Honda's 1.8 i-VTEC (R18A2) is the best engine today.  What are the typical drawbacks and problems found in it?

Often, near-perfect engines are only found in a few car models, although sometimes they are so popular that they are easy to purchase. The popular eighth generation Honda Civic, recently described in, was the only car in which the R18A2 unit was used – and it is practically perfect. This Japanese car is worth buying for this reason alone.

To be precise – the R18A2 unit with the brand name 1.8 i-VTEC was installed only in the Honda Civic VIII produced in 2006-2012. However, the R18 is a small family of very similar engines. For example, R18A1 assembled In some markets also in City and Stream models In the European Honda FR-V. The difference between A1 and A2 is only the presence of an oil level sensor in A2. So it's safe to say that the description below also fits the engine of the lesser-known Honda FR-V.

In 2011, the R18Z family debuted, which differs more from the R18A, but the basic design is similar, although reviews of both users and workshops show that engines with the note Z and those with the name R20 are not as successful as the R18A1/A2. The R18Z engines were installed in the ninth-generation Civic, and the R20 in the Honda Accord or CR-V.

Honda 1.8 i-VTEC engine – construction

Contrary to many opinions, R family engines are very different from K family engines. They are actually completely different structures. The R family has already been built with the environment in mind and meets higher standards for exhaust emissions, taking into account the Euro 5 standard, although the R18A1 and A2 units meet the Euro 4 standard.

The R18A1 engine differs from the outside only in the shape of the oil pan, because it does not have an oil level sensor.

The R18A1 engine differs from the outside only in the shape of the oil pan, because it does not have an oil level sensor. © Press materials

The two biggest differences between the R family and older K engines are the variable valve timing system and head. The R family engines feature i-VTEC, It is designed to reduce fuel consumption and emissions when the unit is operating at low load and in a low rev range. This is because Delay in closing intake valves. Previous versions of the VTEC system were supposed to generate higher power at high load and appropriate rotational speed. It also makes sure the combustion chambers are filled properly Variable geometry intake manifold.

The head in the R family engine has Only one camshaft (There were two shafts in the K family), but it runs 16 valves. The roller is driven by a very tight but sturdy string. The valves are adjusted mechanically, Spoiled. Both the head and block are made of aluminum. The block is very solid, with forged connecting rods and an extremely stiff and precisely balanced crankshaft. To further improve the work culture, The front engine mount is hydraulic.

Honda engine 1.8 i-VTEC – characteristics

Despite the rather modest capacity and rather mediocre power, the R18A2 engine has very good performance. The Civic accelerates to 100 km/h with the manual gearbox in 8.9 seconds. 140 hp at 6300 rpmMaximum torque is 174 Nm at 4,300 rpm, but the torque curve is quite flat and very favorable from the driver's point of view.

Honda Civic with 1.8 i-VTEC engine consumes fuel Small amounts of fuel – on average about 7.5 l/100 kmOn low-speed roads, you can easily reach around 5 l/100 km.

Honda 1.8 i-VTEC engine – typical faults

Although it was a refined and almost reliable engine, it had one drawback that could be described as a typical engine. It has met many users, and Honda workshops know it well. this Loosen the attached belt tensioner As a result of damage to the mounting screw. The bolt is installed in the block and is often over-tightened when replacing the tensioner that removes the thread.

Honda service workshops know that it is worth using torque wrenches on engines of this manufacturer, but the average mechanic tightens the bolts with the naked eye. To solve the problem, the thread must be repaired and the screw replaced, which is beyond the imagination of many users and workshops (and this is no joke).

R18A2 engine

R18A2 engine© Autocult

smallest The problem with the engine is that the thermostat is stuck, which is clogged in the open state, which leads to overheating of the motor, but without any significant negative consequences. The original costs up to PLN 200, which is roughly what you would pay for a high-quality replacement.

With the passage of time and age, certain diseases appear, but they are only caused by wear of the cooperating parts and accessories, or simply by dirt. For example it would be Fluctuations in idle speed or jerking when accelerating, which is often caused by worn spark plugs, a cracked ignition coil (there are four of them), an EGR valve or a dirty accelerator pedal. Another example is Oil is leaking from under the valve covers or around the i-VTEC valve. When replacing the accessory drive, it is a good idea to remove the shaft pulley and replace its seal.

You may have some reservations about this topic Durability of the motor mount. The original hydraulic cushion costs more than PLN 1,300, but you can find replacements for about PLN 250-300 with varying durability. Even the original part is not very durable – it lasts about 150-200 thousand. How much – and when it wears out, it starts knocking on uneven surfaces. However, the hard play felt when depressing and releasing the accelerator pedal may be the result of a worn engine mount on the left side of the chamber. Replace all engine mounts For middle class parts, the cost is PLN 600-900 plus labor.

Although economical, R18A2 engines often are Equipped with LPG supply system, which does not cause any significant damage to them, provided that users remember regular maintenance, especially checking valve clearances. An important note here – such a service is performed reluctantly, so it is worth giving the car to a really trustworthy person to inspect this area. Fuses should be checked every 30-40 thousand. how much, If the engine runs on gasoline only, it is sufficient to do this once every 80-100 thousand. how much.

The timing drive is essentially non-replaceableBecause the manufacturer did not provide the necessary resources for this. With a mileage of more than 300,000 km, the chain may have slight slack if the user uses, for example, oil of very high viscosity or low quality (recommended viscosity 0W-30 or 5W-30). Common sense suggests that it should be replaced after this mileage, which is worth doing along with the gear wheel, two splines and the hydraulic tensioner. The cost of a set of parts, depending on the supplier, is about PLN 600-700.

This is what it looks like under the hood of the Honda Civic VIII

This is what it looks like under the hood of the Honda Civic VIII© Autocult

In general, the R18A2 engine is Known for its very high durabilitybut also Resistance to critical situations (Low oil level or high temperature). Properly serviced units last between 300-400 thousand miles without any major faults. kilometers, or even more than half a million. The high quality of these engines is proven by the low prices of used engines, which can be purchased for less than 1000 PLN, but usually in the range of 1000-1500 PLN.

This is without a doubt one of the best gasoline engines of this century, if not the best. In my opinion there is no better drive unit designed after 2000, Taking into account all factors. There are no defects, breakdowns are rare, durability is great, access to parts is great, and construction is simple. Moreover, it offers great dynamics in a compact car while at the same time consuming little fuel. It is also suitable for gas operation. The only downside to this engine is that it didn't work under the hood of more cars. Do you know a better unit? Write in a comment.

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