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. VI

More than a couple weeks passed by, according to the timestamps attached to these photos. I suppose I was waiting for parts/payslip to come in. I doubt I did anything noteworthy with the car, hence why I’ve no photos from that period. I will have swapped in the Walbro 255l/h in-tank fuel pump during this time, which was straight-forward enough.

Here’s that idle-air-control-valve (IACV) I spoke of previously. Mine didn’t seem too clogged up, but I sprayed it with a load of PlusGas release-agent and some WD40, just to be on the safe side.

With the EG Civic subframe bolted up to thy chassis, I went and slapped the rear torsion mount on. I chose to go the genuine route, so these are actually made by Hasport and not somewhere in East Asia or wherever. Polyurethane bushings are classed by the manufacturer themselves as “Street” but now that the car is on the road, I can now tell you how “not-Street” they feel.

After about a thousand miles or so, the dashboard rattling has settled down, but my glovebox and its contents dance about at idle, and the entire dash does and will bounce if I come off the clutch too quickly. Be warned, polyurethane is not used by OEMs for good reason: NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness). So when Hasport market their softest mounts as “Street”, don’t mistake that for OEM-like.

I plan on modifying them using rubber inserts, starting with the torsion mount that supports the rear of the engine/gearbox via the subframe, as that is the one of three mounts that transmits vibration into the cabin the most.

Steering rack off of a DC2-R simultaneously mounted to the subframe with the universal joint sent through into the footwell.

ST7 is the part number associated with Integra DC2 Type R and maybe perhaps the JDM SiR also. either way, that’s a dead giveaway as to the original habitat of a component, so make sure you check for that in case some sly seller tries to do you dirty and sells you standard EG Civic parts (or maybe they’re uninformed).

Oh yeah, if you look closely, you’ll see on the right side of the image, that there’s a rubber bushing missing between the D-bracket and the steering rack I spoke of previously.

Pictured is the gearbox with its mount bolted on, along with the shifter cable stay bracket I gave a nice tickle with Hamza’s angle grinder. Don’t know about you lot, but I like the look of flap-disc marked steel.

Another “bollocks” moment. Before you write me off for ranting again, hear me out. Another part of Hybrid Racing’s “swap kits” was the power steering kit. The stainless braided lines and fluid cooler all checked out fine and dandy, exactly what you’d expect for the price. BUT, the bloody reservoir they include is 1000% a cheap, replica part of the original Honda part. Now, this was a problem, why? Because the return hose they provide couldn’t slide over the port on the reservoir. I tried everything, but the shit was incorrectly sized. I can’t remember the measurement off the top of my head, but it didn’t match the port size on the OEM reservoir, so yeah, excellent replication there by China/Taiwan or whomever the fock!

You’re probably thinking, “oh just use the OEM reservoir you moaning twat!” The thing is, the orientation of the ports were inconveniently positioned on the OEM part, hence why Hybrid Racing include one with ports positioned in a way where you can run hoses adjacently into and out of the tank.

Long story short: off eBay (again) I purchased a silicone reducer and an aluminium straight joiner, just to complete the plumbing for the power steering “kit”.

Silicone reducer fits OK

Around this time in early May, I was feeling under the weather. I put it down to co-worker getting jabbed “for protection against” covid, and then passing something on after he suffered the post-injection side effects. Anyhow, one of the last jobs I cracked on with was the front suspension assembly, before I was down-and-out for a week in bed.

Issues I was having could have been due to the powdercoating on the suspension parts that weren’t allowing me to line up some of the bolt holes. Namely, the compliance bushing bolts. T’was a bit of a bitch filing the powdercoating off of the seating faces on the suspension arms, especially when you feel like death.

Also, I wished I had asked for all the original EG Civic hardware to bolt the subframe & lower arms up with. Some EK Civic bolts are too long when screwed into the chassis, so I remember having to buy some flanged bolts of eBay. It’s always the little details that slow you down. Preparation is invaluable; I have learnt the hard way.

I’m gonna close it here, as this was the last photo I took before I came down with a nasty throat infection. Be back soon…

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!

CiviK | Vol. I

What I intend on presenting to you throughout these posts titled ‘CiviK’, is a no-bullshit, straight up “build” thread. Personally, I don’t see what I’m doing to the EJ9 something that could be classified as a build. It’s a project though, but, semantics.

Feel free to use this as a reference if you are planning on doing something very similar. There’s more than a few K-Swapped Civics in the UK, but those that have documented their work are few and far between. This is a pity, but I suppose Brits just keep their shit to themselves, whereas the Yanks – who have been chucking K-series engines into everything since the engine was introduced in 2001 – scream and shout about their K-swapped projects. And for that, I am thankful, because there’s a great deal of information available from guys over the pond.

Luckily, you will find some toplads on the scene who not only do the homework, but are kind enough to share the knowledge they’ve acquired with others. Honorable mentions go to: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-YJWXFHiFEqLKtY40L5UWg (Captain’s Vlog), https://www.ek9.org/index.php?threads/jacks-py-k20-ek9-now-going-k20-k24.44021/ (Jack24), and Rus @ Hond-R.

By the way, all following images were taken using a below-average Huawei P10 camera. Don’t expect the usual hi-res, low-ISO imagery. This is just like the forum days in the mid 2000s.

Anyway, let’s rewind back a bit, to December 2020. Call it a Christmas prezzie to myself, I pulled the trigger and went to collect an engine. Yes, before buying a car, because logic is for losers.

For £1650, I bought a semi-complete K20A out of a DC5 Type R that was being split by its owner, due to an excessively corroded shell IIRC. I was aware that this naturally high-revving engine had seen some track time, but the owner of the car seemed to be straight up and didn’t give off any shady vibes as if to hide something was askew with the engine. Upon collection he dropped the oil whilst I was there, no metallic debris plopped out so I reckon its a healthy one.

The MVP in this saga is my bro+ Hamza. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have a space to work and store all my shit. Oh, and the Demio for not letting me down travelling up and down the motorway allowing me to tick off parts on the shopping list.

Autofocus on my phone camera sucks arse. But here is the MPV of MPVs; Toyota Alphard courtesy of the Japanese Domestic Market. I think this was taken on the way to/from collecting the engine. You can see the faint blurriness that was in fact a Phoenix Yellow E46 M3. I admit BMW > Honda when it comes to that colour. Moving on…

This engine came with a PRC inlet manifold, which is stock DC5 spec. I gave it a good old clean with WD40 and wire wool. Those weird streaks going across the inlet runners are where the plastic inlet cover chafes on the manifold, I think. Also original are the OEM fuel rail and injectors that came off of an EP3 Civic Type R.

Refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_K_engine#K20A to familiarise yourself with the various engines and inlet configuration under the K-series family tree.

Pretty sure the engine came with the starter motor too, so I give it a good scrubbing. Word of advice: use K20A hardware, especially with the starter motor and alternator. K20Z engines are common as muck here, but there are subtle but key differences between both engines variants, so make sure to try and stick with obtaining parts from like engines.

The photo on the right shows the area where the hydraulic power steering pump lives. DC5 Type R were fitted with hydraulic, belt-driven pumps. EP3 Type R came equipped with electric power steering which lacks in feedback from what I have heard and read, meaning a lot people with K-swaps using the EP3 K20A2 engine simply utilise a manual steering rack. I prefer the combination of drivability, and weightedness & feel of hydraulic power-steering, so this is another justification I make to myself for shelling out the extra premium for the JDM hotness.

The power steering pump did come with the engine, but the ball bearing was knackered, so I opened it up and replaced it with a new NTN bearing. The old bearing had a part number on it, which I used to cross-reference for dimensions, so that even though the new bearing wasn’t OEM, it still fit like a glove. Unfortunately, I did not take any photos, but it is easy peasy, just remember to take note of what part goes where in case you do the same.

I’m gonna close this part here. From these last couple of photos, you can tell conditions of the initial setting weren’t ideal. Leaky roof kept me well anxious prior to getting hold of a car, but thankfully Hamza let me move into a dry space that’s much more roomy too. Quick Halfords bench purchase came in handy but we went one better, as you’ll soon see.

I’m probably doing an injustice calling this something akin to a “build” thread, but I hope you can take something away from this series.

Advice when buying an engine: if it looks fucked and its been sat out of its original habitat for a while, stay clear, unless of course the seller is reputable and can vouch for the condition of it. Also try and get an engine as complete as, if it comes with the gearbox and wiring loom, you’re onto a winner. NOTE – JDM engines came fitted with LSD, whereas the UKDM/European Type R got left with an open diff. Although, not a problem if you plan on swapping the differential for an aftermarket limited-slip.