The S80 transmission is incredibly common and if you have ever driven an Integra from the early 2000s there is a good chance it was a GSR (at least it should have been) which means there is a good chance you were driving an S80 transmission.
This is all well and good but most of us simply aren’t all that aware of individual transmissions and how they relate to Honda models so we can be forgiven for being unsure about what the heck an S80 transmission actually is, what makes it so special, and why it is quite popular. Luckily, we have done the heavy lifting and have compiled a short and sweet guide to the S80 transmission for you!
What Is An S80 Transmission?
The Honda S80 transmission comes from the Honda B series transmission family. You can be forgiven for assuming it was a member of the S family as that would make far more sense. The S80 is one of many LSD transmissions (often called LSDTs or LSD tranny) that Honda released in the very late 90s and early 2000s.
The S80 transmission is found in exclusively Honda Integra’s and you will actually see the mark S80 stamped on the transmission. You will see this from underneath the car after you have taken the transmission apart so you may not want to go searching for it. But if you own a 97-01 Integra GSR then you will have one. And if you don’t, you should, and if you don’t. Well. chances are your car has had some repairs or replacements that you haven’t been informed of.
Which Engines Came With The S80 Transmission as default?
The S80 transmission came with a number of Honda engines over the years which is great. What’s not so great is that many second-hand sellers are either not sure or not willing to digress about what transmission a second-hand engine comes with. It is super common, although it is rarely based on maliciousness and is more so based on ignorance or lack of awareness. Here are the engine types that the S80 could have potentially come on as stock:
- The Honda B16A (cable clutch), the B16A2 (hydraulic clutch), and the B16A3 (hydraulic clutch).
- The Honda B18B1 (hydraulic clutch)
- The Honda B18C (Optional LSD cable clutch)
- The Honda B18C5 (Helical LSD cable clutch)
- The Honda B18C (Helical LSD – Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) only)
What Is LSD And How Does It Relate To A S80 Transmission?
If you have been looking into S80 transmissions you have by now come across the term LSD many times. It is something that we have mentioned a couple of times in this article, so you have hopefully encountered it at least a few times! Unlike JDM which we explained immediately, LSD requires its own little section to discuss what LSD is and how that pertains to the S80 transmission that we are all so presently interested in.
So, you have likely guessed that LSD is an acronym and you would be correct. It stands for “limited slip differential” and is something that came with stock on all Integra Type Rs from 1997 until 2001. It is actually one of the more universally accepted changes that Honda has made which is saying something.
A limited-slip differential is intended to reduce wheelspin and improve the grip/traction of the car. While you may not always be conscious of it your car will lose traction to a degree with one or more wheels frequently, depending on the gradient of the road and how you are cornering, or for a myriad of other reasons.
When you start to lose traction the limited-slip differential will kick in and send extra power to the wheel that has the most grip. Emphasis on the word most because most people assume that the extra power goes to the wheel that is slipping. No. That would create more wheel spin and only exasperate the problem. The extra power in the wheel with the most traction will help keep the car steady and stable until the wheel(s) that is faltering has regained its traction.
Do All S80 Transmissions Have S80 And How Can I Check If My S80 Transmission Has LSD?
Unfortunately, no. Most S80 transmissions do have a limited-slip differential as default but that is not always the case so you cannot rely on having it simply because you are lucky enough to be running with an S80. If you want to check whether you have LSD on your S80 transmission you can first consult your vehicle specs online.
If you aren’t 100% sure what your specs are and that’s why you are here there is a second method. If you get down under your car and look through the differential (this is where your axles go) there may be a bar through the middle. If there IS a bar through the middle you DO NOT have LSD. If there is NOT a bar through the middle you DO have LSD.
Does It Matter If I Don’t Have LSD On My S80 Transmission?
Not really. The best way to think about it is that an S80 with an LSD has a bonus feature rather than an S80 without an LSD is distinctly lacking something. Some people prefer driving with LSD but for most of us, it’s not something we are inherently aware of and therefore not something we really care about.
If you are given the choice between the two, for some obscure reason, then you should prioritize the LSD of course. But again, it doesn’t detract from the S80 and how high-quality it is as a transmission to drive an S80 transmission without LSD.
Hopefully, you now have a great idea about not only what an S80 transmission is but how versatile it is both in its functionality and the way it has been utilized by Honda. The fact the S80 framework works seamlessly with a variety of cable and hydraulic clutch systems is a testament to how good it is and it is clear why Honda used it recurringly for four years on their immensely popular Integra GSR.