It’s no secret that the D16Y7 in my Canadian Honda Civic was getting a bit tired. A rev above 5k resulted in a plume of blue smoke, and it burnt through oil at a rate of one quart per 300 miles. I topped out at only 30mpg and was probably only making 75hp. The transmission’s input shaft was screaming for mercy and the 250k mile clutch was tempermental, to say the least.

In short, this guy needed Jesus.

Fortunately, aside from my CDM ‘98 Civic LX I also have a USDM ‘97 Civic LX parts car with a far lower mileage engine which features: original headers, perfectly clean oil, good compression, and it was far, far dirtier. Over the course of a week I learned how to pull a D16Y7 by yanking the motor out of the green 97 donor car. After much frustration from trying to disconnect the wiring harness from the engine unsuccessfully, I learned I could remove the battery tray and unplug the entire harness from the car and it would go with the engine. After that it was just a matter of pulling the axles and unbolting the five mounts.

Yesterday at around 1:00pm this was where my ‘98 was. Up on a lift awaiting its new engine. But first, out with the old.

Advertisement

Pulling the engine went pretty smoothly. The most time-consuming part was keeping track of all of the bolts, brackets, and other various parts as I pulled them off of the engine, and I still managed to lose an exhaust spacer, catalytic converter bolt, and a bracket for the wiring harness.

My battery tray, which I wasn’t using anyway due to a larger aftermarket battery, was completely seized to the car and covered in dirt (???), so an angle grinder and creative use of metal fatigue (aka grinding down parts of it then bending them back and forth until they broke) was used. So much for doing this by the books.

Advertisement

Pictured is my favorite tool: the cheater bar. This one is about five feet long and I used every foot of it to get some bolts broken free where the rattle gun simply could not fit. Other tools used for this swap were a harbor freight angle grinder, craftsman 3/4 drive and 1/2 drive socket sets, pneumatic 1/2 drive rattle gun, pneumatic 3/4 drive angle driver, and a Spatter-O-Matic wire-feed flux welder.

Advertisement

Probably the most difficult part of the swap was getting things aligned with the new engine in place. Some bolt holes were randomly different sizes, leading to creative modifications to get things to fit.

The engine is pretty much perfect. The only problems I had once it was in the car were forgetting to push one of the axles all the way into the transmission, and some water somehow found its way into the distributor. Spark plugs were changed, distributor caps were swapped, and this new engine is fantastic. Far more powerful than what I had before, with a clutch that feels 100000000x better and I can drive far smoother, and it is SILENT. No whining input shaft bearings to be found, though my exhaust is noisy as hell since I haven’t yet attached everything. As it is I have to put the hood back on, fix the exhaust, fix a bent shifter linkage, and straighten my steering wheel, but then I will be done with this swap and have a clean, well-running 98 hybrid CDM/USDM Civic.

Advertisement

Speaking of USDM, here are differences between the two cars:

CDM had no factory A/C, thus is missing some sensors relating to AC.

CDM has no armrest, JDM style

CDM doesn’t have a voltage load reader thingie that adjusts idle in response to electrical load

Advertisement

CDM has totally different passenger motor mounts

CDM has kph instrument cluster

That’s about it. Very interesting what variations there are.