D16 Swap FAQ

Frequently asked questions about our classic mini Honda D16 engine swap subframe kit.

How much does a D16 swap cost to do myself?

Total costs vary depending on what options you go with and what engine you choose, but from our experience a basic running driving car could be built for $10,000 to $15,000 CAD in parts including the subframe if you hunt around and find a good used drivetrain.

How much does a D16 swap cost at SMCO?

Builds start at around $50,000 CAD for parts and labor. This includes a fully rebuilt engine and gearbox, all the ancillaries, new engine wiring harnesses and stand alone Haltech ECU.

How long does it take?

A basic swap takes around 8 to 10 weeks, with custom builds needing additional time.

What engine does the SMCO D16 subframe fit?

The SMCO subframe will fit any single cam Honda D series engine and manual gearbox. Specifically, the D16Y8 variant is what we recommend, and what we run in all of our in house builds

Why the Honda D series engine and not the Honda B or K series?

The Honda D series is in our opinion the best pairing for the classic mini chassis. It is the smallest and the lightest of the Honda engines and fits the best in the car. It also has double to triple the hp of a stock A series engine and is the perfect amount of power to be a fast car without overwhelming the chassis.

Does it fit LHD and RHD?

Currently our subframe kit is only designed to fit LHD however we are currently testing RHD fitment and will update this page once the results are in. We convert all of our in house RHD builds to LHD. It is safer for North American roads and is any easy swap for anyone who is doing the engine swap themselves.

What is included in the basic SMCO D16 subframe package?

It includes the subframe, custom length drive axles and custom front tie rods. Those are the basic custom parts from SMCO that are required to complete the engine swap.

What intake and exhaust manifold are needed?

Our kit requires a stock intake manifold to be modified by cutting and re welding in order to fit the firewall. We also will be offering our own custom fabricated manifold that will be a direct bolt on and require no fabrication. 

Same is true for the exhaust manifold. A custom one can be made, or we will have one for purchase that will bolt on. Details to come.

What engine mounts are used?

The subframe will require the use of aftermarket D16 Polyurethane engine mounts, we can supply these if you would like, or they are easily available from a number of sellers online.

What radiator should be used?

The kit was designed around a custom radiator that will be available for purchase soon, however a stock honda half size radiator can be made to work.

What subframe mounts should be used?

The SMCO subframe mounts to the chassis using stock mini rubber mounted subframe mounts. We recommend the use of solid subframe mounts available at any mini parts supplier. Our kit is also designed to work with our own custom lower mounts and let you remove the top mounts to lower the chassis on the subframe, allowing for a lower ride height and center of gravity without affecting the roll center.

Can you build me a subframe that fits a pre 76 mini?

Yes we offer early style solid mounted subframes on request

What alignment settings, ride height is recommended?

Alignment setting are very critical when setting up your D16 powered mini. Because of the unequal length of the axles, if you do not set the ride height and alignment to spec, then there will be torque steer. The settings we recommend are 4 degrees of caster, zero toe, and -0.3 degrees of camber. The ride height using 10” wheels should be set at 24cm from the pinch seam to the floor. All of these specs are detailed in the supplied instructions.

How much is shipping for the subframe package?

Shipping with UPS within Canada and to the contiguous United States is approximately $300 CAD, and approximately $600 CAD to the UK. We will provide an exact quote on the final invoice.

Can I install an automatic gearbox?

Our subframe is designed to work with manual gearboxes only. Any hydraulic clutch D series gearbox will work, however we recommend using the base model transmissions as they have longer final drives which will result in better gearing for the small wheels of the mini.

Does your kit work with 10” wheels?

Yes, our kit uses all stock mini hubs and brakes as well as arms, cones, shocks etc. It fits any wheel from 10 to 13”. We suggest 10” wheels as they ride the best and give the most clearance for the arches, as well as just looking the coolest (100% true fact).

How much weight does the car gain by swapping the engine?

The mini will actually lose a little weight off the nose of the car after the swap is done. Our heavy duty subframe is heavier than the stock subframe, however the Honda engine is lighter resulting in a car that is slightly lighter than it started life as, and with triple the power.

Do you accept subframe cores?

Yes, if you wish to ship us your old subframe we give you a $400 CAD credit towards your new subframe.