Type LX

bangminah

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2017 Civic Hatchback
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Going to journal a very slow, road course racing oriented build of my car that I picked up in April 2017 and document my woes.

Current mod list (in order of installation):
  • KTuner Flash
  • Type R Rear Swaybar
  • Meister R ZetaCRD+ Coilovers
  • Godspeed Camber Arms
  • Morimoto HID lights
  • Acuity Throttle Spacer
  • CDV + Intake Resonator Delete
  • PRL Front Mount Intercooler
  • PRL Cobra Cold Air Intake Race MAF
  • Hasport Motor Mount
  • Hardrace Adjustable Ball Joint
Current Specs:
  • -3 front, -2.5 rear camber, 0 toe all around
  • ~14 4-5/8" ride height all around (measured from bottom of 16" OEM wheel hubcaps to fender)
  • 30/32 clicks in front with 10mm preload, 30/32 clicks in rear with 5mm preload
  • DOT 4 brake fluid, stock pads and rotors
  • Etunez custom 18/16.5/21 psi tune
Future mods:
  • LSD?
April 29 2017: Picked up the car.

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Was the only manual silver hatch in the state for quite a while, so I hopped on it instead of a Sport. Sometimes I wish I sprung for the PMM Sport but Lunar Silver is too pretty IMO.

August 2017: Picked up KTuner for the revhang delete and 21/16 dual basemap. Absolute night and day difference in driving the car!

October 2017: Installed Type R rear sway bar. I'll be honest, this was more of a "why not" mod considering it was only $100 at the time and I wanted better handling even though I rarely push this car to understeer in the first place. The suspension mods continue.​

February 2018: Sprung for the NKGarage Duckbill Spoiler and got burned hard on the fitment.
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More details here. Thankful it didn't work out, I was crazy to try to justify $300 for a stick on spoiler.

February 9 2018: Installed Meister R Zeta CRD+ Coilovers with my friend (who is the main person I'll be mentioning when I say "we" in this journal)
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Was missing the adjustable rear spring perch at first, but Jerrick from Meister R was very prompt and responsive in sending me out a set, that they sent in two sets by accident! They are absolutely amazing in customer service, and much more on that a bit later.

February 23 2018: Godspeed Camber Arms came in... and were missing a locking nut.
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Redline360 corrected this issue by sending out the nut, albeit not in time for my track event.

February 24 2018: My first track day! Grange Motor Circuit CW+CCW with RaceFreely.
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Dialed down the basemap tune to 18/16PSI for this, and kept it at 16PSI the whole time. Alignment was -2 camber all around (-1.2 in passenger rear wheel though) and 0 toe. Prepped with DOT 4 brake fluid. Best time was 1:17, not sure if it was CW or CCW though. There was a clunking/knocking noise from the front suspension after installing the coilovers, and it significantly worsened during the track day. We disconnected the front sway bar to see if it was a clearance issue and it didn't clear up, but gave us this fun picture.
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April 13 2018: After e-mailing back and forth with Jerrick and looking at HKS's coilovers for the 10th Gen Civic platform, I found out that the Hatchbacks have a knuckle insertion diameter of 52mm, larger than the sedan and coupe. I assumed this was the issue for the knocking noise and Jerrick whipped up new coilover brackets and sent them over to me. We then installed the camber arms and attempted to install the new brackets.
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Comparing the old and new bracket diameters. It seems marginal, but there was a bit of play in the knuckle using the ones originally sent (on top). However, the new brackets would not sit inside the knuckle! We gave up, but found the real cause of the knocking noise.
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Essentially, our amateur installation was the cause of the noise :doh:. We mixed up the left and right brackets, believing the stickers facing outward would be the proper orientation and the endlink bracket location since it was easier to bolt them on this way. The dimples on the brackets were there for clearance, but because we installed them incorrectly, the bolt kept brushing against the bracket instead of clearing through the dimple. As a result, this made torqueing down the bolts incredibly difficult and I actually stripped the thread on my right knuckle. Did a quick fix on this by using longer after market hardware and a locking nut to secure the bracket into the knuckle after swapping the brackets to the proper sides. Knocking noise was absolutely gone, yet it would still squeak at low speeds. Eventually I diagnosed this as a result of running coilovers, but suspect that the OEM damper plate and Meister R's camber plate are conflicting with each other.

May 13 2018: Second track day! Streets of Willow CW with Speedventures.
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The aftermarket hardware held up just fine! Ran a best lap of 1:41:93. -2 camber and 0 toe all around. Still running the 18/16PSI, and still kept it at 16PSI for the track. These settings along with the coilovers and sway bar definitely let me rotate the car as much as I needed to! I still wonder how much better I could've ran this if I actually checked my tire pressure properly... About 15min off the track we checked that it was at 40psi! It's a miracle they didn't burst on me.

June 4 2018: Chrome delete. Thanks Devyn from The Race Studio!
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Somewhere in between these dates I got the Morimoto bulbs in, but no pics to show for it!

June 23 2018: Acuity Throttle Spacer. Definitely a must have QOL improvement. Heel toeing is much more natural now!
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August 31(?) 2018: New knuckle came in, but I just forced the new bracket into the right stripped knuckle anyway.
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In this picture, I test fitted the 52mm brackets Meister R sent to me with the OEM knuckle I ordered from Honda. It slipped straight in. This frustrated me even more, and I looked more into other suspensions and knuckles. I found out that the Raceland coilovers had fitment issues that required forcing in the brackets into the knuckle, and that it was not uncommon to require a knuckle "opener" or "splitter" on other platforms to remove and install new struts.

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I decided to force my way into the original knuckle with the new bracket, since it would pinch it into place anyway and I had the aftermarket hardware to fall back on as well. Here I noticed that the original bracket did not have the guiding slot (which sits perfectly into the gap of where the knuckle splits) that the new brackets did. I'd like to think that if that guiding slot was there on the original brackets in the first place, I wouldn't have had any issues with these coilovers or a stripped knuckle. Regardless, they sat right in after three hours of fussing about. Steering/road feedback was largely improved as there was 0 play in the knuckle. I left the left knuckle alone as that sat fine for some reason. Also redid the preload by measuring the spring length unloaded (170mm) and preloaded 10mm (measured 160mm in length after). I followed a lot of misinformation in that you should set preload by hand as much as you can until you can't, then add 2-5mm on top by spanner. I found out I ran about 30mm of preload this way this entire time. Jesus Christ, either these springs are incredibly soft (6kg) or I'm Popeye.

Back to what I said about the damper plate and the camber plates.
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The Zeta CRD+ coilovers use four bolts to secure the struts. This means it will utilize the guide pin hole, and as shown in the picture (poorly I'll admit), the nut used to secure that fourth bolt is pressing against the damper plate. I believe this to be the main source of the low speed squeak issue, but can also live with it if it isn't since it's not uncommon for coilovers to produce noise and especially in low speeds and on MacPherson strut applications. I'm more upset that it uses four bolts though in that it restricts me from using the OEM slotted camber adjustments. So the max camber I can get out of these plates is about -2.3 on each side. I might take it upon myself to slot the guide pin hole eventually.

October 18 2018: CDV delete and intake resonator delete. No pictures, just tons of frustration, sweat, and blood from working in that cramped engine bay. Yes, these deletes do make a difference. No, they're not a huge night and day difference and mods that I would recommend doing unless you're already doing something like new clutch lines or intakes. Spilled brake fluid all over the undertray... :banghead: The clutch no longer feels like a light lever, and there's a springiness to it, but I mainly notice it when I'm paying attention to the engagement. My shifts are more spot on but not by a whole lot. The intake resonator delete does add a bit more noise past 3k RPM. Good enough for me.

October 28 2018: Third track day! Streets of Willow CW again but with OnGrid.
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No real improvements, ran 1:41:32. A third of a second faster isn't something I'd consider an improvement. -2 camber all around, 0.10 toe in on the rear because I foolishly forgot to mention to 0 it out. Damper settings are 20/32 in the front and 30/32 in the rear, will likely be staying with this for dailying as well. I'm convinced that ECO mode affects throttle settings despite KTuner's settings or at least dampens turbo responsiveness, so I adjusted the main map to 16.5PSI and ECO 16PSI. Ran this at 16.5PSI the entire time. My ride height was also all over the place. The driver side was taller than the passenger, and the rears were higher than the fronts. I also bled out too much air this time versus not bleeding out any last time, running at 32PSI hot. The car was definitely more planted, too planted actually and I didn't get any rotation at all. Previously, my rear tires were actually getting chewed up more from the events but this time my front tires were eaten up. Yes, still on stock tires, wheels, brakes, and brake pads with plenty more pad to go!

October 29 2018: Time for new wheels. Konig Hypergram 17x9 +25 front and 17x8 +35 rear. BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP 2 255/40 and 225/45.
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Mild poking in the front, can be tucked in a touch more if I get to slot that guide pin hole and squeeze out some more camber! Rubs the liner on highspeed dips, hard braking to full stop, and hard cornering. No worries, eventually there won't be material to rub anymore ;) The driver rear is sitting a little higher than the others, causing the passenger front to sit around 3-5mm lower than the driver front. Will adjust accordingly eventually and hope that it evens out, I'm getting a bit tired of measuring with tape and calipers now.​

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racer

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Corner balance numbers?
Why no toe out up front?
 
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bangminah

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  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Corner balance numbers?
Why no toe out up front?
I’d like to try a tad bit of toe out, but this is also my daily and track events are a bit far in between let alone the distance to the actual event. This along with corner balancing is something I'd love to experiment with in the future when I take tracking more seriously, but I am sure I’m not experienced enough to take advantage of those changes let alone even handle a bit of toe out (especially since these were my first events!). 0 toe all around has the car handling fairly neutral enough to me and I’m hoping that the reverse stagger setup will be more than enough for cornering and rotating. I'm following RedShift's Chris's alignment article, some feedback from the 8th/9th Civic road course enthusiast community, and my friend that's much more experienced in tracking to hold me back from going in too deep into what's technically better vs more seat time/driver mod.
 
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bangminah

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  • #6
Long time no update, with several mods and track days to follow.

With the new reverse stagger setup, I hit Streets of Willow again in December 2018 and shaved off 5 seconds from my time and got 1:37! Feels good to have some grip! I absolutely rubbed with the setup but eventually rubbed enough liner away to not have any further issues after a few sessions.

Following this, I went to Big Willow in January 2019 with the only change being Stoptech Sport brake pads in the front. Landed a 1:47, not bad for my first time I think! Car felt like it was understeering more than I’d like, though and didn’t feel as planted or stable on the high speed turns.

I tackled Buttonwillow (CW13) with no changes from my setup in March 2019, and understeered a plentiful amount. Went off the course 4 times, 3 of them from understeer and 1 from oversteer (turned in too hot). Ended up with a 2:26 for the day!

I went to Streets of Willow again in June and was too concerned about the heat. I also got a custom tune from Steve at E-Tunez to mitigate some of my concerns running a basemap (don’t care if KTuner’s basemaps are considered safe amongst the community, not worth risking engine longevity). My custom tune mirrors my quick settings: 18psi / 16psi / 21psi. Ended up running slower than I did on stock wheels and tires and understeering even worse. As a result of this, I bought PRL’s intercooler and Cobra Race MAF within the next month and did a retune. One thing about the intercooler piping: one pipe didn’t want to fit into a silicon hose and I had to grind some of the metal away to get it to work.

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Yes I used grease/lube and no it would not fit no matter how hard I tried. Test fit your pipes before attempting an install. The install was also absolutely frustrating to fit everything in, so I imagine that these were intended more for the sedan/coupe platforms.


Car feels more responsive than ever and it feels good to have power on tap almost consistently now, on top of the fun turbo noises. With this, though, the wheel hop became more prominent. I went with the 62A Hasport motor mount to remedy this. Protip, use tons of lubricant/grease. NVH absolutely increased but is gone after 1500 rpm. As of today, I don’t really notice it at all anymore but have noticed that wheel hop is largely mitigated.

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At this point, I was determined to redeem myself after last visit to Streets of Willow. My last performance mod for the time being is the Hardrace Adjustable Ball joints. I was able to squeeze out -3.1 camber in the front after this!

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Not sure why my shop used the 9th gen Civic for their software but it's fine.

Returned to Buttonwillow CW 13 in October 2019, and with the new alignment and mods (with a sprinkle of E85 to reduce knock), I managed to shave off four seconds (2:22)! I could tell where I would benefit from an LSD, and lacked the grip/stability on some corners though. Finished off the G-Sport Comp 2’s as far as track life goes, and moved onto a new set of tires.

I picked up a set of RPF1’s from the recent WheelWell sale (17x8 +35 & 17x9 +22) as a daily set of wheels and moved my tires onto there. The extra 3mm of poke or so was mostly tucked away by the extra camber, but I am rubbing again on this set. No big deal, as I would not be racing hard on these. Loving how my car sits now.

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Got my hands on Nankang’s 200TW NS-2R’s. From my understanding, this compound isn’t sold in the US and has to be imported overseas, which led to me getting my front tires a day before my track day. Long story short, I got 2:13 with these tires! Would highly recommend them! Thanks to R Compound USA for supplying! The car gripped so much better and these tires gave more feedback than the BF Goodrich’s, and I became more comfortable with my steering input to induce some rotation. Might have to put off the LSD until I’m sure I need it now!

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