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Project EP3 Civic Si: Fixing the @$#%! Steering for Good with SHG Motor Works!

by Mike Kojima

 

In our last edition of Project EP3 Civic Si, we thought we had fixed our car's bump steer and wandering steering with a roll center correction kit and a bump steer kit from Hardrace.

Our car had serious steering issues since day one.  When we first got our EP3, no one wanted to drive it because the car would wander around on the freeway and everyone was afraid of getting pulled over for drunk driving.

So, we installed a bunch of suspension stuff and finished it with the Hardrace geometry correcting parts in the front suspension. With the car finally handling well, which is no small task with an EP3, we were finally having fun driving it hard. All was good for a couple of weeks, but then the wandering steering returned with a vengeance. 

The spirited driving and the increased stress caused by the big Nitto NT05 tires were putting an extra load on the steering rack and causing it to twist. The EP3, along with the DC5 RSX and EM2 Civic, all have a really weird steering rack that has the tie rods attached to a sliding bracket that goes back and forth in the middle of the steering rack. 

This bracket requires really long, out of plane tie rods which result with these cars having notorious bump steer issues. The bracket also acts as a lever arm for the tie rods to twist the rack and it moves vertically when it does.  When the car hits bumps or in response to heavy tire induced side load, the rack twists, the tie rod ends move and the toe changes with no steering wheel input- ta da bump steer. What makes this worse is when the rack twists, both front tires are effected by the toe change, making things even worse.

When moving our car's steering wheel back and forth and looking at the rack, the vertical play was very obvious after a few weeks of driving with our new suspension. We would have to fix this to cure the issue. When complaining about this issue on our Facebook page, we were contracted by SHG Motor Works who told us they had the cure!

 

Installing the cure was going to take some work. We would have to remove the steering rack. First, George Kilada removes the intake tubes to get access to the rack itself. 
 

Next, George removes the long tie rods from the steering rack slider bracket. 
 

George removes the steering rack slider bracket from the rack itself. After doing this once, we now think it's easier to just remove the rack from the car and remove these parts on the bench.  At this time, we were trying to install the part in the car which is super hard without cutting the rubber anti dust boot. 
 

Here is the slider bracket; the slider itself is under the rubber boot directly attached to the rack. 

 

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Comments
8695Beaters
8695Beaterslink
Monday, August 21, 2017 5:38 AM
What a weird setup. Sort of reminds me of the old Saab 9-3 rack layout. Speaking of the 9-3, do the RSX/EP3 Civic have issues with cracking the firewall? That was an issue on the 9-3 as Saab put the rack on the firewall and it would eventually cause the firewall welds to crack and break. Saab guys have a bracing setup that braces the rack to the engine so it doesn't pull on the firewall as much.
flip240
flip240link
Monday, August 21, 2017 7:27 AM
Props to you guys for modding this car. I think it's always amazing to see the engineering solutions used to remedy badly engineered designs. If more people went with cars that they liked (instead of following the trend), we would have a far less boring car community.
brian6speed
brian6speedlink
Monday, August 21, 2017 9:13 AM
This is around time when Honda/Acura really started going downhill and the passion was gone.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, August 21, 2017 11:57 AM
8695Beaters, I have not heard of any issues with the firewall cracking on Hondas. One cool thing that the SHG guys brought up is that it is super easy to screw with the slider, making a new one to relocate the tie rod ends so you can further mess with cleaning up the bump steer, making the bump steer curve go in the direction you want and even messing with the Ackerman to a degree.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, August 21, 2017 11:58 AM
brian6speed, I kinda like this car now, it was the last of the small, zippy Civics that had that fun small car feel to them.
IAN
IANlink
Monday, August 21, 2017 1:30 PM
just had a chance to test this vehicle after the steering rack slider was installed and it basically made the car feel amazing! No more fighting the wheel 24/7!
lilhands
lilhandslink
Monday, August 21, 2017 6:58 PM
did you guy use a rack riser on this project......just asking cause i plan on doing the same to my ep3 rack slider and a rack riser
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, August 21, 2017 7:13 PM
It is not needed with our tie rod relocation. In fact, it will mess things up.
lilhands
lilhandslink
Monday, August 21, 2017 7:18 PM
were did you relocate them to......
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 12:20 AM
read the last article
ginsu
ginsulink
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:00 PM
Mike, when you say there are other sliders. Do you mean to say there's an 'adjustable slider' or that they can produce a slider with certain spacing that gives you even better bump steer?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 4:20 PM
No they don't, but you can with minimal fabrication skills. You just need a mill to make a slider bracket and fab up some tie rod ends.
mlab
mlablink
Wednesday, December 06, 2017 10:14 AM
Hey Mike, I was going to purchase an EP3 but, after reading about this project, you just saved me a million headaches and a million bucks. Thank you, really.

One thing you haven't pointed out is what good options are left for Civic enthusiasts.
Like you said : "it was the last of the small, zippy Civics that had that fun small car feel to them." Which is what I was looking for.

What would you look into next?

RSX (shares a lot with the EP3)
Honda Fit
Civic 8th gen (2006-11) or 9th gen 2012-15

Other brands :

Fiesta, Focus
Mini
RX-8
Lancer
Impreza
Rabbit, GTI

Thanks
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