Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Forums banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
2007 Silver RTL with J37A1
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Been hijacking another engine swap thread for a bit and thought I start my own so here I am.

Disclaimer: I’m not a mechanic, just a dude who likes to work on cars. Learn as I go kind of DIYer. So please take everything I say or suggest with a grain of salt. Please do your own research before attempting an engine swap. I’m not responsible for damages done to your vehicle.

Engine: J37A1
Donor: 2008 Acura MDX with about 200K kilometers.
Recipient: 2007 Honda Ridgeline with 340K km
Reason for swap: Noob mistake forgot to tighten camshaft bolt after changing seal. o_O Timing belt jumped and valves kissed the pistons.

The J37A1 is very identical to the J35. Almost everything fits like factory aside from some minor mods.

The J37A1:
415792


415794


Im gonna get right into it. Like I mentioned earlier, the J37A1 is identical to the J35. It will perfectly mate with the RL transmission without any mods. You just have to use the J35 flywheel. engine mount positions, valve covers, pulleys etc...everything fits like a glove.
415795


Even though the MDX manifold is lite and made out of magnesium, I opted for the RL manifold simply because of the ease of direct swap and not have to drill holes for additional sensors or worry about intake fitment issues/clearance. Also, unlike the 2010+ MDXs with larger IM/T-body opening, the J37A1s from early MDX has the same throttle body diameter as the Ridgelines J35.

415796


The thermostat housing of the RL has an sensor.

415797

The VTEC solenoid oil sensor also needs to be swapped out from the J37 as it is different from the J35.

415798

While I had the engine out I replaced all the seals with OE Honda. This includes the rear main, crank seal, oil pump O rings, camshaft seals and rings, and valve cover gaskets. I also resealed the oil pan and pump with Hondabond.

Replaced the timing components with Aisin timing belt water pump kit:
415799

415800


Again the flywheel of the J37 WILL NOT bolt into the torque converter of the Ridgeline transmission. You have to reuse the flywheel from the RL.

Lastly, the fuel injector harness from the Ridgeline WILL NOT fit the J37 injectors. You will have to de-pin and swap them out. There are YouTube videos that show you how to de-pin generic Honda injector harnesses.

Aside from the above mentioned, everything else is pretty much cut and paste from the J35 to the J37.

Here is the J37 engine ready to be dropped into the RL.
415801


I forgot to mention that the manifold stud is shorter on the J37 and so I had to replace them with the ones from the J35.

I’ll admit...the engine needs a deep cleaning. This was a one man side project without an indoor garage...I just want to get it finished and running before harsh weather hit. Not looking for any other performance mods at this time. Hopefully this thing will last me another 150k km or so.

Link to the first start:

I primed it couple times before the start. I have not put the exhaust back on it yet.

Thanks to all the forum lurkers and gurus that offered support and advice. Please feel free to post any questions or comments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Great info! I've always joked a bit about doing this if my J35 kicked the bucket. Would be curious to see if the additional displacement equates to torque without a tune, and the trans is able to make use of it.
 

·
Premium Member
2010 RT - Bali Blue
Joined
·
4,629 Posts
You rock and thank you for documenting it as you go along.

The J37A1, as mentioned, is from the '07-'13 MDX which is a Gen 2 MDX.
'07-'09 MDX were similar to the '06-'08 Ridgeline, and the '10-'13 MDX/ZDX were similar to the '09+ Ridgeline. The ZDX did use the J37A5 variation and used the 80mm throttle body.
These engines were similar to the J32A3s found in the Gen 3 Acura TL ('04-'08). It is also similar to the J35A6 found in the '05 & '06 Odyssey ('08-'10 had different bellhousing). Also similar to the J35A8 from the '05-'08 Acura RL and the '07-'08 Acura TL Type-S. Great choices of engines if one really sits down and does a lot of homework, and a lot of these engines are dirt cheap to buy and next to nothing to install at home.

I commend you for it and cant wait to see some pictures and your first hand accounts of driving it.


BTW, looking at the pictures of the J37 valve cover, I presume it is not the painted one but the raw metal one?
 

·
Registered
2007 Silver RTL with J37A1
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You rock and thank you for documenting it as you go along.

The J37A1, as mentioned, is from the '07-'13 MDX which is a Gen 2 MDX.
'07-'09 MDX were similar to the '06-'08 Ridgeline, and the '10-'13 MDX/ZDX were similar to the '09+ Ridgeline. The ZDX did use the J37A5 variation and used the 80mm throttle body.
These engines were similar to the J32A3s found in the Gen 3 Acura TL ('04-'08). It is also similar to the J35A6 found in the '05 & '06 Odyssey ('08-'10 had different bellhousing). Also similar to the J35A8 from the '05-'08 Acura RL and the '07-'08 Acura TL Type-S. Great choices of engines if one really sits down and does a lot of homework, and a lot of these engines are dirt cheap to buy and next to nothing to install at home.

I commend you for it and cant wait to see some pictures and your first hand accounts of driving it.


BTW, looking at the pictures of the J37 valve cover, I presume it is not the painted one but the raw metal one?
You're welcome and thanks for your advice. Yes I do believe you are right about the valve cover. I dont see any paint chips on the J37. I reused my RL valve covers because I had new gaskets and plug seals on them. I also reused the ignition coils from the RL for the J37. Works fine.
 

·
Super Moderator
2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
Joined
·
7,552 Posts
You rock and thank you for documenting it as you go along.

The J37A1, as mentioned, is from the '07-'13 MDX which is a Gen 2 MDX.
'07-'09 MDX were similar to the '06-'08 Ridgeline, and the '10-'13 MDX/ZDX were similar to the '09+ Ridgeline. The ZDX did use the J37A5 variation and used the 80mm throttle body.
These engines were similar to the J32A3s found in the Gen 3 Acura TL ('04-'08). It is also similar to the J35A6 found in the '05 & '06 Odyssey ('08-'10 had different bellhousing). Also similar to the J35A8 from the '05-'08 Acura RL and the '07-'08 Acura TL Type-S. Great choices of engines if one really sits down and does a lot of homework, and a lot of these engines are dirt cheap to buy and next to nothing to install at home.

I commend you for it and cant wait to see some pictures and your first hand accounts of driving it.


BTW, looking at the pictures of the J37 valve cover, I presume it is not the painted one but the raw metal one?
@smufguy you forgot to list the Saturn Vue motor which is documented as a swap in the forum somewhere, I believe it was a 3.2l Honda V6, and the member who swapped it freely admitted it was lower HP/TQ but didn’t care because he had a great engine and rusted out Vue and picked up a free/cheep Ridgeline with a blown engine.

Thank You, @Hashirama Senju, excellent job with documentation of this project and if you want, I can move parts of the previous discussion over or just post a link in that thread to this thread. (Maybe you already have and I haven’t seen it).

This right here is what I love about forums and the ROC!!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: TerpLine

·
Registered
Joined
·
310 Posts
Wow, very cool and thanks for documenting. I’m still curious about how the Ridgeline J35 computer is driving a J37 engine. Both are mass density so come preprogrammed with running parameters based on the volume of air going through the engine to dose the right amount of fuel to keep proper fuel mixture. That pretty much went out the window with the swap.
 

·
Registered
2011 Honda Ridgeline RTL w/Nav + DVD
Joined
·
42 Posts
Wow, very cool and thanks for documenting. I’m still curious about how the Ridgeline J35 computer is driving a J37 engine. Both are mass density so come preprogrammed with running parameters based on the volume of air going through the engine to dose the right amount of fuel to keep proper fuel mixture. That pretty much went out the window with the swap.
I was thinking the exact same thing. An addition of approximately 0.2L to 6 cylinders is 0.033 L per cylinder or 33mL of volume per cylinder. That isn't a whole lot in theory, but I imagine it's enough to make the oxygen sensors unhappy with the mixture coming out of the exhaust. I imagine that if he were to watch the fuel trims from the engine computer they would be pretty high because the computer is issuing a heavier duty signal to the injectors to compensate for extra air that isn't supposed to be there. Someone educate me if I'm wrong.
 

·
Registered
2007 Silver RTL with J37A1
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I was thinking the exact same thing. An addition of approximately 0.2L to 6 cylinders is 0.033 L per cylinder or 33mL of volume per cylinder. That isn't a whole lot in theory, but I imagine it's enough to make the oxygen sensors unhappy with the mixture coming out of the exhaust. I imagine that if he were to watch the fuel trims from the engine computer they would be pretty high because the computer is issuing a heavier duty signal to the injectors to compensate for extra air that isn't supposed to be there. Someone educate me if I'm wrong.
Thanks for everyone’s inputs. I have been wondering about that myself and I’m not completely out of the woods yet. I’m gonna try and finish up this week by putting the axles and exhaust/Y pipe back in and get a new battery for the RL. Inspect the brakes and do couple other maintenance issues and get it out on the road for some real tests...but so far she’s idling fine. One issue I have now is the oil pan thread. It’s been stripped out by the previous MDX owner and I might have to helicoil the bastard...
 

·
Registered
2007 Silver RTL with J37A1
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@smufguy you forgot to list the Saturn Vue motor which is documented as a swap in the forum somewhere, I believe it was a 3.2l Honda V6, and the member who swapped it freely admitted it was lower HP/TQ but didn’t care because he had a great engine and rusted out Vue and picked up a free/cheep Ridgeline with a blown engine.

Thank You, @Hashirama Senju, excellent job with documentation of this project and if you want, I can move parts of the previous discussion over or just post a link in that thread to this thread. (Maybe you already have and I haven’t seen it).

This right here is what I love about forums and the ROC!!!
Yes thank you I was about to do that couple days ago lol
 

·
Super Moderator
2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
Joined
·
7,552 Posts
One issue I have now is the oil pan thread. It’s been stripped out by the previous MDX owner and I might have to helicoil the bastard...
Oil Pan Drain Plug threads? Any chance you can still move the Ridgeline oil pan over?

Other thoughts are can you still remove the MDX oil pan and get a Fumoto valve and bolt it in on the inside of the oil pan? Search for them, quite popular over the years
 

·
Premium Member
2010 RT - Bali Blue
Joined
·
4,629 Posts
@smufguy you forgot to list the Saturn Vue motor which is documented as a swap in the forum somewhere, I believe it was a 3.2l Honda V6, and the member who swapped it freely admitted it was lower HP/TQ but didn’t care because he had a great engine and rusted out Vue and picked up a free/cheep Ridgeline with a blown engine.
The Saturn Vue used the J35S1, which is a J35A3 in the G1 MDX, but with a different camshaft. Probably had to do with the wonky engine packaging they had going on with the air cleaner placement. there is a G1 MDX running around with a J37A1, so one can say that the Saturn Vue engine and the G1 MDX can work in the '06-'08 Ridgelines.

If we really dig into these engines, there will probably be a very solid mish-mosh of engine assembly that would yield in a good power output, without the need for power adders.

@Silver 3.5 , when you meant mass density, did you mean the air density? Mass density is defined as mass per volume.
Typically a MAP sensor is used to send manifold pressure reading to the PCM, which then calculates air density (using pressure and the base volume within the manifold) to determine the mass flow rate. The '06-'08 ran only a MAP sensor and did not have a MAF. The '09+ incorporated both of those. Using a MAF, the Honda R&D PikesPeak TLX was able to keep the turbine speed in check so they were not surging the turbine at high altitude (due to lower air pressure) while maintaining same engine power output.
 

·
Registered
2006 Ridgeline RT
Joined
·
260 Posts
Wow, very cool and thanks for documenting. I’m still curious about how the Ridgeline J35 computer is driving a J37 engine. Both are mass density so come preprogrammed with running parameters based on the volume of air going through the engine to dose the right amount of fuel to keep proper fuel mixture. That pretty much went out the window with the swap.
I'm wondering the same thing

The Saturn Vue used the J35S1, which is a J35A3 in the G1 MDX, but with a different camshaft. Probably had to do with the wonky engine packaging they had going on with the air cleaner placement. there is a G1 MDX running around with a J37A1, so one can say that the Saturn Vue engine and the G1 MDX can work in the '06-'08 Ridgelines.

If we really dig into these engines, there will probably be a very solid mish-mosh of engine assembly that would yield in a good power output, without the need for power adders.

@Silver 3.5 , when you meant mass density, did you mean the air density? Mass density is defined as mass per volume.
Typically a MAP sensor is used to send manifold pressure reading to the PCM, which then calculates air density (using pressure and the base volume within the manifold) to determine the mass flow rate. The '06-'08 ran only a MAP sensor and did not have a MAF. The '09+ incorporated both of those. Using a MAF, the Honda R&D PikesPeak TLX was able to keep the turbine speed in check so they were not surging the turbine at high altitude (due to lower air pressure) while maintaining same engine power output.

Would the MAF sensor be better or worse than an MAP for the larger heads from the J37?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20 Posts
Nice job, @Hashirama Senju.

I am similarly skilled as you and also decided to do an engine swap for the first time, about 15 years ago on my daughter's 1990 Accord.

On her way home from college for Thanksgiving, her engine burned an exhaust valve. She was fine going back without her Accord and taking the bus everywhere, but I started researching repairs. I found a (newer and less miles) engine on eBay, located just a couple hours away. I won the bid for less than $300.

Fortunately, unlike your situation, I have a garage. Long story short, I took my time and successfully replaced her engine, along with many maintenance items, all for about $700, total cost.

I really enjoyed the task and accomplishment. That Accord lasted her many years.

Good luck to you and may you also enjoy many more years in your 07 RL.
 

·
Premium Member
2010 RT - Bali Blue
Joined
·
4,629 Posts
Would the MAF sensor be better or worse than an MAP for the larger heads from the J37?
MAP sensors were the older technology and were used for metering air and adjusting fueling for optimal engine performance. Introducing MAF gives better accuracy for fueling as the computer is not tasked with making calculations for MAF; the sensor provides that data. With raw data to work with, the computer has the ability to tweak the fueling to achieve better emissions and thus fuel economy providing a more powerful and fuel efficient engine.

In regards to your question, the '07-'13 MDX with the J37, from factory, used the MAF and MAP sensors for fueling. The engine would adjust fueling based on the MAF/MAP and the O2 readings to maintain a stoic ratio.
The '07-'09 used a A00 cylinder head while the '10-'13 used a A11. The camshafts used were also different for those sets of years. What does that mean? No idea.
The exhaust valves in this engine is used across the board and for the MDX it spans from the G1 (2001) to the G4 (2022). The exhaust valves in this engine is the same for the MDX between the 2007 and the 2022. What does that mean? No idea.

So to attempt in answering your question on what is best between the larger heads is that it is virtually nothing. I dont know how much the head flows from factory with factory settings, but what I do know is that swapping to a larger TB and matching intake manifold on my G1, I saw no trouble codes, not crazy fuel consumption. Just better response.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top