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Thread: h22 Engine swap for 1997 Accord SE

  1. #1

    Default h22 Engine swap for 1997 Accord SE

    Hi, this is my first post here, and i've been reading a lot about how to increase the power of my 1997 accord se. I love the car, aesthetically it's in great condition, I just wish I had more power in it. I have very little actual experience working on cars, but I am trying to learn.

    One of the things that people have done is to add a H22 prelude engine in there, and I was wondering a few things:

    Supposing I wanted to make this a project and learn how to do it in the process:
    1) What is the exact engine I should get? Does it have to be same year?
    2) Where is the best place to get said engine?
    3) If I were to do the swap, what else would I need to change (other than I/H/E) i.e. would I have to also get a new transmission?
    4) What does it mean to "tune" an engine and where would I take it to get that done?

    I'm sorry if a lot of these questions have been repeated before, it's just that so much of the info is spread out and some is just for older models and such.

    Unfortunately, i'm late getting into the car modding scene (I'm a computer type guy), but it's never too late to start, right?

  2. #2


    Man, you sound like me when I first started! I was 23 when I got serious with my car.

    Anyway, the 97 is probably the last year for the easy H22 swap. I believe there is VERY little work needed to get it properly mounted (one mount needs something done, I think...)

    TECHNICALLY you're not allowed to have a motor that is older than your car... which means you'll want a 97+ motor. HOWEVER, unless someone reads the stamps on the head, they won't be able to tell. CA is probably the only state anal enough to bother with that. Your motor is OBD2 (the onboard diagnostics electronics) so you'll want to at least get a 96+ motor... or rewire for OBD1 (which is easier to tune) is the best place to go, IMO. Call them (don't email, Steve never responds to email). Don't call on a Monday... it's the busiest day of the week.

    It's not necessary to get a new transmission, but it's recommended. If you're automatic, you'll definitely want to get the Prelude transmission and TCU so you can have the proper shift points. The Accord transmission will work, but it has different gearing, so the power isn't used as it should be. You WILL need the H22 ECU.

    "Tuning" an engine usually refers to changing the settings in the ECU (computer). Adjusting the air/fuel ratios can unlock a lot of power on a modified engine, as well as increase gas mileage (I had my ECU tuned by MRX from I get 30+mpg now, even if I get on it a bit!) Tuning can also refer to tuning the cam timing via adjustible cam gears (another thing I plan on doing) This is best done on a dyno, however...
    If you want to learn about how to tune a car's ECU, check out It's computer stuff, so it's up your alley! - 1990-1993 Honda Accord forum

  3. #3


    Man, thanks a lot, I'm continuing to do research on this, and this helps a lot.

    Btw, i'm 21, and I feel like i've missed a lifetime of info!

    Now, I'm lazy, and I am not really going to make this a "racing" car, but I would like to haul some @ss if I need to (or want to ), and I want to keep it an automatic (i know i know, boo automatics), so from the Prelude, i'd need:

    -H22a engine from 96 or 97
    -transmission (because i want to get all the power I can get out of it)

    I was under the impression that the TCU was a component of the ECU?

    Also, will the Accord's suspension be able to handle the power that is put out of the engine? Do I need to upgrade that as well?

    It'll probably end up being next year by the time I have enough $$ to do all this, so I have time to fully understand everything

    Last Noobish questions for now: If I did install it, a) how long would it take (hours/days/months) b) Is it mostly just a matter of disconnecting the engine and dropping it into the mount? c) What tools would I need to do this job?

    Thanks, you guys are a really great resource, and I really appreciate the info!

  4. #4


    The newer models (OBD2) might be one unit for the ECU/TCU. I've only had 5 speed Accords, so I'm no expert on those.

    The Accord suspension should be fine. I ran for a year on stock stuff with the H22 (stock brakes as well!) Brake upgrades would be a good idea... I'm not positive, but I THINK the Prelude VTEC calipers would fit. That would match your brakes with the engine.

    I'm not positive, but I think one mount needs some modification... nothing major. Nothing that you couldn't have a local shop do for you. Time to complete the project depends on your abilities, tools, facilities, and attention to detail. I have friends that are capable of ripping an F22A out of a 92 Accord and dropping an an H22 between sunset and sunrise (no lie...). It took the shop I took my car to two weeks to figure it out, and they were professional ex-honda mechanics. I have a friend that's had his H22 in limp mode for over a year.

    Get an engine hoist with a leveler, a good set of hand tools, a breaker bar, some PB Blaster, and a good manual (haynes is decent). - 1990-1993 Honda Accord forum

  5. #5


    Thanks a lot, i've got a lot of research to do

    Just curious, how much would it be to have a shop do all the work? I'm guessing in the thousands, and would love the opportunity to do it myself, but if circumstances prevail that I need the car done and quickly, it'd be good to know

    Anyone play Halo? My Gamertag is: Skywalker5757

  6. #6


    A shop that knows what it's doing shouldn't charge more than $1000.... My shop gave me a quote of $500-$1000... and then they charged me $1750.

    I'm pretty sure I know a few very knowledgable guys in VA. I'll ask around for you if I talk to them. After being in the scene for a while, and having shops do much of my work, I'd rather have a knowledgable enthusiast working on my car (with my help). I've had mechanics screw up MUCH more, and charge me even more still, than any of my car buddies! - 1990-1993 Honda Accord forum

  7. #7


    thanks man, I appreciate it

    Anyone play Halo? My Gamertag is: Skywalker5757

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by deevergote
    I'm pretty sure I know a few very knowledgable guys in VA.
    well, for one theres Pat (acclude91), however he seems to have dropped off the face of the earth again.

    anyways, this is a fairly simple swap really. a few major things you need to adress are as follows:

    1) The drivers side motor mount needs to be shaved 1/4 inch. youll see it. It CAN be jammed in there, but thats not recommended.
    2) The header needs to be modified to fit. it needs to be cut shorter or it will not physically fit on the car.
    3) The transmission mount doesnt bolt right up. new holes need to be tapped. Ive heard of people using the prelude mount, but Im not positive about that
    4) since you have an SE, you have an automatic. I recommend converting to 5spd, but if you wish to stay automatic, then you will need to get an automatic ECU. in 1996 the TCU was integrated into the ECU.
    5) The fuel rail inlet is on the wrong side. you can reuse your stock accord rail.

    thats all I can think of now. good luck with whatever you plan on doing.

    EDIT: since you have an automatic, you have a screwy rear motor mount. its an auto adjusting mount. the 5spd cars use a solid mount, so if you wish to go with a 5spd, you will also need to change that. if not, dont worry about it.
    Ska rules, I dont care what you think

  9. #9


    Sweet, thanks man, I know that many people take this opportunity to convert to manual, however, I want to keep mine automatic because I lend my car to my grandmother every now and again, so I am going to keep it simple for her.

    That being said, I still want to do the engine swap, but I need to:
    A) Do some more research on the actual installation. (are there any detailed instructions anywhere on the net? I'm searching, but any help would be great)
    B) Get mucho $$
    C) Have the space to do it (AKA some kind of garage-type thing)
    D) Get the required tools

    So, I have a long way to go, but hey, anything worth anything takes work

    Anyone play Halo? My Gamertag is: Skywalker5757

  10. #10


    If Pat ever resurfaces, I'm sure he'd be happy to help... He's trying to find a permanent place to live or something... He does that from time to time

    Anyway, your best bet is to find someone that can do it in a day or two. That way, it can be a driveway deal. Most of the people I know would do a swap for a minimal charge (free if you really befriend them).

    There are instructions. The ones that used to be availible here seem to be gone...
    If I can find them, I'll post them up. I know there are swap guides for the 5th generation... when i was doing my swap, that's all I could find! Now there are tons of things for the 4th gen out there... - 1990-1993 Honda Accord forum

  11. #11


    Of course the only ones you ever can find are the ones that you don't need. c'est la vie I suppose.

    No rush on finding this Pat guy, I have a while before i'll have the money to buy the friggin engine (damn cars and their expensiveness ) I'm still in school, so I won't have much money until maybe next summer at the earliest. Anyway, if you can find those instructions, that would very much appreciated. One question though, how detailed are they? Is it down to the nut/bolt level or general?

    Anyone play Halo? My Gamertag is: Skywalker5757

  12. #12


    They're semi-detailed... You kinda have to know what part is what. Pair it with a good manual, or take pics and say "show me where" and you'll be ok :D - 1990-1993 Honda Accord forum

  13. #13


    haha, sweet. Also I found this in my search, is it a ripoff? Do you think it would be worth it?

    Anyone play Halo? My Gamertag is: Skywalker5757

  14. #14


    Yeah, that's just a compilation of the guides you can find online. I mean, it's a guaranteed way to get them, but they're availible for free... - 1990-1993 Honda Accord forum

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