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I want a Seven with a Honda engine

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  • I want a Seven with a Honda engine

    I am an NCO in the US Army and I have a passion for sports cars. I have in the last two years been thinking and dreaming about building a Superlite roadster of some kind. I originally wanted an exocar in the style of the Ariel Atom but I am now fairly sure I want to go the Caterham route instead.

    Now for my questions, and I greatly apologize if they are repeats but I did look around and do my research before asking these;

    1: How many pounds does a finished Roadsport SV weigh? (with heater, carpet, weather package, the works)

    2: Has any one used a Honda K20 (the 2.0 liter engine in the Ariel Atom and in the Civic Si) or Honda K24 (2.4 liter in the Acura TSX) in one of these cars? And if not, why not?

    I am much more familiar with Honda engines and with modifying and tuning them. I am also quite certain that more power can be reliably brought out of these than any Ford four banger could ever conjure forth. My 2009 Civic Si for example has a 2.4 liter engine that produces 275hp and 210 lb-ft at the wheels, NA, and uses a wonderful close ratio limited slip differential 6-speed transmission. My setup is typically referred to in the Honda tuning scene as the K24/K20 "Frankenstein" setup, as it uses parts from both engines.

    I would choose this Japanese engine setup without hesitation over the British engines or the Ford ones if I was certain it would work. Many Lotus Elise and Exige owners also swap out their Toyota Celica engines for Honda Civic engines and I know it works great.

    The only thing I could see getting in the way personally is that the Honda K- series engines may be to tall for the space in a Caterham. Also it is a FWD engine, not sure if that is a problem or not?

    Thanks guys!

  • #2
    I think the main reason we use the Ford engines is that the development work and parts fabrication has been done to make them a bolt in solution.

    Both the Zetec and Duratec are used for transverse mounted FWD cars, bell housings are readily availabe to bolt it up to an inline transmission (Ford T9) that comes in many configurations including close ratio 5 and 6 speeds, helical syncromesh gears or straight cut dog boxes.

    The Duratech is a good engine with plenty of performance parts available.

    I've been told that most Honda engines rotate the wrong way for the transmission and diff used in Caterhams. Apparently the S2000 engine turns the correct way but it's too tall and all the power is at high rpm. I'm not into Hondas so this is based only on what I've read.

    I think the Roadsport SV is around 1300 lbs, the spec is on Caterham USA's website.

    Last edited by Doug Liedblad; August 25, 2010, 06:26 AM.


    • #3
      The WCM S2K is the only 7-ish car using the Honda 2.4l engine (AFAIK) but Brian Anderson (Arlington,TX) stopped making them and is selling the business.

      I read however, that this engine is too tall for S3-type Sevens like Caterham or Birkin. The S2K is a much bigger than an S3. Not sure about the SV Caterham but while it is wider it may still not be tall enough.

      I do know however that somebody managed to wedge a Mazda engine with 6-speed tranny into an S3 Birkin and Skip Cannon (look up that name on has a high hp turbo Miata powered Caterham SV. Both cars required a lot of additional engineering to make the engine fit.


      • #4
        You've obviously spent a lot of time researching K series engines if you've built one to 275 WHP! Congratulations on that! I can see why you might want to stay with the Honda engine since you have a lot of experience with them. But given the amount of headaches you might have in making it work in these cars, you may want to research the Duratec engine a bit. They have proven to be very reliable, and as Doug said, have quite a bit of potential. The Duratec was developed in partnership with Mazda, if that makes it any more appealing to you!

        Where are you located? If anywhere near San Diego, you'd be welcome to stop by and take some measurements on my Caterham.


        p.s. Go Navy!


        • #5
          Originally posted by sdcat View Post
          You've obviously spent a lot of time researching K series engines if you've built one to 275 WHP! Congratulations on that!
          Well I can't take the credit for the engine setup I use as it was developed by others and copied by me. It does allow a 2,900 lb FWD car to run a 12.5 quarter mile though, which I am sure I could improve by practicing more in it (and with slicks) but it is a daily driver for me so I just use it for that and the occasional Corvette that needs to be out accelerated (or at least closely matched) on the open high way.

          I can only imagine what it would be like to have the setup from my Civic Si in a 1300 lb RWD car.. pretty much the kind of thing I fantasize about right before falling asleep at night. And in the morning when I wake up. And for the rest of the day.. and in my dreams at night.. and every time I draw breath.

          Originally posted by sdcat View Post
          The Duratec was developed in partnership with Mazda, if that makes it any more appealing to you!
          This is going to sound sacrilegious on a forum such as this I am sure but the only Mazda I have ever ridden in or driven and really liked was an RX-7 that had a 6.2 liter Chevy LS series V8 stuffed in under the bonnet..

          I would really go for a Caterham SV if a Honda engine could go in for sure (regardless of a little extra work), otherwise I would probably end up going for an SL-R from RCR ( ) in which I know this engine could go into with out a doubt.

          The reason I want this to work is I want to take the engine and drivetrain I'm currently using out of my Civic to be used in the Caterham SV (or the SL-R as a last resort) and put the stock guts back in my Civic Si to continue its life as a normal daily driver/grocery getter.

          Originally posted by sdcat View Post
          Where are you located? If anywhere near San Diego, you'd be welcome to stop by and take some measurements on my Caterham.
          I'm based out of Fort Drum but I also have an apartment in Buffalo NY. I little to far to take measurements unfortunately. I really want to take a ride in one of these cars very badly too.

          Originally posted by sdcat View Post
          p.s. Go Navy!
          Whatever pays the bills for our toys ;)


          • #6
            Not sure if this kit is still available. Your drivetrain would definitely go in there.

            If not, the poster surely knows more about Honda engines in Sevens than most anybody else.


            • #7
              The WCM Ultralite S2K uses the F20C/F22C1 engines out of the Honda S2k and the stock 240 bhp is plenty of power for the average driver. The rights to Ultralite production now belong to Loren Edwards (OP in the link above) who is making some tweaks to the design before restarting production. He also built a supercharged version that had 350+ bhp and finished 3rd overall in One Lap of America.

              I have an Ultralite myself and absolutely love it. I've been keeping a blog of my experiences at which should give you an idea of what is involved.
              V8 Stalker
              06 Elise
              02 Dodge Viper GTS
              16 Dodge Charger Hellcat


              • #8
                Originally posted by b0bbyboy145 View Post
                I would really go for a Caterham SV if a Honda engine could go in for sure (regardless of a little extra work),
                More like a LOT of extra work if no one has done it before.

                There are motorcycle engined Caterhams out there, power around 180 hp but the big thing is getting the weight under 1000 lbs.


                • #9
                  Check out Lotus Owners of New York.

                  Lotus, Lotus Car Club, LOONY, New York Car Club, Caterham, Birkin, Seven, Super Seven, Elan, Esprit, Europa, Elite

                  I think Tony Vaccaro lives near Buffalo. If he doesn't he can probably hook you up with someone that does.



                  • #10
                    There are a few Westfields running around with the S2000 engine. It's a tight fit, but it has been done. Also check out There are a lot more people on there who live in your part of the country.

                    Westfield SEiW
                    2.0L Duratec
                    Throttle Steer


                    • #11
                      Your 3 biggest issues are:

                      1. Transmission - No good resonably priced RWD option (that I'm aware of)

                      2. Height - I think the K series is taller than the F series which is already too tall.

                      3. Weight - The K series isn't heavy...but it isn't exactly light either.

                      Since the price (k vs. f) is comparable, the power is comparable, the F series is already a RWD platform and it's shorter and lighter - I think it makes more sense to sell your k and buy a F. Even then, it still will be trouble to fit into a SV...

                      If you're buying the car to keep the K - I think your best option is an atom clone.


                      • #12
                        I would have the se7en as a 2nd car.
                        If u would be satisified w/ a s2k derived drivetrain, definitely get in touch w/ Loren and Kevin. Even beyond oem power levels they know how to get it done already.

                        As u've already surmised Honda motors have been too tall to put in a S3(Caterham/Birkin) or SV/CSR (caterham) engine bay. To even consider a Honda engine, first up would be a dry sump setup. There is a Caterham dealer in Waterloo, along w/ Tony Vaccaro in Buffalo who are your best bets to get face to face knowledge to continue investigating Caterhams.

                        To do what u want to do, u need to speak to Del Long/Sprinto in Iowa. I don't know if Del has ever made a streetable YC series vehicle. This is your best bet.
                        2002 SV zetec/sierra; yellow over green


                        • #13
                          I have some pics of my S2K in my album... ditto the comments on contacting Loren.

                          [email protected]


                          • #14
                            Found one.. not EXACTLY what i am looking for but this is the K24 (the tallest K series engine) apparently mated to a Toyota RWD transmission of some kind..


                            Unfortunately the guy on that forum "Sprinto" who posted that car does not post on any more. I haven't been able to find that car anywhere else on the net either so I have no way of getting in touch with him to ask him specific questions.
                            This does give me hope though as at least I now know there is a way to make a K series engine work in the Caterham SV.

                            This is pretty much what I am expecting to have to do with the bonnet of the SV. This is not the first picture of a Seven with a hole cut there to make room for a tall engine. I could easily see myself fabricating a fiberglass "bubble" to attach there to cover the hole, or possibly having one custom made from fiberglass or carbon fiber.
                            Last edited by b0bbyboy145; August 26, 2010, 06:36 AM.


                            • #15
                              Perhaps you should drive/ride in a Seven before you making too many plans. The most important thing is to actually fit in the car and that is not a given in these cars. For example I'm 6'1" 185 and I absolutely do not fit in an R500.

                              Second, what do you want the car for? The picture above looks like the engine is placed offset and far enough back such that a passenger will be impossible. That may work for an EM autocross car but not so much on the street.

                              Third, it may be possible to get 275 hp from a k20 but it is possible to get 240 from a bone stock f20 (if you want to stay honda) or a mildly tweaked Duratec. The good part with both those engines is that most of the kinks have been worked out already and you will have a reasonable community to help diagnose bugs. In the K24 case you will likely be on your own - you may be fine with that but it is something to keep in mind.
                              V8 Stalker
                              06 Elise
                              02 Dodge Viper GTS
                              16 Dodge Charger Hellcat