I’m sure you’re thinking that I’m crazy for doing a “How to” write up for installing an ASR sub frame brace and sway bar, Like how daft could I be? But before you go off talking a bunch of shit, or unfollowing me… Let me explain. You see, when you first get an ASR sway bar/brace box and open it up, you are immediately overwhelmed by the amount of hardware that is required to install everything. It’s truly amazing how much engineering went into the design of this product, you can instantly see why this kit is “go to” for all true enthusiast and track racers. I have installed my fair share of these over the years, and I wish someone would have laid it out for me the way that I’m about to lay it out for you when I had my first go at it. Yes, this isn’t a difficult install, but to help save you from frustration let me guide you through some of the tricks I have learned over the years of installing these.
Let’s first explain why we would need to run a larger than stock sway bar, or sub frame brace. For years now people have been putting a larger sway bar on the rear of their FF platform cars to help induce over steer to aid in getting the car around a corner quicker. Without going too much into what the pros and cons are, let’s just leave it at that. As the sway bars got larger the thin metal that the stock sub frames were constructed of would tear. This would only happen if you had upgraded to a USDM/JDM ITR sway bar. Usually you would be fine if you were just running OEM GSR/LS/SI rear sway bars. As time went on people were lusting after the largest bars they could find, which caused the tearing of the rear sub frame to become a more common thing. Some companies had made some bracket/braces to help prevent this from happening, but one day ASR came along with a game changer! they developed the ultimate combo… A subframe brace that would also act as a lower tie bar, and would allow you to run as large of a sway bar as your heart desired.
Really quickly, let me comment on some issues about running too large of a sway bar, and how now some companies don’t recommend running a larger sway bar. So obviously if your Civic didn’t come with a sway bar and you bought this ASR combo, you would no doubt immediately notice huge perforce gains in terms of the cars handling. Having a really large sway bar can make the car twitchy, and cause the car to over steer too much. That’s why there is a lot more factors that you should consider when choosing sway bar size. Spring rates, tire compounds, chassis stiffness, are you setting the car up for AUTO X, or an actual track… I’m not even going to bother getting into any of those, I just wanted you to know that bigger isn’t always better. Yes it does make the car feel a lot better but it some instances it could be hindering you. The Australian based company “Honed” actually created a roll center correction kit for the rear, that will allow you to run a softer rear sway bar and softer spring rate. They claim that this will allow your car to handle as it would with a larger bar, but without the instability, or harsh ride that you would get with a stiffer spring/sway bar. This whole thought process, is for a lot of us a hard concept to grasp. But it’s proving to be a better way, and it is truly race car engineering that we are being able to adapt to our econobox cars. Basically I’m saying there is more than one way to skin a cat, and either one of these options will yield huge improvements in handling. Neither company is saying that either one is wrong , and you can still utilize your ASR stuff with the Honed kit, thus making an ULTIMATE kit.
The box will come with:
- Sway bar
- Sub frame brace
- Sway bar end links
- Sway bar D brackets/bushings
- Hardware/brackets to install the sub frame brace
You can start off by pre assembling everything to help make things not as overwhelming.
*note that we are installing the V2 kit that comes with the 25.4mm sway bar and it is for an EG. For the most part this will be the same install process for all chassis, and both size sway bar kits (24mm/25.4mm) with some slight difference that I will note.
Start off by opening the bag with the hardware, and mounting brackets for the brace. Take the x2 flush/tapered Allen bolts and use them to tighten the brace to the larger brackets. Now your brace is ready to install… but don’t yet! Leave the two smaller brackets off to the side you will not use them until you put the brace on the car.
Next take the bag with the D brackets, and shaft collars. Take the collars and install them on the outside of the sway bar stop. (the collars only come with the 25.4mm kit)
Next take the D bushing, and with the supplied grease, lube up fully the outside (where the aluminum D bracket will go over) and the inside (where the sway bar will be) this will ensure that there is no noise from the rubber bushing as the suspension cycles. Don’t be afraid to use too much, you don’t want to have to take it all back apart later on when it becomes “noisy.” Install the D brackets with the engraved arrows pointing inwards. (this part is specific to the 25.4mm sway bar. If you are installing the 24mm sway then the arrows will go out.)
It should look like this. I will explain where the flat plates go later on.
Now assemble the end links. I’m sorry but I did not take any pictures of that, however it is very easy.
- Step 1. Take the male rod end and take the supplied jam nut. Thread the nut all the way on till it hits the heim (spherical bearing).
- Step 2. Take the female rod end and thread it all the way on till it hits the jam nut. Now at this point you want to back off the female part just a little bit so that each rod end is 90* apart. (about half a turn) make sure both endlinks are the same lengths.
- Step 3. Now you are going to take the cone washers, bolts, and nylon lock nuts. Take two of the smaller cone washers, slide one onto the bolt (you will see how there is a small end that slides into the heim (spherical bearing). Now slide that bolt thru the female rod end, and put a second small cone washer on the other side of the heim. There will be no nut for this bolt, as it threads into the lower control arm.
- Step 4. Now take the next bolt slide the large cone washer on first, slide the bolt thru the heim, slide the smaller cone washer on, then thread on the nylon lock nut.
By now you should have three separately assembled pieces:
- Sway bar, with D brackets.
- Sub frame brace, with brackets.
- End links.
Now begin by taking off the wheels, and removing any old sway bar/brace/tie bar off the car. Do this by jacking up the car and placing it on jack stand.
Now you should be left with this.
Remove the 14mm bolts holding the lower control arms to the sub frame, and the one for the shocks. Pull the arm out of the sub frame, like so.
Take the brace and place it against the sub frame, now take the two smaller brackets that you had left over. They will go behind the sub frame and “sandwich” the OEM sub frame. you will have had to remove the Lower control arms out of the subframe to get your hands in there to line up the brackets so the bolts will thread in. There should be two bolts per side that will bolt this together, a long one and a shorter one. Take the longer one and thread it in to the top hole, DO NOT tighten just leave it somewhat lose. Next take the shorter one and thread it in and don’t tighten all the way. Do this for both sides. Now take the lower control arm bolts and slide them back in on each side, and get them started. (not pictured) this will center the brace properly, and now you can completely tighten the shorter bolt that sandwiches the brace together. Do Not tighten the longer top bolt, this one actually holds the sway bar D bracket. You can actually remove the lower control bolt again now that the brace is locked in.
Now take the Sway bar that you have pre-assembled, place it on the brace. For the V2 (25.4mm bar) it will come with two flat plate “spacers” that must go on before, like so.
If you’re doing it by yourself (like I made Nate do) then I would suggest sliding the top bolts for the D bracket (the longer ones) through the D bracket and then hang the flat plate spacer off the bolt once its slid through the D bracket. Do this for both sides, lay under the car, place the sway bar into position, then manually thread (start) the bolts. Once started you can now take the short bolts that go on the bottom of the D bracket and manually start them. The reason I leave the LCA’s unbolted and hanging down is just to make life easier when placing the sway bar into position by yourself, it allows for more clearance of the bar as you move it around. Which will help keep you less frustrated. Ensure that the sway bar is centered, and now you can tighten the D bracket bolts to spec.
Now reinstall the lower control arm bolts, and the shock bolts.
The next step is very important, when installing the end links you want to make sure the suspension has the weight of the vehicle on it, and is at ride height. Doing this will ensure that there is no pre load, or binding on the sway bar when installing the end links.
Start by threading the bottom bolt into the lower control arm, making sure there is a small cone washer on each side of the heim (spherical bearing) there is no washer to be used only the two cone washers.
You can see in the above pictures that the Upper heim is not in the correct orientation. it will actually be turned 90* to be parallel with the sway bar mounting holes.
- Jack the front of the car up and place it on jack stands, if you have 4 cinder blocks and feel like being a little sketchy you can just do a cinder block at each corner. or anything else you can think of.
- re install the rear wheels
- Take cinder blocks and place them under the rear wheels
- Adjust the front jack stand to make the car as level as possible. (unless you’re using cinder blocks, then it will just be sitting a ride height)
- Have someone sit in the car, or put weight in it.
- Now you can attach the end links to the sway bar.
- The female rod end will be the bottom, and the male will be the top.
- Slide the upper bolt on, small cone washer on the outside, and the lager cone washer on the inside (between the sway bar and the Heim). And completely tighten.
The most outboard (closest to end of the sway bar) will be the softest setting, and the hole most inboard (closer to the inside, where the sway goes from flat to round) will be the stiffest setting.
Both sides should go in without much effort. If you are having to move the sway bar, or push/pull it up or down to get the bolts to slide through the sway bar eyelets then you will have to adjust the length of the end links (by either unthreading or threading the male and female rod ends.) you must remember to keep the end link lengths the same though, so if you adjust one, you must adjust the other to match. This is why you are installing them with the suspension at ride height with the full weight of the car on the suspension. If you did it while the suspension was hanging in the air and then you lowered the car down it would put preload on the sway bar which in turn would make the car react funny. There should be zero tension on the sway bar at ride height.
I know this seems like a lot to take in, and I’m sure it would be much easier to explain all this in a video form rather than having to type it all out. So for that reason I will include the ASR how to videos they have from their site. These are very short and basic, but they do a good job of explaining the how to properly set everything up. You will still need to read my guide for complete installation.
And here are some quick comparison specs from ASR website.
ASR 24mm Swaybar (Street/Track) Gray bar
The ASR 24mm swaybar is the perfect bar for a those looking for a startup setup. It features a swaybar that is the same dimensions and look as a OEM swaybar but is significantly stiffer due to its increased diameter.
ASR 1″ Hollow Swaybar (Street/Track) Red bar
The ASR 1″ hollow bar is the first of its kind. Featuring a hollowed out core this bar is significantly lighter than our 24mm swaybar. The 1″ swaybar also keeps the same dimensions as a OEM swaybar but is even stiffer than our 24mm swaybar due to the increased diameter.
- Swaybar Rate ComparisonOEM ITR 22 mm Bar Measured bar rate:P1 = 51 N/mm (292 lbs/in Bar weight: 3.78 kg (8.4 lbs)
- OEM ITR 23mm Bar Measured bar rate:P1 = 60 N/mm (347 lbs/in)
- ASR Gray bar: 23.8mm (.937 in) Solid, 2 Position adjustable Measured bar rate:P1 = (414lbs/in) P2 = (507lbs/in) Gray bar weight: 4.4 kg (9.7 lbs)
- ASR Red bar: 25.4 mm (1 in) Hollow, 3 position adjustableMeasured bar rate: P1 = 73 N/mm (418 lbs/in) P2 = 94 N/mm (533 lbs/in) P3 = 111 N/mm (630 lbs/in) Red bar weight: 3.15 kg (7.0 lbs)
Hopefully some of that was useful information for you. Now let me go over the other things we did to his car.
He was doing the normal fluid change: Oil, MTF, coolant check, and SS clutch line install.
We will start off with the SS clutch line install. This is a very, very easy install.
Start off bleeding all the old fluid out of the master cylinder. Do this by having someone pump the clutch pedal as you open and close the bleeder screw on the salve. much like bleeding a clutch, except this time not refilling the master cylinder.
I use my patented rubber hose into a water bottle system.
Once the fluid is all drained, you can begin taking the old hard line out. Unless you are prepared to literally take everything out of you’re engine bay, there is no way you are going to remove it in one piece. I just cut it with dykes in many different spots. BEWARE!!! when you are near the firewall do not get confused with brake lines and accidentally cut one of those. TAKE YOUR TIME!
His hard line was bolted to various parts of the engine/chassis.
this was under the shock tower.
Im not exactly sure what these lines are screwed into, but it appears to be some sort of pulse dampener. His car is an SI model so maybe that’s why his has this, I have never seen it on any base model EG’s
As you can see above we cut the hardline into 7 pieces to completely remove it.
Before you permanently connect any of the new line, make sure you test route it to ensure there is enough length, and that it will not get in the way of anything once made permanent.
Since we completely drained the fluid out of the reservoir, you will have to “bench bleed” the master. Don’t trip though, im going to show you an easy way of doing it. Connect the Banjo bolt at the master with a NEW crush washer on each side, and tighten it.
Now take the other end of the SS line and loop it back into the master cylinder reservoir, fill it will fluid and have someone pump the pedal until you stop seeing bubbles come out. (you may need to add fluid, since the line will fill with fluid.) * I’m sorry but I did not take pictures of any of that since I was the one pumping the pedal
Now bleed it! Connect the SS line to the slave cylinder, have someone pump the pedal, while the other person opens and closes the bleeder screw on the slave cylinder.
Person #1: Pump pedal 1,2,3 HOLD.
Person #2: open the bleeder, let the air bubbles/fluid come out. close bleeder screw.
Person #1: release pressure from the clutch pedal (it will most likely be stuck to the floor) pull off the floor, then pump again 1,2,3 HOLD.
Person #2 repeat what they did previously.
Repeat all these steps until there is no more bubbles coming out of the bleeder *thats why I use a clear tube. Keep an eye on the fluid level in the master so it doesn’t get too low, or you will have to re do the bench bleeding process. you will have to fill it a few times throughout the whole bleeding process. *again no pictures since I was the one pumping.
Next was the oil, and MTF.
Im not going to tell you how to change the oil. For the MTF I have already done an article on this. CLICK THE LINK BELOW.
Lastly we will be bleeding the cooling system. You see a few weeks ago his idle air control valve had come unscrewed internally, causing his idle to surge. This is very common among Hondas, and is easily remedied. It’s done by removing the valve, opening the cover on the side, and then re screwing the internal plunger back down tight. Since the idle air control valve has coolant flowing to it, he had to remove the coolant hoses to remove the valve. There was potential for air to get in the cooling system, and even though he hadn’t had any over heating issues since, we didn’t want to chance it under the extreme conditions the car would be seeing at the track.
So the main focal point of this post was obviously installing the ASR sway bar/sub frame brace. Since so much was done on his car that day, I wanted to make sure I included everything we did. Some of it might seem remedial, but it’s just a documentation of everything we did. I’m sure somewhere in the infinite rabbit hole of the internet someone will stumble across this and it will be helpful to them. As always thanks so much for reading my trivial writings. Have Questions? don’t hesitate to reach out… email Billy@functiontheory.com, instagram @functiontheory, or just comment on the post below.
Some of you might have noticed that when we started taking pictures of the ASR stuff, and removing old stuff of the car it was daylight. Then when we finished the ASR stuff it was dark. Well thats because we ran in to some issues. The box that was shipped was for an EG/DC chassis, but once we opened the box it turned out that that ASR had packaged the wrong brace bracket kit. The sub frame brace was in fact for an EG/DC chassis, but the Bracket kit was for an EK. There was no way it was going to work on Nates car. This was Last Friday and we were prepping his car for this weekends track event. He works M-F and my work schedule is all over the place, so there was no way we were going to be able to get this installed on his car during the week. We called JHP (since thats who he ordered it from) understandably they said that we had to fill out some forms and that they weren’t actually responsible since ASR pre packages all the kits before JHP gets them. JHP is just the middle man. About 20 mins After talking to JHP and emailing them the return forms, someone from ASR had directly called Nate. We sent him some pictures of what bracket kit we got. Immediately we got a text from ASR taking full responsibility and they would be mailing us out the correct kit ASAP. However it being Friday afternoon it was still going to be a few days till we actually got the correct brackets. This wasn’t going to cut it, we had to complete the install TODAY! I thought about a few options, eventually sourcing another bracket kit from a different EG that we could “borrow” until the brackets from ASR came in the mail. We would then just install the new brackets on the car we “borrowed” the brackets from for Nates install. It was a minor set back, and we both couldn’t have been happier with the customer service of JHP, and ASR. Both were incredibly professional and acted with integrity. It was just bummer that we had to jump thru so many hoops to get this all done in one day. Staying positive we were just thankful that it was only the brackets and not an actual brace for an EK, which would have totally stopped us from doing this install.
Above you can see how the brackets are similar. Brackets on the right are for the EG/DC chassis and the ones no the left are for the EK chassis.
As you can see the garage space is pretty tight.