Angies been bit badly by the modification bug! Now that she has her own car thats worth fixing up, she’s going ham. As we all know too well, once you start modifying your car there is a never ending domino effect of parts that you need to keep adding. She started with the wheels, then it looked funny because the car wasn’t lowered. She ordered swift springs to make it look better, and improve performance. Next up were window visors, yes these can be a trendy pointless mod, but she didn’t want her hair to get frazzled when the windows were down. Being the base model FIT, it didn’t come with floor mats and she was getting nervous that her carpet would get dirty. Next up was OEM HFP red floor mats. She wanted a little noise, now in the market for an exhaust she researched many different options. I helped guide her towards some specific exhausts that would be “appropriate” for her to have on her car. Once I found out there was a J’s racing exhaust for it I pretty much talked her into that one, this way I could live vicariously through her. I have always wanted a J’s exhaust, however they don’t make any that directly bolt up to my cars. (since I have a K20 I wanted 3 inch piping, and I haven’t seen one for the ek coupe/4door.) So when I found out there was one available for her car I jumped at the opportunity. After some discussion and comparison of other exhausts she decided to order it. We got it from RHDjapan and it was a special order part that was going to take 6 weeks to get made. At the same time we ordered some camber bolts too. Ever since we lowered her car and put those wheels on it, the suspension stayed at 0* camber in the front making the wheels poke a little. I wanted to add a little negative camber to increase the handling and give it a more proper fitment up front. While waiting for the 6 weeks to be up she couldn’t stand it anymore, she NEEDED to modify something on her car. Now she was in the market for an intake, a few days of research and she had narrowed it down to either an AEM or the Takeda (AFEPOWER) intake. She asked me my opinion on both of them, I said that “I thought the Takeda, since it was a fully enclosed it would be a little better because it would keep more heat away from the filter.” The way the FIT intake goes it seems like it would suck a lot of hot air with an exposed filter. The Takeda air chamber also connects to the front duct that runs behind the grill to get cooler air from in front of the radiator. A few hours later she told me that she had ordered it!
She got the shipment confirmation, and the tracking number said it would be here on Saturday. The day had come, it was 10am and the door bell rang. When I answered the door it was the mail man, he said that he had a package. I walked to his truck where he then pulled a 4 foot box out of the back. I thought to myself… this was a huge box for an intake. I brought it in and she said “what’s that?” I replied… its your intake I’m assuming. “the intake is coming fed ex” she said. Perplexed we looked closer at the box, It was addressed to her so we peeled back the outer most layer of the packaging, and we were both equally surprised to learn that it was in-fact the exhaust, and camber bolts she had orders many weeks prior. We then both realized that she still had an intake coming later that day too. unfortunately I had to work so we couldn’t jump right into installing the exhaust. Off to work I went, agonizingly counting down the hours till I was off. She then made it worse, half way through my day sending me a picture of her intake that had just gotten delivered. At this point I felt like I was almost more excited about all these parts than she was. She assured me that was not the case though. Finally my shift was over, I zoomed home as fast as possible so we could install the holy grail of exhausts, a cold air intake, and some camber bolts.
What a thing of beauty! This is the SS version, not the titanium. While titanium does create a better sound, we only got the axle back not the full cat back so it wouldn’t fully unlock the sound potential. We also weren’t too concerned with the lightness aspect of titanium, not to mention the price difference is quite a lot higher. After all its still just a stock fit, and she only wanted a little increase in sound just to give her a more exciting driving experience.
Let’s go through the installation process for putting the exhaust on. Installing the exhaust is really, really, easy. Literally 2 bolts, and 2 exhaust hangers.
Jack the car up, place on jack stands, and remove the rear passenger wheel.
You are going to use a 12 mm socket on a long extension and remove the two sprung bolts holding the muffler on. The two nuts (that the finger is pointing to) are actually welded to the muffler flange, so there is no need to use a wrench on that side to remove the bolts. Now with the muffler unbolted, move to the rear of the car and find the two rubber hangers holding the muffler to the chassis. Spray WD-40 or similar lubricant on the rubber hangers where you are trying to slide them off. Push the rubber hanger back a fourth a few times to let the WD-40 fully lubricate, making removal very easy. Now the muffler will be able to come off the car.
You can see that I left the rubber hangers on the stock muffler, and just removed them from the chassis as it was easier this way. I swapped them onto the J’s muffler and then just put the muffler back on in the reverse order I had taken it off. Hangers first then install bolts.
Note that on the J’s muffler it doesn’t come with nuts welded to the flange like the OEM muffler. The J’s muffler does however come with two 12mm nuts in the box that you will use. You will now have to use a 12mm wrench to hold the nuts, and a 12mm socket on the bolt side. When tightening down the bolts make sure you tighten them evenly by tightening them in three stages to ensure no exhaust leak, or deformation of the gasket.
Make sure before you start the car, you completely wipe down the whole muffler and piping with WD-40 to ensure your greasy fingers won’t stain the finish once the exhaust has fully warmed up. This is more important on titanium, but I didn’t want to risk anything on such a beautiful piece. you can never be too careful.
Now reinstall the wheel and lower the car back down.
Above is the before. Below is the after.
Yes the pictures are a little vague, thats just because it got dark. Also this exhaust tucks up pretty good under the bumper. I like this because its very nonchalant, and it doesn’t draw any unnecessary attention to the car. It’s very tasteful, and not gaudy. Like the popular saying goes… “if you know, you know”
Im sorry that I don’t have a sound clip of the exhaust, maybe later on instagram I’ll have one up. But overall I would say the noise level is 3-4 on a scale from 1-10. It’s a very nice deep tone, no cracking, or popping, no rasp, and very tasteful. It’s exactly what you would expect from J’s. There is no drone on the freeway or street driving, and you can still carry on a normal conversation inside the car with normal inside voices.
Moving on to the camber bolts. The reason for camber bolts is you can only easily adjust camber by having a coilover that has an adjustable top hat. (or camber bolts) Because this car is a MacPherson style strut, it doesn’t encounter any camber gain or loss when lowered. The camber bolt is an eccentric bolt that goes on the top bolt hole of the spindle and will allow the spindle to move in or out pivoting on the lower OEM bolt that keeps the suspension in OEM geometry.
These will allow you to go +/- 1.75* of camber, or any degree in between.
Jack up the from of the car, place on jack stands, and remove the front wheels. Then identify the bolts that hold the strut to the spindle.
Unbolt the upper bolt, and loosen the lower bolt (this will allow the spindle to pivot freely while you dial in the correct camber you desire)
Insert the camber bolt.
A seen above make sure the tab is facing inwards closest to the shock. this will make the camber negative. If it faces outwards then it will be a positive camber gain.
use a wrench on the bolt side to spin the camber bolt to desired camber. You will be able to see when its at max negative camber. I now moved to the OEM lower bolt and tighten that all the way to lock in my camber setting. Then move back up to the the camber bolt, put a wrench on the bolt side and then a socket on the nut side. Use the wrench to keep the bolt a steady as possible while you tighten the nut with the ratchet. If the bolt turns it will alter the camber setting, so make sure you hold the wrench as steady as possible.
Above you can see the before 0* of camber on the drivers side, and then the -1.75* on the passenger side. Any time you do suspension modifications like this I would always suggest getting an alignment.
Lastly the intake. This is the hardest of all three things we did to the car, yet still overall its pretty easy.
Pop the hood and identify all the things you need to unbolt, unclip, and unhook.
Start by removing the rubber OEM ducting. You should be able to just remove it by hand, there is nothing fastening it on.
Unplug the MAF (mass air flow) sensor. But leave it in the intake. (this will help prevent you from damaging it)
Unclip the two green clips holding the wiring to the intake air box. Use pliers to depress the tangs on the clip, thus allowing it to slide out.
Unscrew the hose clamp on the throttle body.
There are two 10mm bolts that are holding the air box in.
Remove them, and the whole air box, and 90* tube will all come out.
For the silver metal pipe going into the intake tube. (the PCV) you can literally just pinch the clamp with your fingers, and move it up off the intake tube. There is also a resonator tube that is under the battery, you can just pull that off as well. There is nothing fastening it on.
It should all come out as one piece, and now your engine bay should look like the above picture.
Now take the two rubber grommets off the OEM intake and move them to the New intake.
Now remove the MAF from the OEM intake, and use supplied torx screws to install it in the new intake. Then place the new intake in the car, bolt the two 10mm bolts down, attach the hose clamps, and attach the resonator tube.
Be careful to not drop, or damage the MAF in any way. Thats why I leave it bolted in until I’m ready to make the swap over to the new intake.
once bolted back in, and the hose clamps are tight. Re attach the fresh air ducting tube. Re install the PCV metal pipe (I had to use a different clamp I had laying around, the OEM one won’t fit over the AFE silicone coupler.) I’m sure you don’t even actually need a clamp, it fits tightly and there isn’t any boost pressure to blow it out, there is only vacuum.
Over all the fitment of this intake isn’t perfect, it took a little persuading to get it to fit. Nothing thats too difficult, and it wouldn’t stop me from getting this intake again. Just keep that in mind when installing it. don’t get frustrated! just take it slow and steady, it will all work in the end. This intake is nice because it doesn’t make that horrible loud intake noise of air resonating. (this is what most people like) but actually its the sound of the intake not properly working, because there is too much air going in and not enough going out of the engine. Some of the air is coming back out causing that resonating sound that is synonymous with an aftermarket intake. The lack of intake noise might also be due to the fact that we installed the J’s muffler at the same time.
Over all impression of the intake and exhaust combined: The car will now pull strongly all the way to redline. Before it would level off around 5k rpms, and struggle to pull to redline. Driving on the freeway the mid range power is much better, even with A/C on and in 6th gear you can give it 50% throttle and it will easily pass a car that you need to get around. The biggest performance gain can be felt on the butt dyno from 3-6500 rpms. It really frees up the air flow and lets the car properly breathe. When she would normally merge on to the freeway, she would only get up to 75-80 mph. Now under same accelerating and throttle conditions she can reach 90-95 mph compared to on the same exact on-ramp she normally takes to work, and the same distance till fully merged onto the freeway. These modifications definitely woke up the little 1.5L engine. I would venture to guess that you don’t need a J’s to get the same results, any straight through canister style would most likely yield the same results. As for the intake I would stick with this one, simply because it still utilizes that fresh air ducting. The after market is still very little for the GK5 chassis, this makes it difficult when looking at options since there is only a few out there. I’m sure in a few years there will be more aftermarket support for this chassis.
As for the camber bolts, she instantly noticed the cars turn in was more immediate and the quickness that it changed directions was improved as well. This was all expected though, as going from 0* camber to -1.75* will obviously improve the cars handling. Remember that negative camber won’t wear out your tires fast, it’s the toe being off with the added negative camber that will wear them out fast.