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JDM Engines - Caveat Emptor

584 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  shorty_boy
In a previous post I wrote about excessive oil consumption in my daughter's HF. Long story short, the bores were out of tolerance and it's impossible to find oversized pistons anymore, and so we're looking at alternatives, including JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) engines. There's already plenty of discussion about this, but I wanted to give you my initial impressions after stopping by a distributor in Seattle. I called ahead of time to see if they had a non-VTEC OBD0 16A6 or 15B6 in stock. The person I spoke with said they had a 16A in stock - that in Japan, they don't differentiate between A2, A6, A7, and so forth. He also said it came with the ECM, which was great since I assumed that the stock ECM would be programmed differently. He said it was a really nice engine.

1. When I got there, the worker was friendly and helpful but the engine in question was pretty rough looking and it was a DOHC 16A8. It also had an old seat belt strap tied to the engine, presumably used as a sling to remove the engine at some point. In one section of the warehouse there were three to four gutted cars and a worker separating an engine from a transmission which presumably came from one of those cars. It really made me wonder whether this engine truly came from Japan, and so I question the validity of the claim that these engines only have 45-60K on them.

2. There was another engine on a shelf that the worker offered to show me, but it would have required lowering it down with a forklift and moving 20 - 30 engines out of the way just to get to the shelf. He offered to move them out of the way with his forklift. I can only imagine how often these engines get moved around (pushed around) using a forklift, possibly being dropped or worse, when customers aren't looking.

3. I don't think there's any way to prove or disprove the claim that these engines have low miles on them.

Anyways, those are my initial impressions of just one distributor - doesn't mean they're all like that. But I would be very cautious about ordering an engine from one of these places sight-unseen and the fact that they're warranted doesn't make me feel much better about it. Swapping engines is not as simple as returning shoes at Amazon.

Would be nice if there was some kind of certification process for these engines. I'd pay more for something that was certified.
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My recommendation is to always go through H-motors online. I bought a rebuild from Attarco for my wife's DX. Basically it was long block only and was a JDM bottom end with a D15B2. The engine was relatively good but the car could not pass CA smog. The engine is still in the car but, I have had to do some work on it to fix some issues from the rebuild.

On the other hand, I have a D15z7 (JDM D15b dual VTEC) in my HF and I have had no issues with it. I recently tore the thing apart to do some upgrades on it and the thing still looks brand new inside. This was definitely a low mileage engine for sure. This engine came from H-Motors. I have also bought and installed other H-Motors engines for other people. If you must have JDM and you live on the West Coast, save yourself the issue, Buy-Hmotors.
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