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Civic SI Project

Progress Suspension for the Civic SI

By Aaron Labeau

 

When searching for a Civic SI suspension we wanted to be sure this was an "upgrade" we could live with every day.  Weekend garage queens and purpose built track-cars are fun for the occasional poke, but for daily driven street cars, comfort trumps performance.  Any upgrade in performance would therefore have to be a bit of a doppelganger; refined for the commute but hard-edged enough not to roll over in the corners.  The Progress Group has put thousands of miles into the development of their 8th Generation Civic suspension and we're about to put its duality to the test.

 

Progress Civic SI suspension

When asked why The Progress Group uses cold wound steel for their springs owner Jeff Cheechov said it's because of the superior material selection and CNC manufacturing equipment available for these wire sizes.  An A401 high tensile chrome silicone material is used.  It's then heat treated, shot peened and preset and tested.  MotoIQ Certified Legit.

 

In stock form the Civic SI is competent enough to keep up with most performance cars when things get twisty.  There's so much mechanical grip available the car just begs to be abused and stuffed into the corners hard.  But being a factory suspension they could only make the car so stiff and the tires so sticky.  Again we're reminded we didn't get a type-r in the states presumably because we're too fat or old or dumb (perhaps all three) to appreciate it.  After all, Honda also wanted to make this car practical enough to serve duties as a family sedan and eco-minded in terms of fuel efficiency; and it's not easy to beat Honda at this game.  The SI is a great car to drive at 8/10ths all day long, but when pushed harder the SI is a little lethargic to respond.

 

Progress SI suspension front struts

What looks like a stainless steel body here isn't.  Instead an electrolysis nickel process was used for corrosion resistance.  While this did add to the productions costs it will ensure long-term durability and customer satisfaction.

 

progress rear spring perch for civic si
The rear spring perch pictured here.  The clunk, clunk, clunk normally associated with aftermarket suspensions is not present here.

 

Years ago it was totally acceptable to have a suspension with radical 600lb front springs and all the banging and clanging that went along with coil-over suspensions on a street car.  Life was simple I only had to satisfy my own demands and any passengers who needed a ride would have to suffer my requirements for a car.  Despite the everyone else be damned approach we applied most of the remedies to subdue the harshness, but really there's only so much that can be done to adapt a race suspension for the street.  On the other end of the spectrum are lowering springs, cutting and/or heating springs to lower the car which do more for the look rather than any function.  With these cheaper street setups the suspension travel is often reduced so much the car rides around on the bump-stops and crashes over large bumps.

 

spc arms for civic si

Rounding out the rear suspension are the optional SPC rear arms responsible for adjusting the camber between -1.50 and -3 degrees.

 

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Comments
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Thursday, January 03, 2013 4:34 AM
"Fortunately the boss doesn't require that we do our best work on our back."

I wish you would have told me this before I bolted the complete Whiteline suspension on Project Mustang 5.0 using only jack stands and ramps! >:-(

(I'm kidding. Mostly.)
Sootfoot
Sootfootlink
Thursday, January 03, 2013 7:19 AM
As I was looking though the pictures for the article I was thinking how nice it was to not have to do this in my garage stuffed under the car on a creeper. Then the other thing came out and I had to shamelessly include it in the article. So, I join Sarah in the use of dirty puns in my articles ;)
rjnovak05
rjnovak05link
Thursday, January 03, 2013 7:28 AM
The Progress Group makes incredible componenets. I ordered the CSII setup for my daily DB8 Integra, and was highly impressed with the speed delivered and the quality of the parts. I actually found they had sent me DB 91-93 integra lower brackets, but after a fast and very friendly phone call, they had the correct ones to me in about 2 days. THAT is customer service. Over a year later, I still love this setup for daily. I also run their higher durometer rear trailing arm bushings. Love Progress.
Protodad
Protodadlink
Thursday, January 03, 2013 7:45 AM
"Anyone working on cars long enough has seen or used the foot over the strut technique, but it really is a horrible idea!"

Hehe...no, no one would ever do that.

Although I totally get why this is a horrible idea, I have yet to see a honda spring shoot off the strut. However, I have friends who claim to have destroyed much property with flying springs. I bet it is more common on longer travel suspensions like trucks.
sr20freak
sr20freaklink
Thursday, January 03, 2013 10:19 AM
Aaron said "So, I join Sarah in the use of dirty puns in my articles ;)"

Hahahaha....that is awesome. I think Sarah IS a dirty pun.... :P Does Progress still make the Suspension setups for prehistoric B-13/B-14 ? You know , the setup Dave Coleman helped develop way WAY back in the 90's... OMGosh, is it really 2013??
SnowyAK
SnowyAKlink
Thursday, January 03, 2013 12:42 PM
Small note, I've installed countless camber bolts to correct for crash damage from ditch diving(Snowy Alaska... get it) the tab on the "washer" on the head side of the bolt should face the direction of intended correction, I.E. for maximum positive camber the tab would face towards the wheel, for maximum negative camber, the tab would face towards the strut. There is a tang that fits inside the strut hole that is opposite of the tab on the outside of the washer, this then displaces the bolt towards the tab. Then the eccentric bolt moves the knuckle from least to most adjustment depending on the size of its lobe.
Sootfoot
Sootfootlink
Friday, January 04, 2013 7:55 AM
George, it doesn't look like they make the springs or dampners for the B13/B14 anymore but they do make the swaybars.

@SnowyAK - Not being argumentative but West End dialed in the maximum negative camber with the camber bolt and the tabs are pointing towards the wheels.
Craig
Craiglink
Saturday, January 05, 2013 10:37 PM
Needs moar tire, 245's fit decent:P
SnowyAK
SnowyAKlink
Sunday, January 06, 2013 2:13 PM
@aaron next time you have them doing any adjustments allignment wise, have the tabs turned to face the strut and you'll have more negative than with it facing the wheel, I promise you. Did they provide a printout of the allignment readings you could share the numbers?
Rockwood
Rockwoodlink
Monday, January 07, 2013 9:20 AM
@ Protodad: I've never seen the spring fly off. However, I've seen the spring launch the nut, tophat and whatever tools were being used at alarming velocity. If ye olde vice grips and wrench method was used, the nut has been known to fly as far as across the street (personally witnessed, but not personal experience). Before I bought a spring compressor, I became well-versed in drywall repair... :)

@ George: my brother's now derelict B13 has a Progress setup on it (we've got two sets of springs for it). Plan is to give the car to my dad for him to use as a fun car, but he complained about that suspension quite a bit. I'll ping my brother if he's willing to sell it, provided you can source a roller setup. Give me a call if you're interested.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, January 24, 2013 2:00 PM
SnowyAK, you are right but the picture was taken pre alignment and the bolts were flipped.
180sx0
180sx0link
Thursday, June 06, 2013 3:42 AM
Good article, but the description on the home page has the title and picture of a brake upgrade, but the article us about a suspension upgrade.
Sootfoot
Sootfootlink
Thursday, June 06, 2013 6:01 AM
Sorry this has been fixed now. http://www.motoiq.com/magazine_articles/id/3097/civic-si-brake-upgrade.aspx
caeavesrsx-s
caeavesrsx-slink
Wednesday, August 07, 2013 10:26 PM
What's next?
Sootfoot
Sootfootlink
Thursday, August 08, 2013 8:10 AM
We have a couple tweaks to address like a short shifter, clutch MC and some suspension adjustments before re-focusing on the power mods.
Jon Pennington
Jon Penningtonlink
Monday, December 23, 2013 12:30 PM
The word "doppelganger" means "lookalike" or "stand-in." I don't know about you, but I don't want a lookalike suspension, I want a dual-purpose suspension.
Sootfoot
Sootfootlink
Monday, December 23, 2013 2:31 PM
Growing up I read books with dopplegangers in them. They were creatures that would change from one thing to the other. I meant the reference figuratively and you took it literally.
Jon Pennington
Jon Penningtonlink
Monday, December 23, 2013 6:42 PM
I'm sorry, you're absolutely right, but I think less about medieval folklore and more about fascist dictators ducking assassins when I see the D word. :)

Good piece, Aaron. Did you consider a plain spring option, something that doesn't have threaded collars, before you went with Progress?
Sootfoot
Sootfootlink
Monday, December 23, 2013 6:53 PM
Jon, I did consider the Honda HFP performance upgrade which is a simpler setup. We decided to go with Progress because they have a good reputation (many of our writers have used their stuff in the past). Progress was particularly interested in keeping the ride comfortable and noise to a minimum with this kit. Since the shock towers are practically in the drivers compartment on this car the clunking and banging from hardcore aftermarket suspension pieces would have driven me nuts.
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