CiviK | Vol. X

At this point, the car was awaiting the day for the recovery truck to come and take it away for LA Fab to give the car a set of new pipes.

Ready for any speedbump

Bit under-exposed, but the photo just about reveals the Civik’s new rolling stock. This is the third car I’ve mounted the Buddyclub P1 SFs to now, and they clearly look good under any car’s arches. Even if the arches have a gap large enough to live inside.

Another part that took ages to arrive, this one from Works Bell’s sole distributor in the UK. Won’t name and shame, you can figure that out. Communication was shite.

Quality Japanese part, featuring both hole patterns for Nardi and Momo wheels.

Packaging filler was also nice reading material.

Battery in the car was non-OEM when I bought it. The previous owner/mechanic made a tie-down clamp out of a bit of rusty steel plate with two holes drilled through it. With a new Honda battery bought, I thought it was also worth grabbing a new OEM clamp plate.

A couple more hand-me-down parts can be seen in the Civik’s interior. Nardi 330mm Deep-Corn from the MX-5 days, and then the Seeker Heavy Shift Knob from the Civic FN1 days.

Faceless identity

Couldn’t park in my usual spot at work thanks to nature.

What?! HKS make blue ones now?! It’s as if they merged the HKS Power Filter and Greddy Trust AIRINX blue filter into one Super Mushroom. Halfords, by the way, thank me later.

I was persistent with those DIY driveshafts, too persistent. Wasted a load of pennies in the process, as I bought a new CR-V driveshaft, then two B-series CV joints, and like three EP3 complete driveshafts.

Somehow, the IAT sensor plug wire detached itself from the connector. I reckon it was heat that weakened the cabling, but I swear I had cable-tied it away from the engine. Anyway, Nigel (Luke’s dad) came to the rescue and soldered it back on because there was no way for me to get a crimp over the pin end.

Angle-grinder had to come out along with the slitting disc so that the underside of the bonnet could clear the power steering pump. To be honest, I’d rather have not done this, and opted for a FRP/CFRP vented bonnet, but I think most, if not all, aftermarket versions incorporate strengthening ribs too.

6TWO1 kinda let me down with this piece of the puzzle.

I understand that it was out of their control, but the fact that the website stated “ETA Delivery: 7-10 days” was a bit misleading, seen as though 4 weeks passed and I didn’t receive anything from them. Anyhow, very luckily, my eyes were constantly on a Spoon N1 rear muffler for sale on eBay.

It had been used, but only for fitment check. It was the same price as a new one, but also came with a silencer bung (which I’ll probably never use). Main thing was the 2-day delivery guarantee as it was already here in the UK! This meant I could get it over to LA Fab in the nick of time, as they were waiting for me to supply them with the rear section of the exhaust.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and here I am. In the hot seat of the Civik, somewhere in Leeds. Even with the rev-limit set to 5500rpm thanks to the basemap, the feeling of the car’s urgency is remarkable.

Besides the fact that the “Street” spec polyurethane engine mounts give me white finger worse than a roadworker with a jackhammer, experiencing the rawness of it all is exactly what Type-R means. Of course, I am talking solely about the engine, as the chassis needs to play catch-up.

That does NOT mean this is going to go the way of “EK9 replica”. This car won’t ever be that, in both function and form. But if I can reach my goal of attaining the perfect road-going FF sports machine, then that’s close enough.

Just to let you know, I’m not anti-B-series. I actually considered a B18-swap, due to the cost and simplicity. But I think it was driving a DC5R that swayed me over to the K-side?

Moving on, work was still to be done! Remember that Recaro recliner?

Yeah, it’s still not where it should be (in the car if you’re wondering).

I’m not gonna talk shit, but lemme just put this out there: if you’re going to use a popular, reputable, Japanese used-car-parts shop’s name to posture as a business selling JDM goods (seats particularly) on IG, then atleast know WTF you are selling to your customers.

I was one eager beaver trying to find rails to fit my DC2R seat into the Civik. Waiting months for this one person on IG to stop leading me on and come through with a pair of EK9 Recaro rails that his “mate” took out of his possession, without permission. He finally got them – sent me a photo – I said “woah, they don’t look like EK9 ones” – he assured me that they were – I trusted him because he seems legit – bought – received – turns out they were in fact DC2R rails. Big giveaway was the ‘ST7’ stamped on the side of them which I looked over as I was cleaning them up in preparation for bolting them down to the floorpan. All but one hole does not line up. Dunno about you, but I’d rather have the seat bolted down fully, not 75%.

After all that, I returned the seat to him, didn’t get my PayPal fees back, nor the shipping cost I covered. You very well might have a positive experience doing business with this particular vendor. I didn’t.

You can never do enough research, so I’d like for whoever still reading this to prepare to the nth degree in your endeavours. Or, get mugged off.

Big brake upgrade found on eBay! Made up of EK B-series upright & hub, EP3R front calipers, and Mini Cooper S R53 298mm discs.

A gift [perhaps] in disguise was me not being able to take the car to the dyno, thanks to another week of being sick: I had the tuning day booked in advance as EFI Parts tends to be quite busy, but a couple days before, I came down with a nasty cold/cough/flu.

That put the brakes on the project, again. Losing my deposit, I tried to re-schedule with EFI Parts but communication wasn’t great, so I ended up following a recommendation made by the guy who sold me the K-Tuned shifter plate, and contacted JCal aka Jesse Halford.

Date and time slot booked, me and Hamza make the trek down to East London, home to Torque Developments International.

We’ve all heard the name associated with impressively serious builds in mags and online, so you know that they’d only let trusted individuals take charge of their in-house hub dyno.

This is the day I’d been waiting for since getting the car back from LA FAB. About time the car cleared it’s throat.

I didn’t care much about the power and torque figures, because it’s not like I had done anything to the engine internally, so I just expected/hoped for a smooth running K20A…

And that its exactly what I got, thanks to Jesse. Top guy, any question I had he’d answer, but also, anything he was unsure of (not much to be honest) he was open and honest about. If you want more power out of your Honda, this man is the one you go to. If you’re not sure, check his batshit-crazy K25 EK9!

Also, if you were wondering: 213WHP, 150WTQ.

Well needed scrub-up.

A word that will haunt me for life.

I’ll continue the saga at a later date, perhaps when I’ve done anything noteworthy and substantial to the car. High on the priorities are ergonomiks. Feel is everything in a car like this, so I’ll make sure to address these as soon as.

I hope you enjoyed reading, share the blog if you found it useful in any way. Katch you on the next one.

Special Thanks: Hamza for the support, Dav Plaha of EHM Parts for supplying most of the parts for the absolute best prices, Nick for selling me a solid K20, Rus Taylor of Hond-R, Andy of Integrastella, Luke and Nigel B., Jesse Halford of JCal, “The Captain“, Luke of LA Fab, Honda Addicts, Jason Katman of FFSquad, and the rest of the real ones who I might have missed.

CiviK | Vol. IX

Now that milestone has been achieved, hearing the engine run for the first time was not only music to my eardrums, but also a bit of weight off my shoulders. Now it was just a waiting game, as I had booked the car in with LA Fab a few months in advance to put the icing on the cake.

Honda’s final K20A-powered FF machine

In the meantime, I paid a visit to a geezer in East London who was selling one single black Recaro SR3 originally fitted to a DC2R.

Dad came along for whatever reason. Think he got bored shitless with no-travelling during lockdown, so he tagged along for the 7-hour round trip.

Initially I wanted a pair of Recaro SR4 seats found in the DC5R, because K20A obvs. But, something about the shape of the harness slots don’t jive with me.

Paid only £250 for this used recliner. I know, bargain! I was happy, so was my wallet. Only one hitch, I had no seat rails in order to install it in place of the base-spec cloth seat.

Coolant temp sensor came included with the wiring harness I bought, and it was already chopped. Crimped it to the conversion harness wiring, easy enough, insulation tape is temporary!

I just wanted to get the car in a state that meant all it needed was the exhaust and radiator-piping fabricating & fitting. Hence, the shoddy wiring jobs. I plan on making the wiring look not-so-cowboy during next winter.

Another thing I learnt is the “easy route” can sound all fine and dandy – especially when it’s something nearly everyone who plays around with Honda recommends – but in reality it’s never that simple.

Driveshafts. You’ll hear a bunch of people across forums, YouTube, Facebook groups, tell you that B-series outer CV-joints work when coupled with OEM EP3/DC5 shafts. This, I found to be false facts.

Just do yourself a favour, and buy K-swap driveshafts off the shelf from somewhere like Hasport or Insane Shafts.

Popped over to LA Fab to put my deposit down for all the required fabrication.

He was working on a K24 turbo set-up for the red NC MX-5 you see in the back which was pretty nifty, but this Exocet was stealing my attention somehow.

Woohoo, it’s on all four wheels. Except, the damn DIY driveshafts I put together after following the advice of the majority kept popping out, driving at like 20mph max.! I don’t know whether it was down to the fact I had the D-series hubs and not B-series hubs. All I know is, the driver’s side was too short and didn’t like staying inside the outer CV.

Iced out with the JDM bling.

If anyone wants this J’s Racing pressure cap, I’ll sell it to you. Pissed off that it didn’t fit both the Koyorad nor the OEM radiator, so if you happen to have a J’s Racing radiator (which is highly unlikely since they are expensive as fuck, it’s retarded), buy this cap 😀

Mocking the radiator up – as you can see it sat far too high due to the AC condenser bottom brackets. These were destined to get lopped off to make room for the original radiator lower brackets which match up to the Koyorad bottom bosses.

If you did like me and tried to use as many OEM Honda bits as possible, then you might want to know that the OEM EP3R brake booster hose has its check-valve integrated into the rubber (see the bulge?). That white plastic piece is only a joiner.

This bracket/pipe assembly is also off an EP3R, and doubles up as the hardline for the brake booster vacuum, as well as the throttle cable holder

I can’t remember what I used where for the heater hoses, but a combination of OEM EK D-series hoses, control valve and EP3R hoses were what I fitted, and they route perfectly fine. I resisted the silicone, just because of the stupid price of them, and then after seeing that K-Tuned‘s don’t fit right on the diameter of the port on the engine block!

Both heater hoses fitted with loadsa room for the EX-Mani!

The next one will be the last stretch, where Civik is finally out the garage and on the open touge [read: Yorkshire Moors]…

CiviK | Vol. VII

Upon my return to the garage after the week off ill, I was welcomed by a Civic covered in dust and dandelion seeds. Was satisfying to dust it off with the Titan vac blower, but at the same time, kinda anti-climactic revealing all that peeling clearcoat on the roof.

Picked up where I left off with the suspension parts. In the end, all was well and bolted up to the car once all the hardware was rounded up.

Finally, the weekend I’d been constantly telling Hamza about, came around. When I say we “dropped” the engine in, that term is used very loosely. To be honest, it’s rarely going to be plain sailing when it comes to engine & gearbox installation, regardless of what car it is. With this swap in particular, the simplest method seems to be sliding the engine & gearbox from underneath the chassis, with the aid of a creeper/skateboard. The strut towers encroached in on the space where the K20 assembly needed to get past in order to meet the engine mount brackets, rendering the hoist pretty much useless at this point.

Also, extract your studs (if they’re still in the engine block and gearbox casing) BEFORE attempting to situate the engine assembly via it’s mounts. It would have been much easier for me to do that when it wasn’t in the bay, in retrospect. Luckily I somehow managed to pull the stud out with the good old two-nut technique and plenty of WD-40. I’d recommend buying a proper stud extractor you can snap onto the end of a ratchet.

It was a bit of a battle getting the K20 moved into it’s new home, but after all the swear-word dictionary had been used up, it was progress made and felt rewarding. Whilst red valve covers look great in bays of red cars, I’m not one to be predictable, so keep tuned in for phase two next year when I will be addressing the aesthetics.

The major jobs give a real sense of achievement, whereas, the minor “buttoning-up” of projects drag the entire ordeal out, making the “end” [it never ends, I know] seem like light-years away.

I had to file these shifter cable retaining clips from Hybrid Racing. I reckon they’re made to fit their own shifter assembly, because when installing them on my DC5-R part, they refused to hook into the grooves of the shifter cables.

One-man clutch bleeding in operation.

With the cables establishing the link between my left hand and the gearbox, I could now get a feel for how the gears engaged. Low and behold, the knob would collide with the dash whenever going for 1st, 3rd, and 5th.

Circuit Hero, a brand over in America make this two-piece kit made out of billet aluminium. Again, mix-and-matching aftermarket companies’ parts, and I was forced to whip out the angle grinder. The outer diameter of the shifter cable end from Hybrid Racing was fouling the bottom of the slot in one of the short shifter adaptors. Bit of an annoyance, but aluminium isn’t too bad to chip away at (with the correct type of grinding disc, of which I did not have, but managed anyhow).

While the shifter now slips into every gear without fisting the heater controls, the selection isn’t as smooth, requiring a bit more effort. I mean, banging gears is sick, but mis-shifting is not. I have since removed the side-to-side adaptor, as I don’t really need that left/right movement to be shorter in distance. Downshifting – 3rd to 2nd gear especially – is not as natural as I’d like, so I’m going to consider aftermarket options down the line, maybe Acuity Instruments’.

You might want to invest in some fine-thread taps. I had to clean up a few holes in the cast aluminium block and gearbox casing that I’d accidentally stripped. This engine-to-gearbox bolt right at the bottom was a faff, not made easier by the lack of a ratcheting tap wrench adaptor.

Life-liquids. I could already hear the bark of that first fire-up.

The ex-owner of the K-engine kindly threw in a new, unused Spoon Sports Magnetic Sump Plug and a Mahle oil filter.

Little did I know at this point, there was a brick wall I’d run in to. One that I built *facepalm*…

CiviK | Vol. V

As you can imagine, I was keen to get the engine and ‘box into the bay of the EJ9.

A lot of these photos show how much deeper the Milano Red paint is compared to the exterior panels which are faded to heck!

With this being the first engine I have pulled from a car with only two pedals, I was having a proper headscratch, wondering why the engine crane kept getting pulled back towards the car whenever we tried to swing the entire assembly forward in order to lift it all out of the bay…

Turns out I forgot all about the shift linkage cable, connecting the shifter to the transmission. We found it easier to unbolt it from the shifter end, and dragging the entire cable out with the engine and gearbox.

Days getting brighter…

…car getting lighter.

The car has seen very little use, so what corrosion there is, is minimal. This spot on the driver’s side chassis leg is probably the worst of it under the bonnet. I applied some Bilt Hamber Deox rust inhibitor gel, which did work to some degree, but to be certain, I’d like to get a wire wheel on it.

Random photos I took here and there. For reference more than anything, but also to show the lack of rust!

Could have gone the route of a lot of others (including Kristian Wong “@studytuned” and his EK pictured below) by getting rid of the core support in the centre and fitting a full-size radiator. I opted to leave as much of the original metal intact, just because it’s solid and not exactly dangling by a rusty seam.

Image courtesy of koyoradracing.com

Moving into the cabin of the vehicle, I made do with the parts I’d already collected and were ready to install. Being the first drill bit I was putting to the car, I made sure to measure twice and all that.

The EK exhaust tunnel is a inch or so too narrow for you to simply bolt down a shifter assembly, due to the width of the bolt holes. This means buying a shifter adaptor plate, from one of the K-swap parts outlets; I went for a used K-Tuned item. I also obtained a used Integra DC5-R shifter box, because they’re cheap and from what I remember when driving a DC5-R, they allow for precise and slick shifts.

One thing to note, try mount the shifter as far rearward as possible. I chose to retain my centre console surrounding the handbrake, which meant grinding away some metal off that bracket you see held down with two bolts.

It should be obvious, that plastic trim surrounding your gear shifter will need trimming to clear the DC5-R / CRV shifter assembly. I even lopped some of the shifter assembly’s plastic casing in order for the trim to go back on.

Initial fitting – the shift lever was a hair’s width from the dash-centre console. This nearly made me scrap the idea, but luckily, Circuit Hero in the USofA make a couple bits that reduce the shift throw distance. A two-piece kit that basically alters the lever ratio for both the mechanisms for shifting up/down and left/right.

10/10 would not recommend that Fuel Line Kit Hybrid Racing sell. The push-on fitting for the braided (sheathing) rubber hose slid off when I tried it over the hardline pipe. I tried to get it back over onto rubber hose, but the damn sheathing frayed. I chucked it, and ordered some plain, fuel-rated rubber hose off eBay instead.

By the way no slander is intended, these are simply my raw, uncut experiences, so that you are aware of the quality some of these aftermarket parts. More moaning to come, haha!

I’ll end it on that note for now. Here’s the car front bumper-less. In a bit…

CiviK | Vol. IV

Getting the K20 lump situated into an EK/EJ Civic can be done a multitude of ways. Over the years, tuners and hobbyists alike have developed methods for FWD, RWD, or 4WD configurations. So however you like your K-Swap, highly likely someone has ‘been there, done that’.

As for me, the original FF configuration made most sense, practically. Off-the-shelf components and kits produced by Hasport, Hybrid Racing, K-Tuned, Innovative Mounts etc, are tried and tested, so yeah I went the “easy” route.

As you may or may not know, EK subframes force you to mount K-series engines toward the front of the car, which is troublesome for bonnet and radiator clearance. Luckily, Honda parts are interchangable, meaning that using an EG Civic (5th gen) or DC Integra (3rd gen) front subframe with the two-piece lower suspension arms and forks allows for rearward engine mounting, with still plenty of room for the exhaust manifold and other ancillaries that are mounted on/adjacent to the firewall.

To be honest, I’ll admit I went over the top taking photos of the subframe and steering rack. I’ll post them anyway, might help you, might not, whatever.

By the way, those last couple images up there, that’s the bracket that retains the passenger-side of the steering rack. A rubber bushing is supposed to have come with it, but I had to go back to the seller and retrieve that.

Power steering was a must, so I chose to go with the DC2 Integra Type R rack. According to forumbois, DC2R steering ratio is quicker than the EK9’s rack. It’s also a lot more common of a part to find in the UK. To identify a DC2 Type R steering rack – or any DC2R-specific part – look for part number label or casting marks that read ‘ST7’.

Aaaaand off the bits went to be shotblasted and then powdercoated in satin black for that OEM-fresh quality. Plot twist: the powdercoaters chose to go full gloss and fucked what I said. Main thing is, the parts weren’t leaving crumbs of rust everytime I handle them.

Again, no pics were taken of anything once I got them back. Maybe I was too pissed off with the powdercoaters cocking up, that I didn’t bother. Don’t worry, you’ll catch a glimpse of them fitted to the car soon enough.

In other news, here’s something that I DID want in gloss black.

The brother eventually got around to painting my vintage Snap-On top chest. It wasn’t in bad condition for its age, but I got it for a good price so I thought I may aswell give it a refresh. It’s that old, when cleaning/prepping prior to paint, I found a letter from British Gas dated during the 1940s/50s, typewritten and the lot!

Seen as though I had no car to put the engine and gearbox into for 3 months, Me and Hamza got to work on engine removal.

To be continued…