PROJECT ITCHY HANDS.
For us, we chose to purchase a used car with renewed C.O.E, already 'ticking' two of the three options we have, not bad right? Lol!
Below is a picture of how it looked when trolling www.sgcarmart.com.
For those who don't know, it's a 1997 Honda Civic 1.6 SiR a.k.a EK4M. Or the Civic Ferio in some other markets.
So what if it's already a soon-to-be 21 year old car? We didn't really mind!
The 'itch' came again after constantly changing rides that lasted no more than one and a half years each for about 5 years.
This blog will be about what we did or what is going to be done on this car, whether it is an add-on, modification, repair or maintenance. It will be published and updated as we progress.
We've actually got nothing planned or in the pipeline but the main aim is to 'go with the flow', nothing too time consuming because we still have a business to run.
Last but not least, everything and anything that's going to be done on it will be kept strictly road legal. Nothing illegal or crazy is to be performed.
So please stay tuned and we'll update this post as often as we can! Thank you!
First to get something done were the pedals, they were really shabby, tattered, beat, overused, shot or whatever you call it. So off came the rubbers and a set of MOMO R3000 kit pedals took their places.
We were contemplating the very popular MUGEN pedals but felt they were too common so we went for the MOMOs.
Nothing difficult here but the drilling and the area that we had to work with underneath the dash was tight, awkward and dirty haha!
We were looking around the engine bay/compartment area and saw that the front strut bar was installed the other way round.
We wondered how in the world did whoever installed it managed to tighten the bolts/nuts when the bar was literally smack right on top of the cap on the AC low pressure port for the passenger side and the suspension mounting bolts on both sides!
Removing the four nuts and installing the bar the other way round solved the problem. The easiest we've ever done.
Tiny Stuffs Here & There
We swapped out a few things here and there.
First the 'old school' Kenwood cassette player/head unit was replaced with an existing slightly more modern but used Pioneer single din unit which we've kept for a while in our shop and the CD changer in the boot was 'booted' out.
Next were very simple things like the shift/gear knob, from the stock piece to a Buddy Club Racing Spec Shift Knob, also a used one we kept from our previous ride.
Then the engine oil cap, again a used item kept by us.
Noticed we keep using old or used items? Because it's our "forte" as we either keep, inherit, buy or sell used items or parts.
There is a reason why Singapore is the second largest vehicle exporter in the world behind Japan. Our market has seen a high number of vehicles being scrapped but we try to salvage their working parts for owners with vehicles near COE expiry dates or when changing new parts makes no economical sense when often times the used/old stuffs performs just as well.
We want to create an "After"market, where the word 'aftermarket' no longer just mean OEM or non-genuine, it'll also mean giving these parts an "after" life.
The most 'In' and 'Fashionable' thing now in the fraternity is Wire Tucking for the engine bay. With the looms & harnesses gone and out of sight, an engine bay with a new coat of paint looks simply gorgeous!
For us, although we really like the look of a cleanly 'tucked' engine bay and because time isn't on our side and we actually prefer Function more then Form, we didn't really want to do much aesthetics but the peeling black paint revealing the car's original red colour here and there in the engine bay was a little of an eyesore so we did the next best thing.
You may not be able to see much from here but we really couldn't stand it.
A little peek on how it was done and how it looks like now.
Though it still came with its stock 'JDM' car mats, there wasn't any for the driver's side except for this...
Why we replaced the mats when they are so 'JDM'? Because they were actually hardened and crusty so we decided to keep them and change them into something more modern.
We found a great supplier of ready and custom made car mats, for almost any make and model in the market.
The set that you see above is custom ordered with the word 'EK'. Fitment and quality is top notch. Please feel free to talk to us if you want to know more these mats!
P.S. If you don't already know, we found out the stock mats are real heavy! Now we think our ride has it's top speed increased by 1km/h! Or up 1bhp! Lol!
"What's that pipe doing here in your car?" a passenger in the rear asked.
That pipe he was referring to is non other than the much talked about or the silent 'unsung' hero, the interior room bar aka cabin bar aka interior brace aka floor bar and many other different terms.
Below is how it looks like.
This particular bar was found while trolling Carousell. And if you don't know, we are quite active on that platform too.
Find us at https://sg.carousell.com/cardoctorsingapore.
"What's the point of this?", you may ask.
Well, theoretically speaking, as you enter a turn, the vehicle chassis slightly twists and flexes, negatively impacting tire to asphalt contact. This affects the handling and the performance of the suspension system. Increasing chassis rigidity allows for better overall performance on and off the track.
The bar bolts to existing mount points, designed to maintain all functionality of the rear seats and no modification to the vehicle is required.
But we 'modified' the bar just a little bit. :P
By adding bar tape! As it was bought used, there were some unsightly scratches on it but instead of spray painting, which will end up being scratched again whenever there are passengers behind, we chose to twirl handle bar tape around it.
Not only does it look nicer due to the variety of colours and designs you can find for the tape, it'll also definitely last longer than spray painting.
Hit us up as we still have some of the tape left or we can order them for you!
"Eyes" At The Rear
We aren't sure if cars during that 'era' were fitted with reverse/parking sensors or not but ours definitely doesn't come with one.
We got a set for a steal although in a different colour but we think it's still okay since we will most probably go for a new coat of paint in the future.
Never really installed reverse sensors before since vehicles these days come with them and those accident vehicles we handle only need replacing rather than installing but it really isn't that difficult to do it (at least for our ride, lol!).
Measuring where to drill the holes take longer than the drilling and the wiring actually.
This particular set comes with a display unit measuring the return interval of the reflected signal and calculating distances with built in warning acoustic tones.
A short clip below showing how it sounds and works.
The car came with a big piece of foam/cotton under the bonnet/hood which some call a soundproof mat or shield.
It's not something that you'd find on a stock EK4 but some owners may think it helps soften or quieten the engine noise from under the hood but we beg to differ.
We think it traps heat which is more of a concern than soundproofing. If you want soundproofing, get a Lexus.
So, off it goes as we took quite a while to tear/pull it away from under the bonnet.
It has grown hair over the course of 20 years!
Into the bin it goes...
Wheel They Fit?
The next thing we did were to replace the existing set of wheels. Not that they were lousy or anything (Prodrive GC010E no less) and they are one of the rarest here in 15 inches.
It is because they weren't in the correct offset thus needing a 5mm spacer up front in order to 'clear' the 4 potter. We don't like spacers so we had to replace the wheels sooner or later.
Then we remembered we had a set of O.Z. Ultraleggeras lying around somewhere.
The Prodrives measured 15x6.5 with an offset of 35.
And weighs 5.5kg.
The OZs measures 15x7 with an offset of 30.
And weighs in at 5.5kg too!
So do you think it's a no brainer?
The OZs were shod due to negligence but we can always give them an "After" life.
Black was the obvious choice for quick turn around times and also cleaning but we added some "sparkle" to them.
Now our car looks like this with the Metallic Black OZs.
Preload Or A Load of Rubbish?
When we drove the car for quite a period of time, we realized something wasn't really right when we felt how the car drives along bumps or how the ride feels based on experience and some road sense.
So we raised the car up and went about checking the Tein Flex Z coilovers. True enough, the springs weren't really installed properly, or should we say weren't adjusted properly.
A couple of them were "free to turn" by hand, which means loose, when they should at least be "sitting"on the adjuster rings and not rattling if you shake them by hand.
We will not bore you with technicalities of coilover spring preloads but if you want to know more, as the saying goes, Google is your best friend, encyclopedia or dictionary.
We usually go for slight spring preloads, maybe even less then half an inch.
Let's start with what is Zero preload first.
When you screw the upper adjuster nut/ring/collar down while gently rattling the springs, when the spring stops rattling that is Zero Preload.
We normally screw the collar from Zero preload, up to about only 5mm or in this case we followed the thickness of the provided spanner wrenches that comes with all coilover sets.
Which in this case is about 5mm.
Shine Bright Like A Diamond
The rear number/registration/license plate (whatever you call it in your lingo) light was old and dim so we had them replaced with a much brighter set sourced from our suppliers.
The pictures above don't do it justice. It's actually so bright that you can see it from a mile away!
APOLOGIES FOR BEING SO 'QUIET' RECENTLY, ALL THANKS TO A CERTAIN 'SMART ALEC' FROM ONE OF THE INSPECTION CENTRES, OUR CAR IS NOW BEING 'TAGGED', LIKE A CONVICT, DUE TO 'SUSPECTED ENGINE NUMBER TAMPERING - ENGINE NUMBER FONT SPACING.' HOW ABOUT THAT?
NO MOOD TO CONTINUE DOING ANYTHING TO THE CAR TILL THIS CASE IS CLOSED.
HOPEFULLY WE'LL BE BACK.
The Project Continues...
Yes! Our car is back on the roads with effect from 13/3/19!
It has been a very tedious and time consuming period for all of us but we gained a lot of experience from it and spent quite a fair bit of money too.
We'll be updating this blog very soon so stay tune!
So, we were given the 'green light' to get the existing engine replaced with either a new or used one subjected to approval from the authorities.
A new B16 was definitely out of the question so we opted for the latter and we finally sourced one, not locally, not Malaysia, not Japan but the United States of America!
We wanted to check if we were going to reuse the camshafts or go with the stock ones that came with the engine we bought.
Getting the replacement engine ready for install.
We also did check valve clearance and did adjustments because we don't take chances.