Civic Type R FN2 with TODA balancer shaft killer kit

Do you fancy getting the ultimate in performance from your tuned FN2’s motor? Then TODA Racing has got the product for you, in the form of a new balancer shaft delete kit has just been dyno proven to generate impressive power gains throughout the rev range. But what’s the idea behind the balancer shaft delete kit? Read on…

When Honda launched the FN2 model of the Civic Type R it undertook what seems, with hindsight, to be a fairly major redesign of the K20A2 engine as found in the original EP3 version. This engine, known as the K20AZ3 not only featured revised elements such as cam profiles and a drive by wire throttle, it was also upgraded to hit new European NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) targets. How did it do this? It introduced a pair of balancer shafts into the bottom end of the K20A engine, which are not found in the awesome JDM FD2 version of the Honda Civic Type R, which also happens to make a lot more power than the European model.

On the K20AZ3, Honda’s engineers produced a pair of cast iron shafts, about ten inches long and about two and half inches wide, which weigh a staggering 4 kilograms. Counter-rotating against one another, they are driven from the oil pump and are located at the top of the crankcase, where they rotate within the splash lubrication at the top of the FN2’s sump oil. “The problem with this design,” says TODA Europe’s / Torque Developments Sam Borgman, “is that it also creates a significant amount of windage.” ‘Windage’ is a term that describes the drag on an engine component when oil clings to its surface during operation, which erodes the engines overall output – in other words power is lost inside the engine before it ever leaves.

Firstly, let’s talk about what you get with the TODA balancer shaft ‘killer’ kit. The major piece of the package is a new oil tray, an oil pump drive chain, a new dipstick and a TODA large capacity oil pump, which is engineered to function without the balancer shafts and features lower gearing designed to provide superior lubrication at high engine speeds. “The factory oil pump is designed is to run all qualities of oil, potentially very old thin oil, with a massive safety margin and actually at high revs there is excessive oil movement which results in cavitation,” says Torque Development’s Sam Borgman, meaning bubbles can form in the oil. “This also causes a high level of parasitic power loss on the engine, so it’s another area where the TODA balancer shaft killer kit could potentially gain,” he reckons.

Either way, we were about to find out, because Torque Development’s technicians installed on a FN2 test car, which already packs some tasty tweaks;- notably a Comptech Stage 3 supercharger kit, Hondata Flashpro ECU and a lightweight flywheel. In this specification it clocked a respectable 260bhp at the hubs at 7960rpm on Torque Development’s Rototest VPA-R9 hub dyno

Let me make this totally clear from the outset, fitting the TODA balancer shaft ‘killer’ kit is not a DIY job, because you have to remove the main bottom engine pulley, plus the cam chain drive system in order to access the chain drive mechanism for the oil pump.  Realistically it’s a six hour job, so the key question for every FN2 tuning fan has got to be, is it worth it?

Happily, the data emphatically suggests that yes it is. Straight off ‘our’ supercharged FN2 picked up 10 bhp at the hubs at 8060 rpm, which equates to approximately 12 bhp at the flywheel. But the peak gains are only half of the story, because, as you’d expect from a modification that reduces internal losses, the FN2 picked up power right across the rev range, from tickover to the redline.

Similarly, the engine picked up torque at all points, with a peak gain of 5 lb.ft at the hubs, equating to approximately 6 lb.ft at the flywheel. On a naturally aspirated FN2 with near stock output you’d get proportionally lower gains – TODA Racing reckons 5 bhp at the flywheel is typical in these instances.

In addition to the power gains, the engine’s response was much sharper, testimony to the reduced mass it now enjoyed. Crucially, bearing in mind that the TODA Racing kit has removed the very components designed to reduce vibration from the K20AZ3 engine the FN2’s owner reported that it still remained smooth, particularly at very high revs, happily confirming that removing the balancer shafts doesn’t degrade the driving experience.

Does this mean that the TODA balancer shaft killer kit is the new hot engine tweak for the FN2? Potentially yes, but as ever it’s a question of finances, so here’s a run down on the costs. The TODA balancer shaft killer kit itself costs £458.25 including VAT, with fitting weighing in at £499.37, plus oil.

In total you’re looking at just under a grand, which, if you’ve invested four or five thousand pounds in a supercharged or turbocharged FN2 and are looking for the ultimate in no-compromise power, makes perfect sense. For mildly tuned normally aspirated cars it’s harder to make the case, but as you stroll further down the lengthy avenue of FN2 tuning, then TODA’s balancer shaft killer kit is without doubt a direction worth taking.