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Old 12-01-2015, 01:35 AM   #1
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1990 prelude K20 z3 swap

Hey, I'm restoring a 90 prelude and have come across a k20z3 swap. It has been done but not much was documented about it. Does anyone have any thoughts? ideas?
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Old 12-01-2015, 09:03 AM   #2
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Generally speaking K series wont fit without a massive hole in the hood or appalling ground clearance. If you do a search under my name I did a CAD drawing of what it would look like.

It could maybe be done with subframe trimming and increasing tilt. Similar to what I did in my H22 swap thread #2.

P.S. Someone send me a K series and I will find a way.
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Old 12-01-2015, 12:07 PM   #3
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Anything is possible with time and money

Custom.... I can do it... However it will take some work. BA has a lot of room front to back... compared to other chassis's. Yes K series taller motor so Hood clearance or lack of would be your biggest concern being that the BA hood comes down quite a bit to a point to the front.
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Old 12-01-2015, 12:35 PM   #4
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No mounts for it, but even if mounts were to be made for it, the biggest issue is that terrible ground clearance.

The K20 is taller than an H22 and most people in the community dont want to give up ground clearance which is why the H22 has not taken off as big as was hoped.

Its really not that much harder to do the swap kit, but you will require to cut the hood and you will still not be able to lower the lude at all because the 3rd gen is the most unique chassis of all Honda's exluding the NSX.

You are better off with H22 or B16/18/20b swap like we have discussed in past.

Since we do not have spare hoods floating around and a custom one would cost around $800-$1100 to make its an added cost just to do this swap.

Being unique costs money that 99% of most 3rd genners are not willing to pay.

Here are some pics:








Here are MustardCats CAD drawings to put things in perspective:












And what you are not seeing in these picures are the fact that the engine is sitting on the ground and now wheels on the ground.

And I am sure you have seen these floating around:













And lets add the many threads discussing this swap again:

1. http://www.preludepower.com/forums/s...light=k20+swap

2. http://www.preludepower.com/forums/s...light=k20+swap

3. http://www.preludepower.com/forums/s...light=k20+swap

4. http://www.preludepower.com/forums/s...light=k20+swap

5. http://www.preludepower.com/forums/s...light=k20+swap

6. http://www.preludepower.com/forums/s...light=k20+swap

7. http://www.preludepower.com/forums/s...light=k20+swap

8. http://www.preludepower.com/forums/s...light=k20+swap

9. http://www.preludepower.com/forums/s...light=k20+swap

10. http://www.preludepower.com/forums/s...light=k20+swap

etc..... I think you get the picture here.

Now dont get me wrong, the swap can be done just fine, its keeping the swap in the engine bay that is your cost as well as the ground clearance.
If you dont mind getting rain in your engine while idling at a stop light, then go for it.
But with most things this is really just a one off kit type of thing.

The B series kit has not taken off at all because most new kids picking up these old chassis have no idea what a real cost of custom parts are because they are all so used too civic/integra prices.
Not the case here.
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Old 12-02-2015, 09:03 PM   #5
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Anything is possible with time and money

Custom.... I can do it... However it will take some work. BA has a lot of room front to back... compared to other chassis's. Yes K series taller motor so Hood clearance or lack of would be your biggest concern being that the BA hood comes down quite a bit to a point to the front.
The Hole in the hood is sad, however having a stock 200 hp k20 would be unique. I have done some inquiries with a mechanic and it was a cheaper alternative than a B20, the ground clearance will be something to look at. Some custom mounts will have to be made for sure, but I think a 6 speed lsd will be worth the time and effort.

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Old 12-02-2015, 09:08 PM   #6
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The Hole in the hood is sad, however having a stock 200 hp k20 would be unique. I have done some inquiries with a mechanic and it was a cheaper alternative than a k20, the ground clearance will be something to look at. Some custom mounts will have to be made for sure, but I think a 6 speed lsd will be worth the time and effort.
Thanks for the input, and nice work, Perhaps a larger tire to increase the ground clearance? and set the speedo to a larger tire size.
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Old 12-03-2015, 12:16 PM   #7
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Stock RSX tire size 205/55-16 buys you about 21mm, less than an inch, of ride height.
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I'm leaning toward the stock one as well. You're getting Pandora's Box either way, but at least with the stock one Zeus has actually remembered to hide hope at the bottom.
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Old 12-03-2015, 01:22 PM   #8
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If you use a better ratio FD and even bigger wheels/tyres you can get more ground clearance without losing much else. Aesthetics may play a part but for those going in this far, a lip and skirt solution sorts that relatively easy (and can get you some nice aero at the same time).
It would obviously harm the CofG and handling a tad but most could live with that (or not even notice).

If you have the mindset and ability/access to those that do, then this swap is perfectly viable. For those wanting to just swap parts in... forget it.
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Old 12-03-2015, 02:32 PM   #9
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Uniqueness Definetly... different

I am an H guy though... about a decade ago... when K's were new... guy before me had a bolt on K20, hondata etc... It made like 180 whp and like 135 trq. My bolt on JDM H22 made 185 whp and 155 trq... Mustang dyno... Guy spent probably double on the swap then I did... from then on haven't been much of a K guy...

Doing a K20 to H22... its a no brainer on price... hp, torque... H. K24 has more potential.
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:50 PM   #10
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Om my build I will use a Civic VT Hood and transplant the powerpump to the BA so the Honda look is kept.
The red Thai Prelude is fitted with a K24!! And his new setup just barely cross the hoodline.
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:53 PM   #11
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Om my build I will use a Civic VT Hood and transplant the powerpump to the BA so the Honda look is kept.
The red Thai Prelude is fitted with a K24!! And his new setup just barely cross the hoodline.
His instagram is gaia_wheels btw lots of pictures there.
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Old 12-05-2015, 03:04 PM   #12
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Om my build I will use a Civic VT Hood and transplant the powerpump to the BA so the Honda look is kept.
The red Thai Prelude is fitted with a K24!! And his new setup just barely cross the hoodline.
His hoodline is still too high and his ground clearance is almost 0 because the motor is taller than the H22 in the same location.

But its still a doable swap.
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Old 12-05-2015, 04:33 PM   #13
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Still the K24 is even taller than the K20.
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Old 12-05-2015, 06:27 PM   #14
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Still the K24 is even taller than the K20.
Yes it is.


Stock deck height
K20 212mm
K24 231mm?
F20C 224mm
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:34 PM   #15
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The k20z3 is only 2 inches taller than the b21a. They are the same width and depth. The axle hole on the k20z3 is the same height from bottom of trans as the b21a as well. This means that tue additional hieght can be dealt.with by hood protrusion rather than decreased oil pan clearance.
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If I had to guess, it's because the car is a thrown-together piece of shit.
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Old 12-06-2015, 02:12 PM   #16
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the h22 is bad enough with clearance, and slamming your lude in not optional unless you go to the fabrication extent as musturdcat did, or you live in area with zero pot holes.
with the money you would put into kswap you could have a high comp h22 running e85, with plenty of cash left over for bolt-ons...hell you can damn near have a reliable h22 turbo if done correctly.
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:01 PM   #17
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I think the money end of it depends on how much you get the motor for and what kind of deal you can broker on the fabrication.

The swap is easy as you convert the z3 motor to the 05-06 rsx harness, and run the 05-06 rsx pcm. Realistically the only issue then become the mounting, which isn that hard; as long as your good with a hole in the hood.

The ground clearance, wont be that bad, as the b21a oil pan sits the same as the k20z3 depth wise. I would love to see this swap take place and would love to check it out in person.


Mustard cat did an h22 swap correct?
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Old 12-07-2015, 12:06 AM   #18
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Its too costly bro.

Thats the whole point to this swap.
It is just way too costly to lose more of the ground clearance and the hole in the hood is rediculous for us 3rd genners when we do not hoods to replace so easily or if at all.

Once you go with this swap there is no interchanging of anything and the whole point to any swap is to keep as much as close to OE as possible.

As you can see for the pictures I posted, the guy in Malaysia is almost stock height and he still has a hole in the hood.

Just for a 6 speed tranny?

The H swap is still the best bang power to dollar ratio and you dont have to give up much, and still get some low for better handling and style.

Ask yourself why you do not see real 3rd genners trying to do this swap?
Its not because for lack of trying, its because its too much to sacrifice as well as cost.

The H swap is even more popular than the B16/18/20b swap even after I made the swap kit, hardly anyone wants to purchase the kit.

And only one person has done this K swap, another is attempting to do it but it will be his track car, not a daily driven car.

Money talks when it comes to swaps like those, and unfortunately its the reality of this community.
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Old 12-07-2015, 12:12 AM   #19
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1990 prelude K20 z3 swap

So the guy who did the k swap is not a real 3rd genner? *scratches head*

(I'd still do H though, if I was going to do a swap)
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I'm leaning toward the stock one as well. You're getting Pandora's Box either way, but at least with the stock one Zeus has actually remembered to hide hope at the bottom.
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Old 12-07-2015, 12:47 AM   #20
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So the guy who did the k swap is not a real 3rd genner? *scratches head*

(I'd still do H though, if I was going to do a swap)
Ok maybe I can re-phrase.

But too much was sacrificed to get that swap done.
We should try to do modifications that keep in line with not destroying the character of our chassis.

Or else is just another civic...
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Old 12-07-2015, 12:49 AM   #21
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So the guy who did the k swap is not a real 3rd genner? *scratches head*
Obviously not, as Sean said it.


Not sure I agree with a lot of that 'opinion' though.

The whole point to any swap is getting what that particular owner desires. Not what market forces dictate. The whole point is to have something that isn't the norm, something different.
I think some have the opinion that a swap is only worthwhile if it is marketable, the exact opposite of the original ideals behind engine swaps.

There are sacrifices to most swaps and some of the sacrifices for the K swap are more desirable than those you make for the H swap.

So you keep standard ride height for the K.. no big deal as far as functionality is concerned. (and no worse than the H swap anyway)
So you cut a scoop in the bonnet/hood? So what.. it's a great option for feeding your ITBs.

The problems with the K swap shouldn't be any harder than any H/B swap, just different.

The reason 'why you do not see real 3rd genners trying to do this swap' is because we're still getting the best out of the 'real 3rd gen' engines. :-p

If I were to choose a swap to do... which I might.. it would be K first, B18 second.. then maybe H22.
And I have a H22 already so don't need to find/buy one of those.
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Old 12-07-2015, 12:54 AM   #22
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But too much was sacrificed to get that swap done.
Enlighten me Sean, I'm not sure what was sacrificed.


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We should try to do modifications that keep in line with not destroying the character of our chassis.

Or else is just another civic...
The chassis will never be 'just another Civic'.
But as we all should know, a well sorted civic and a well sorted Lude.. not much to choose between them as far as performance of chassis is concerned.

Sticking a K series in does no more harm than a H.
I've dealt with/driven/experienced many cars that have swaps between B/H/K engines and all behave very similarly whichever engine they have. And all perform very similarly with similar states of tune.
A lot of it is down to personal preferences or ease of acquiring such.
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:02 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by 88SE Lude View Post
Enlighten me Sean, I'm not sure what was sacrificed.
1. Cutting the rare hood
2. Ground clearance
3. Pushing that motor farther forward than an H or B swap

Bottom line really is money, it comes down to money.

For a DIY who has all the resources at hand this is an option that they are willing to deal with then its fine for them.

For an aftermarket option its really not that simple at that point, it costs to much to do.

So if this swap was going to be so easy and popular why are there no lines forming to get it done here in the US?
I see one in Malaysia and one in UK.
Where are the rest?
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Last edited by 1funryd; 12-07-2015 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:21 AM   #24
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Ok, so here are the facts, not sure if eurphoric tree wants me to say anything, but he is a customer of mine, his k motor and trans are in my shop right now.

Both he and I measured the motors, both the k and the b21, and outside of the height difference the motor will sit just fine. He has no issue with a hole in the hood and we have already discussed making a custom cowl to cover it all after the swap.

Fact is he got the k motor for an unbelievable price, the wiring and conversion are cheap as I already have the parts in the shop from previous cars. The fabrication, well that's not an issue as I have made many custom mount setups over the years for different applications from VW to chevy to Honda to Toyota. Also, the fabrication time isn't a cost to him, as we both agreed that I would get some free advertisement out of it.

So now the fab time is nil, the parts are available and he got the motor on the cheap, why wouldn't this swap be good to do?

With some tuning this motor can easily make over 200hp and with bolt mods and tuning it can easily hit 220.

The hood is about the only downside, however, like I said earlier, we will deal with that when we get there. One way to reduce the required hood clearance is use the k24a intake manifold as it folds down, not up.

As for the oil pan, well the oil pan of the b21a will sit in the same spot as the k20z3 as remember this is not a k24 which has a huge bottom end.

All in all, this swap will move ahead whether people think it is feasible or not, so I hope the third gen group is prepared. Fact is both tree and I are hoping that this third gen community will support this swap and provide some guidance and assistance if needed along the way.

Also, anyone in here need a running b21a motor with a timgin kit and full seal kit? If so euphoric tree has one for sale that Iam willing to freight to anyone who needs it. 500-700 candian dollars takes it, so pony up if your interested.


Sean, I appreciate your feedback and am grateful to have you in the prelude community, Jon(I tthink its spelled that way), you expertise and knowledge is also appreciated and though we have had our difference over the years, know that I have allot of respect fro you and your opinion. Mustard cat, your drawings will assit allot in the moutning of this engine and I thank you for that. The rest of the third gen group, well, you guy are all pretty awesome, most defiantly more helpful to each other than most car groups, and to me that is some seriously cool shit. I hope that each one of you who may have an idea or a contribution to trees swap speaks up and engages themselves in this particular thread, as I welcome the feed back, as this swap has not received the greatest welcome, although with some work, maybe we all can make it something that others would like to do.

With all that said, keep the opinions coming, as I read them, ponder them and value them all as they help incite and provoke thoughts and ideas regarding this swap.
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If I had to guess, it's because the car is a thrown-together piece of shit.
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:41 AM   #25
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Oh so you were actually seriously considering this swap for someone else with a 3rd gen?

Well if you guys have worked out the fabrication parts for it to nil costs then I look forward to seeing your progress.
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