The first and second generation Acura Integra offered an upmarket Honda sports coupe with a fuel-injected 1.5-liter, 16-valve engine. The 1986-89 Acura Integra was reminiscent of the early CRX, with torsion bar front suspension, sway bar, and independent struts. The rear featured progressive springs, another sway bar and gas shocks. Styling was a 1980s wedge with hidden headlights, and was available as a two- or four-door hatchback in RS and LS forms.
The range was broadened in 1990-93 with a rounder, more attractive redesign and included a GS model. All three versions featured leather upholstery, all power options, four-wheel disc brakes and air conditioning. The 1834-cc B18A1 engine was non-VTEC but eminently tunable and could handle a turbocharger. Front suspension was now double wishbone with coil-over springs, gas shocks and sway bars, and the independent rear suspension also coil-over springs, gas shocks, control arms and a sway bar.
The hot Integra for 1992-93 was the Integra GS-R, featuring the 1678-cc B17A1 DOHC VTEC engine. It was good for 160 bhp at 7600 rpm and only available with a 5-speed manual gearbox, with a tall 5th gear for highway cruising.
For 1994 the Integra was completely redesigned with an all-new rounder shape with four small recessed headlights. It would change little until 2001, offering an RS, LS, GS and GS-R model. However, in 1997 Honda introduced the Acura Integra Type-R to the US. Previously unavailable to American buyers, the Integra Type-R looked like little more than an aggressively styled Integra but was thoroughly tweaked with enhanced power, handling, braking, and steering.
The B18C1 engine was refined in every regard. Initially developing 170 bhp in the GS-R, and with a red line of 8000 rpm, all the rotating internal parts were zero-balanced. F1 technology was applied to the bearing surfaces which had surface-oriented crystal material which trapped and retained oil so that friction was reduced and reliability increased. Jets sprayed oil on the underside of pistons to cool them and the mist helped dissipate engine heat. An aluminum bridge reinforced the crankshaft, bolting down main caps two through four.
VTEC technology combined high-end horsepower and low range torque through three camshaft lobes. Each had its own rocker arm which activated a pair of valves. The two outer lobes optimized low-end torque; the center one had a higher lift and longer duration. At 4400 rpm the three locked together and at 5800 rpm the second intake stage opened. Each cylinder had a long and short intake but at 5800 rpm a set of butterfly valves opened and increased the manifold volume. The engine’s small combustion chamber allowed for higher compression ratios and a more efficient burn. Fuel injectors also pointed at the center of the intake valves which improved engine response.
The Integra Type-R engine was the B18C5, which displaced 1797cc and generated 195 bhp at 8000 rpm, with a red line of 8500 rpm. While the Type-R B18C5 engine block appeared to be the same as the B18C1, it was quite different internally. The stronger forged crankshaft had eight balance weights and connecting rods which were precisely machined for each engine and smaller and lighter than the B18C1 rods. Crankshaft journals were micro polished and each rod bolt manually tightened. Die cast domed pistons were coated with molybdenum, and the engine had an oil cooler.
The Type-R valvetrain was unique, with hand-polished intake and exhaust ports, lighter valves, and dual valve springs. Intake camshaft lift was increased by .9mm and exhaust by 1.1mm. Valve timing was extended 10 degrees on the intake side and eight on the exhaust. These tweaks delivered increased top end power and also better economy, thanks to VTEC. Intake valves were 12 percent lighter than the GS-R engine which added 200 more rpm, and dual oval springs were designed for the new valves. In addition to moving air and fuel through the head faster, the intake was moved to draw in colder air. A special low-resistance exhaust was also developed.
The Type-R also featured a new limited slip differential with torque-sensitive helical gears which pushed the pinion gear towards the casing, limiting the differential effect. It was a more responsive system and power was fed to a lightweight flywheel through a heavy-duty clutch. Type-R suspension included compliance bushings on lower control arms which imparted toe-out while braking, and enhanced stability. Type-R springs rates were 22 percent stiffer, damping rates increased 115 percent and rebound rates up 70 percent. Progressive rate springs were fitted, and an aluminum bar connected the strut towers.
When the Integra was model name was phased out in the US at the end of 2001 model year, its passing was mourned by journalists and tuners alike. Compared to the all-wheel drive Subaru WRX STi and Mitsubishi Evo, it was comparatively simple, and front wheel-drive demanded that it be driven well, rather than just fast. The Type-R version is also widely regarded as one of the best-handling front-drive cars of all time.
2001 Acura Integra Type-R Info
4-cyl. 1797cc/195hp PFI
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