Perfecting the Perfect

Perfecting the Perfect

As many of you know i do many different kinds of Motorsports, but nothing will ever compare to the love and passion i have for my Honda civic. Since before i even had a license I loved the sound and style of a small sport compact, with that exhaust note that would just drive people up the wall with its annoying high pitched scream that could wake Cleopatra from her grave. these cars really focused on the “power to weight ratio” and “horsepower per liter” not only were they extremely light weight and economical on fuel they were cheaper to insure and with the simple swap of a motor you could be producing 115-120 hp per liter witch was so much more than any v8 could produce giving an example of a 4.6 mustang GT that makes 300 (with mods) to the wheel putting it at 65 horsepower per liter. this really puts in to perspective just how amazing Honda’s B16 series engines were, and how it was really a hard pill for v8 guys to swallow that a little rice burner could beat them, i mean they have twice as many cylinders so technically speaking they should be easily able to beat a little civic. Most V8 owners, and most non informed car enthusiast think…  that they have huge horsepower number they should be able to “walk” on civics. just because you have a big Horsepower number 300,350,400 its all meaningless if your car weighs too much. Civic owners in the late 90s and early 00s could get away with having 180-200 horsepower to the wheels and be able to dominate almost any car on the streets, now days its a little more challenging since they are making v8 cars with minimum of 400 horsepower all the way up to 700 horsepower its seems today we are just drunk with horsepower numbers and pretty much just turns into a pissing contest. Most people seem to forget the fact those cars are now weighing in at 4000 + pounds, so if you are looking at numbers and do some basic math you can see that a civic that has 200 horsepower that weighs 2000 pounds is going to have an equal power to weight ratio of a car that has 400 horsepower and weigh 4000 lbs. now i agree that even the newer civic are getting a little fat and its a little more of a challenge to make a good horsepower to weight ratio from them.

This leads into my article about how my car is perfect and its hard to improve on perfect, But you can always improve there is never an end, and My girlfriend knows this all to well. she accepts my hobby because she knows that its my  passion and Motorsports runs in my blood and i wouldn’t want to do anything else as a hobby. not to mention that she is a little grease monkey her self, and that’s how we met hanging out at street races in southern California in 2000 the golden era of JDM and the real movement of the import scene. Lets just take a little stroll down memory lane and talk about why EG, EK civic and even DC chassis integras are the most perfect thing ever made. Now sure i’m a little biased when saying this but understandably so. from growing up in southern California and witnessing the “golden era” of true JDM before it became some stupid slang word to describe pretty much any modified Japanese car. this was the day and age before there was an actual market for knock off parts and copies, days when you would search eBay for “jdm” and actual parts would come up not just 10 dollar strut bars, or “blue” head lights. i know you can still find this stuff but eBay is saturated with crap Chinese knock off garbage i digress.

Anyway getting any of these chassis and and swapping a b16 or b18 into it or having a dc chassis and putting the all mighty JDM b18c type r motor and some weight reductions you were a really quick car and with the addition of some cams and a 4.78 JDM type r trans you were unbeatable. i have owned two Eg chassis and have had countless friends with EK, DC chassis as well. i have had all the motors D15, D16, B16, K20. i can say that obviously as the years go on and cars get faster its harder to have a fast B series car ( not impossible ) but in 2002 with the Introduction of the K series motor Honda had improved on there already amazing Vtec with the introduction of I-vtec and making them 2.0 liter and capable of producing 200+ horsepower with the DC5 and the FD2 making 220 horsepower to the crank it wasn’t long till people were swapping these motors into their cars and creating beasts, with the amazing response to mods that k series engines are notorious for with just a few bolt ons you are making 225-250 WHP which again in a light ass civic is crazy town. if you follow my blog or me or anything i do you should know that im K20 and its amazing and even though some purist believe that its blasphemy that i don’t have a B series in my car ( and even i would have once thought that) but once i felt that power and torque and it was 100% OEM reliability i was never going to go back and since i drilled out my passenger side engine mount so a B series wasn’t going back in ( unless i welded one back in). now this whole article has pretty much just been focused on power to weight ration and how the shear lightness of a civic is what majorly added its ability to be fast. Its 2018 now and you can make 300+ horsepower out of a fiesta for gods sake, so the reign of power to weight ratio has pretty much come to an end and its safe to say ( and i know from experience) that having a N/A civic just isn’t really fast anymore. no matter how light or how JDM your motor. GTR’s, EVO’s, Corvettes +E85 and upped boost there is no way i can even compete.

So lets talk about track racing, and how its a very different playing field when it some to fast lap times. I did my first autocross event in 2002 in the parking lot of Hollywood park horse race track, god im old this place is closed down and has been for a while. also growing up in southern California gave me access to as many canyon roads as i could get on, GMR, Malibu, big bear, castaic lake, palos verdes, and ACH pretty much a few times a week hitting these up regularly. this gave me a passion for racing other than just in a straight line, plus it was easier to weed out good and bad drivers since you needed more than just horsepower to be fast. you needed to understand the whole car, trail braking, apexing, and proper techniques of driving, Plus this gave you a thrill for longer than 15 seconds. im not really sure where im going with this other than i love my civic and its an amazing car i know there are other amazing cars but i believe that the civic is easily in the top 5 and i know that with a proper RWD platform you can be faster but at twice the cost. i have always been more into track racing but lets face it im always roaming the streets looking for a race. So my civic build has always been track oriented and more focus on handling and braking.

Lets get to the actual point of this article and talk about some issues that arose once I’ve taken the  Kswap out for a few track days. So as most people know track racing can be extremely hard on your car since you are pretty much always above 6k rpms and always slamming on brakes. when i first did my swap i ran a half sized radiator because i ran the Ktuned ram air intake that went right behind the grill, this was giving me overheating problems after just a few laps. I know I know why did i even try to run a half size, i just thought i could get away with it but honestly there was no way around it i had to get a full size. After 3 laps at SMMR i would be very near the H on the temp gauge and after 5 laps it would pretty much be over heating, i would have to do a few cool down laps and come in and leave my car running and spray water on the radiator for it to cool down. this was not fun since it cut my driving time in half since i was spending half my session cooling the car. Another thing you should know about me is that i always try and have any modification be 100% bolt on with no modification necessary, this is also why i didn’t want to go full size since it seemed like they all pretty much involved some sort of modification for example; moving radiator mounts form the core support and and changing routing of hosing. I knew i could no longer tax my motor by running it so hot i honestly felt bad for it (oh yea i believe that motors have souls, and they feel pain) so after much research and deliberation i decided to go with a KOYO radiator that was meant for a DC2 with a Kswap, since both chassis are pretty much the same i knew i would be able to make it work. Another great feature was that the KOYO radiator was also cross flow allowing for maximum cooling efficiency. obviously i had to make mounts some how and new radiator hoses so this is what i did. i got the brackets that bolt onto the KTUNED traction bar and then i had to make some brackets that bolted to the side of the radiator since this radiator doesn’t have the nipples on  the top that you would just put a radiator bracket on with some rubber insulators I had to really design the routing for the hoses so i ended up getting a few 90* hoses and chopping them up and re using some of the old Ktuned hoses i had. I ditched the Tbolt hose clamps since i seem to have not the best luck with them i always seem to over tighten and distort the aluminum input and output of the radiator causing leaks, but i did buy some really good Stainless hose clamps that cost almost as much Tbolt clamps. i was a bit frustrated about having to run the hoses but in the end it came out very clean and worked flawlessly.


So as you can see there is now a full size and you can kind of understand of the inlet and outlet for the radiator is very far off the the left side and there is no nipple on the top to put radiator brackets on, and you can see how the lower brackets go around the traction bar. on a side note i did weld them to the traction bar as well just to be sure the wouldnt move, and painted them black aswell. a keen eye will spot that my core support is grinded down on the left side, and thats becasue thats where my old ram ir intake was and it did want it rubbing. Its also very hard to be working on the car and taking pictures at the same time i always wish someone would just come take the pictures so i could have so many more step by step pictures to help show people how they can do it too. Another first for me on this project was to just do a little everyday, since the car wasnt going anywhere i would just go out and work on it at my leasure and that really helped my not stress out about things not fitting or needing modifications to work. this ended up working out great for me in the end becasue i was able to make everything look really clean and make sure it was going to handle the abuse out at the track. i do love the thrill of getting new parts and then bolting them on right away so you can see how cool they look, but as ive gotten older and wiser? i realize that if you take it slow you can always make things look better in the end and it wont look so sloppy and hacked together.


You can see on these pictures how i ended up routing my hoses, its a tight fit and trying to keep them as far away from the intake as possible was also a challenge.


Another issue that came up on the last track day was melting my brakes and boiling my fluid. i came to the conclusion on my own that i had a street pad that did some track and i needed a pad that was more track and less street. when i upgraded to my spoon calipers i honestly cant remember what pad i used it was either a stoptech or hawk pad but like a hawk hp or hp+ but im not sure. and i was also running stoptech fluid aswell, but somewhere in beween pad melting and terrible almost scary braking, like not actually slowing me down and having a pedal feel as if i wasnt running a brake booster. Just super stiff and hard to push and you had to push really hard to get the brakes to slow me down. I came to the conclusion that i needed better pads, i fugred that my whole braking system was already top notch; bigger booster, 40/40 prop valve, bigger master, stainless steel lines, spoon calipers… the weak link had to be the pads so i did some research and decided on ordering the project MU R999 pads but was dissapointed to find out that they are 6 weeks out from japan, and with an event coming up in two weeks i couldnt wait. evassive motorsports told me that they use the project mu club racer pads on their track S2000 and that these were just a step below the R999 ones that i really wanted. since the brake fluid was boiled and brown i needed to flush the whole system and replace it with some project mu fluid.


you can also see that i was changing my transission fluid as well, i usually change my fluid after every track weekend ( and yes with KAAZ fluid each time) again i firmly belive that the car, motor, trans feels pain. with as hard as im driving the car and beating the shit out of it, asking for 110% of its capability the least i can do is pamper it with new fluids after each event. i beleive it pays dividends in car karma!



With the above pictures you can see how roasted the brakes were. i wish i would have taken pictures of the fluid too.



This was new pads and rotors, still with the brake fliud drying after cleaning the protective coating of the rotors so they dont rust up suring storage and shipping. and a full clean of my calipers too just so they keep Blinging. i run stoptech slotted rotors for a mini cooper base model, in previous posts i have a write up on the spoon caliper install.


After my last trackday i noticed that one of my axles had a tear in the CV boot which was flinging grease all over the inside of my TE37s! so i got some new boots and repacked the axles while i had the car up on jacks stands.


the last modification that i did was install a PCI rear spherical bearing camber kit. i never used any camber kits front or rear but after noticing wear on my rear tires only on the outsides i decuded to get a rear camber kit and dial in a little more negative camber. but i still dont run a front one, but i do have upgraded upper arm bushings.


its a pretty straight forward install and easy to do just make sure you get an alignment after doing it, not just for the camber but to make sure toe isnt off.


So thats it thats the update on perfecting the already perfect car… things will always need to be upgraded and improved apon, and you will not always be content with what you have there can always be better. especially if you are usung and abusing you car there is a lot of down time on the car to up keep and maintain its reliabity. as for me installing the full size radiator completley blew my mind i had no idea that such a simple thing could improve my cooling as much as it did, i was able to go out and run full 30 min sessions at SMMR with out it even going above half way on the temp gauge. this was so awesome, and i no longer felt bad for the car running hot. it ran so cool that my fan wouldnt even turn on while i was on the track and when i would come in to my pit the fan still wouldnt be on, how ever i do have it on a switch so that i can  over ride the fan switch and i would still come in and pop the hood and turn it on and spray the radiator with water just just help cool the oil down and not have the scalding hot fluid just sitting in the engine. im sure its over kill but i feel compassion towards this amazing machine and i want it to be as comfortable as possible. please dont think that it was a cool day too temps were in the high 80s all day.

My brakes also worked amazingly well and i loved the fact that there was pedal modulation and that the pedal wasnt just like a brake on off switch, this made for much easier trail barking and the ability to use my brakes to their full potential. the brakes never fadded once, and my pedal always felt great im very happy with these pads. i must warn though that the pads dont work too well when cold so be careful when you fist go out to not go too hot into the first corner.

lastly my camber kit was good i had bobby do the allignment on it, he has always done all my allignments even on my drift car. my tire wear was even all weekend and had lots of grip. thanks again Bobby for staying even though you were sick.


below there is just a few random pictures of my car, and my dog, and my wheels. i hope that my posts can help atleast one person, casuse i know the frustration of trying to find information about modifications and will they work with x,y,z chassis. again im sorry for the lenghty read but i feel like i was tapping into a rant that i have about how people dont understand power to weight ratio and how they thing becasue i only make 250 hp thats not a lot.



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