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Project Civic EF Racecar: Part 2 - First Track Shakedown

by Clint Boisdeau

In Part 1 of MotoIQ Project Civic EF Racecar, we familiarized you guys with the car's state when it was first purchased and how that purchase came about.  In part 2 you get to see how the EF starts to come together in preparation for its first track shakedown and how it ultimately performed.  Was it slow? Was it fast? Do we even like the car?  All these questions and more will be answered.

The first few things to do consisted of changing certain parts of the car that I knew from experience would need to be upgraded or different,  handle repair work that was expected from the initial purchase, and other repair work that wasn't expected.  The added bonus was the steep learning curve for myself in regards to wrenching on a 90’s FWD Honda.  But luckily for me, since such platforms are widely popular, there is an abundance of documented data on how to work on nearly every part of these cars.  With the helpf of trusty friends in the local Honda race community I was able to handle most of the mechanical obstacles that were placed in front of me.

Before I purchased the car, the original owner brought to my attention that at his last event the transmission developed a 3rd gear grind on upshifts which I also noticed on the test drive.  So as to not cause further damage to an expensive gear box, I decided to pull the transmission to have everything inspected and the grind repaired.  I had experience with transverse front wheel drive trans removals from my former Ford Focus time attack car, but this was my first attempt with a Honda B-series power train.  Thankfully just a Google search away I was able to find several how-to articles on such a task.  Just a few hours and creative usage of a couple hydraulic jacks later and I had the transmission out of the car despite the somewhat tight engine bay of the EF chassis.  During the removal of the trans, I also noticed the steering rack boots were nearly completely deteriorated and in several pieces.  Despite this not being a terribly difficult fix, it's always time consuming and messy.  But being as the car is an older and more common platform then most of the past cars I've owned and modified, replacement boots were readily available and cheap.  

In addition to getting the transmission sorted and reliable,  there were a few things about the suspension tune that I felt should be a bit different.  The Neuspeed 22mm solid front sway bar seemed very stiff both on paper and from the fact that the previous owner had the huge ASR race rear sway bar set on the 3rd stiffest adjustment point. This setting was most likely required to balance out the handling dynamic with the rigid front bar.  From my past experience I prefer a softer front bar for FWD cars especially on bumpy SoCal road courses as to keep the nose more compliant.  At the time though I did not have a stock front sway bar to replace the aftermarket one,  so my back up plan was to run no front sway bar, and switch the Swift 10kg front and 12kg rear springs around.  The stiffer 12kg front spring would help to compensate for the lack of a sway bar, and the ASR adjustable rear sway bar looked to have enough adjustment points to keep the rear rotating correctly despite the softer 10kg spring in the back.  In theory the chassis balance should be fine with such settings and make the front suspension more independent which would help the OE Helical style LSD to function more consistently.  Future plans are to run a OS Giken clutch type LSD which will eliminate the disadvantages from running the factory Type R helical differential.

 

This was for the most part how the EF has been since I brought it home from Arizona.  Going over everything head to toe changing settings as I saw fit or repairing parts that needed attention before seeing track duty.
My first front wheel drive Honda transmission removal, not as difficult as I thought it would be.  Even though the work area in the engine bay is rather small for the B18C which was intended for larger DC2 Integra.  I was able to sneak the trans past the frame rail with clever use of jacks and loosened engine mounts.
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Comments
importnut
importnutlink
Thursday, January 22, 2015 6:01 AM
Great little car! I look forward to seeing this more. Maybe try this for the tail light panel clips: http://www.hondapartsunlimited.com/auto-parts/1990/honda/civic-hatchback/dx-trim/5-speed-manual-engine/body-air-conditioning-cat/tailgate-scat
azmidlyf
azmidlyflink
Thursday, January 22, 2015 7:13 AM
Which way did you go with the ride height change...higher or lower?
Clint Boisdeau
Clint Boisdeaulink
Thursday, January 22, 2015 7:17 AM
@Importnut, thanks for the link!
@azmidlyf, went higher
importnut
importnutlink
Thursday, January 22, 2015 8:29 AM
You're welcomed! I've been working with and racing EG's for 20 years. Having wholesale priced sources for OEM prices is very handy. Also try Majestic Honda.
MDR
MDRlink
Thursday, January 22, 2015 10:04 AM
Impressive results, congratulations.

I assume no ABS in this car? Have never heard of the pads before, but I always like to see what's out there for track pads.

Are you allowed to relocate the battery? 40lbs ahead of the front axle would be nice to move.
Clint Boisdeau
Clint Boisdeaulink
Thursday, January 22, 2015 10:07 AM
@MDR, you are correct, no ABS. WInmax is somewhat new on the scene in regards to US market.

Yes im allowed to do a battery relocation, which will be done before first race and covered in the next article :D
nissannx
nissannxlink
Thursday, January 22, 2015 11:46 AM
Awesome Car and thank you for a great write up. Enjoyed it!
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Friday, January 23, 2015 5:03 AM
I'm loving the "European Car" license plate trolling. I've got an old "Sport Compact Car" license plate frame that I run on Project Mustang just to hurt people's heads. :-P
Rockwood
Rockwoodlink
Friday, January 23, 2015 11:48 AM
1:59.9 on street tires with no aero is damned good man, only about a second off of Edo's pace at #13 CW last season.
Rockwood
Rockwoodlink
Friday, January 23, 2015 11:58 AM
Also, are you going to use a rockin' stereo bumpin' "mAd techno beatz!" for ballast? This is, after all, a Honda... :)
Clint Boisdeau
Clint Boisdeaulink
Friday, January 23, 2015 7:16 PM
ahhhh!!! Steve Rockwood, I was waiting for you to grace this article with your wit and comedy :D

thanks, im stoked at the pace, but i think Edo got down to 1.55 last BW #13 race?

As much as I know you would enjoy to see my Civic loaded up with Circuit City style stereo equipment, that will not be the case :D
supergreddyrx
supergreddyrxlink
Saturday, January 24, 2015 8:28 AM
Slightly off topic, but what's your opinion on the durability of vinyl flooring in your garage? I've wondered about the solid steel wheels on floor jacks or cherry pickers cutting up the vinyl. Also weld spatter and other normal shop activities.
Clint Boisdeau
Clint Boisdeaulink
Saturday, January 24, 2015 9:05 AM
@SuperGreddyRX,

that plastic floor covering came with the house when my girlfriend and I bought it, and we absolutely hate it! LOL
The steel wheels of the jacks have trouble rolling over the "diamond plate" style of the plastic, also when you put the weight of a car on the jacks, it cookie cutters through the plastic lol.

needless to say...my girlfriend and I are saving and planning for a different flooring surface LOL
importnut
importnutlink
Saturday, January 24, 2015 9:21 AM
Interesting...I always wondered about those floor coverings myself. I assumed they were more of a hassle than anything for people who work on their own cars. Looks like I was right.
supergreddyrx
supergreddyrxlink
Saturday, January 24, 2015 10:33 AM
Opinion validated! Nice to have independent confirmation from real car guys. Thanks for that!
Rockwood
Rockwoodlink
Saturday, January 24, 2015 4:57 PM
I got that time from the April BW CW #13 event. I believe the asphalt was brand new then, so that may account for it. You're still overpowered right?
Clint Boisdeau
Clint Boisdeaulink
Saturday, January 24, 2015 9:43 PM
@Steve Rockwood, Since when am I over powered? if we gotta go by Howard's dyno im prolly underpowered LOL
Rockwood
Rockwoodlink
Monday, January 26, 2015 7:00 AM
Hey, just going by your previous article saying you'd need to ballast up to MPTCCCCCCC reqs.... ;)
Rockwood
Rockwoodlink
Monday, January 26, 2015 7:02 AM
Yeah, we need to dyno on Howard's dyno (which is 100' from where the G sleeps) as well. All we have is dyno runs from JWT's Dynapack. We'll probably make 180whp on Howard's... ;)
Clint Boisdeau
Clint Boisdeaulink
Monday, January 26, 2015 7:08 AM
@Steve Rockwood,

Yeah when i wrote the first article i was doing the math based off a dynojet power output figure, but since i've recently clarified with Martin that we have to use number from howard's dyno, im prolly fine and could most likely pull MORE weight out :P

I know where the G sleeps, i see it every time i pick up fluid for the Civic :P
RenoGrimace
RenoGrimacelink
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 12:50 PM
Awesome to see it did so well! I mentioned in part one I am building an identical car except for it being a CRX. What alignment specs did you go with if you wouldn't mind sharing. Mine will see about 18 autocrosses and 6-7 track days a year would you recommend anything different for a shorter chassis and more low speed racing?
Clint Boisdeau
Clint Boisdeaulink
Thursday, January 29, 2015 6:45 AM
@RenoGrimace,
What are you suspension settings? coilovers, swaybars, bushings? also what tire and wheel size, as well as tire/make model?
RenoGrimace
RenoGrimacelink
Thursday, January 29, 2015 10:34 AM
Right now I have Toda Fightex coilovers, I'd have to double check the spring rates but they're on the stiffer side maybe like 12k front 10k rear? I might look into switching that around as I'd love the rear to rotate a little more for autocross. Stock HF front sway bar at the moment with no rear currently (another thing I'll eventually get). As of now most of the bushings have not been replaced. I ordered the complete hard race kit but that will be going on later as I am running out of time before the first event.

Tires I might reconsider now. I have 15x7 Volk TE37's and was going to run either the Toyo R1R in a 195/50/15 (supposedly a softer compound than the 205) but really wanted to use some 15x8 949 racing 6UL wheels up front with a 225/45/15 Toyo R1R or 205 ad08 which I would just run for all four wheels instead. Looks like a staggered set up is not needed.

Sounds like I need to finalize some stuff first I just got the last parts for the motor to run so I'm a bit behind. Getting lots of ideas from your build thank you again.
RenoGrimace
RenoGrimacelink
Saturday, February 21, 2015 11:57 AM
Not leaking that alignment info huh :P email is jza70mkiii@gmail.com if you'd be so kind!
Anonymous User
Anonymous Userlink
Monday, March 16, 2015 11:50 PM
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