We all have different purposes for tuning our cars. For those of us who tune for performance, it is very important to plan ahead the overall purpose of your tuning. For instance, if you plan to compete in drag racing, then your focus should be on generating large amounts of power and getting that power to the ground. If you plan to compete in course races or autocross, then you you need to focus on over all balance of your car and engine.Planning ahead will not only allow you to create a better car for your purpose, but also save a lot of money in the process.

If you are considering a JDM engine swap, then planning your overall purpose is especially important. Since many of the car platforms are similar, there are a number of options for engine swaps. However, swapping for just pure power alone may not be the best way to improve your car. For instance, swapping a k20 JDM engine into your Honda fit might be great for drag racing with the extra power, but the extra weight of the engine, may also throw off the balance of the car. If you are running on a track, then the extra power of the engine, may be offset by extended braking times and wider turns on the track due to the extra wight in the front.

Now I am not saying that the k20 engine would not be a good swap engine for course racing or autocross. As the Fit is under-powered, the extra HP will definitely help. But deciding the function of your car before hand will help you choose the best options.

Planning the purpose of your car will also help you in choosing whether to go all motor, turbo, etc. Therefore helping you decide what parts to purchase and save money in the long run. Seeing the big picture will help purchase the parts that you need and not just purchase the ones you can get first. If you are planning for to create an all motor car with high HP, then a JDM engine swap can save you money in the long run.

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If you have a Japanese car and are interested in performance, then the thought of swapping in a JDM engine and other JDM accessories has probably crossed you mind. JDM Engines generally outperform their US counterparts in both output and reliability. Due to a much more competitive market, there are also a number of engines that were only offered in Japan. In addition to the performance and quality, JDM Engines also generally receive much less wear because of strict pollution and driving laws. After living in Japan for over 3 years, and owning a car in Japan myself, I can definitely say that this is the case.

First of all, the average speed limit in Japan is lower than in the US. Freeway speeds are comparable, though a little less than what is driven in the US, but many roads have speeds of 20-30mph. Since the cars speed is limited, the engine is a lot less likely to be pushed to it’s limits. It is much less common to see someone zip past you because they are late for work.

Another reason that JDM engines are generally in better shape is due to the cost of owning a car in Japan. Especially in the cities, there is very little space. To even purchase a car, you must be able to show proof of a designated parking spot. parking spots in a city like Japan can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month to over a thousand. Since Japan has a very efficient public transport system i(f a train arrives a few seconds after it is supposed to, it is quite rare), in many cases cars are considered as luxury items. This means that JDM motors don’t see the abuse that they would see by young drivers in the US.

Cars in Japan must also pass “shaken”, a Japanese maintenance and smog test every after three years for a new car and then every two years after that. Since the fees for this certification can run quite high, many opt to purchase a new car rather than pay the shaken. This means that there are a number of used cars available that have very low miles on them. Since the average distance traveled in Japan is much shorter  than in the US, it is easy to find JDM engines with 20,000 or 30,000 miles on them.

So if your engine is wearing down or you are looking for an upgrade, then a JDM engine is a good option. In most cases the JDM engine is better made and will outperform it’s not JDM counterpart, will have less miles, and less wear. It is important to know how to choose the right motor and the right seller and I will be covering exactly how to do that in future posts.

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JDM Engines

Posted: 23rd November 2008 by Nick in JDM Engines
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jdm engine from a Supra at the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show

JDM Engines and JDM Accessories have become quite popular. JDM has become a buzzword for anyone trying to make their Japanese car faster or more unique. JDM is an abbreviation for Japanese Domestic Market and refers to both OEM and performance cars and parts made and sold for the Japanese market. So why are JDM cars better than the cars sold outside of Japan? Simply put, customer demand and expectations.

The Japanese market

The Japanese market is a very competitive market in a very small geographical area. The entire island of Japan is smaller than that of California. The market is more greatly focused on smaller to mid-size cars further increasing the competition. The average Japanese consumer also demands the best product and are willing to put out the money for it. This encourages the manufacture to focus on building quality cars rather than focusing just on making them the cheapest. Reputation is also very important in Japan. This means that cars must be very well built or they risk losing their reputation and therefore not being able sell their cars.

This difference can be seen even more in the tuner market. Since there is a high level of competition, higher performance cars must be consistently built for more power, better handling, and better reliability. This is the reason that many JDM engines are built stock with performance parts and outperform their American counterparts.

Less wear and Tear

Another reasons that JDM engines and parts are a good choice for someone building a performance car is that they generally have very low mileage. Due to strict regulations here in Japan, most engines are only driven to 30,000 or 40,000 miles. Since service to certify the car again is quite expensive, most opt to purchase a new car. So not only can you purchase a JDM engine that out performs the one you have, but it will also likely have far less miles.