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…