During the car’s downtime, Kevin used his bike as a means of transportation to work. In his hometown of Bishop, California, the temperatures often drop down to single digits during the winter, which made him appreciate his car even more. Absence made his heart grow fonder, and he couldn’t wait to finish his Civic. He ordered a new front end for his hatchback, reassembled the entire car, and sprayed it Fiji Blue Pearl. Gonzalez couldn’t help but think about all the bad decisions he had made before, one of them being the sale of his Mugen M7s, so he searched for months on end to find another set with specs to his liking.
“Having a stock D16 motor with a generic turbo kit just wasn’t going to cut it anymore,” Kevin states. “I decided to build the motor rather than swapping it for a B or K because those were just everywhere—I wanted to be different. I did my homework and started collecting the right parts. I sent the stock block to Keesler’s Machine Shop and had it bored, honed, and decked. For the cylinder head, I went the Bisimoto Engineering route and ordered up the entire valvetrain.” As soon as the block returned from machining, Kevin reassembled the D16Z6 motor with ARP studs, dropped it back into the freshly shaved engine bay, and began piecing together his own turbo kit. He opted for a Precision 5557 turbocharger and mounted it to a custom ram-horn turbo manifold. All piping associated with the turbo setup was custom fabricated as well, and fuel came in the form of a Walbro pump and 1,000cc injectors. Once the turbo install was completed, he brought his Civic down to Do-It Dyno in Signal Hill, California, where it was tuned via Hondata’s S300 system. The otherwise forgotten single-cam D16Z6 ultimately made a more than respectable 320 whp at 18 pounds of boost pressure—not too shabby for a “throwaway” motor.
“I’m very proud of this Civic because I learned how to do everything on it on my own,” Kevin says proudly. “From the bodywork to the custom tucked wire harness to my custom made brake lines, it was all me. I invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this build. The next closest tuner shop to my hometown is over five hours away, so it means even more to me that I did it on my own! I made plenty of mistakes as I was growing up, but they’ve helped me become a better person and a more knowledgeable Honda enthusiast. Now that I’ve accomplished my goal of being featured in Honda Tuning, I’m going to use my car for what it was built for and take it out to the track so I can race the hell out of it!” That’s what we like to hear!
Just Say No! To No-Name Turbo Parts
While it would be great to be able to turbocharge your Honda engine with the least amount of income, keep in mind that you definitely get what you pay for. With generic kits online that look oh so tempting, what with their insanely low price tags, in the long run you might end up spending more than you planned for. As Kevin stated, eBay and Craigslist are crawling with off-brand and knockoff versions of many popular go-fast goodies, but they can lead to a world of hurt. Often comprised of cheap materials and absolutely no testing, the aesthetically pleasing parts can falter under extreme heat or high stress. Intake and exhaust manifolds often crack in multiple places due to their poor construction or low-grade materials. Don’t be so quick to scoop up bargain-priced “iffy” product when you can save up and purchase from legitimate, trusted companies that put in the long hours of testing and R&D to ensure you’re getting a safe, reliable product. Engines aren’t cheap, so why risk it?