In this post I’m going to be covering the obvious, and maybe not so obvious differences between my two Civics. The timelines of the builds, what I have learned, the pros and cons of each car, and if it’s possible to “overbuild” you car.
Lets first start off with some obvious differences… Ones a four door (EK) and ones a hatchback (EG), one having a K20 the other a D16. As most of you should know (if you’ve been keeping up with the blog) I had bought the 4 door as a “daily” when my truck decided to give up. You can read all about it here.
As you can see the car is now a far cry from what most people would consider a “daily” and I’m going to try to explain or justify to you how I’ve managed to lose sight of it being a daily. Since I was 15 I’ve had a hard on for Honda’s, everything about them was interesting to me. The sound, the look, achievable price, and the capability of them. It was great to show the jarhead jocks that a “rice burner” can be faster than their red-blooded american muscle car. In the mid to late 90’s there was a huge influx of people fixing up civics. At that time it was still very new to the U.S. and it was a great way to be original and different. We didn’t really understand what we were doing, we were just trying to mimic what we saw in japanese magazines, VHS tapes, and anything that we saw on Hondatech.com or templeofvtec.net. It was no where close to what the import scene is today.
When I bought the 4 door I honestly had every intention to keep it stock! I had talks with myself about how I “wasn’t” going to fix this one up, and that I would keep it stock. As I started to return the car to its most OEM form, I secretly started thinking to myself how cool it would be to do a complete OEM style build, restoration. As someone who needs to always be tinkering with cars, I find motivation in my life though wanting to fix up cars, improving cars, or just building a project car. If I work hard then I will be able to buy more car parts/cars and this how I keep the carrot in front of my face while on this treadmill we call life. So every weekend I was at the junkyard sourcing the cleanest OEM parts I could find for my 98 civic LX. It was a fun project and very rewarding when you would find clean parts at the junkyard. But where everything started going wrong was I started to like the car, and care about it. It was in such shambles when I purchased it, I could look at the car and see all the improvements I had made to it just by replacing old broken parts. The one part that could not easily be fixed was the Auto D16Y7, and I had to come to the realization that my attempts to do a restoration would be feudal since the heart of the car was in such a dreadful state. At this moment I made the choice to do a Manual conversion and put a D16Y8 in it, and from that moment on I haven’t stopped trying to improve it. That’s why it is the way it is today. (if you did not click the link above and read all about the build process of the 4 door, I would highly suggest it as it goes into much more detail about that whole build and why I chose to do the things I did to it)
Let’s talk Eg’s now. Back in 2000 when I lived in california, I had a 94 civic CX with a plethora of period correct modifications. Mildly built B16, red recaros, sw388’s, GC coilovers, Tokico blues, autopower roll bar, and 5zigen fireball exhaust amongst many other things. It was a car that was used for many different platforms, street racing, canyon carving, and auto x. In 2003 I was forced to sell the car to help aid my move to Las Vegas for career opportunities. I had many tickets to pay for and credit card debts directly relating to my car, I felt like this was going to be the most responsible thing for me to do at that time. The car sold for 5K WITHOUT the motor!, and I was able to Pay for the debt/tickets I had, my first and last deposit on my apartment in Vegas and any other moving costs that were incurred. Keep in mind that in 2003 I was only 20 years old and I was about to be moving in with my girlfriend of only 8 months who might I add that i’m still with today! We moved to vegas with the words of my dad fresh in our minds”if it doesn’t work, you can always come back.” When we moved to vegas the reality of living on your own hit hard. We didn’t even have a car, we would literally push the shopping cart home from the store after we bought groceries. Without making this any more drawn out then it needs to be, lets just say for the time being my Love and passion for Hondas was on hold. At that time I didn’t even know if I would ever fix up another one. Fast forward 3 more years to 2006 when the stars aligned and I was able to obtain another civic. I purchased the car from a coworker who allowed me to make payments on it. Since at the time coming up with 3000 bucks was a bit challenging, and let’s be honest though it’s still tough. (it was 2500 for the car but I told him I would give him an extra 500 for if I could do payments) The car is a 95 VX and it came with a D16Z6 in it already, some LS Mesh wheels, and lowered on some ebay sleeves. But to me it didn’t matter, I HAD A CIVIC AGAIN and my life was worth living. Over the years I built my civic to be what you see today, a fire-breathing k20 swapped track car that slowly became a car that I never drove. Everyone knows that civics get stolen like crazy, even more so once you start to modify them. The car was my daily for some years until the modifications began to make it to flashy to park places for longer than 10 minutes at a time, or where I couldn’t always keep an eye on it.
There is the whole back story about each car and a little history about myself. Now let’s compare the modifications to each car. I’m going to break it up by categories, and then finish off with a summarization about each car
The EG civic has a JDM DC5 K20a: Its stock internals, RRC intake manifold, SKunk2 header, Karcepts CAI, tuned on Kpro making 251 to the wheels at churches auto in Long Beach CA. The trans consists of a spoon 5.1 final drive and a KAAZ 1.5 way LSD, exedy three puck sprung clutch, and OEM TYPE R flywheel. Hasport mounts Ktuned billet shifter, with oem cables.
The EK civic has a 96 del Sol D16Y8 running a P28 ecu, APEXi super induction intake, and ebay headers. The trans is the correct matching del Sol si trans (a0002) with an action 6 puck sprung clutch, and action clutch lightened flywheel. Hasport mounts (so I don’t have to run the OEM front vibrations mounts) energy shifter bushings, and fastline shifter.
Now of course the differences here are very obvious. one is fast and one is slow… but is that really what it’s all about. You see driving the k20 is like riding a bull, tons of excitement but you kinda always feel like you’re going to get yourself into trouble. Every Time I need to exploit a gap, or just simply merge on the freeway the car is just too much for city streets. It causes so much attention from how loud it is and how it looks. Sometimes that’s cool but most of the time it’s not. More attention means more police noticing me, more good samaritans shaking their fists at me in rage because they assume I’m a teenager racing around acting stupid. Plus it causes so much attention that its not easily forgotten. When driving it you never really get to go 100% because before you know it youre already 3x over the speed limit of city streets, which again causes more negative attention. Plus it’s such a chaotic experience that its not even enjoyable, as you are passing driveways and intersecting streets faster than you can gauge if anyone is coming out of them. Lastly the final drive makes it no fun to drive on the freeways since in 6th gear doing 4300 rpms you doing around 60-65 mph. This also means that any roll racing I want to do on the freeway is pointless unless we start off at like 40mph. For these reasons i’m a little more inclined to say that I would rather drive the EK. Now hold on a minute, I know what you’re all thinking… i’m just a weenie and cant handle it. But forget that thought RIGHT NOW! I’m more down than anyone to have an obnoxiously loud, uncomfortable, stupidly modified car. I’m not saying that I don’t like the car or that I don’t like driving it. Let me put it this way… when driving a 600cc motorcycle you can really use all the power around town, rev it all the way out, and be aggressive in turns and you can’t really get yourself into trouble. It is a very enjoyable experience. But when you jump to a 1000cc motorcycle the whole dynamic changes, the bike drives very “clunky” at low rpms, but if you rev it out anything above 7-8000 rpms then youre doing 100-120 miles an hour really really fast. This means that you are going to get to the intersections almost faster than you mind can comprehend it, or trying to pass cars on the freeway… you blink and youre already about to crash into the car in front of you. But when you take the 1000cc out to a track you can fully benefit from all of its potential that’s otherwise wasted driving around town. Now the EK is just a sohc vtec slow slow slow car. It’s quiet, full interior, you can have conversations with people while you are driving in it. I’m not worried about smashing my oil pan on something, and it doesn’t really draw any attention. I would say it’s easily forgettable, and that the average taxpayer couldn’t pick it out of a line up. (obviously people who are into hondas could, but the majority isn’t)
This is where the cars start to share some similarities. I feel that improving the cars handling and brakes makes for much more fun driving around on city streets, canyons, mountains, or any other NON track driving. This is because you don’t really need to go that fast to feel the car handle better. There is a turn I always go fast around on my way to work, and the suggested speed is 25 mph but I can go through it at 60-70 depending on the temperature of the road. I don’t need to have 250 horsepower to go thru the turn, just having a regular old D16Y8 will suffice. If anything having a lower power car will help you become a better driver, and it will keep you outta of trouble because when you give it some gas you’re not going to go too fast, causing you to accidentally induce oversteer/understeer by being on and off throttle too much. You will be much smoother in the slower car since slight throttle modulations won’t cause such drastic reactions to the cars in turn stability, and you will be able to learn the limits of the car much easier.
For brakes: The EG has Spoon calipers, mini cooper slotted rotors, project mu club racer pads, 40/40 prop valve, NSX master, gsr booster, and stainless steel lines. project mu brake fluid. this whole setup doesn’t really stop much when the brakes are cool, they really need to be warmed up. This is hard to do just driving around on city streets
The EK has NSX calipers, mini cooper slotted rotors, hawk hp+ pads, stainless steel lines, EM1 prop valve, GSR booster, 1 inch GSR master. motul brake fluid (I boiled this in the eg that’s why I run project mu fluid in the eg) For the streets this setup is great. Amazing initial bite to slow down quickly. These pads won’t do as well under high heat conditions but that’s why they are better at low temps.
For the suspension: The EG has Tein mono flex coilovers (with pillow ball top hats), Ktuned traction bar, suspension techniques front sway bar, non power steering rack, hardrace inner tie rods, and super outer tie rods, energy bushing in all the front arms, PCI front upper arm bearing kit, stock upper arm (no camber adjustment), carbing three point strut bar, Rear ASR subframe brace, Eibach 25mm sway bar, asr heim end links, Function 7 rear LCA with spherical bearing, cusco carbon strut bar, PCI spherical camber arms. Wheels are 15×8 TE37 with NT01 225/45 tires.
The EK has Tein flexZ coilovers (rubber top hats), OEM ex/si front sway bar, new autozone inner and outer tie rods, power steering rack looped (no power steering), password jdm three-point strut bar, hardrace front upper camber arms (rubber), rear asr subframe brace, asr 24mm rear sway bar, asr heim endlinks, oem LCA with hard race rubber bushings, hardrace rear camber (rubber), PCI spherical rear trailing arm bushing, home-made rear strut bar. wheels 15×8 Enkei PF01 with federal rsr 205/50 tires.
The EG has a sparco circuit 2 seat, PCI rails, crow harness, autopower roll bar with some custom welded braces as well, half cut/ completely gutted dash (basically just a skin), Keys steering wheel, completely gutted chassis, no stereo, no speakers.
The EK has full interior, no name seat, buddy club rails, stock steering wheel.
The absolute best way to enjoy driving your car is to have a good seat that will hold you in, this is why both of my car has racing seats in them. I would say at the very minimum you would want to have del sol seats.
To summarize everything up… Yes I believe that you can modify your car to a certain point that it will become more a nuisance to drive than it is fun. Do I think that should stop you from building an all out monster? NO! My EG is everything I always wanted it to be and more. It brings me happiness just looking at it, not to mention driving it. But do I not like driving it for certain reasons? Yes as I stated above it’s just too wild for the streets, but that doesn’t mean I wont drive it on the streets. It just means on the streets im only using 30-40% of its actual capability, any more than that and I’m doing 120 miles an hours around turns and getting myself into hairier situations because the consequences are much greater at that speed. I have hit 3 rabbits in my EG simply because im going to fast and they can’t react fast enough. But in my EK I haven’t hit any, and i’m still going as fast through the turns, however the EG just gets me to the next turn faster. I love my EK as a daily, yes some would argue that it’s too harsh/aggressive to be a daily for me its just right. It probably could be a little softer but then I would be sacrificing performance. The daily is ugly and I like it to be that way, there is imperfections, dents, and miss matched paint. But that only adds to the non flashiness of it and helps me fly low and avoid the radar. It’s also reassuring to know that if I take the EK to the limit and crash I’m not going to be destroying TE37’s, spoon calipers, a K20, first molding hood, or a clean EG chassis. The EK is just made up of left over hand me downs from my eg or parts I got from the junkyard.
In conclusion, it’s very easy to get lost in the world of instagram looking at amazing cars built to the 9’s, with 1 million horsepower, and all the rare parts they could find. Its fun day-dream about how cool it would be to have that, but in the real world that is just down right silly. When driving that on the street you won’t ever get to utilize the car to its fullest potential, you’ll always be worried about wrecking your rare parts, getting the car stolen, blowing your engine that you spent thousands on, and then your car much like mine will start to become a garage queen, only taken out on the weekends or for track days. Driving is the fun part! What’s the point of having such a built car if you never get to drive it or use it to its full potential? I realize I’m sounding some what hypocritical right now, this is why my “daily” has become more a build rather than just a commuter. Because I realize all these things about my EG, and its much more fun using 100% of the potential of my EK 100% of the time, as opposed to using 40% of my EG 17% of the time. Yes its does take some strong conviction to not completely build the EK, but making the EK as fun to drive while still keeping in mind to be reasonable when upgrading it is quite fun. I am constantly reciting my mantra “it’s just a daily” as I usually have to tell myself this to help keep the build somewhat mild and street-able.