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Old 9th June 2016, 22:20   #1
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Default Honda Brio: 1.5L engine swap successful (page 7)! Now with RD ECU & larger injectors!

My Honda Brio E MT was bought on 25th June, 2015, and has done around 14000 km since we got it. Ever since we bought the car, we always felt that the 1.2 litre, 90 bhp engine just didn't feel like 90 horses. Agreed, it's a smooth, free revving unit, but a pronounced flat spot in 2nd and 3rd gears means that the car felt laboured and slightly out of breath below 3500 RPM.

I was looking for a Project Car since a month, and I was weighing everything from a Laura TSI to a Petrol W124 and even a Linea T-Jet. Little did I realise, that I had a 'project car' right in my backyard. Hondas are very very easy to mod, and my car, the Brio comes with an L12B engine, which, in itself has been maxed out by Honda to deliver most of it's power, but at higher RPMs.

I tried an Automech Free Flow exhaust, and that helped remove that 'flat spot' to a certain extent. But somehow, there arose a need for a 'project car.'

And that is what I am here to explore......

The L12B engine in my Brio is a close relative of the L15A/L15A7 engine found in her elder brother, the Honda City.
Both engines share the same architecture and almost all components are the same in both engines. Save for the head and maybe the ECU.


Now, this is where my brain started working over time. The BR-V and the Mobilio are made on the Brio platform and have the same engine bay. This bay accommodates the 1.5 litre engine found in the Honda City. That sparked a brain-wave, and hence started some research on the 'transplant.'

Well, it all lines up. The 1.2 and 1.5 engines share the same components, and even the same mounts. It looks like it's going to be an easy swap.

But I need some advice from you guys.

1. It looks and sounds doable. And easy. It's a bolt-on fit, as most people who have done it, are saying. Is there anyone here who has done the same? Or knows anyone who has done the same?

2. Do the City and Brio share the same gearboxes? If not, then will the ratios matter much after the swap?

3. I wish to retain the stock ECU of the City engine and do not wish to have a piggyback or a 'custom'ECU. I would like to run the car on the stock City map. The aim of doing this is NOT to race the car. It is just to improve on some areas where the 1.2 disappoints. Also, a 30 bhp and 36 nm increase for an 890 kg car seem great. Any more power than that, and I may need to beef up suspension or brakes. Which is frankly, not my priority.

I wish for a daily driver with bulletproof reliability as my wife will be driving it. I will drive it even more often, if this swap makes the car as fun to drive as the City, at least.

If it's as easy as it sounds, then I am going to go through with this swap in this month..

Please discuss this and let me know if I am doing something wrong!

Last edited by Akshay1234 : 28th July 2016 at 00:43. Reason: editing title
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Old 9th June 2016, 22:54   #2
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

A comparo between the Mobilio engine bay running the 1.5 litre engine, and my car, running the 1.2 litre engine. Note that all components line up quite symmetrically with each other. Even the air intake is the same, and so are the mounts.

Honda Brio: 1.5L engine swap successful (page 7)! Now with RD ECU & larger injectors!-imag0435.jpg

Honda Brio: 1.5L engine swap successful (page 7)! Now with RD ECU & larger injectors!-img_0823.jpg
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Old 9th June 2016, 23:02   #3
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

Sorry to divert your thoughts away from the topic, but for the cost of procuring a Honda 1.5 engine and cost of the labour, you can go ahead and Turbocharge your car. Should definitely be more fun than driving the 1.5 engine. Also, you won't have any (major) legality issues.
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Old 9th June 2016, 23:05   #4
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post
Sorry to divert your thoughts away from the topic, but for the cost of procuring a Honda 1.5 engine and cost of the labour, you can go ahead and Turbocharge your car. Should definitely be more fun than driving the 1.5 engine. Also, you won't have any (major) legality issues.
Thanks, I have already given that some thought. The trouble with that aspect is reliability. I already own a GT TSi and however well engineered, there is still a lag that needs to be encountered before hitting that wave of torque. I am not keen on adding any lag to the current engine. I also don't intend to drive this car like a maniac, or even drive at it's top speed. I just wish for more power and torque to cruise in the city and make it effortless on the highway.

Legality is really a problem with an engine swap, but I will counter that in some way.
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Old 9th June 2016, 23:13   #5
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

LOL. Dude isn't this your wife's car? Why screw up something that works!!

Get a used Laura 1.8 TSI and screw around with it as much as you want. It's got way more upgrades available and will result in better bang than plonking a 1.5L in a brio. The Brio chasis is not great so no point in doing all this to a not so great base.

If you really want to mess around then get the Civic and turbo it like Nikhil.

What you want to do is not a project car, it's pure jugaad.
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Old 9th June 2016, 23:17   #6
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

Investing in a Laura seems like the more practical option, but also costs around 5 times more than this.
Also, this isn't 'jugaad!' There are people who have done this without a problem, and are happy to report good things about the swap.

I am not keen on messing around, once the swap is done. Stock power is good enough.

Again, turbocharging a car is a more expensive, highly complicated and somewhat risky affair. After all, it's a 1.2 litre engine. How much more power can I get with turbocharging?!
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Old 9th June 2016, 23:17   #7
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmehta View Post
I already own a GT TSi and however well engineered, there is still a lag that needs to be encountered before hitting that wave of torque. I am not keen on adding any lag to the current engine. I also don't intend to drive this car like a maniac, or even drive at it's top speed. I just wish for more power and torque to cruise in the city and make it effortless on the highway.
An aftermarket turbo installation is an entirely different ball game. With a proper job, the low end on your car (even at idle) will be much higher than the 1.5 engines low end. Everything upwards the idle rpm can be controlled. Infact, the lesser the boost the more reliable the internals. W.r.t reliablity, I'd say an after market engine swap and turbo job would be in the same league.
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Old 9th June 2016, 23:29   #8
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmehta View Post
Legality is really a problem with an engine swap, but I will counter that in some way.
Unfortunately there is no way to counter it. I was recently day dreaming about a 1.6 DDiS swap in my car but had to face the reality that the time for engine swaps is over. No one does them anymore and for a reason- there is no way to get the paperwork in order!

That said, the 1.5 from the Mobilio and BRV should be an easy swap in the engine bay of the Brio.
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Old 9th June 2016, 23:34   #9
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

Although this seems to be a nice idea for a sleeper, i don't get why would you put so much effort into it.
The brio though light, isn't very good to drive and isn't the best platform to work on,Imo. The 1.5ivtec isn't something special either, better petrol engines are there. Also, an engine swap would make your ride illegal, not something you'd want your wife to daily. If you want to make a real project car ( by real I mean coming up with a proper hot rod of sorts and not just some remapped tdi) then I'd say why not pick up a used figo and plonk a 1.6 Duratec? Now that's one car I'd be willing to give an arm for! A cheaper and every bit as effective option would be a zen with a Baleno engine.

Last edited by Doge : 9th June 2016 at 23:42. Reason: typo
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Old 9th June 2016, 23:35   #10
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

Interesting. However, while the externals may look similar and even the though most specs may look similar, I will bet you that that there will be significant differences in the inside. Reason; one is a 1.2L and the other is 1.5L. While it may seem that Honda may have simply bored out the cylinder and added a revised head, it will not be so simple. In addition to the bigger cylinder and head, it is very likely that the 1.5L also has a revised crankshaft which will be heavier. It is also very much likely that engine bearings and the connecting rods will be different. In addition to these, the cams, the ignition timing and fuel maps will also be different.
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Old 9th June 2016, 23:55   #11
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

It's been done before. Many people in Thailand have already attempted this swap successfully. Hondas are very popular cars in Thailand and car modifications are very rampant in Thailand.
Honda Brio: 1.5L engine swap successful (page 7)! Now with RD ECU & larger injectors!-screenshot_20160609234343.png
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Old 10th June 2016, 00:58   #12
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

I disagree with suggestions on modding Skoda or Ford. The after market fan base, parts base and parts compatibility is much higher with Honda or other Japanese cos. Who wants to sit in a garage 100 days in a year with a Tsi or Duratec? When a factory assembled product can cause issues imagine what will happen if you did an engine swap on those things yourself!

My suggestion is- If your Brio is in good shape and well maintained then you may go ahead. Its not just mobilio, you can use city engine also, they are all same. You will need to source a used engine from an accident car or junkyard, if you have one in your region + ECU of that car. Since the car is not too expensive to begin with, i wouldnt worry too much about the RC issue - just keep it a secret, duh. Lastly, I think people buy Brio / Jazz etc..not because they ran out of options or ran out of money, but because they like those cars..its about passion. I hope people understand that.

Another option is that you may buy a used jazz (new gen) and do a swap. I have the entire engine removal factory manual of jazz (brio should be similar). Also, to correct the above person commenting - 1.2 and 1.5 are near identical and there are no issues. They even weigh almost the same! so its not like Brios front end will dip. Also, Brio is a good platform, as good as swift or polo, the problem is that they have raised its suspension in India. All these cars are McPherson in the front and beam at the back, not much difference among them. Only wish is that wheelbase should have been slightly higher on Brio.

Swap is easy if you know what you are doing. I could have helped your swap done if I was near you, unfortunately I am based in NCR.

You are not going to drive your car in Nurburgring, you are going to drive it in India as a daily driver - I dont see any problem with a Honda platform.

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Last edited by GTO : 13th June 2016 at 20:35. Reason: Cut the negativity dude. He is on Team-BHP for a reason
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Old 10th June 2016, 01:21   #13
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

I Completely agree with aerohit about his comment.

It would be wise to do this research on a thai forum that posts in English or use google translate to read some of the build logs if you want seriously take this forward.

Also there are many build logs of engine transplants in our own forum if you dig up some of the old threads.
e-zen, b-zen, h-zen, esteem 1.6 were really popular transplants. For the uninitiated the acronyms stand for zen with 1.3l engine from the esteem, zen with 1.6l engine from the baleno. zen with OHC 1.5VTEC engine and esteem with 1.6 l engine from baleno respectively.

As far as I remember most of the transplants were carburetor engines but a few of the were MPFI too, so all the hassles of incorporating ECUs et al was something that was done by many tuners in our country.

However I am not qualified to answer your specific query regarding the engine transplant of your Honda, however wanted to inform you that complex engine transplant jobs were executed by many tuners in our country before.
I guess most of the old timers on the forum who had engine transplants done are not active anymore.
I remember riding shotgun in @amitoj e-zen which he at that time drove to Hyderabad from Bangalore. This was nearly 10 years back. The transplants were very reliable as far as I know, much more than a turbo job.

I am sure there are ways for you to endorse the engine change into the RC card, but you can kiss your insurance goodbye.

Last edited by GTO : 13th June 2016 at 20:36. Reason: Quoted post has been edited
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Old 10th June 2016, 03:09   #14
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

You can lighten the car. Remove its body shell and all but one seat. That's at least 200 kg gone.

Imagine the improvement in your power to weight ratio.

Paint "mad max" on the sides.

Cheap and best mod.
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Old 10th June 2016, 03:59   #15
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Default re: Honda Brio: 1.5L Engine Swap (L15A / L15A7)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
The Brio chasis is not so great so no point in doing all this to a not so great base.
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmehta View Post
There are people who have done this without a problem, and are happy to report good things about the swap.
Speaking of the chassis, have always wondered why Honda has limited all the Brio platform vehicles to 140 kmph, including their current flagship- the BRV.

Feels like Honda themselves are not confident of this platform having high powered high speed performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
What you want to do is not a project car, it's pure jugaad.
I agree with your other points, but why would you insult this mod as a "jugaad"?

Isnt it a pretty straight forward swap, as far as these things go? He is looking at an engine used extensively in India, that too within the same family of cars.
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