CiviK | Vol. VIII

So where were we? Oh, yeah, engine now where it should be, I wasted no time in tying up all the loose ends before turning that key for the first time.

Engine oil was drained prior to purchase, so I replaced the sump plug for that fresh new Spoon Sports magnetic plug. I checked the gearbox for any residual oil by removing the lower square-drive drain plug, only to find that too required fluid, so I proceeded to fill it up until MTF began to dribble out the upper fill hole.

Of course I was eager, as anyone like me would be. This car hasn’t been with me for long, but this vision entered my consciousness way before I even realistically considered the idea. It’s always been one of those objectives I’ve had in my mind. A recipe that you know you’ll eventually try out, but only once the ingredients are ripe and ready.

Three cars: the EK Civic with a K20, an RPS13 Sileighty with an RB, and my non plus ultra being an FD RX-7 with a 20B (nat-asp). These are and will probably be forever my bucket list cars. In today’s market, the chances of the latter two – especially the RX-7 – may not come to fruition for a few reasons, the main one of course being financial cost.

The Civik is, without a doubt, my idea of the perfect roadcar. Paired with one of the greatest four-cylinder engines known to man, I had tunnel-vision once the next step involved cranking it to life!

Alas, the universe had other plans. Or should I say, my dumbass-self overlooked something, but we’ll get into that later.

I went ahead and used leftover grounding cables to connect the engine and gearbox to the chassis. The last couple of photos of the gearbox ground cable is from Halfords, and would not recommend using such a long wire. Nothing’s gone wrong so far, and I seem to be getting adequate voltage supply to all the electrics, but I am yet to sort this out.

Haha. I’ll mention this later…

So, fuel lines plumbed up, OEM engine wiring harness plugged in, and a fresh Honda battery hooked up, we were ready to crank it over and hear it… do f*ck all but prime the fuel pump. I’ll spare you the agony, but for a good 2 weeks, I was going around the bend asking anyone and everyone why my engine wouldn’t fire up. I thought it was a bad starter motor/alternator/electrical ground issue, then I thought it was charge wiring harness related, then I thought maybe a blown fuse.

Moral of the story guys, plug in the car’s immobiliser, located on the backside of the plastic trim panel that sits below the steering column. All that was causing the classic “no-crank-no-start” symptom, was my daftidity. My excuse was, “why would I need to connect the immobiliser up if the ECU is the JDM immobiliser-less type?”. Turns out the chassis wiring must see a signal from the immobiliser, in order to then forward that signal on to the ignition via the ECU. Or some shit like that…

See ya next time!

CIVIK | Vol. III

February of 2021 was a chilly one. We experienced winter season in full effect spending most of our days and nights cleaning out the garage space and setting up an area fit to work in.

One of the first things Hamza said to me when I went around to his check his garage facility out was “I’ll make ya a bench”. And he kept to his word, as you can see. It was a team effort though, I’m not letting him get all the credit!

Measuring 3 metres wide, about 1 metres deep, and about a metre-and-half high, this is our garage-made wooden workbench. That grey one from Halfords you saw in a previous post did alright, but I needed as much worktop surface as possible, because it’s about time I stopped working off the floor. Also, I’d now be able to fix my bench vice onto this one thanks to the beefy 1-inch plywood top.

You might be thinking “why haven’t you mentioned a word about this said ‘Civic’ yet”. Well, throughout those 4~months since buying the K20A, I was obsessively checking everywhere for the right base to build upon. I even remember being in supermarkets rummaging through magazines like Practical Classics, with no luck in their Classifieds pages.

Alas, the lengthy wait for the car to come up was soon to come to an end. You know how it is. You get fed up of seeing absolute piles for sale online, making you think that you’re never gonna find the “one”…

At work one day, busy trawling through Piston Heads, Auto Trader, Gumtree on my phone for that 90’s 3-door hatchback to be there and waiting at the right price, in the right condition.

Then I thought, “ya know what? Sod it, I’m gonna get an S2000 instead!”

Sike! Although, I was considering K-swapping one of these instead, I stuck to my guns, and probably saved some pennies doing so.

What actually happened was not too far off being a miracle. Out of nowhere, eBay had a listing for a 1996 EJ9 Civic, in “Milano Red” [read: Pink]. I thought it was a joke, because the auction was upto around only £1500 IIRC, and the mileage was 13XXX. Yes, that thirteen-thousand, not one-hundred-and-thirty-thousand. Needless to say, I hounded the seller’s inbox, he sent me over loads of photos and a detailed walkaround video not too long after.

That Saturday was THE day. My brother, Mana, drove us down to rural Nottinghamshire that morning.

That first drive got me buzzed, bear in mind the car was only a 1.4i with an automatic gearbox. For an old Honda, it feels damn-near perfect. Gauging the balance of the chassis was second-nature. Even with the suspension as is, on it’s 25-year-old shocks, springs, and bushings, the car was enjoyable to drive in that slow-car-fast kinda way. Oh, but those 13″ antique tyres were definitely the limiting factor, as you’d imagine.

Once the car was home, we discovered plenty evidence of how long this car had been parked up. The telltale sign was when we switched the cabin blower on for the first time, only to be then attacked by bits of leaves and plant debris.

I couldn’t just park it up and leave it alone, so once it was manoeuvred into the garage, I got to doing the important stuff. Rear muffler off, sound ON. D-series engine don’t sound bad at all for a single-cam motor.

I’ll talk a bit more about the car and my decision behind getting this Civic in particular, in future posts…

CIVIK | Vol. II

Let’s pick up from last time shall we. Engine and gearbox acquired. Dunno if I mentioned last time, but the ‘box I picked up was from a DC5 Type R (Y2M3) meaning that it has higher ratio/shorter 4th, 5th, and 6th gears.

This link is a handy reference to keep bookmarked: (https://www.hybrid-racing.com/blogs/hybrid-racing/k-series-transmission-guide)

I decided not to bust the engine open, and I was definitely not gonna play around with the gearbox, purely because I never have done so before and I’d rather not risk undoing something I shouldn’t.

Also, I felt there was no real need. I bought them both from seemingly reputable sellers, so I took their word for it and just did basic odds and sods.

The image above looks to be that there is something missing when in fact its a blind hole. I assume it is left in the casting for a hole to be drilled for a different K-series application.

Hamza got the privilege of rubba-dubbin’ the gearbox casing which was grimey as they come. Meanwhile, I went over the engine with WD40, using wire brushes or steel wool for the stubborn shite.

I thought I may aswell check this VTEC device out, technically known as the “VTEC Spool Valve Solenoid”. Three 10mm bolts and off it came. Its rubber gasket and mesh was hard and brittle, so there was no way I’d be reusing. The gasket was all in bits, and the mesh filter built into the gasket had done enough duty. OEM part purchased and fitted.

Don’t be me and rip half of the camshaft angle sensor plastic body off when lifting the engine using – as you can see – proper professional expert lifting tackle.

You’re gonna wanna know how fast the engine is spinning, especially up top. B-series gauge cluster for that extra increment on the tacho.

They don’t make ’em like this anymore. Nowadays your car’s vitals’ are displayed on a screen with seven-billion menus. I’d just like the vital vitals, please and thanks.

I’ve never seen the streets get snow plowed around where I live. These should replace the grit lorries, then all our Jap motors won’t flake away as quick as they do on British roads.

Gas heater blower cannon did alright keeping us warm, but once it was off, the not-insulated-at-all garage let all the heat out, and the cold in. Flippin’ noisy too.

OEM throttle body gave me a bit of grief. The two torx bolts holding the TPS sensor in were corroded to the max. I ended up having to drill and extract one of the bolts out, but the other one snapped its head clean off. I had to send it off for spark eroding.

Brand new OEM gaskets for both the TPS and the throttle-to-inlet bought, because I didn’t fancy any vacuum leaks.

Might be worth adding, I also removed the “intake air control valve” (a.k.a. IACV) and gave it a proper spraying with PlusGas to lubricate and release any debris, so that the valve would rotate and not become stuck. Then I hit it with a load of WD40. I’ve heard these valves (attached to throttle body) are troublesome, so I did the precautionary thing.

Cleaned the input shaft of the gearbox with steel wool, as well as the release/throw-out bearing. When spun, the bearing didn’t sound too bad, so I applied a load of lithium grease between the inner race and the O.D. of the shaft, for supreme slipperiness.

Gearbox is cleaner than it was before (damn me for not taking a pic of it in its previous condition). Those specks dotted all over the aluminium casing is the material’s surface oxidising, I think.

Oh yeah, at this point I moved into a larger space on Hamza’s property. The size upgrade was cool, but the fact the roof doesn’t leak (much) in this section is what matters most.

New clutch slave cylinder from Honda because I didn’t have one, and also because OEM is king. I’ve had an aftermarket one shit itself on that NB MX-5 I used to have, so lesson was learnt.

Anyway, I’ll leave it there, check in next time!