The following step-by-step article will get you through the essential steps of swapping a stock ’97 Honda Accord single-cam engine and automatic transmission with a ’96 Honda Prelude dual overhead cam engine and five-speed manual transmission. Ariel Gonzalez of Impulsive Concepts in Pico Rivera, California, performed this particular transplant.
The engine and tranny swap performed to this vehicle will not only offer its owner the convenience of more power and torque, but also the expanded flexibility and driving options which come with a five-speed manual transmission. By utilizing a five-speed manual transmission, the transmission will use less horsepower and transfer more of it to the ground. In addition, the owner will now have five speeds verses four, while also gaining the versatility to choose between down and up-shifts. (Please note that this is just a brief overview of the major steps needed to swap powerplants.)
1. Here is a picture of the stock engine bay of this ’97 Accord. The SOHC engine (F22B2) is coupled to an automatic transmission.
2.This is a picture of the clean and prepped DOHC (H23A) Prelude engine, which will use a five-speed transmission.
3. Remove the stock engine. (This can be a multiple-step process if you are required to keep certain stock components that are needed for the engine swap.)
4. The Accord’s rear sub frame comes equipped with the correct mounting holes for both versions of the rear engine mount (automatic and manual transmission).
5. In this picture we can see the difference in the two versions. The upper mount is used with automatics and the lower mount is used with manuals.
6. Install the new Place Racing rear engine mount as shown.
7&8. For this install, Ariel decided to remove the power steering pump for “less engine stress.” Instead of unbolting the power steering lines he cut them off using a cut-off wheel. Please note that removing the power steering will make the car more difficult to maneuver at slow speeds and can cause damage to the steering rack over time.
9. Remove the automatic shifter and shift cable. There is a wiring harness that is connected to the shifter; it will have to be modified in order for the car to operate properly. To install the manual shifter, you will have to route the shift cables over the rear crossmember before you bolt the shifter into place. You will also need to disconnect the throttle cable and the brake booster from the automatic pedal assembly. Please note that if you are planning to reuse the stock throttle cable check the pedal attachment on the manual pedal assembly. If they do not match you will need to change the gas pedal over to the other pedal assembly. Note: You can always buy the correct cable for that assembly. To install the clutch master cylinder, route the hard line from the clutch master cylinder against the firewall and attach the flexible clutch line.
10. Ariel used a shorter Honda fuel line to accommodate the AEM fuel rail. The AEM fuel rail has multiple ports allowing for various placements of the fuel inlet fitting. Use the -6 (dash 6) plug to block off the unwanted inlet ports.
11. Since the Accord fuel inlet line was located on the driver’s side of the engine compartment, the fuel inlet fitting was placed on the very end of the rail next to the fuel pressure regulator.
12&13. The EGR valve from the Accord and the Prelude do not have the same type of harness connector and the vacuum ports are in different locations. You will have to re-wire the harness with a different connector in order to use the Accord engine harness. Note: If the bolt pattern is the same the valves could be swapped to simplify the installation.
14. Here is a comparison of the Prelude distributor (left) vs. the Accord distributor (right). Since the mounting of the two distributors is different you will have to use the correct distributor for that engine.
15&16. The connector for the idle air control valve will need to be lengthened on the Accord’s wiring harness for the Prelude engine.
17. Here is a comparison of the modified wiring harness (upper pic) vs. the stock harness (lower pic).
18. In this picture we can see the difference between the Place Racing (polyurethane) transmission mount (left) vs. the stock rubber transmission mount on the right.
19.On top in this picture is the Prelude’s passenger-side axle and on the bottom is the Accord’s driver’s side axle.
20. A comparison between the Prelude’s driver’s side axle and intermediate shaft (top picture) and the Accord’s driver’s side axle (bottom picture).
21&22. Ariel prefers to lower the car over the engine. In doing so, he positions the engine before lowering the car down. From the top, Ariel then positions the engine further before lowering the car further. Using an engine hoist and a floor jack, the engine is placed in its final position.
23. Install the mounting bolt on the driver’s side engine mount.
24. In this picture we see the Prelude’s rear engine mount bracket.
25. With the help of an assistant, Ariel installs the rear engine mount bracket. Note: This engine mount bracket can also be set in place prior to bolting in the transmission and driver’s side mount.
26, 27&28. Install the engine harness from the bottom. Pull the harness up to the top of the engine and then proceed to connect all of the harness connectors to their proper location. Note: Installing the engine harness on the engine before installing it will simplify the installation.
29&30. Be sure to always check all seals on the transmission. When replacing the seal, Ariel prefers to use Honda-Bond as the sealant of choice.
31. Install the driver’s side axle. Make sure that the axles snap ring engages the differential.
32. Install the intermediate shaft. Note: This can be installed before installing the engine into the car.
33. Install the driver’s side axle.
34. If you are planning on using the stock Accord throttle cable, Ariel recommends moving the throttle cable bracket over instead of using the proper cable bracket.
35. Here is a final picture of the completed transplant.
Aftermarket Parts used:
* Place Racing polyurethane
* Engine mounts
* Hose Techniques vacuum
* Magnaflow catback exhaust
* AEM fuel rail
* Stage II racing clutch
* NGK ignition wires
* JG adjustable sprockets
* JG Throttle body
* DC Sports header