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How to Get More Power From My Civic Hatch 1.5L

by Jillian Hahn

The 1.5-liter engine found in a Honda Civic is known for its outstanding reliability and gas mileage. Coupled with a lightweight and responsive chassis, the Civic proves to be an entertaining car to drive. Although the 1.5-liter engine is underpowered and slow in stock form, with a little bit of money and knowledge you may perform modifications to the engine to extract more horsepower and increase engine performance.

Power Modifications for a 1.5-Liter Civic

Replace the stock air box on your Civic with a cold air intake system. This is the best performance modification you can make for the money. Installation is as simple as pulling out the old air box and replacing it with the new cold air intake. The end result is a filter that is lower in the engine compartment, which allows it to suck up cooler, more dense air for combustion. This increases engine power and responsiveness.

Remove the stock crankshaft pulley and install an underdrive crank pulley, which will be smaller and lighter than the stock pulley. The underdrive crankshaft pulley serves two purposes. First, the smaller crankshaft pulley will slow the spin of the accessories' pulleys --- such as those of the air conditioning compressor and the alternator. This will reduce the power used by those accessories, increasing horsepower. Second, decreasing the crankshaft pulley's mass lowers the amount of energy required to get the pulley to spin, causing another gain in horsepower for your Civic.

Take out the stock exhaust system and replace it with an aftermarket system. An exhaust system consists of headers, a catalytic converter and an exhaust pipe. Swapping out these parts on your Civic's exhaust will allow the exhaust gas to flow more freely from the engine, providing an increase in power output. Additionally, most aftermarket exhausts weigh less than stock exhausts. While this does not increase power, it will enhance the effect of the existing power by reducing your Civic's weight.

Warnings

  • Ensure that you follow the correct torquing specifications when installing the underdrive pulley. Refer to the instructions frequently. This will prevent possible damage to the engine.
  • Do not drive through deep water with a cold air intake installed. Due to the lower placement of the air filter, water can be pulled into the engine causing severe damage. If you believe the water to be higher than the bottom of your engine bay, do not attempt to drive through it.
  • You will need access to a lift or jack stands in order to install an exhaust system. It also helps to have an assistant for removal of the old exhaust and installation of the new one because some of the pieces are heavy and long.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

Jillian Hahn is a freelance writer with about two years experience in internet content, business correspondence and training manuals. Hahn's work has been published on eHow.com and Travels.com. She holds a Liberal Arts Associate's degree.

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