The Honda B20 Engine Manual. The Honda B20 engine made its debut in 1985 as the B20A engine. The B20A was the basis for the B-series engines, however it is not considered a member of the B-series engine family. This engine family includes the B16, B17, B18, and B20B, with the latter serving as the primary emphasis of this article. The B20B 2.0L inline-4 was introduced in 1996 and was primarily utilized in the Honda CR-V from 1996 to 2001. Despite its limited application, the B20 is a wonderful engine that can be a great swap. This page covers Honda B20 engine specs, troubles, reliability, modifications, and more.
What Vehicles Make Use of the B20 2.0L Engine?
The B20b engine is available in the years and models listed below:
- B20B4: CR-V 1996-1998, Orthia
- B20B8: CR-V 1999-2001, Orthia
- B20Z2: CR-V 1999-2001, Orthia
- 1995-2002 Orthia, CR-V B20B JDM
The B20B engine should not be confused with the older B20A3 and B20A5 engines. It’s a little perplexing because the previous engine used the same B20 engine code as the B-series. Most parts on the older B20A, however, are incompatible with the B-series engines. From 1985 through 1991, the B20A was largely used in the Honda Prelude, as well as select Accords.
Honda B20 Engine Specifications
The following are the specifications for Honda B20 engines:
*The B20B JDM engine was manufactured from 1995 to 2002, with a few revisions after 1997. Some of the changes include increased compression to 9.6:1 and a lower redline of 6,500rpm. The specifications shown above are for the 1995-1997 JDM engine.
All of these B20B engines are from the same B-series engine family and have a 2.0L displacement. As a result, the engine specs for the Honda B20 are very comparable. They’re all non-VTEC, with the same block and 84x89mm bore and stroke.
The compression ratio and power output are notable differences across B20 models. The 2.0L B-series engines provide 126-150 horsepower and 131-140 pound-feet of torque. It may sound underwhelming, but this was respectable power from a 2.0L engine from the 1990s. This is especially true in Honda’s lightweight models.
Engines B20B 2.0L VTEC
VTEC is not standard on any of the B20B engines. A popular upgrade is to install a Honda VTEC cylinder head on the B20B engine. Because of its bigger 2.0L displacement (in comparison to the smaller B-series engines), the Honda B20 produces a lot of low-end torque. Adding VTEC to the B20 increases top-end power for a fantastic engine build.
Finally, installing a VTEC head onto a B20B involves extensive research and patience. There is far too much to cover in one post, but we wanted to emphasize that it is extremely achievable. It also serves as a prelude to the following part, in which we cover Honda B20 engine upgrades and modifications.
Honda B20 Performance and Modifications
The B20B engine is a common swap for Honda Civic and CRX cars from the 1980s and 1990s. Because they are extremely light-weight, you can build a very fast Honda with only 200-250 horsepower. Even without forced induction, B20 engines are capable of those numbers. Among the best B20 2.0L inline-4 engine modifications are:
- Cylinder head with VTEC
With the foregoing modifications, the B20 can create a lot of power and torque. If you truly want to push the limits and create 200+ horsepower, you’ll have to put in some effort. Upgrades to the cylinder head, as well as ARP rod bolts, head studs, and other components, are likely.
Another subject that is simply too broad to include in a generic Honda B20 engine guide. In the future, we’ll most likely offer a mod-specific B20B guide to delve deeper into this information. For the time being, the 2.0L inline-4 engine is sufficiently capable, especially in smaller, lighter Honda vehicles. Meanwhile, check out this amazing B20 Civic build on Motortrend.
The Most Common Honda B20 Engine Issues
Among the most prevalent Honda B20B engine issues are:
- Seals for cams
- The head gasket
- The water pump
- Timing chain
In the following sections, we will look at each of the aforementioned Honda B20 engine issues. But before we get started, a few quick notes are in order. These are the most prevalent Honda 2.0L inline-4 engine problems. That doesn’t mean they’re widespread in the true sense of the term. Instead, when issues do arise, these are some of the most commonly encountered areas.
Having saying that, the B20B has a high level of general dependability. The lack of VTEC also simplifies maintenance and repairs if cylinder head difficulties emerge. Anyway, after we’ve worked through the common engine issues, we’ll return to B20 reliability.
1) B20B Cam Seal Problems
Cam seal issues on B-series engines mostly affect VTEC engines. As a result, this isn’t as common on non-VTEC Honda B20 engines. It’s worth mentioning again because it’s so common on the B-series and can still impact the B20. It’s also something to consider if you intend to install a VTEC head on the B20B.
Cam seals, fortunately, are a pretty simple problem with long-term remedies. With age, the cam seals simply harden and crack, allowing oil to leak. The main problem on the B-series engines is the front cam seal.
Replacing the OEM cam seal with an aftermarket aluminum alternative is a straightforward remedy. These aluminum cam seals rely on rubber O-rings to form a seal, and those O-rings may corrode and leak over time. The point is, it’s not a perfect solution, but it has proven to be more reliable than OEM seals.
Finally, this is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things, and it is less common on the B20 than on the VTEC B16 or B18. If you’re swapping out a VTEC head or working in the area, an aftermarket seal won’t hurt. Check out possibilities like this $10 Add W1 cam seal. It’s an easy and inexpensive modification that should outlive OEM replacement possibilities.
Symptoms of B20 Cam Seal Leak
The following are symptoms of cam leak problems on the B20 engine:
- There is a visible oil leak.
- Engine compartment smoke
- The odor of burning oil
The most typical sign of Honda B20 front cam seal oil leaks is a visible oil leak. If the leak is severe enough, you may also detect smoke from the engine compartment or burning oil odors. However, you’ll most likely notice a visible oil leak before things get out of hand.
2) Failure of the Honda B20 Head Gasket
Failure of the head gasket is another typical problem on the B-series and B20. Part of this can be attributed to the age and mileage of most B-series engines these days. The head gasket typically lasts 120,000 miles or more, although most B20 engines have certainly exceeded that mileage by now. Age and modifications can also have an impact on head gasket lifetime.
In any case, blown head gaskets and leaks may be time-consuming and expensive problems, so it’s critical to be aware of them. If you’re swapping out a VTEC head, you should get a new head gasket. It’s debatable whether to utilize an OEM B20 non-VTEC gasket or an aftermarket VTEC gasket. People have had success and failure with both routes, so there is no ideal solution.
Head gaskets necessitate the removal of the complete cylinder head, making it a labor-intensive problem. If you end yourself in a repair shop for Honda B20 head gasket repairs, you could be looking at a bill of $600-800 or more. It is, thankfully, less expensive than replacing head gaskets on many other engines, but it is still not cheap.
*Whenever you replace the head gasket, you should also repair the water pump and timing belt. Because there is a lot of overlap in labor, you can save time and money by completing this at the same time.
Symptoms of B20B 2.0L Head Gasket Failure
The failure systems for Honda B20 head gaskets are as follows:
- Combination of oil and coolant
- Idle time
- Insufficient coolant
- Exhaust smoke is white.
Failures of the head gasket are major problems that require rapid repair. Oil and coolant can mix, which can be hazardous to the engine due to inadequate lubrication. You might notice drivability difficulties, such as a harsh idle. In addition, keep an eye out for low B20 coolant levels, white smoke from the exhaust, and overheating.
3) Issues with the B20 2.0L Inline-4 Water Pump
Water pump problems on the Honda B20B 2.0L inline-4 engine follow. Again, it may not be fair to call this a common issue because it is more likely to be standard maintenance and age-related. Nonetheless, the water pump is subjected to a great deal of abuse over time and may develop leaks or shaft problems. The weep hole is the most common point of failure and is usually where coolant leaks occur.
Another prevalent issue inside the cooling system is thermostats, which could be the source of the troubles. In any case, instead of a full shaft failure, the water pump frequently develops a leak. However, if the B20 water pump shaft fails, this can result in overheating. If not addressed promptly, this might lead to more serious problems, such as head gasket failure.
The timing belt drives the Honda B20 water pump, which is the subject of our next discussion. Both items are also simple to replace if you ever need to replace the head gasket. Finally, you can save some time and money by utilizing overlapping labor.
Symptoms of a 2.0L Inline-4 Water Pump
The following are some signs of water pump failure on the Honda B20B 2.0 inline-4:
- Coolant dripping
- Coolant depletion
- Coolant gushing
Again, the principal failure mode of B20 water pumps is a simple weep hole leak. This leak is normally not a serious worry as long as it is minor and your coolant is fully charged. Otherwise, total water pump failure can result in engine overheating, bubbling coolant, and other issues. This is a significant issue that should be addressed as soon as feasible. Continuous or severe overheating might lead to more serious problems in the long run.
A water pump failure may also cause a check engine light and a fault code to illuminate. Reading the codes with an OBD2 scanner will assist narrow down the problem and potentially guide you in the direction of the water pump.
Related : The Guide to the Volvo B18 Engine
4) Timing Belt for Honda B20B
Another issue that mainly comes down to routine maintenance is the Honda B20 timing belt. Timing belts should be replaced every 6-8 years, or every 90,000 to 105,000 miles. Even if you’ve barely driven 30,000 miles in the last eight years, age can be just as brutal on timing belts.
Because the B20B is an interference engine, there is some overlap in the area where the pistons and valves travel. Timing can skip if the timing belt fails. It is conceivable for valves and pistons to collide in this circumstance. The valves are then twisted, and piston damage is probable. That’s not good.
Finally, don’t forget about the Honda B20 timing belt. Premature failures can and do occur, but they are uncommon. As long as you maintain the timing belt, you should avoid these issues. It’s just something to keep in mind because of the B20 2.0L inline-4 engine’s interference design.
Engine Reliability of the B20B
Is the Honda B20 engine trustworthy? Yes, we believe the B20B 2.0L engine is more reliable than average. Many of the common problems with the B20 are simply the result of the engines’ age and mileage. Aside from head gasket failures, the majority of the issues are also inexpensive and simple to repair.
Of course, the B20 is now a 20+ year old engine. Even low mileage examples of older engines require some extra TLC. Parts like as gaskets, seals, belts, and other components can also deteriorate with age. Remember this if you’re shopping for an older engine, such as the Honda B20B.
Maintain routine maintenance, use quality oils, change fluids on time, and solve problems as soon as they arise. If you do all of this, the B20 will be extremely reliable and long-lasting. It’s fairly uncommon for the B-series engine to reach 250,000 miles with few troubles.