In 2014 I took on the task of building my brother a fast, reliable, daily driver. One that he would be able to use literally every day, and still be fun and fast. On june 18th 2014 I purchased Eric’s true unicron, a 1992 one owner civic vx. (please excuse bad instagram filter from 2014)
It was as virgin as it gets. on July 2nd 2014, we were off to Hmotors to purchase our K20 swaps.
Once back in Vegas I immediately got to work prepping his engine. (hybrid timing chain tensioner, new gaskets)
Exedy clutch, and oem type r flywheel
I pulled the stock d15 motor out.
Got straight to work cleaning up the bay.
once all cleaned I was ready to swap the new K20 in
July 26th 2014, the engine was officially sitting in the bay.
I ordered too much stuff for Fedex to drop off at my house, so I had to go pick it up from them.
Everything was starting to come together pretty quickly. The reason I was trying to push through it so fast was because, I had made a deal with myself to not start doing my K swap till his was all done and the car was delivered to him.
When I bought his car, the only “major” issue was the driver side fender had a dent. I replaced it with a new OEM fender. I had also borrowed some SI wheels just so I could roll the car around. Since at that time I had sold the VX wheels that came on his car, and I only had my 15×8 Enkei PF01’s that were too wide to fit with his stock fenders.
Below you can see the new OEM fender on.
Along with the Kosei K1’s, I got him some NT05 tires. I figured these would be the perfect balance between performance, and tire life.
By this time it was almost december, and his car was completely running and driving. An alignment was in order since I had completely swapped out his stock VX front and rear brakes for a GSR conversion. Bobby did the alignment on it way back when he worked at BIG O.
It was now time to do a photo shoot of it, and then deliver it to him.
It crazy to think that there is now a road and expanded freeway on this very location where we took these pictures 5 years ago. (real Vegas locals will know where it is)
So it was early 2015 and I was ready to head out for the 2000 mile drive across the country, to deliver the car to him. He was 1 year in the Navy and was stationed in D.C. I drove the car solo across the country, sleeping in the back seat at truck stops along the way.
3 and a half days later he was able to see in person what I had created for him. The car was filthy from the drive across country, luckily the base had a car wash on it.
We then took it for a drive into Virginia where he was able to unleash the beast and feel how great it felt. (both handling and power wise)
At this time the car was running on a stock PRC ecu. It was actually the ECU from my swap, mine was an 04 swap and therefore didn’t have an immobilizer in the ECU like his 06 ECU had. The plan all along was to have him drive the car and make sure there wasn’t any issues before we would get it tuned. I still had his ECU at my house and shipped it to Hondata for them to install Kpro.
He would eventually get some leave and would drive the car back across the country to get it tuned at Churches in southern California.
June 3rd 2015 he arrived back in Vegas, and the car was running perfectly still (even after 2 trips across the country) by now the car had around 6k miles on it (from when I put the swap in)
We did a valve adjustment on it, put new spark plugs, and fuel filter before we hit the dyno.
This was the day of the dyno, and we were at my dad’s house in Southern California. This was actually the day we changed the spark plugs right before we headed to churches.
From there Ever and I had to head back to Vegas and my brother would stay at my dad’s a few more days, before he would make the 2500 mile drive back to D.C.
The car performed flawlessly on the drive back, and made it all the way back to D.C. without issue. Eric would go on to enjoy the car for a few more months until one night on his way back to D.C. from OK the transmission locked up and got stuck in gear. He was stranded in TN, and needed to get back to base to report for duty. He was forced to rent a Uhaul truck and trailer to tow it all the way back to D.C. Once back in D.C. We face timed to try and diagnose what had happened. When asking him to check the trans fluid we discovered that there wasn’t any! I’m not sure where the transmission fluid had gone to, but what I did know for sure is that I had put trans fluid in it when I did his swap. With over 10k miles on the swap there was no way that trans would have lasted that whole time without locking up. Eric is also very conscious of oil leaks and drips, and he always pays attention to the parking spots he pulling out of to be aware of any leaking fluids. He had even done a few oil changes on base, and never noticed any trans fluid leak.
The car was now inoperable, but there was no way for me to get out there to fix it. Weeks away from his 9 month deployment overseas, he decided to just let the car sit on base and we would figure out what to do once he had returned. During the time he was deployed, the tags expired and his car was towed off base to an impound yard. Apparently it’s quite common for people to get deployed, or move to new bases and just leave their cars. The base knows this, so they police the lot religiously to ensure there isn’t abandoned cars littering the parking lots. When they saw his expired tags, they could only assume that it was abandoned. After all, to an untrained eye it looks like a basic stock civic.
Now back from deployment he decided that he needs a car that he can drive, and he needed to get his car back across the united states to Vegas so I could fix it. His solution was to buy a Duramax truck. This would not only become his new daily driver, but it would be a great tow vehicle to get his car across the country to my house.
On February 8th 2017 the car began its journey to my house.
Once it made it to my house, it would sit there for the remainder of his enrollment in the Navy.
Once it was back at my house I was able to diagnose that the trans was COOKED. Since he had an actual Type R K20a, I wouldn’t let him just swap any old trans in. No, he needed to make sure he got another Type R trans, and the going rate for these was 2000 +. He wasn’t making much money in the navy, and he now had a truck payment to make as well. This meant that buying a trans was pushed back a ways. He would finish the remainder of his time in the Navy, then once out would move to MO where he would attempt to start a life outside the military. He had gotten a job that wasn’t paying well, and he would later leave to try out other employment opportunity. At his new employment he was actually able to start thinking about when he would be able to purchase another trans for his civic. During that time I thought maybe it would be better to instead of buying another Type R trans, to just get his trans rebuilt. From then, the plan became getting it rebuilt with all new goodies which would make it better than a stock Type R trans. I pulled the motor out seperated the trans, we were going to take it to Ghostwerks to get it rebuilt.
With the car in my garage it was out of sight and out of mind as he continued to build his life out of the military. He met his now girlfriend and it seemed the civic was taking a back seat to everything else going on in his life. This was of course understandable, and it wasn’t really a big deal for me to have it just sitting around at my house.
I was able to work around his car pretty easily, and it was nice having another car that was the same model, and had the same motor as my car because I was able to use his parts to help me diagnose issues on my car.
Once day out of the blue he called me and told me he had money to get the rebuild started, and that he would be coming to my dads house for a little vacation. Along the way he would pick up the trans at my house, and drop it off at Ghostwerks. I was so excited, this meant that I would not only have some cool blog content but would be finally getting his car a little closer to leaving my garage.
A few days after he dropped the trans off, he received a call from James at ghostwerks telling him that the trans was garbage. Every bearing was seized, and the shafts were badly damaged, there was no hope for rebuilding.
Here we are back at square one, what are we going to do now. Now he is back at his house in MO. At this point the next best option was to just get another Type R trans from Hmotors. He called H motors and had them ship the transmission to my house, and once it arrived I started getting to work swapping his motor back in his car.
Below are a few links of previous posts that dive into more detail about his situation, how he was able to afford this, and what his plans were before we thought about building a civic.
It may be time consuming, but reading them all will help make so much more sense of the situation.
Let’s go back about a year ago when I actually pulled the motor from his car.
Then, to after I got the trans back and reinstalled everything.
By now you should be all the way caught up.
So one year ago I swapped the motor back in, and I honestly couldn’t tell you why his car didn’t get finished ASAP. It just continued to sit, sure I had other stuff going on. I bought my 4 door, began fixing that up, and tracking it. I was trying to pump out blog content weekly, and just life.
One thing that’s for sure, the car was starting to become more an more of an inconvenience to have in the garage, as I tried to work on other cars in the garage.
For instance when I did my Y8 swap in my 4 door, I literally rolled his car outside and had to move mine over so the 4 door could be in the garage for three days while I did the swap. Don’t panic, there wasn’t a motor in his car plus I had taken other security measures to ensure it wouldn’t get stolen.
This became the norm everytime I needed to work on a car in my garage. I would have to pull my car out, and then pull in the car I was going to work on.
See below, changing Angie’s oil, I would have to pull my car out, then pull her’s in.
And for Patricks K swap project, I literally towed Eric’s car with no motor to Patricks brothers house where it could stay in the garage until I had completed patricks swap. Once finished I switched the cars back to their original garages.
In July 2019 Eric quit his job, and started his own business. He started a hotshot trucking company, but starting the company with his duramax 2500 he quickly realized that truck wasn’t going to cut it. As part of an investment into his company he bought a 2019 dodge ram 3500.
Again you can even see how his car is getting in his own way as we change the oil in his new truck.
If you follow the blog at all you’ll know about my 4 door ek track car, and you’ll also know about how im going to be doing some major upgrades to it. I will not only need the garage space to do the work, but after doing all the mods I have planned I will no longer feel comfortable leaving it parked on my driveway. So this meant it was really time for Eric’s car to go, it’s been a permanent part of my garage since February 2017.
In the past two months I managed to get everything done on Eric’s car and get it all back up and running. This is mainly from my drive to get the B16 swap going on my 4 door, and also because I have way too many cars/projects going on and they are starting to spill over to Ever’s house.
Having so many things going on, and not having the ability to just have both of my civics in my garage keeps me unsettled, and I feel like I can’t really rest until they are both tucked away in my garage and all other projects are completed. I have two motorcycles, my two civics, Angie’s Fit, Angie’s accord (we sold it a week ago), my ranger, Erics civic, and Eric’s duramax all playing musical chairs between Mine and Evers house. For 2020 im focusing selling off the accord (which we did), selling my ranger, and getting Eric’s vehicles back to his house. Im grateful for him allowing me to use his duramax because I was able to tow my car to a few track days in California, and as a passionate Honda enthusiast it was awesome having his car here because I was able to get lots of good blog content with it, and we were able to use his wheels on both of my cars and Angie’s Fit.
This is what the car looked like a few weeks back.
Then Eric came in town last week, and we got his car started back up for the first time in 4 years.
Years back when he painted his valve cover gold he might have stripped one of the studs that the valve cover nut tightens on. So when I went to remove the valve cover I wasn’t able to remove the nut as it would just spin. After fighting it, I was able to get it off but the stud was not salvageable. I ordered brand new OEM Studs that we replaced.
Next up was replacing the dried out spark plug hole seals.
Using a seal driver to properly install the seals makes it much easier, and you’re less likely to damage the seals when you install them (K series ones are more challenging than B series ones)
And of course all new OEM valve cover nuts.
Then a brand new OEM fuel filter.
And brand new spark plugs.
And a brand new OEM Honda battery.
He also decided to clean his hood. (which came out amazingly) he just used simple green and a nylon brush.
We pushed the car out of the garage so we could pump all the old fuel out that had been sitting in the tank for 4 years. I doubt that the car would have even started with that old of fuel.
Here he is reattaching the fuel return line after draining all the fuel out.
Look how excited he is to start the car after all these years.
Unfortunately, the car is only running on 2 of the 4 cylinders.
This killed the mood for the day. We did however try the injectors from my K20 and his car ran perfectly. This meant that his injectors had gummed up or clogged from sitting for so long. With our spirits broken we pushed the car back in the garage, pulled all of his injectors and soaked them in seafoam all night.
The next day I had to work, so he put the injectors back in without me. The car ran better he said, but it was still not firing on all four. The soaking managed to fix 1 injector so he now had three that were working. Later that day when I got home from work, I was thinking that there wasn’t a way for the seafoam to get in the injector just by soaking them, so I made a homemade fuel injector cleaner and we cleaned each injector.
I took an spare OBD 2 injector plug, extended the wires on it. Took a piece of rubber hose that fit snugly over the O ring on top of the injector, then hose clamped it tight. Filled the hose with seafoam, and inserted the air nozzle in the other end of the hose. GENTLY/LIGHTLY pressurize the hose with 20-30 psi of air. Then use a car battery, connect one wire to the negative, and tap the other one on the positive. This will cause the injector to pulse, and the air pressure will push the seafoam through the injector each time it pulses.
Much to both our surprise, it actually worked. After we cleaned each injector, we reinstalled them and the car started right up.
We bled the coolant, and we hit the street to test the car out. I had to follow him in Angie’s Fit since his car had expired tags.
That night we only drove it around for about 20 miles. It ran perfectly, and we didn’t have one issue. The next day, while I went to work he went to the DMV to register the car. When I got off work that night, we took his car out for a real test. This was a total round trip of almost 200 miles of freeway, and high speed driving on the road that follows shoreline of Lake Mead.
I took my 4 door (it’s still SOHC VTEC)
With his car back up and running completely, he picked up a load and left town.
The next day I took his car out for an official photo shoot.
I love seeing how happy this car make my brother, and i’m so excited that he is going to be enjoying the fun of VTEC again. As with every build I do, no corner was cut on this car and it shows with how great the car drives, handles, and works just as a stock car would. This car truly is a streetcar and with essentially a stock DC5 motor this car will continue to be reliable for years to come. Soon, the car will be on its way back to MO hopefully showing rednecks a thing or two about the great invention that is VTEC.
I hope you enjoyed the timeline of my brothers car, and hopefully you read all the links too, so you can fully understand everything that has taken place over the last 5 years with his car and you can see why it’s such a special one of a kind car. I would love to hear what you think of the post, and I encourage questions that you may have about anything I wrote.
Thanks so much for reading about our crazy story, and as always, if you have questions, or comments please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email Billy@functiontheory.com, instagram @functiontheory, or just comment below.