My J32/6 speed quest!

Discussion in 'Engine & Transmission Mods' started by Styx2015, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Styx2015

    Styx2015 Well-Known Member

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    Despite this being my first major modification, I've decided to go big and do it right. I recently purchased a wrecked 2003 Acura CL-S 6MT in upstate NY for $3000. Goal is to swap the transmission, engine, ecu, wiring, and all the necessary components into my 2000 Honda Accord Coupe. Hoping to give her some new life because my stupid automatic has been slipping. I am going to be doing all of this work myself, not at a shop. With the help of the many threads on here and tips and tricks from the 6GA community, I'm going to make this work and make it work right. A job done halfway just isn't worth it to me.

    Anyways, here are some pictures of my progress so far. I've been working on tearing down the CL-S for the past two weekends and getting everything out that I will need or that can be sold for some parts money.
    Let me know if anyone needs parts from a 03 CL-S!!!

    First weekend in the shop, ready to tear into it.
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    Alternator bracket on the block was cracked, but I knew that and had a way to fix it.
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    Got the wrecked part of the front end disassembled and out of the way.
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    Getting the linkages and shifter assembly removed
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    ECU and harness connectors
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    Engine and transmission coming out!
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    Up on the stand
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    Heart removed and she's empty! Dad in background
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    Interior getting stripped out
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    Then I got to here and saw the true amount of damage I was working with. Unfortunately, I couldn't see this when I bought the car. If you look at this shot, you can see where the water pump housing is totally shot, but that's replaceable. If you look just beyond that, you see the problematic spot where the engine mount bracket bolts onto the block.
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    The mount had a lot of stress put on it in the wreck, and this is the result. Yes, that is a piece of my engine block.....:'(
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    So now comes the interesting part.....I will more than likely need a new block for obvious reasons. But, we can make this fun and turn a disappointment into an opportunity. I'm considering purchasing a J35A1/3/4 block to increase the torque, then use the CL-S pistons and J32 heads to go with it. Is the J35 block housing is the same as the J32? For example, will the 03 CL-S 6MT mount up to it, is the timing belt setup the same, and do the externals mount up properly? Also, if I do run this setup, will the stock ecu work or will I need a new computer to properly manage the engine? I'm currently looking at a J35A4 block for sale on J32a.com, but I want to get this info hammered out before I make any moves. I figure with the block already compromised, now is as good a time as any to do a proper build. Let me know your thoughts, opinions, and criticisms. Any comments are welcome!
     
  2. sunroof

    sunroof Well-Known Member

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    Nice!
     
  3. Styx2015

    Styx2015 Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone know a little more about the ECU that's necessary to make a J35 build work? For example, could I run my 03 CL-S 6MT ECU, harness, and transmission, but swap the block, crank, and rods out for the J35? Not sure if the manual ECU will work with this setup. Would I have to get a standalone EMS unit or a piggyback?

    Can't seem to find any answers on this. Sorry if I missed something while searching.
     
  4. Russianred

    Russianred Snail Spools You!

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    Awesome project bro!! Hope that honey helps you out along the way ;)
     
  5. Jarrett

    Jarrett Well-Known Member

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    The J35A3 block is the same block as the J32A2. The crankshaft is forged in that unit and would make the best replacement for an engine you want to handle any sort of decent power level. NOt to say that the J35A1/4 engines are slouches, but there is a clear advantage with the A3.

    One downside to swapping in 3.5L blocks into the 6-speed cars is the placement of camshaft and crankshaft sensors. If you had an automatic car, then the swap is a direct replacement as far as physical fitment is concerned. Since your engine is a true 6-speed then you'll need to do a bit more work. Annoying, as it seems you're being punished for doing the swap the "right way", but whatever. Follow the part numbers in the link attached below. You'll need to take all of these parts off of your block and move them over to the J35A bottom end, should you decide to go that route.

    http://www.j32a.com/showthread.php?t=72

    Speaking from the experience of others, most seem to run fine and make a decent amount of power on the stock ECU. This seems crazy to me given how I have seen OBD1 F/H-series ECUs handle sever changes in displacement (not well). But, if others are having success, so be it. It's kind of handy that they are, otherwise the tuning solution would present an even bigger obstacle. According to AEM's site, their J-series ECU will only work on manual transmission cars with a formerly automatic engine and harness. Yet another way in which you're seemingly punished for doing the swap the "right way".

    I'm in this same boat myself right now. I have two '03 CL Type-S 6-speed cars right now. I bought both of them through Copart auctions. I'll be fixing the body damage of one with parts from the other and I'll be taking the engine/transmission from the donor to put into a friend's CG2. Both will continue to be true manual setups and both will hopefully be heavily modified. I'd like to run AEM, but so far I haven't seen anyone else do it without converting to all automatic equipment.
     
  6. WHEEELMAN

    WHEEELMAN Well-Known Member

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    Jarrett,
    J35A3 block is slightly different than the J32A2

    J32A2 block has more external ribbbing due to the higher RPM that it pulls. --

    based on my reading info.:
    The J32A2 uses ductile iron sleeves and the J35A3/A4 uses fiber reinforced metal sleeves




    OP, my suggestion is to try to pick up a New J32A2 block from Acura. They may still have these in stock.

    You already have the 03 CL-s 6 speed ECU so all you need is the J32A2 block and everything else will fall into place. Seems like it would be an easier route than switching over the sensors and stuff.
     
  7. sonni_kuba

    sonni_kuba 6GA Supporting Member

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    I remember reading this as well, what a shame... :(
    I do see their reasoning though, as the vast majority (~99%) of J engines are running an auto tranny
     
  8. Jarrett

    Jarrett Well-Known Member

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    I maintain that the J35A3 block is different than the J35A4 in nearly every regard as it concerns the components of the shortblock. The block casting itself is the same exact thing as the J32A2. I have a J35A3 shortblock sitting in my garage and two J32A2s in my CL-S 6-speeds to compare it to. The only thing that differentiates it are the final stamp at the end to say either "J32A2" or "J35A3". If one was okay with the bump in displacement and the potential tuning issues that it could cause and ready to deal with them, then the J35A3 shortblock is a prime candidate for replacement of a broken J32A2 block. If you still want to retain the factory 86mm stroke, then buying a used shortblock and only using the block itself will be much cheaper than going to a dealer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  9. Styx2015

    Styx2015 Well-Known Member

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    Well, unfortunately, I made a very dumb mistake a few weeks ago and now I'm kicking myself for it. I was originally under the impression that all three blocks, (J32A2, J35A3, J35A4) were all the same part number. So, I picked up a full J35A4 for $250 thinking I would just use the block and maybe the crankshaft and rods. Now that you guys have posted this info, I see that I made a bad choice and I'm not sure what to do. Both engines are fully disassembled. I have all the internals from both a J32A2 as well as a J35A4, including heads. Are the J35A4 components even worth it to try and use or should I just find another J32A2 block to use so I can avoid ECU issues? Maybe I'll just reassemble the J35A4 and resell it...
     
  10. Jarrett

    Jarrett Well-Known Member

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    No, you're fine. Unless you're pushing serious power numbers then it really won't be an issue. Rebuilding it to get id of it is just going to cost you more money because you're going to have get a few new gaskets and small parts. At least I'd hope you would so someone isn't going to buy something from you that will leak live a sieve.
     

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