The J35A8 Engine – Everything You Need To Know

The J35A8 is just one of the many incredible engines that Honda has put out over the years. Honda has time and time again proved that they can hang with the best of them at the top in terms of creating powerful, efficient, and reliable engines.

So, what makes the J35A8 engine stand out? Is it really worth all the hype, what makes it special, what kind of power can you extract from the J35A8 engine, and does it still hold up as a great value-for-money investment? Let’s get into all of that and more right here and now in this short and punchy blog post – Everything you need to know about the J35A8 engine.

What Is The J35A8 Engine?

The Honda J35A8 Engine is one of the many exceptional engines Honda released within the J series that started production in 1996 and is still technically running in one form or another today. The J series is the fourth V6 engine family released by Honda and the J35A8 is just one of many in the family that found “fame” in the Honda community and out.

The J35A8 engine uses a 24-valve SOHC VTEC valve train and runs at a compression ratio of 11:1 as well as having a hefty displacement of 3.5 liters. Yes, it’s a V6. But it also has a pretty huge engine. The J35A8 engine produces 286 brake horsepower as stock and produces 256 lb-ft of torque. The J35A8 is fast, powerful, and dynamic.

Why Is The J35A8 Engine So Popular?

The J35A8 managed to claw its way onto the Ward’s 10 best engines list in 2005, 2008, and 2009. Now, this is interesting and a testament to its popularity for two reasons. First, it manages to make its way onto the list at all let alone three times. And secondly, the gap between 2006 and 2008. There are two years where the J35A8 was edged out of the top ten. But it managed to make its way back. That shows how incredibly good this engine is that it managed to stay on top, or top adjacent, for so freaking long.

The J35A8 engine was designed to be powerful and punchy but not to jeopardize reliability and efficiency. And it didn’t. The term best of both worlds gets thrown out a lot, we even do so on occasion when it warrants it, but the J35A8 was on another level. It was fast and powerful and turned the Acura into a completely different beast. Why was the J35A8 engine so popular, and why is it still so popular today? Because it does everything you could want it to and more.

There is a little bit of controversy around the engine compression ratio for the J35A8. It sits at 11:1 which is pretty high, not necessarily for a high-performance engine, but high nonetheless. If you want a turbocharger installed in your car then you would have to drop that engine compression ratio by about 25%. Which is quite a lot. But, do you need to? Sure, a turbocharger is great and you can absolutely install one if you so wish. But there are other ways to extract more power from the J35A8 that will cost a heck of a lot less.

Which Honda Vehicles Came With A J35A8 Engine As Stock?

The Honda J35A8 engine was in production from 2004 until 2008. Though you will still find that it’s used today by petrol heads the world over for their upgrades. Swapping in a J35A8 would rarely be considered a downgrade. The Honda J35A8 was used as stock in the following vehicles:

  • Honda Legend KB1 (2004-2008)
  • Honda Acura RL (2005-2008)
  • Honda Acura TL Type-S (2007-2008)

Just as a note, you can see that the J35A8 engine stopped being produced towards the end of 2008. But, still made the top ten engines of the year in 2009. A year it wasn’t even being produced as new anymore. If that doesn’t scream popularity nothing will.

What Is The Safest Maximum Power Output Of A J35A8 Engine?

The J35A8 comes with about 186 brake horsepower and 256 lb-ft of torque. Now, that is by no means the maximum power level you can extract from this engine if you plan to add on aftermarket upgrades you can potentially double that if you decide to go all out. If you are planning on swapping the J35A8 engine into an existing vehicle, or are simply curious what the safest maximum power output is, you should use 290 bhp as the limit.

You can potentially push the J35A8 engine to around 8500-9000 RPMs. But it will hate you for it. The J35A8 doesn’t do well at such ridiculously high RPMs and you are very likely going to damage it in some way.

How Much Does A J35A8 Engine Cost And Is It Good Value For Money?

If you want to buy a J35A8 engine that is more or less new, made from stock OEM parts only, it is probably going to cost you about $1500 in parts and about the same again in labor to have it assembled and installed.

Which truthfully is pretty darn good. A secondhand J35A8 will cost you about $700-$1200 depending on age and how many miles it has already racked up. In terms of value for money, whether your budget allows a brand-new engine or a secondhand one the J35A8 is about as good a value-for-money investment as any other engine on the market. Honda or not.


Hopefully, you now feel like you have all the facts and figures to back up the case for the J35A8 engine for being one of the top ten engines in the world for 3 out of 5 years in a row. The J35A8 is a quality engine that packs a powerful punch with a price tag that is almost suspiciously low for what you are getting. The J35A8 provides excellent bang for your buck and is well deserving of all the awards it has won over the years.

Similar Posts