Honda C engine
Honda's first production V6 was the C series; it was produced in displacements from 2.0 to 3.5 liters. The C engine was produced in various forms for over 20 years (1985–2005), having first been used in its then new Legend model, and its British sister car the Rover 800-series (and Sterling).
All C engines share in common a 90-degree V from bank to bank. Beyond this fact there is little to no similarity between the three drive train layouts. The engine family can be broken down into three sub families:
- C20A, C20AT, C25A and C27A (transversely mounted)
- C30A and C32B (transversely mounted rear)
- C32A, C35A, and C35B (one-off) (longitudinally mounted)
As a general rule, interchange of parts will not work between these sub groups.
SOHC 2.0 L (1,996 cc)
- 145 PS (107 kW; 143 hp) @ 6,500 rpm
- 17.0 kg·m (167 N·m; 123 lb·ft) @ 5,500 rpm
The variable length intake manifold used six individual small-bore intake runners below 3,500 rpm for each cylinder and added an additional six individual larger bore intake runners at higher RPMs.
The C20AT was a turbocharged version, called the "Wing Turbo", producing 190 bhp (141.7 kW; 192.6 PS).
- 1989 Honda Legend
Honda replaced the variable length intake manifold with a variable geometry turbocharger to the C20A engine used in the Japanese Domestic Market Legend. The turbo with intercooler-equipped engine was the C20AT engine and are extremely rare. Honda pioneered variable-geometry turbo chargers. The "Wing Turbo", as Honda called them, were controlled by an 8-bit processor ECU and they were constantly adjusting. Basically, at low speeds the wings surrounding the turbine wheel inside the compressor housing on the intake side would be nearly closed to speed and direct exhaust pressure precisely on the turbine wheel. At 2000 rpm, the wings would fluctuate and it would act like a much larger turbo to increase fuel economy as needed. This car was quick and powerful, but the price premium over the slightly longer and wider Legend with the 2.7 L naturally aspirated V6 was too much for most, so the car disappeared. This was one of the only production Hondas ever turbocharged from the factory, along with the K23A1 straight-4 engine used in the Acura RDX and the ER straight-4 engine used in the first generation Honda City.
SOHC 24 valves, 9.0:1 compression
- 165 PS (121 kW; 163 hp) @ 6,000 rpm
- 21.5 kg·m (211 N·m; 156 lb·ft) @ 4,500 rpm
- 1986-1987 Honda Legend Sedan, 1986-1988 Rover 825 Sedan,
- 151 bhp (113 kW; 153 PS) @ 5,800 rpm
- 21.7 kg·m (213 N·m; 157 lb·ft) @ 4,500 rpm
- UK and Europe (sold in US as Sterling 825i)
The engine utilized a 90 degree V-angle to the crankshaft in preference to the taller but more common 60 degree design, with a compression ratio of 9.0:1. The crankshaft had crankpins offset 30 degrees to provide a low profile engine that fires smoothly and evenly. The block and cross flow pent roof cylinder heads with 24 valves are die-cast from aluminum alloy and the cylinder bores are lined with cast iron. The exhaust system uses equal length exhaust pipes connected to the Exhaust manifold to minimize scavenging resistance and maximum total exhaust efficiency. An external high capacity water cooled oil cooler and filter maintain an efficient oil temperature.
Applications; non-North America:
Applications; North America:
- SOHC non-VTEC
- 1987-1990 Acura Legend Coupe, 161 bhp (120.1 kW; 163.2 PS)
- 1988-1990 Acura Legend, 161 bhp (120.1 kW; 163.2 PS)
- 1995-1997 Honda Accord, 170 bhp (126.8 kW; 172.4 PS) For this particular vehicle the engine was updated with a more efficient intake manifold.
- 1989-1991 Rover 827/Sterling/Vitesse, 177 bhp (132.0 kW; 179.5 PS) (non catalyst)UK and Europe (sold in US as STERLING Brand)
- 1990-1991 Rover 827/Sterling/Vitesse, 168 bhp (125.3 kW; 170.3 PS) (catalyst) UK and Europe (sold in US as STERLING Brand until 1991)
- 1991-1995 Rover 827/Sterling/Coupe, 168 bhp (125.3 kW; 170.3 PS) UK and Europe
The DOHC VTEC C30A is a 3.0 L version, producing 270 bhp (201.3 kW; 273.7 PS) and 210 lb·ft (285 N·m) of torque. The engine was the second Honda Engine ever to utilize Honda's proprietary VTEC variable-valve timing system in an automotive application, which adjusts cam lift and duration depending on engine RPM and throttle position. VTEC allows the C30A to produce a high maximum power level while maintaining a relatively flat torque curve. C30A was also equipped with Variable Volume Induction System (VVIS). VVIS used a primary and a secondary intake plenum. Secondary intake plenum engages at 4800 RPM to improve engines breathing ability and broadens torque curve.
The C30A also made use of titanium connecting rods, which was another first in a mass-production vehicle. The lightweight rods allowed a higher RPM to be achieved while maintaining the strength of traditional steel rods. The C30A block is an open-deck design made from an aluminum alloy with cylinders sleeved in ductile iron. The heads are a twenty-four valve, dual-overhead cam (DOHC) design and contain the VTEC mechanism, which is actuated by oil pressure. For maximum performance, the C30A uses a direct ignition system, with individual coils positioned directly over each cylinder spark plug.
Due to its DOHC layout and its lightweight rotating assembly, the C30A is capable of reliable high RPM operation. Factory redline is 8000 rpm and balanced/blueprinted versions of the engine can easily reach 9000 rpm with little to no reliability issues.
Due to its complexity, cost and use of exotic materials, the C30A was used exclusively on Honda's NSX car. For NSX's equipped with a 4-speed automatic transmission, Honda used a slightly less powerful version of the C30A, which utilized less aggressive cam timing and produced 252 bhp (188 kW; 255 PS).
An advanced version of this engine exists (though not in a production form) that campaigned briefly in the 2004 Japanese SuperGT racing series (see All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship) by the factory-supported Team Honda Racing group in highly modified GT-spec NSXs. This engine has various upgrades and modifications by Mugen and is the first turbo-charged Honda engine used in the series (prior to 2003, the GT-spec NSXs used a highly advanced, naturally aspirated variant of the C32B engine). Though the exact performance figures are kept secret, it is rumored to output more than 500 bhp.
The C32A is a 3.2 L version. The SOHC depending on model year, produces 200 hp (149 kW) and 230 hp (172 kW).
Applications; North America Only:
- C32A1 - SOHC USDM - 200 hp (149 kW)
- C32A6 - SOHC USDM - 200 hp (149 kW)
- 1996-1998 Acura 3.2TL
- C32A5 - Also known as the "Type-II" - Uses a higher flowing intake manifold and slightly more aggressive camshaft - SOHC USDM - 230 hp (172 kW) at 206 lb·ft (279 N·m)
The C32B is a highly tuned DOHC V6 used in the Honda NSX, which produces 290 hp (216 kW) and 224 lb·ft (304 N·m). The engine is essentially an update to the C30A and does not share commonality with the C32A. Honda increased displacement to 3.2 L (195 cu in) through the use of larger 93 mm (3.7 in) pistons over the 90 mm (3.5 in) used in the C30A. To accommodate the larger pistons, Honda used an advanced metallurgical technique on the cylinders called Fiber Reinforced Metal (FRM), in which an ultra lightweight alumina-carbon fiber is cast into the traditional aluminum alloy for enhanced rigidity. This process allowed thinner cylinder walls to be used while providing acceptable cooling characteristics. The C32B also used 32 mm (1.3 in) intake valves, which are 1 mm (0.04 in) larger than those in the C30A.
- 1997-2005 Honda NSX 6-Speed Manual Transmission
The C35A is a SOHC and carries the largest displacement of the C series at 3.5 L (214 cu in). The engine is also said to have forged components specifically its crankshaft and connecting rods. The C35 also contains a balance shaft to dampen engine vibrations associated with 90 degree design V6 engines. Besides the addition of these forged components, the overall design is similar to its smaller counterpart the C32A, with some parts being interchangeable. The 9.6:1 compression ratio of the C32A is also retained, despite the increase in displacement.
- C35A - SOHC - 210–225 hp
The C35B (name unconfirmed) is a DOHC V6 with VTEC which shares basic design properties with its SOHC non-VTEC counterpart but with more aggressive camshafts and slightly lighter cylinder walls. This was the only DOHC VTEC V6 ever built by Honda for longitudinal applications and was only used in one non-production car, the Honda FS-X concept.
- 1991 Honda FS-X concept- 280 hp (209 kW)
- JDM Spec Engines - Honda C30A Engine
- "G2: DIY: Engine Swaps: C35 Swap". Acuralegendwiki.org. 2010-01-02. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
- "1996 Acura 3.5 RL- Specifications". Hondanews.com. Retrieved 2012-01-27.