's a 1993 Honda Accord LX with the 2.2L four-cylinder engine. It's also a stickshift. :ohcrap:

posted by  Patrick

some other guy asked the same thing but i think it was for the newer accord..... cant remember, just have a look.


according to another one of the members, skunk2 specialices on Hondas. so i guess u could go to them for the exhaust/intake stuff.

i would say do an ecu tune, but if its just mild mods, then the money on the ecu tune is not worth it. maybe other simple mods.... like cam gears, maybe cams (ok, so those aint that simple or cheap but its an idea)......

well theres quite a few things that can be done for relatively cheap. i guess u just need to state ur real goals for the car.

posted by  Inygknok

I am willing to admit the fact that mechanically speaking, I am dumbfounded by cars. I have a couple questions- What is an ECU tune? How many ponies could I expect to round up from one? And, how much is it going to lighten my wallet?

My goals, though totally unspecific and probably won't lend you any more idea of what to recommend than before, are to make the car as fast as I can for the least amount of money. I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to street race, although it sounds like an incomprehensible adrenaline rush.
Also, my brother mentioned that it's a waste of my time to try and tune the car, since it has 180k miles on it. I realize that this is a lot, but I figure that with as strong as Honda engines are, it could handle it decently. Opinions? :ohcrap:

posted by  Patrick

my car has 187k miles on it n im still gonna mod it. im taking the engine to the machine shop to have it put in its almost brand new conditions (shot-peened stock internals, reground the valvetrain, balance rotating assembly, port and polish, knife edging, among other things). its not cheap to do all of that, specially if the engine is in bad conditions, maybe worse if some parts need replacing.

all of that will give u some power, but not much. its more of a maintainance and reliability thing, mainly if u plan on adding alot of powers to a stock engine.

the cheapest ECU tune ive ever heard of was around $400. an ECU tune is wat the name implies, a tuning of the ECU. just buy a performance chip for less than half the price.

honestly, basic mods would be a performance chip, exhaust, headers, new clutch, get the flywheel machined (theres a process that lightens it), intake filter, and if u feel like it, a new intake manifold with a bigger TB.

posted by  Inygknok

If I were to buy those mods altogether, how much am I looking at paying? :oops: Maybe I'm too cheap for modding my car, after all.

posted by  Patrick

hmmm.... well both of our cars are a bit different.... and im having some of those things custom made for me.... im having the intake manifold customized, the TB customized, the complete exhaust customized except for the canister which will be some new one i can find for cheap, the clutch im getting one that was used in just one race and my mechanic took it out cuz he immediatly got his double plate clutch (bastard), so on so on.


machining the flywheel shouldnt cost more than $40, its costing me only $35. a clutch kit from ACT or SPEC (includes pressure plate and disc, TO bearing and the other bearing with alignment tool) costs a maximum of around $330 (which is great and u can get them for cheaper). a brand new intake manifold could cost u around $200 or a bit more, and u can just hve the TB bored out for i dont know how much. performance chips can cost from $120 to around $200 or something. headers, some can be a bit expensive.

well the list just keeps going and going, just do a search on google n ull get clear correct answers.

posted by  Inygknok

Thanks. Those prices don't sound all that bad. I suppose I could handle those with a great deal of saving... :ohcrap:

As well, I was wondering. Are there any exhaust systems out there that aren't so insanely loud? I mean, I don't want to have a car that you can hear from a mile away, because everyone just assumes that I'm a "rice boy" because I drive a Honda with a loud exhaust, but I want to gain the performance of the parts. I know some cars come with silencers you can put in, but that seems like it would restrict airflow, which is counterproductive. Any ideas?

posted by  Patrick

Hey bro, I got a 95 Accord w/ the same engine you got. Mine also a stick. Here was I'm thinking of doing to mine, it might help you get some ideas. 1) AEM cold air intake $100 to $150 2) Ceramic headers 3) All new pipes & exhuast system - catalac converter, pipes, muffler/exhuast (cat-back) and 4) a fuel/oxygen sensor which regulats the fuel/oxygen ratio 13 to 14.7:1, $60 to $200.

I dont have all the prices for everything but if you do a googles search you can find almost everything you want and then some. These mods alone should add around 20hp to 30hp under my hood. Then you can do little things like spark plugs and spark plug wiring, carbon fiber products (they have a new trunk out for the accord) hood and trunk, and other little things. Expect to spend around 1000 at least, I'm guessing, for some good mods.

posted by  MrNasty

i honestly wouldnt know about exhaust sound levels. over here in PR we have the tendency of custom making our exhausts (90% of the time its atleast the cat-back system wat we customize and downpipes in turbo'd engines).

but wat i do know is that buddy club makes some really loud exhausts, and dont buy any mufflers from pep boys and such. those arent just noisy, but the sound is also very gay.

greddy sells systems that are rated to be sound legal (dba's are in their legal limits), so i guess one of those would work.

posted by  Inygknok

I have the same gen Accord as you (except mine is a 90LX). The f22a engine is pretty worthless to tune. Best bet IS an engine swap. Most likely a $2200 H22a (200hp 161tq). If you want too though you could turbo the f22...it already has a low compression (8.8:1)..but i still wouldnt run any level of boost over 7/8/9psi. Even then the turbo setup will cost you as much as a new h22a and will still yield you with around the same horsepower. Best you save your money and get the h22a.

posted by  thunderbird1100

he clearly mentioned not to give him any swap ideas cuz hes on a very limited budget. not just that, he said he wanted just simpler mods.

posted by  Inygknok

What's the point? I have the car and doing bolt ons on it increases just mpg more than it does power. 8.8:1 CR isnt fun to work with on small N/A motor. Like I said. If he wants to see any significant increase in power. He needs to save his money and do it the right way. Or he could waste $1k on intake/header/exhaust and go from 125hp to 140hp..or he could save another grand and change and go from 125hp/137tq to 200hp/161tq and have a MUCH better starting point and a completely fresh stock engine that's wholey more advanced than the age old f22. Remember his engine probably has somewhere north of 150k miles on it.

posted by  thunderbird1100

I got a question:

I have the same gen car as you guys, but mines a 95. If I were to swap out engines, how would my yearly smog test go? Its my understanding that in order to pass smog you must meet reqiurments for the year specified unde your type engine. Wouldnt an engine swap through this off.

PS: I live in cali where all the laws are F*cked up.

posted by  MrNasty

95 isnt a same gen as ours...

90-93 =4th gen
94-97 = 5th gen

Just rememebr to keep with OBDI or OBDII if you swap. I'm not to accurate on california laws so you might ahve to ask someone else.

posted by  thunderbird1100

Well thanks anyway bor. Your where helpful none the less.

Can you explain what OBDI is though?

posted by  MrNasty

OBD = On-board Diagnostics (ECU thing)....emissions standards changed and so did it.

OBDII came out in 96 (?) if im not mistaken. So pretty much stuff before that was OBDI..or OBD0 :)

posted by  thunderbird1100

Thanks for the backup, kid. I'm glad SOMEONE respected my wishes in the thread. As much as I hate to say it, and as much as I'd like to swap the engines, I simply cannot afford it. Which is why I asked what I asked in the way that I asked it. Sorry if you can't handle that, thunderbird1100. That's the way my cookie is crumbling right now.



Around $1000 is what I was looking to spend, so that's right on target. I was hoping for a little bit more than 30hp, but I think that will suffice well enough, considering the fact that my budget is illogically small. Thanks for your help, everyone. But yes, I still am wondering (and hoping that one exists) what exhaust systems are strong performers, but aren't louder than hell. If you have any ideas, please, let me know. A few companies I was considering for the exhaust- DNX, Borla, Greddy, Neuspeed, etc. Anyone have experience with these? :screwy:

posted by  Patrick

For $1000 you could barely afford an intake/header/exhaust, and with that you should run a new ECU for extra fuel from Hondata..which would put you well over $1k. Spark plugs will give you virtually no hp gain, it will induce spark to be a bit better, but you won't notice any real gain in power. Spark plugs wires might give you 5hp at best. A new ignition around 5-10hp. Again I'm telling you as an owner of your car, it's not even worth-it upgrading petty parts on the engine. If you actually want to FEEL a difference you need an engine swap. For $1000 you'd be LUCKY to see 25hp extra at the crank with a f22. Unless of course you use nitrous...in which case wouldnt be too smart on an engine as old as yours.

I'm just here trying to wake-up your senses because I'm in a situation where i've 'been there, done that'. Bolt-Ons on this car is a GIGANTIC waste of money unless all you're only looking for is better gas mileage. Best if you only want to spend a grand get a nice mid-range sound system or something.

posted by  thunderbird1100

i agree with the whole engine swap ordeal as well. my friend jay ended up swapping his old h23 after he blew it up against my warnings. though he swapped in another h23, its in good conditions (not for long with him driving though). anyhow, yea yea yea the h23 cant be compared to the F but u get the point.


anyhow, i would suggest an engine swap as well, but if he cant afford it, then im respecting his wishes. he could even just get some other engine, even a b16. but im seriously not gonna force him to do an engine swap.

as for the costs of some parts, yea, some can cost alot, which is why i have most things custom made or i get them with my mechanic (T04 turbo is only costing me $350 n hes going to make the flanges and lines for $40).

if u can get a friend to custom make everything for u, then it would come out alot cheaper for u, unless hes a rip off friend. and as for the ecu tuning, dont do it. for these types of mods and car, its seriously a BIG waste of money.

posted by  Inygknok

I'm pretty much in the same boat as our guy. I'm not a racer or a ricer, nor will I be racing at any time in the near furtue. Infact, I'll soon be a family man. Which was one of my main reasons for buying my accord. So for me, swapping engines is out of the question. Besides I just bought the car and the engine only has 80K on it.

I jus want a good reliable car with a few mods and proformance parts added to it. I'll be happy with 20-30 extra HP and beter gas milage. 1,000+ fits my budget nicely, for now.

Maybe when the engine stops stroking andits no longer drivable, maybe then I'll think about some engine swaps. But for now, my bolt ons will be just fine.

posted by  MrNasty

the basis for any car is intake ,exhaust, catalytic converter, and headers. with those your car will be noticably faster. performance parts of coure. :mrgreen:

posted by  jzxTT

Why not ECU tuning, if its done right (you will need to hire a rolling road) then there are huge gains to be made, you can also have a number of maps which will allow you to drive the car efficently and pleasently to work and then load diffrent settings for track use.

but you wont get very far with £550 your looking for 2 to 3 times that. There are much better things to do with your money, may be an engine swap, or you could rebuild your engine, gas flow the head, larger valves, new cams. Not easy work but you can do it yourself and around about that money. You will then need to look into throttle bodies these can be picked up second hand relativley easily, and then a manafold (you might have to buy or fabricate depending on the popularity of the engine locally).

Then you can look at equal lenth primary exhaust pipes, then look into that mapping, you could expect to add 1/3 to the power of the engine without losing reliability but wear will be increased.

posted by  cinqyg

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