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B18C1 Y80 Transmission Rebuild - Tech Knowledge

Rebuild Your Transmission For Pennies On The Dollar, With Better Performance And Greater Longevity

Text By Luke Munnell, Photography by Luke Munnell

I'll never forget test-driving my first newly swapped Civic years ago. No matter how effectively the preceding week of mind-racking stress of installing that '94 B18C1 GSR engine and trans into my '95 Civic DX taxes the memory, I can recall the moments as if they happened yesterday: the foreign sound of the new starter cranking the dual-cam engine to life, the increased NVH levels felt at idle, and the massive power and gearing improvements the new combination delivered over the previous D15 arrangement. I can also remember shifting into Third Gear for the first time-the moment my unadulterated bliss was traded for an emotion felt by anyone the moment they realize they're f*cked-which can only be described in one onomatopoeiatic offering: "grreeacchhhkk!"

"What the hell was that?!" I asked my shotgun-riding, seasoned vet of the wrench.

"That's the sound of a worn synchro," he responded.

"OK . . . what can I do about it?"

"Nothing. Replace the transmission and hope it doesn't happen again."

Fortunately, times have changed.
When the same problem surfaced in Project DC2 a little while back-on the up-shift from Third to Fourth-we decided it was time to find a permanent solution. We had two options: we could replace the trans with a nicer-looking one from a junkyard and hope for the best, or we could spent a small fortune on a complete synchro and sleeve set from a Honda dealership (synchros/sleeves aren't sold individually), re-build our trans to OE specs and hope it lasts a decent amount of time before it starts grinding again. It wasn't until we caught up with Synchrotech in San Dimas, CA, that we learned of a third option: order only the components we need (at manufacturer-direct costs), and rebuild the trans ourselves or have them do it for a nominal fee. We could even upgrade our OEM brass synchros to their proprietary carbon-coated or full carbon-fiber synchros to increase performance and longevity, and still save coin in the process. Turns out our choice really wasn't one after all.

By Luke Munnell
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