Engine & Gearbox k20a3 any good?

Discussion in 'Honda K-Series' started by lionodub, Saturday 6th Feb, 2016.


k20a3 any good?

Poll closed Saturday 13th Feb, 2016.
  1. fast?

    0 vote(s)
  2. any good?

    0 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. lionodub New Member Getting Started

    United Kingdom liono london
    hey peps new to this thread because I was looking into maybe buying a Civic Type-S (uk)/RSX(US) with the k20a3 engine (160hp). Can anyone tell me preferably if they have this engine is it any good, in terms of performance? Are they reliable/strong/fast, can they take a bit of a punishing? Easy to service? VTEC system? I would just like to know if it is a good option to go with or wasting my time buying one.
    Thank you White EK9s by Blossoms. honda vs vw. k20a3.
  2. legend-ary Moderator Staff Team

    United Kingdom Legend The Big Smoke
    K20A3 couldn't be more different to K20A2 found in EP3 CTRs. It is a fast engine no doubt but if you are expecting old school VTEC then you won't find it. However it has good low down torque which is good for day to day use plus good economy.

    The following thread lists outs K20A3s properties quite well.. rather than me rephrasing everything i will just copy past the original text:

    K20A2 vs K20A3 | HondaSwap

    The k20a2 and the k20a3 share the same 2.0-liters of displacement, bore/stroke, block, head, valves, and intake manifold. However, pretty much the entire internals and external bolt ons couldn't be more different.

    The k20a2 has higher compression pistons, more agressive cams, dual valve springs, and a tri-Yheader with larger primaries than the k20a3. If that wasn't enough, the K20a2 has a completely different - and more advanced - method of iVTECthan the a3.

    On both motors, i-VTEC really consists of two features: VTC (Variable valve Timing Control) and VTEC (Valve Timing and lift Electronically Controlled).
    VTC, in both cases, is simply a hydraulically controlled adjustable cam sprocket that varies intake cam timing on the fly depending on engine speed and load. VTC does not affect the exhaustcam.

    However, It's the VTEC portion of these systems that differs.

    On the K20A2, VTEC is old school. Like a B-series, the cam has 2 profiles on 1 shaft. At about 6000 RPM, the middle rocker stops resting on the lost motionassembly, and picks up to follow the large lobe. Nothing new.

    On the other hand, the K20A3 uses a completely different method, but is still called VTEC. At low RPM, the two intake valvesoperate with different cam lobes. One valve gets the primary lobe (the taller lobe) and the other gets the secondary lobe (shorter). The exhaustvalves always get shoved open by a single lobe with no tricks at all. When VTEC kicks in at 2300 RPM, both valves start following the primary lobe. That's it. There's no 5500 RPM kick in the seat.

    Other than this use of a shorter valve at low RPM, its much like a SOHC VTEC D16Z6: VTEConly on the intake side. But even then, can you really call <that> VTEC?
    All of that is enough for the A2 to boast a 40 horsepower and nearly 20 ft-lbs of torque advantage over the A3.
  3. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

    England Speedy Birmingham
    Very well explained @legend-ary :Thumbup:

    As @legend-ary says its not a performance engine

    Reliable? Yes. Strong ? Yes. Fast ? Not fast but plenty nippy enough.

    As explained by @legend-ary

    That's entirely dependant on what you will be expecting from it. I would describe it as a nippy 5 door, spacious family car. If you are expecting Civic Type-R performance from it then you will be disappointed.

    @RogerH69 as a current owner of one of these, can you add anything else to what has been said ?
    FirstHonda likes this.
  4. RogerH69 Premium Member Club Supporter

    South Africa Roger Oxford, UK
    I absolutely love my EV1. Great car to drive, very nice engine. Deceptively roomy inside. Can't really say much more than what's been said above, other than I'd say my EV1 is probably the best car I've owned, as it's been very reliable and has performed way better than I'd expected. Obviously I was lucky to get one that had been well looked after, but there are plenty well looked after Honda's out there, so I am sure you will find a good one.

    @SpeedyGee - I dunno why but I didn't get a notification you tagged me in the email above. Strange.
    exec likes this.
  5. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

    England Speedy Birmingham
    That does sometimes happen .. we don't know why though
    RogerH69 likes this.
  6. exec Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    United Kingdom London
    I would say go for it, they are really nice cars, I had a tussle with one and the Type-S had a very quick pick up! Don't expect hot hatch performance and you have to rev them to get the best out of them, they will also be easy to work on, petrol Honda engines are generally a breeze to work on.
  7. Soldier456 Club Member ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Just to add, the K20a3, not only does it have a different head, compresions pistons, cam and v-tec system, it also has longer rods which are less robust than the K20a2, and it has a different crank which wasn't built with high RPM in mind. It pretty much only shares the same block.