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  7. VTEC debuts the Honda...

[YesAuto Classic Engine Tour] If you are a person who is good at observing details, you will find that there are more and more cars with Gecko, TSI, TID, GTI, etc. on the road in the past few years. This includes both the expectation of homophony and the enthusiasm for brand and technology. In these dazzling arrays of marks, the four letters of VTEC appear so plain and unremarkable. Even, it is easy for us to confuse it with terms such as VVT, VTi, CVT, etc. People with a little understanding will only think that this is only a fuel-saving technology.

As everyone knows, it is not only a product of the “boring and boring” requirements to reduce the fuel consumption of family cars, but also a holy thing in the hearts of diehard car fans. In those crazy years, on the harsh track and the dark mountain roads, countless young drivers created and refreshed their jaw-dropping results while growing together with it. This is the protagonist of our classic engine tour, a dream-like technology that was born 26 years ago and the B16 engine that debuted with it for the first time.

■ The beginning of unintentionally inserting willows

Whether it is 20 years ago or 20 years later, the birth and development of technology are actually inseparable from the needs of economic development in the era in which it is in. Our protagonist was born in the 1980s, when this blue planet, which has suffered from decades of war and chaos, ushered in a rare period of peaceful development. Whether it is a victorious or a defeated country, after years of renovation, the economies of all countries have begun to rejuvenate. Japan is also one of them, and has entered a period of economic expansion since December 1986.

The unprecedented prosperity of the economy made the Japanese people have more demand for vehicles at that time, or the expectation for power is more urgent. Even under the tightening of environmental protection regulations like a curse, people's expectations for performance have not diminished in the slightest. How should fuel consumption and performance be balanced? This has become a headache for many car companies, but a car company that has been paranoid about performance since its inception is excited. That's right, this is Honda Technical Research.

For this stubborn car factory, whether it is the original president Soichiro Honda, or the successor Kawashima Preferences, Kume Shishi, and later Kawamoto Nobuhiko, they all follow the “technically not taking the road that others have walked.” “If the technology has already been adopted, we must find another way and use other methods to better realize it” motto.

● Design inspiration from motorcycle engine

As we all know, Honda first started by manufacturing motorcycles, and was well-known by the world for its outstanding performance in motorcycle competitions. Therefore, in the early development of the follow-up Honda four-wheeled vehicle, it is often seen that R&D personnel draw inspiration from motorcycle design, and VTEC technology has some origins with motorcycles.

On the CBR400F motorcycle in 1983, Honda used a technology called REF for its NC07E engine. It uses a bayonet to make the cam on the camshaft intervene in the work, and finally realizes the change from two valve intake and exhaust to four valve The original intention of the intake and exhaust design. The control and change of the intake and exhaust system are slightly different from the VTEC technology used on the final car engine, but the technology tested on the high-speed motorcycle engine proves its stability. It is precisely because of its rich experience in motorcycle engine design, R&D, and manufacturing that Honda naturally continued its high-speed, red-line area capability when designing automotive engines. This is in sharp contrast with other brands of engines that enter the high-speed area, which is almost equivalent to approaching the limit. The “character trait” of the engine eventually became the gene of Honda's continuous evolution but still retained. The reason is not unrelated to Honda's “immersion” in the motorcycle field for many years.

● The birth of VTEC technology for automobile engines

Time passed until April 19, 1989, when two new Honda cars named Integra RSI (DA6) and Integra XSI (DA6/DA8) were released at the same time. They were equipped with a 1.6L naturally aspirated engine code-named B16A. Equipped with Honda's latest technology-VTEC! This is a sign of the arrival of a new era.

In VTEC technology, when the engine is under low load, a low-angle cam is used to ensure the fuel economy of the engine; when the engine is under high-load conditions, a high-angle cam is used to allow more fresh air to enter the combustion chamber , So that the engine bursts out stronger power.

● The magic of sound

After the VTEC system is turned on, in addition to the change in the “personality” of the engine, what Honda fans are talking about is the obvious change in the engine sound. Unlike the usual hoarseness when the engine reaches the high-speed region, the engine equipped with VTEC and i-VTEC technology bursts out a roar of excitement, madness, and even madness in the high-speed region. In the hearts of car fans, the most beautiful sound in the world, besides the cry of the child's birth, may be the sound they call Honda Sound. The following 40-second video is a demonstration of this burst of sound, and the sound of the engine before and after 20 seconds of the video is just like two people. It is useless to say more, let us put on the headphones and listen together.

It is also worth noting that the currently published information shows that Mr. Kenichi Matsuzawa’s original intention to develop VTEC was to increase the power of the engine as much as possible without changing the engine structure and ensuring the convenience and operability of daily driving. However, the consideration of improving the fuel economy of the engine is an unintentional act. The original intention of this research and development has made the B16 engine, or the models equipped with VTEC technology, become a leader in the field of creating different personalities, or pretending to be pigs and tigers.

■ Guys pretending to be pigs and eating tigers

● The engine that changes the character of the car

Since the birth of the car, there has never been a lack of excellent technology. However, those technologies that only exist in the calculation paper, design drawings or the laboratory can only be idiotic dreams. They can be mass-produced and passed through different times and environments. , Different car habit is destroyed, the technology after test will be regarded as a classic by later generations, and the valuable VTEC technology belongs to the latter.

The B16A engine equipped with the Integra launched in 1989 is an early product, but from the maximum power of 160Ps/7600rpm, the maximum torque of 150N·m/7000rpm, and the red line speed zone starting at 8200rpm, you can still clearly smell the high-speed engine. The taste of power. Compared with the previous ZC series engine's 75mm bore and 90mm stroke, the B16A engine's 81mm bore and 77.4mm stroke appear “shorter and flatter”, which is suitable for high-speed adjustment.

Surely mentioning Integra will always evoke some people's memories. The two DC2 and DC5 models equipped with the red-top-powered TYPE R that Honda is proud of today are all from the Integra car series. However, few people seem to understand the slightly tortuous history of the Integra car series, so we take this opportunity to talk a little bit.

● Continuously optimized B16

On September 22, five months after the release of the second-generation Integea, Honda released the CR-X SiR (EF8) with a lighter body. The most impressive thing is the small glass window on the trunk. This The design has also become one of the iconic designs of CR-X in the future. Several years later, CR-Z used this familiar design again. However, the two are not related by blood.

You may have noticed that in the early B16 engine, the most powerful model is the lightest CR-X. One of the reasons for this situation is also related to the vehicle development and design concept. As we have already introduced, Honda has used many motorcycle R&D concepts for reference in the early stages of four-wheel vehicle R&D and manufacturing. Among them, when the torque parameters are consistent, the weight of the motorcycle and the rider can have a significant impact on the acceleration performance. Therefore, reducing the weight of the vehicle body can obtain better power performance, which has become the basis of automobile development and design. In the subsequent engine or vehicle development process, when the electrical equipment used in the vehicle gradually increases and the weight of the vehicle body gradually increases, the advantage of the VTEC system to re-explode the engine power begins to decrease. The solution seems to be to continue to optimize the VTEC system and Expand engine displacement. Of course, this is something later.

In addition, although the B16 engine has proven itself through performance in the first few years of its launch, the impression left to everyone is at most an engine with a certain potential. What really makes it shine, or makes people remember it, are the models we are going to talk about below. This is the “character” that we are familiar with and the “crazy” Honda should have.

■ Classic textbook-EG6

Friends who are familiar with Honda must know the character of this company very well, and its dedication to performance is unique. This is reflected in the release of a refreshing technology that will soon make it stronger, making it impossible for opponents to surpass it. The B16 engine and equipped models are also an example. After its success, in September 1991, the fifth-generation CIVIC with the chassis number EG was born. It officially replaced the EF that was born in 1987 and became the mainstay of Honda's best-selling car. After the B16 on board has undergone further modification and enhancement, the compression ratio has increased from 10.2:1 in the EF era to 10.4:1, and the maximum horsepower has been increased again to 170Ps/7800rpm, and the maximum torque has become 157N·m/7200rpm.

In comparison, the Peugeot 205GTi, which is regarded as proud by the French, is equipped with only 128Ps with a 1.9L engine. what? You said there is another opponent? I guess you are talking about the Volkswagen Golf GTI, but the 1.8L inline four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine has a maximum power of 112Ps/5500rpm and a maximum torque of 156N·m/3100rpm.

The weak performance of the opponents made the Civic generations code-named EF and later EG, EK invincible in the legal and illegal arenas, and the small displacement group almost became the Honda One Make Race during this period. However, this is just the beginning, and the show is yet to come!

■ Unsurpassable ultimate——B16B

Before we really show the limits of the B16 engine, let's talk a little story first. As mentioned earlier, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Japan was experiencing rapid economic development or expansion. Young people were interested and financially able to buy better, faster, and more exciting cars. For young people of that era, owning a good car is similar to the satisfaction of owning an iPhone today. Therefore, not only Honda, but Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda also launched many classic models at this time, regardless of cost.

In other words, it is impossible for Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda to sit back and watch Honda alone. The best way to fight back is to launch products that overwhelm Honda. Toyota first made a counterattack and made improvements based on 4A-GE. It took out a supercharged 4A-GZE engine with a maximum power of 165Ps and a maximum torque of 210N·m. In 1995, Nissan released the SR16VE engine equipped with Neo-VVL technology with a maximum power of 175Ps/7800rpm and a maximum torque of 161N·m/7200rpm. For this challenging behavior, Honda people are as calm as usual, and there is no verbal response.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd., which always likes to show people with its products, silently “drew out” the B16B in 1998. The model equipped with this engine is the well-known Civic, but its Honda logo has changed to red. The humble logo-TYPE R.

B16 series engine parameters
B16A (preliminary) B16A (late stage) B16B
Installed vehicle

Honda Integra XSi

Honda CRX SiR (EF8)

Honda Civic SiR (EF9)

JDM Honda Integra
“XSi” (DA6)

JDM Honda Civic SiR/

JDM Honda Civic Ferio
SiR (EG9)

JDM Honda CR-X del Sol
SiR (EG2)

JDM Honda Civic SiR/

JDM Honda Civic
Ferio Si (EK4)

Displacement 1595mL 1595mL 1595mL
Compression ratio 10.2:1 10.6:1 10.8:1
Bore 81.0mm 81.0mm 81.0mm
stroke 77.4mm 77.4mm 77.4mm
Maximum power 160Ps/7600rpm 170Ps/8400rpm 188Ps/8200rpm
Maximum torque 150N·m/7000rpm 157N·m/7200rpm 160N·m/7500rpm
Red line speed ≥8200rpm

VTEC opening speed: 5500rpm

VTEC opening speed: 6100rpm

■ Regret

Of course, the B16 or VTEC technology is not invulnerable, although it enables the civil naturally aspirated engine to reach the field of 100Ps per litre for the first time. But whether it is B16A or B16B, the weak engine at low speed has always been a chronic disease. Even on the street, an ordinary family car can easily pass. Of these regrets, Honda's engineers will certainly not ignore them. In 2000, K series engines equipped with i-VTEC, which is a multi-stage variable valve timing and lift system, were unveiled, and the weak links of the B16 series engines were improved. Unfortunately, as the weight of cars continues to increase, fatigue at low speeds still exists. Although increasing the engine displacement can make up for the disadvantages, it also goes against the original intention of VTEC.

We have previously interpreted the story of the F20 and K20 series engines in detail. Those who are not familiar with this part of the content can click on “The King of Naturally Aspirated Engines: Analysis of Honda Red Top F20C” and “Analysis of the Transition from Sensibility to Reason Honda” K20A Engine” reading.

Full text summary:

People 26 years ago were intoxicated in the dream of economic bubble-like development, in which VTEC technology and B16A engine appeared in this dream. The dual pursuit of fuel consumption and power drives Honda to modify the B16 engine time and time again. With the passage of time, more and more new technologies are born, and VTEC technology disappears like a dream. In recent years, Honda's technical weakness has made the “Honda sound” a little dull. I hope it is no longer just the sound of car fans' dreams.