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I started with a 1973 2002 that had very little rust but a weak engine. I stripped the car down and fixed the floor boards and rocker panels. I then did some (new to me) body work. The goal was performance with stock appearance, not show car looks so it still has dents here and there. I farmed out the paint to Maaco (was Riviera, now Taiga) and the engine tuning to a local tuner but I did most other tasks. I also got wonderful advice online from Chargin; great guy with an AP1 2002.


Meanwhile I got an 2007 Honda F22C AP2 S2000 engine and tranny on eBay. The engine fits fine. The F22C is a bit torquier than the AP1 F20C but I made a major mistake. The AP1 only needs a few wire connections to run but the AP2 is throttle-by-wire with a much more sophisticated antitheft system. Unless the key, throttle sensor, gauge cluster, ECU, and wiring are all happy the fuel injectors will not open. Even the 10 lbs antilock brake module has to be plugged in. The tuner had to use a huge percentage of the original wiring harness (and there are several in the S2000!) to get everything to work. Luckily I found a brilliant tuner, Chris, in Spokane, WA at R-Tuned Motorsports. He almost gave up a few times, but it was an intellectual challenge for him and he pushed on. Everything is stock and the engine thinks it is in an S2000. I turn the Honda key, hit start, and it turns on like a modern car. With an aftermarket ECU you have more flexibility, but you start from scratch. I’m happy with stock S2000 performance (minus 400lbs) so I went with Honda reliability and an OBD II plug. Unfortunately I now have an anime-style gauge cluster (gives me speed, RPM, temperature, check-engine light). Autometer’s #2652 fuel gauge works with our stock 2002 sender. Chargin got his stock gauges to work using Speedhut with his AP1 so you could go that route if you persevere.


The only major drawback is where do you stuff 20Lbs of Honda wiring harness? It is too short to reach the rear seat and even though I took out the stock heating system, it still didn’t fit. I ended up just stuffing it where the passengers’ feet go. Admittedly not an elegant solution.


I had to modify the radiator support (still stock from the outside) to get a bigger radiator to fit and Chargin provided the engine and tranny mounts. I modified the firewall to fit the taller tranny. I used a S2000 pedal. I bought a used S2000 driveshaft and a new E30 driveshaft. A local shop married them together. I also had a guy use E30 limited slip differential parts in my 2002 3.64 case (the engine has plenty of torque for a 3.64). I modified the Honda header and made my own exhaust system with a generic cat, resonator, and muffler. It hangs down too far but that is fixable.


I bought a generic aftermarket wiring harness and ran that separately. Basically, there is the Honda wiring that I do not understand and I don’t touch, and then everything else (lights, signals, radio, wipers, etc). I power the nonHonda wiring with one switch. I also installed an aftermarket Vintage Air (#674013) heater/AC. Also some Wilwood front brakes. I cheaped out on Subaru Impreza seats (Hey! the engine/tranny was 9K!). I installed Esty’s carpet kit and made my own rear seat delete. I hid all the new wiring harness under the old rear seat.  


It took about a year in my free time and my skills are average. As long as one can weld (and you use an AP1) anyone can do this. At 240 hp this is the perfect engine for the 2002. Not scary at all but plenty fast. It is similar to a stock Subaru WRX or Golf R. Simply due to price - if I would do it again - I would do a K-swap, but as of 2022 I don’t think anyone has a simple K-swap kit available (too hard to fab everything on my own). There is one for the E30 but not the 2002.

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Edited by Georges

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I too am doing an s2000 swap, and am working in wiring now (I've done an f20c swap in a Datsun 510, and have a little experience).  Hit me up if you're interested in removing all of the wiring you have in the passenger footwell.  

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My tuner (R-Tuned in Spokane, WA) is incredible! He figured out the pedal problem was caused by my fancy Holley fuel pump. It was sending a small voltage back through it's ground which heated up a wire going into the ECU (I may have misunderstood his explanation). But it's all fixed! Now I just need to install my rear Golf disk brakes and I am back on the road.

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Quick question after I noticed your hood struts on the underside of your hood. Do you happen to have the info (size, length, etc.) for these struts? That seems like a very elegant solution and I would love to copy it for my hood!


Thank you for your write up on this S2000 swap. I am planning on doing this myself and now I know just get a whole AP1 engine swap to help alleviate some headaches.

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I should have written it down, but I just went to O'Reilly and got a hatch strut that was the correct length for what I was doing. I do remember first getting one that was too strong, so note that they come in different lengths and strengths. The engine was hitting the stock hood spring which is why I needed to remove it.


An AP1 is a fine solution but given the cost I would K-swap it. Even AP1 people seem to eventually do stand-alones. If I blow my engine I'm screwed moneywise. There are E30 K-swap parts that you should be able to make work. A used K is about $1000 so you could even buy a junk K for a few hundred and use it while you are fabbing all the mounts. If it doesn't work, and you eventually go AP1, you are only out a few hundred dollars.

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I have to disagree with you on the K-swap theory just due to cost alone. I actually have a K20 sitting in my shed from my Euro CTR while I was stationed in the UK for about 3 years. After you factor in the adapter plate, a custom oil pan, oil pick up (kits are about $5k or even more now) plus the tranny, plus the custom length driveshaft, etc...you are looking at a minimum at $7500 to $8k before the wiring harness and etc. This is just for parts and not including shipping, tax, etc.


I'm planning on purchasing a full JDM F20C engine tranny combo with ECU, CaTuned billet mounts ($600 last time i checked) and doing the install myself. From what I have seen, this is the easiest path for me and cost effective in my eyes.



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Seems high, but if those are the numbers then I see your point. One thing, CATuned has an iffy reputation. I went with Chargin's engine mounts and he has turned out to be a huge help when I ran into wiring issues (an honest, nice, guy). Also, his engine mounts allow the use of the stock Honda A/C compressor. CATuned mounts use that attachment point - so no A/C. I guess it depends on your climate.

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Thanks for the heads up on Chargin's engine mounts, I never knew about them. I will look them up and see... As for the CA Tuned ones, they are billet ones now and I assumed they would be quite sturdy. As for AC, I live in San Diego now so the weather is fairly nice all the time.

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