Project Honda Civic Energy Suspension ST Sway Bar Install

 Project Honda Civic: Energy Suspension Bushings and ST Sway Bar Install

By Annie Sam
Photos by Joe Lu

Now that we have completely beefed up the suspension and brakes of Project Honda Civic  with the Skunk2 Pro-C Coil overs and camber kit, and the Fastbrakes big brake kit, it's time to button things up with the last several suspension upgrades we had lined up for our little weekend warrior.

A finishing touch not to be overlooked is replacement bushings. We changed most of our old worn out stock rubbery bushings with polyurethane ones from Energy Suspension. As you can see from the image below, the soft rubbery material coupled with years of abuse has caused these rubber bushings to tear, something that is common for high mileage stock rubber bushings.

Read all about Project Civic Here!

Project Honda Civic Energy Suspension ST Sway Bar Install
Although our stock bushings held up remarkably well for having over 250,000 miles on them, you could see hairline cracks developing at the stress points.

Unlike the stock bushings, polyurethane bushings are a good compromise between the comfort of soft squishy rubber and the solid metal spherical bearings that some hardcore racers use. Polyurethane is stiff enough to maintain the proper alignment needed for maximized performance of your suspension, while being soft enough to allow some absorption of vibration in these suspension parts for a tolerable ride. Another benefit to polyurethane bushings is that polyurethane material maintains its mechanical properties between -90 F and +227 F. In my opinion, you'd probably have bigger things to worry about if you ever found yourself in either of these extreme temperatures, but at least you'd know that your bushing will remain reliable up until these points.

 Project Honda Civic Energy Suspension ST Sway Bar Install
We decided to remove our stock bushings "24 Hours of LeMons" style. Be sure to wear gloves. Although it might seem like total common sense now while I point it out, it is easy to forget how easily heat transfers through the metal, and how easily it can burn you if you touch it.. Note the burning spray painted rims; probably not the best thing to breathe in, either.

Although one of the more "proper" ways to remove stock bushings would be to use a press with tubes of a similar diameter of the bushing you're pressing out, there are other ways for those of us that don't have a press – tree huggers be warned, the following images are not for the faint environmentalist's hearts.

Project Honda Civic Energy Suspension ST Sway Bar Install
MotoIQ's very own Martin Gonzales helps with the bushing removal process. Kids, don't try this at home. For everyone else, make sure you have good homeowner's insurance.
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OMG Its Weasel
OMG Its Weasellink
Sunday, January 22, 2012 11:05 PM
The lubricant also prevents the very distinct urethane squeal that comes from these when they do wiggle around a bit without lube. If you don't want your car sounding like a see-saw over bumps and deflections, you should get some form of lubricant.
As for the solid engine mount bushings: I actually prefer the feel of the Energy inserts to solid mounts. (I've tried all, 62-98a durometer, HAsport mounts) The solid mounts at 8000rpm+ would transfer some vibrations through the car, to the point where long racing sessions made my hands numb. It was not motor/trans dependent as I eventually swapped everything and still got the vibration. Going back to OEM + energy inserts cured it though. Maybe for a full on track car like this you don't mind it, but for me; energy+oem mounts.
Julian ITR
Julian ITRlink
Monday, January 23, 2012 10:59 AM
You should try putting your ES bushings in a freezer for a while before installing them, you can press them in by hand if you do.
Also, you can use carburetor cleaner for peeling vulcanized rubber from metal parts.
Monday, January 23, 2012 12:20 PM
@OMG its Weasel: you're completely right, but that lube doesn't stay on for too long. As a matter of fact, a couple of rainy days, and it's gone.

I'm in the process of swapping a built LS (non-Vtec) with 88A engine mounts from Hasport (the super hard-core mounts are stiffer, but this being my daily, I gotta keep my teeth in check, I can't afford orthodontist now).

Are you guys (MotoIQ) planning to swap the rear drums for some disks?
I'm in the same exact situation but I'm lazy enough not to drop the rear railing arm and replace them with disk conversion from Pick and Pull.....one of these days....one of these days....
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Monday, January 23, 2012 2:46 PM
JDMized - Mouthguards are inexpensive protection (even lab grade) so don't be afraid to go as stiff as you want! My PUs do squeek on occasion though :(
Monday, January 23, 2012 4:57 PM
Doesn't replacing that rear trailing arm bushing with polyurethane cause some wicked suspension bind? I've seen people put a spherical bearing there, but a hard bushing seems like a bad idea when the stock one is designed to flex in more than one axis.
OMG Its Weasel
OMG Its Weasellink
Monday, January 23, 2012 8:05 PM
It doesn't bind on lowered cars with lesser travel, but on stock height/stiffness cars, it can bind in some cases.
But, if you lower a Honda enough and don't re-clock the rear trailing arm bushings, the OEM ones can bind just as easily. Problem with that is the OEM ones tear apart when they bind. Lowering a ten+ year old Honda should come with new RTA bushings, OEM or otherwise, clocked properly for your desired ride height.
As for spherical bearings, sure people do it. I had sphericals in my RTAs for the 6 months before my car was stolen for the last time. Hondas with busted RTA bushings can toe-out up to 1 inch under load on the rears in corner exit. It's also not progressive which can cause very horrible handling in an instant.
JDMized: +1 on the LS, gotta love that 89mm stroke.
Monday, January 23, 2012 8:37 PM
Sammy is doing a great job on her Civic. Kudos to her and Martin.
BTW, Martin, I asked about the rear conversion because I recalled you guys did the swap, then I see the pics above and WTF? lol, you have the build backward :)

OMG its Weasel: the LS is the underdog :) More torque, less headache. Everyone goes with the GSR or the Type R engine, excellent engines, but hard to find one for a decent price, and they always get stolen..
I wanted to keep it simple (not having v-tec is one less thing that can go wrong; solenoid and all), plus being my daily I don't have to rev the living piss out of it.
The LS is receiving some Type R pistons though :) (with Mike's favorite WPC)
and the stock crank has been knife edged to 30.2lbs (from 34.2lbs stock).
GSR tranny, 4.7 Type R final, Quaife mechanical LSD, and few other tricks.
Anyway, looking forward to the progress of this build.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, January 23, 2012 9:52 PM
Least people think I have a stupid bias toward WPC, I was intorduced to the process by Eric Hsu who had tested it extensively and swore by it. I was skeptical until I started to use it and it works, as its supposed to.
Scott Helmer
Scott Helmerlink
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 12:43 AM
I don't think anybody has ever accused you of having some sort of stupid bias towards anything, Mike. It's pretty obvious that you're biased towards things that actually WORK, and that's probably about as good a thing to be biased towards as I could think of.

That reminds me, if you don't get on putting an LS3 and a T56 into an AE86 like you mentioned in the comments for the Motegi Racing AE86 article, I might just have to try and beat you to it. I've been thinking about putting that combo into mine (but with an 8.8" Ford rear end instead of a Quick Change, since that's definitely too far out of my budget) for a little while now, and she's definitely crying for an engine and transmission to fill the void where the old 4A-C and T50 used to reside.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:16 AM
So will you need to raid the local junk yard to replace the control arm you guys accidentally cut into? Or did you just reuse it?
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 1:50 PM
Mike don't put your words in people's mouth!
Everyone on here knows that you like that stuff.
I heard WPC long before you even mentioned it on here. The fact that you swear by it now it's great, it works! And the fact that many top motorsports racing use it is a bold statement, and that's all it matters.
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