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Modding your car (Turbo, SC, Nitrous, All-Motor, Suspension, Brakes)

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I did NOT write this, I sliced it together to form what I thought was the most useful information.

Step 1. Determine a goal and research, research, research how much it will cost and if you can afford this.

Step 2. After picking out a goal and researching and finding the total cost. Add 20-30% more money, as you underestimated

Step 3. if you said build motor and get a big nasty turbo, add another 20% to that figure.

Step 4. if you said finance with a credit card during any part of this and have an interest rate of over 10% and/or you work part time and have a tendency to job hope, stop now and don't mod your car.

On to the topic:

Basic-Bolt ons:

alot of times the first thing that people do is add an intake & exhaust. AEM CAI go for around 150-250 bucks and an exhaust can go from 150 to 700 depending on brand, etc. What does this do, 1. makes more noise in engine bay & makes car louder. 2. with a b16,b18a/b/c/c5, h22a, h23, d16 you may have gotten like 5whp out of this. It makes more noise but really you will get a few more hp & more torque.

Say you take it a step further and add a header (4-1 is great for a b-series with a 2.5in collector assuming you upgrade to a 2.5in cat or straight pipe and at least a 2.5in exhaust. The goal here is to have proper exhaust sizing. You don't want to bottleneck your exhaust. It should start at one size and continue at that size or get mildly bigger. On an N/A car if you run a 3in exhaust you will lose back pressure and therefore lose power. With an I/H/E and a high-flow cat/test pipe you might have 10 more whp and like 3 more lbs. so you dropped between 1500-2k and basically got alot more noise, but its still fun to drive.

This is different for the K20 motors, as they have a much much better flowing head, I/H/E on a k20a2/k20z1 can yield over 25whp on occasion, these cars with a re-flash are easily over 200whp, which is a 40whp jump from stock.
Intake (100-250)
header (200-1000) used DC to a Hytec
Exhaust (250-700) custom to Apex'i
Cat/TP (50-100)

In order to get serious and pull alot of power from all-motor you basically need to upgrade to higher compression pistons (preferably forged if you go extremely high compression) and some better rods. Alot of times guys stroke & overbore the cylinder to gain more displacement as well. Another thing to look into is getting a block girdle which connects all the mains together and allows for you to rev to the sky.

lastly, you will need a good amt of head work, including upgraded valve springs, retainers & upgraded valves. Upgrading the cams to have more duration is also good, the CTR cams are okay, but to get serious, buddy club stage 3 or the new Skunk2 Pro1+ are very very aggressive and will give the car a strong lobe at idle. In order to compensate, you will need larger injectors and a standalone to control all of this. For tuning all-motor, they love more timing, but the risk is that with high compression comes extreme risks of detonation, so being able to run on pump gas can get hard if you have 12:1 and up compression with some nasty cams.

Parts & Costs:
Pistons (300-550) depends on if you get CTR pistons or forged
rods (200-700) depends if you just shotpeen stock rods or get forged
bearings (100-150) OEM vs ACL
camshaft(s) (600+)
valvetrain (500-750) SOHC vs DOHC and brand dependant
P&P on head (500-1000)
standalone (100-1800) chipped ecu to Autronic SMC PnP
injectors (200-380)
Walbro 255 high pressure (100)
FPR (30-150)
machine work (0-1500) stock bore vs rebore/hone/sleeving
tuner (0-600)

Going to the dark side is expensive. I used to say run an FMU or vafc hack, now i just say get a standalone or freeware.

Basically a turbo is just a bolt on, you need to run some oil lines and get an intercooler to cool down the charge temps. Running boost on a stock engine can be risky, yet if you have proper engine management and a good tuner, you can get a reliable car. The risks are rod failure and getting a very expensive coffee table. Yet with a good tune, you can get 200whp from a D16 with small amounts of boost with a properly sized turbo.

On a b16/b18a/b/c you can get close to 270whp with small amounts of boost on stock blocks, although i'm sure most of the cars i tune are around the 250 mark due to being conservative.

if you throw in rods & pistons with a fresh bore, power can rise significantly. Yet there are risks. the main risk is sleeve failure. FYI, you can only overbore and put in forged internals in b-series & D-series. The H22a has composite sleeves which do not allow you to just drop in forged pistons, you must completely sleeve the block, which is anywhere from 800 bucks for Golden Eagle to 1300 for ERL. There is no supposed magical number of where the aluminum portion of sleeves starts to break, but I've heard around 400whp in b-series. Although there have been people to get to over 600whp on stock sleeves, then there have been people that have broke sleeves at 350ish whp.
Parts needed:
basic turbo kit (1500-3500) from a ebay junk box to a Full-race/DK Goodrich high quality turbo kit
Rods (300-650) eagle to pauter
Pistons (450 - 650) CP to Endyn
Standalone (100 - 1800)
Injectors (300+)
walbro 255hlp (100)

The big hidden costs with a turbo setup are small things, new map sensor(90), silicon couplings(100), oil lines(40), oil fittings(60), traction bars(300), engine mount inserts(50), new tires alot more often. Not to mention you need to keep a better eye on the car now, check oil levels more, check coolant color & levels. Adding boost to a car that was never expected to have boost isn't that easy. Also, you want to have atleast a 2.5in exhaust on these boosted cars, so if you went and bought a header & 60mm exhaust, well tough, but that needs to go.

Same basic stuff as above, but superchargers are driven off a bet to push air into the motor. most superchargers are purchased in a kit and therefore are pretty complete. You've got basically two options, Vortech or Jackson Racing. both have goods & bads. The main thing to keep in mind is you still need engine management with both to get maximum performance & reliability.

the great thing about a S/C is that you know that header & exhaust you bought, well you can probably keep it with the Supercharger rather than just taking it off and attempting to sell or discard.

Cheap and simple, I always recommend a small 50 shot to people wanting a little more power on small occasions and don't want to throw down big skrilla. The best setup to have is a wet setup, as it will inject both fuel & nitrous at the same time, yet you can get away with a dry 50 shot with most of the kits sold for imports today. Those kits normally come with a fuel controller that raises fuel pressure when activated to compensate for more fuel. With one step colder plugs and the distributor retard 1-2 degrees this can be great fun for pretty cheap.

Dry kit (600)
wet kit (750)


What are your goals? Drop for looks mainly? Little bit more sporty feel? Countering the extra weight of your new swap? Future competitive racing?

You need shocks if you modify your suspension. Period. You drop the car any way without them and you'll blow your stockers and it'll ride like poo, as well as being unsafe to drive due to basically uncontrolled weight transfer. Stock shocks aren't designed to have reduced travel, nor higher spring rates.

If you just want the car a little lower, a set of non adjustable shocks such as koni reds, or KYBs (non-AGXs) will be fine paired with a set of springs that you like. You can get a decent set of non-adjustable for around $200-$300.

For a slightly more aggressive car, step up to something that's adjustable. KYB AGXs are popular entry level adjustable shocks and are pretty inexpensive. They were 400/set last i looked. Koni's "Yellow" is the standard for adjustable shocks. They're THE shock for SCCA Solo II racing as well. A bit more expensive than the competition, but if you have aspirations for racing, this will be what you're looking for. You're looking at roughly $600/set.

For street driving: Eibach makes an excellent product and is pretty much the industry standard for springs. H&R and NeuSpeed offer a slightly lower front than rear, giving a more 'raked' look. For comfy street driving, the Eibach Prokit is excellent. For sporty driving without giving up too much comfort, step up to the Eibach Sporlines.
For a little more sport, I recommend the H&R sports for those looking for a decent drop while retaining comfort. Their spring rates being even front and rear will also give a pretty well handling car (all things considered). A set of springs will set you back anywhere from $150 to $250 usually.

Going racing? Call Ground Control. Their coilover sleeves paired with a set of Koni Yellows is one of the best ways to get your Honda to handle well. Track tested and proven suspension gurus recommend the rear being stiffer than the front to help rotate the car and dial out that understeer. At ~$300 for most H/A applications (+ a little for the custom rate springs), they're not much more than a set of springs either. No off the shelf 'true' coilover features rates like this, and all are more expensive. Again, a popular choice for SCCA solo II racing, as well as track duty.

Realtime's ITRs used to run 900# F, 1200# rears. But if you want to drive on the street, you'll need to tone it back a bit (unless you need to remove your fillings). I ran 400#F, 500# Rear springs on the GSR and it could be dialed from understeering to oversteering with the Konis. Rich's new Si is even more aggressive with 600# F, 800# Rears, but is still streetable. IMO, his is approaching the limits though. Off the shelf Koni Yellows should be good to ~500# from what the Koni rep told me when i called years ago. Works best when teamed up with a swaybar (as listed below).

'True' Coilovers.
$1000-$300/set. JIC, Tein, Zeal , Buddyclub, as well as US makers like Koni and Ground Control. Hondas have ALOT of options as far as coilover sets. Keep in mind that eventually your shocks WILL need to be rebuilt. The only Japanese company with a US based rebuild site as of now is Tein. Horror stories abound with people trying to get their JICs, Zeals, etc rebuilt and the wait times/customer service. And these are people that LOVED the product to begin with.

Look at each line, see what type of driving most closely matches yours and purchase accordingly. Don't need adjustment or huge rates? Get an entry level set. Want to take it to the track primarily? Grab the 10+ way adjustables with higher rates. Or, preferably, look into the higher end setups from places like Ohlins, Motons or Koni.

IMO, on a H/A car, you're better off with shocks/springs or Yellows and GCs, for nearly all applications. But that doesn't make these products bad, just not what I recommend.

"Budget coilovers"
Generally sub 1k price point across the board (some going as low as $600/set), pretty anodized setups, new company and usually said to be "made in/near the ___ factory". Just like generic tires that are 'made by ____' these aren't. If they were, they'd have that name on them. These are poorly made shocks paired with generic springs and made to be cheap and look shiny and marketed to people that generally don't know better.

Don't expect Megans, Omnis, or any of the other painfully similar coilover sets to be much different. I've seen the dynos from Koni of sets people have sent in. For a 15k buy-in, you too can have essentially the same thing built in the same factory in China or Taiwan. You even get to choose the color scheme you want to anodize them with. Woo.

Another way to dial out understeer. THE BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK HANDLING MODIFICATION.
For the EG and DC chassis, a popular mosd is the OEM ITR bar. It can be had for ~115 w/ hardware and new bushings from online H/A parts places, such as hondaautomotiveparts.com .

However, be careful. If you try something like an ITR bar on your car without A) the proper mounting kit (I recommend BSQ), or B)without higher spring rates (at least ITR specs), you run the risk of tearing out your subframe.


If you want to go faster, you have to be able to stop faster. Brake heat and work increases exponentially as speed increases.

First off look at what you're starting with, what your setup is going to be, and what you want out of it. Got an Integra that just needs a little more in the brakes department? Get a replacement set of Hawk HPS or Porterfeild R4S'. Want a bit more aggressive? Grab some Hawk HP+s. They'll dust more, and squeal a bit, but they're good for street driving up to light track day use. A set of HP+ pads for my GSR cost ~$75 for the front, $50 for the rear. Porterfeild is in the same ballpark and the HPS are less expensive.

Have a Civic CX that rocks rear drums that you're dropping a turbo K20 into? You'll probably want a little more. A great feature of alot of Honda cars is that you can skip big expensive big brake kits (most of which only upgrade the fronts anyway) and buy OEM setups off of other cars. Integra brakes are common and popular, as well as an excellent choice. A set of those with aforementioned more aggressive pads will be more than enough for all but the most aggressive street drivers, or track day users. ITR/Accord wagon (same setup) brakes are a good alternative as well, if you want the 5 lug bling.

As for rotors: 9/10 times, OEM replacements will be more than enough.
If you MUST have cross drilled and/or slotted rotors, just make sure they were cast that way instead of being slotted or drilled post-casting. The latter weakens the rotor itself and can lead to failure of the part.

Overall, just be safe about it and remember that you'll need to add some $ into stopping that car you just made fast. Better to be able to stop the car 'too fast' than not fast enough.

The addition of SS brake lines and fresh brake fluid go really far in pedal feel. If your pedal feels mushy and you want to get it feeling fresh again, flush your system, then put in some new fluid (preferably synthetic).

Oh, and when you get bigger brakes off another car, try to score a master cylinder to go with it. That will make the bias better suited to the new brakes, as well as get enough pressure to the calipers easily.

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i agree with most of this EXCEPT do not put synthetic brake fluid in your system 1 it's not designed for it and 2 it doesn't have the qualityies that normal brake fluid does like the ability to absorb moisture and synthetic fluid is more spongy so if your looking to get rid of the spongy feel then why put something in there that will give you that straight from the bottle. and as far as swapping the master cylinder goes you want to get the right proportioning valve THAT is what determines how much braking force is applied to the rear brakes compaired to the fronts, and due to if you install a rear disc conversion where the discs have more coeficent of friction with the same force going to the rear wheels as when you had on drum brakes the rear will stop faster causing you to have a tail out condition like pulling the e-brake, you need that new prop valve to lessen the pressure of fluid going to the rear brakes. ok im done now

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