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Updated by John Huh on Nov 08, 2018
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Top Ten JDM Engine Swaps

It's hard to mention talk about any aspect of import or Japanese sports car performance without discussing JDM engine swaps. JDM stands for Japanese Domestic Market and it's a great source for engines and transmissions to swap into your import vehicle. Whereas many of the incredible Japanese supercars and engines made their mark in the 80s and 90s, these unfortunately never made it to US shores. JDM engine swaps are easier than ever with the ever increasing choices of JDM engine importers out there.

Many of these importing companies have a large selection and inventory. Being able to pick out the best engine or transmission of choice is great, whether you are modifying your car or just repairing it. Because these are used components, it can really be a much cheaper alternative than buying a new engine, shortblock or transmission from your dealer. If you are modifying your car these JDM engine swaps can really give you a far better base for modifications than your factory engine ever could.

If you are in the market for an replacement engine or transmission, here's 10 of the most popular and best JDM engine swaps out there for you to choose from.

10

Honda K series JDM Engine

Honda K series JDM Engine

The new i-VTEC K series engine is reached a point where it's become an incredible choice for engine swappers. Honda enthusiasts who are tired of the same old DOHC B series engine, have gone with the engine from the RSX. Six speed transmission and a 2.0 or 2.4 liter displacement is available with intelligent VTEC controls.

Lots of aftermarket support and modifications give you plenty of options. It's still relatively expensive to swap and difficult to source a six speed transmission, but it's a great JDM engine swap to start this countdown.

9

Mazda Rotary JDM Engine

Mazda Rotary JDM Engine

The rotary or Wankel can be an affectionately sensitive and temperamental engine to work with. This makes the Mazda rotary JDM engine swap one of the best for replacing your engine or getting your RX-7 back on the road. Known as the 13B or 20B this engine is wildly popular for any rear wheel drive application.

There's been talk of the new Mazda RX-9 being released in the US, which has Mazda fans extremely excited.

8

Nissan SR JDM ENGINE SWAPS

Nissan SR JDM ENGINE SWAPS

The SR20 is what's found in the Nissan 240SX or the Silvia in Japan. This 2.0 liter turbocharged engine was far ahead of it's time, featuring aluminum cylinder head and revolutionary camshaft technology. Where the Japanese Silvia owners enjoyed turbocharged performance out of the box, the USDM 240SX was saddled with the undersquare KA24DE, which is normally a truck engine.

The older cousin of the CA18DET the SR is still very popular today. Where as the RB or JZ engines struggle to fit in the popular Nissan 240SX sports coupe, this engine drops in like it was intended to be there... which it was.

How to Buy a JDM Imported Motor - My Pro Street

Looking to import a JDM engine? Check out our How to Buy a JDM Imported Motor Guide meant to give you the important pointers on picking out a JDM engine.

Find the important tips that can help you make the right choice in your JDM Engine of choice. Subscribe to My Pro Street now to get all the latest tech tips, How To Guides, and DIY articles.

6

Nissan RB JDM Engine Swaps

Nissan RB JDM Engine Swaps

Taken out of the R32, R33 and R34 Nissan Skyline the RB is the answer to Toyota's successful 3.0 liter inline six 2JZGTE engine. Found in various forms and displacements, the RB is a great candidate for any rear wheel drive platform such as the Nissan 240SX or 350Z.

Capable of high levels of horsepower when boost is turned up, and still relatively accessible the RB25DET is a good starter engine. For those Nissan fans with a little more money, you can opt for the RB26DETT which is much stronger than the RB25 in stock form. People have even gone to great lengths to build a 3.0 liter using the RB30 shortblock found in Australia.

There's lot of aftermarket parts and valvetrain support for the RB series of engines. There's a few must do modifications and checks you'll have to put your JDM RB25 through before installing into your donor chassis. Motor mount kits are also cheaper than ever making the Nissan RB series of JDM engines one of the best choices out there.

5

Acura B18C1 JDM Engine Swaps

Acura B18C1 JDM Engine Swaps

Found in the Acura Integra from 1990-2001 the DOHC VTEC 1.8 liter slips down in our list because it's becoming increasingly rare to locate this engine. Whereas the 1.6 liter B16 is still very cheap and easy to source it's getting difficult to find a quality JDM GSR engine swap anymore.

For the JDM purists the B18C5 found in the Acura Integra Type R is as close to perfection you can get from the factory. However for most Honda engine swappers they opt for the B18C1 and save the money for future modifications. The B18C1 features heavily in many modified Hondas and is still ahead of the newer i-VTEC DOHC engines like the K20 but there's only so many of these engines left.

Planning for your Honda engine swap or putting a GSR swap in is still easy to do with just a little bit of homework. Honda's are notorious for sharing configurations, mounts and electrical connections which makes engine swapping easy and straightforward. With the right amount of modification you can also smog your Honda swap, which is a great benefit for any JDM engine swap.

4

Subaru EJ JDM Engine Swaps

Subaru EJ JDM Engine Swaps

Whether you own a naturally aspirated Subaru and want to swap the JDM turbo EJ or STI engine into it, or want the six speed transmission option this is an incredibly popular JDM engine swap. The STI version is also available in a 2.5 liter variation, which is a nice bump up in displacement.

The JDM WRX STI is also a terrific option for Scion FR-S or Subaru BRZ owners. Because of the naturally aspirated boxer configuration there's a lot of components that work together well.

When swapping your JDM engine there's lots of options when it comes to donor cars for the EJ series of engines. This is an awesome choice if your 2.0 liter Subaru engine has gone out, or your transmission has broken. This is common for the older bug eye WRX, which makes the EJ25 a great option. With plenty of aftermarket support for the Subaru EJ series of engines, this is one certified JDM performance engine.

3

The Mitsubishi 4G63T

The Mitsubishi 4G63T

One of the most robust and valuable JDM engine swaps available, the DOHC turbocharged engine is more than capable in stock form. Found with the JDM intake manifold denoting a Cyclone intake manifold for variable intake runners, the JDM 4G63 is cheap and easily found. Vehicles in the US carried this engine in DSM's or the Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser.

All the generations of the 4G63 come out of Mitsubishi Evolution, and from 2003 onward the engine is flipped backwards. People who know how powerful this engine is and love to swap it into their chassis of choice can find the price for a JDM 4G63 at well under 700 dollars.

There's a lot of aftermarket support for the new 4G63 as well as the older generation from 1990-1997. Owners of the second generation Mitsubishi Eclipse also know about the six bolt 4G63 which is the engine from 1990-1994.

2

The Honda B16 Engine

The Honda B16 Engine

Owners of the USDM Honda Civic SI never got the engine that Japan did, stuck with a SOHC 1.6 liter VTEC engine. Japan's Civics however enjoyed the robust DOHC nature of the B16 engine. The difference under 4000 RPM doesn't amount to much between the single overhead cam engine to the dual overhead cam, which can deter many would be Honda swaps.

However there's no doubting the popularity of this VTEC engine. While the gains from the D16 to the B16 aren't overwhelming, there's a ton of more aftermarket support for the DOHC engine. It's cheap, plentiful and can be bolted in using factory mounts. There isn't much to change in the engine wiring unless your stock Civic didn't come with VTEC and you need to wire it in.

1

The Toyota Supra JZ engine

The Toyota Supra JZ engine

Found in the fourth generation Toyota Supra, the 2JZGTE is a twin turbocharged 3.0 liter inline six engine. It's known to be one of the most overbuilt engines to ever emerge from Japan. In fact it's so popular and powerful, it's still in production today which makes it incredibly viable for any JDM engine swaps.

The JZ engine also includes the Supra's smaller brother in Japan, known as the Toyota Soarer, or the SC300 in the States. This vehicle came equipped with the 1JZ, which is the 2.5 liter turbocharged engine.

This means that you won't ever have to go on the hunt to find replacement parts or service components. Things like a OEM water pump or oil pump can be easily sourced by just heading down to your local Toyota dealership.

The 2JZGTE is immortalized in the original Fast and Furious movie, and is known to produce well over 800 whp in stock form.