totheredline's Track Day Car
So it was a bit out of the blue that this happened, but as I work at a Car Supermarket we had a part exchange come in that got my spider senses tingling, a 2004 Honda Civic Type R with just over 70k on the clock and also 1 owner from new.
The price was too good of an opportunity to miss out on, so I ended up purchasing the car, with a view to using it for track days, as that was my original plan when I bought the last one, but its too nice to use it for that.
Although the car was in fairly decent condition, it had been smoked in, so stunk inside. I stripped out the interior and began cleaning it up, the headlining was the worst part, everything was cleaned and then it never went back in... It was sold on to another fellow Civic owner, to update his car a little, the wheels were not my taste anyway, but as I have some track wheels already, the wheels were sold on also. The remaining interior plastics are in good condition, so I have took it all out, cleaned it all and its ready for a new owner, that perhaps has damaged panels, especially in the boot.
So pictured is in mid process of the interior removal. I am used to where all the fixings are in these cars, so it did not take long to get to this stage. First to be removed was the 2 front seats, then the rear bench seat, and then the backs of those. The centre console was then removed and the centre dash including stereo as well. I then removed the plastic sill trims, steering wheel and air bag.
With all this out the way, we tried to clean the headliner, but it was not working so you can guess what ended up with that, yes, that was also removed.
I had to remove the door cards then as well, as they were sold with the seats, so once these had been collected I then carried on with the rest of the interior. So all the rear plastics were removed, seat belts in the front and rear, that horrible headlining had to go as well. Everything is pretty much clipped in on the modern cars, so its finding out where they are, and using a tool to remove
them, to limit breaking them, as being plastic, they become quite brittle over time.
When all the boot trim was removed, it appears to have had a little bump on the rear, as you can see where it has been repaired, and also been resprayed. A dent has been removed as well by the looks of it. While I was there, I decided to remove the rear wiper and motor as well. The hole in the screen was then filled with a KillAllWipers flush fit kit, so it looks better than just putting in a rubber bung that most seem to do.
Although the car was going to be for use on track, I still like a clean car, so took to spend a bit of time on some areas, that were left neglected a little, although most don't think about these areas. So around the inside of the boot was a little grimey, this was removed with a bit of All Purpose Cleaner, also around inside the rear windows, and on the door shuts around the top.
Also removed all the sticky pads and residue from where the number plates had been as well. I still need to remove the lights and clean inside those as well.
So this is as the car stands at the moment inside, a little bit more metal was removed that I could just unbolt, this was the back of the rear seats (although small pieces, they felt pretty heavy) and also the nasty rusted rear bench supports have also been removed. I have now also taken out the main carpet as well. There is some sort of sound deadening or insultation in the footwell areas, but I have been told its a dash out job to remove this, so I may try to remove what I can get at by cutting it out, and go from that. With all that can be done now, its time to do something with it, so a couple of things purchased, it will start getting back to a car.
First purchase, but only just fitted is an OMP steering wheel and NRG quick release slimline boss.
It was no mean feet to fit this, as what is known as a clockspring was in the way of fitting the boss, so needed to be removed. As this is also part of the SRS airbag system, caution is taken and it was disconnected before I had to remove the stalk unit to get to remove the clockspring, which was done in one piece luckily, in case I do need it again. I will then need to look at fooling the system using a resistor to get rid of the light on the dash that I will have as it has no airbag.
Then it was time to purchase some seats, a friend had these Mirco RS2's for sale with rails already on for an EP3 so it was a straight fit, so it was a no brainer. As they are FIA approved but do finish next year, its not a problem as it will only be for track day use and not competition. The car will also probably never get to the Nurburgring as I plan on trailoring it around, so the wing seats provide extra support, but are not allowed on public days on the ring, or Spa I have been informed of either. They are so comfy and supportive, but are not too restictive for my size so was a good fit.
So with the purchase of a few more items and one I didn't intend on getting, these will be fitted as they arrive, they include Race Door Cards, Vented front wings, TRS Harnesses, Front bumper ventilation and currently in the process of purchasing some suspension as well, it will hopefully come together for next year, where I can partake in some track days.
With the doorcards delivered, it was time to fit them. I had to get a decent drill for the job, as you have to line up the doorcards on the doors and drill 10 holes per side, then use the fasteners provided. I ended up changing the fasteners for these with red anodised washers from MJC Automotive, which helped fitting as well as looking better. The good thing with these doorcards is that he includes fixings to refit your original handles, electric switches and door lock, so you can still use these functions.
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Now that the doorcards have been fitted, next was to prepare for fitting of the harnesses. As they are 6 point, they require mounting points to be fitted under the seat. Again my drill I purchased came in handy, along with a step drill bit. I put the seat in place to see the location of the hole, then drilled through the floor, using plates on the underside, the eye bolts were then put in place. Passenger side all done, it was time to tackle the drivers side. However when doing the same with the seat in place, they were coming out where the heatshield was, so this was going to have to be removed.
The exhaust that came fitted to the car was not the best, a Powerflow custom one with a CAT, also very loud, so I was going to remove this anyway. The heatshield was a little rusted out as well, so removed this also and then I was able to fit the eyebolts in the drivers side as well.
Before I fit my seats, I had some pedals from a DC5 I needed to fit as well. Last time I fitted these to my Civic, I just drilled out the rivets on the clutch and brake pedals, then fitted these to the existing pedals in the car. As the interior was out and most of the dash, I decided to use the whole unit. The sound installation has been cut out as much as I can get too, then I moved the fuse box out of the way, so I could get to the bolts on the clutch.
I was found lying under the dash for sometime, trying to get the damn things swapped over, but was worth it, once all 3 were fitted.
With the pedals and eye bolts fitted, I could now fit the seats and harnesses. I put the passenger side in first, then the drivers side. The harnesses just clip in the eye bolts I have mounted in the floor, in the original location in the rear seat footwell, and one each on the seat rail. I also mounted the rears in the original holes but these were not in the correct position, for it to be a safe and correct fit. So something would need to be looked at for this, something like a Harness bar temporarily or a cage of some sort. So they were put in place so I could get a pic and sat in to try them out. It was looking at something that I had been planning now, which makes it worthwhile.
While I was doing the work on fitting the eyebolts and pedals, as all the trim has been removed, the edge where the sill is welded to the body was a bit rough, so a quick search on eBay, I managed to locate some rubber trim, so measured and ordered it. Within a couple of days it had arrived, so fitted it to both sides. It definitely finishes it off better, and hopefully stop catching it.
So with interior getting there, I started focusing on suspension. My deal I had on some coilovers fell through, so managed to secure a different set and these were purchased, along with some Hardrace rear control arms as well.
Now my plan with the suspension was obviously to replace the shocks with coilovers, refurb the control arms/training arms and replace all the bushes with SuperPro. However after removing the arms, this was not going to be possible now. The condition of them considering it’s a relatively low mileage car, was shocking. Also the hubs are not in the best condition, so I now have to source some more to replace mine.
So perhaps a bit of fate has played its part in a couple of areas, but a friend has purchased a car to break, that is already fitted with SuperPro bushes. Also something has popped up for sale a bit out of the blue, so I was on it and agreed to purchase it.
A Safety Devices rear cage has arrived, it came up at the right price so I thought it was worth paying that little extra over a harness bar. This way I get something more substantial if anything ever happens while on track, and I also solve the issue of the fitting of my harnesses, as this is the version with the X at the back and harness bar built in to it. Also with the Satety Devices cages, I can make it into a full cage at a later date if required.
I had a right nightmare getting this back I can tell you, but went in my track car no problem, it’s not fixed in as yet, as I need to get the plates that will be welded into the floor, so the cage bolts onto that. Then the rear fittings bolt through the rear arches, with plates on the underside of the arches.
Unfortunately my plan to buy some Nitron coilovers fell through but the cost of getting them serviced and maintained might heave been costly, so I purchased a set of YellowSpeed coilovers that Area Motorsport use quite a lot, they change the rear springs to there spec, and after seeing a video of Rob in one of there cars, I went for them for a great price, and they had also been on a track car, so minimal road miles, and you could tell with the condition of them.
So that is where it stands at the moment as of 21st August 2018, I’ve had the car since 11th April 2018, so just over 4 months so far. It’s not going too badly I don’t think at the moment, I thought it would have been a lot slower that it has been, getting bits and getting it to where I want to be. As the weather gets worse though, it will slow me down as I will not be able to work on it, as the car is outside.
Update time as it’s been a busy time with the car, and have purchased a few parts ready to be fitted, including pictured left, the Hybrid Racing shifter mechanism, as the shifter in the car is a little worn, so is very loose, and needed a replacement of some sort, so what else to go with than this work of art, the kit is not cheap but is amazing.
I also continued work on the suspension and proceeded to remove the rear trailing arms, struts, control arms and camber arms at the rear, also the front suspension struts, anti roll bar both front and rear.
I also removed the arch liners both on the front and especially the rear, as it’s like a carpet like and holds moisture and crap behind, so contributes to rust in this area, which this one had suffered also on the drivers side rear arch, so set to work on cleaning and treating it, before undersealing to protect it for the future.
This is what I was greeted with upon removing the arch liner at the rear, I then used a wire brush drill bit and worked on the arch, to remove any surface rust and what I could remove, it was then treated with Jenolite Rust Convertor than converts the rust to a hard material that can then be painted or under sealed over, which was done and the end result is shown to the left.
All the arches were done like this to help preserve and treat so it last for a lot longer, it’s also highly unlikely that it will see any roads again, so hopefully will last, or I can always redo them again if they show any signs of becoming damaged.
The chassis underneath is also getting the same treatment, but is taking a little longer, as I have had to remove some to it’s bear metal in order to have some welding done inside, so I can bolt my rear cage into the car properly and aids in the safety of the car in the event anything was to go wrong when enjoying the car.
With the bumper removed along with the rear suspension and exhaust, I did the same treatment to the rear of the car as well.
The bodywork was okay and some slight surface spots underneath, but nothing too serious. It was the crash bar that had the most rust, so this was wire brushed and majority of it removed, then treated with the rust convertor before spraying with Hammerite underseal.
You can purchase new bars if required and probably would have been easier, but much more satisfying if you can make good of what’s already here.
It was then time to start on the refurbishment of the suspension components, I purchased a set of hubs, trailing arms and control arms complete, they had also had the SuperPro bushes already fitted along with Buddy Club roll centre adjusters, the one one that was still original was the trailing arm bush.
So working on all these parts was very time consuming, I was only using a Dremmel and my wire brush attachment on my drill to clean them up. Again the rust convertor was used to treat all the parts before painting.
Unfortunately the front control arms I had purchased were not so good, and I ended up cleaning mine up and swapping over the bushes, also the Buddy Club joints had damaged boots, so these were also replaced as well.
Once cleaned up all the parts were then sprayed with a stone chip paint, the hubs were painted black and the front control arms and rear trailing arms were painted in grey.
The front then had the SuperPro bushes swapped over and fitted to the newly painted arms, the Buddy Club roll centre adjusters were refreshed with new boots as well.
It was a very time consuming process to get this work done unfortunately, but I thought it was worthwhile, as I know these parts can be now removed easily should I need to repair/replace any parts
Hardrace bushes were purchased to replace the standard trailing arm ones, unfortunately SuperPro don’t actually do this yet, and it would have been mad not to refresh these as well while everything was apart, and everything else had been changed.
Again the trailing arms have received the same treatment, cleaned to bear metal, treated with rust convertor and then painted in grey stone chip, which can be seen on the pic on the right.
HondaHQ carried out all the fitting of the bushes, as without a hydraulic press, I could not attempt to even try doing it myself, but Dan who owns it said they are the worst ones for replacing, so I am glad I left them with him, I had enough to do
Hub assembly’s front and rear were again cleaned up, using my trusty Dremmel and some hard work, they had that much crap on them it was nice seeing the difference I was making, and getting them like new just gave that extra boost to carry on doing it.
Once they were treated again with the same rust convertor, they were then painted with black stone chip, to freshen them up and they looked better for them as well, cleans them up really well and I know they are serviceable now and can be easily removed should they require.
With all the work completed it was then time to start refitting them into the freshly cleaned up arches, also with the YellowSpeed coilovers that I had purchased too.
Front ones went on pretty much straight forward, as I had also cleaned and painted the bolts as well, I used copper grease to eliminate them seizing and fitted everything in place. Driveshafts slotted in no problems and I ordered some new nuts to replace the old ones as well, things were starting to move along and it was getting nearer to actually have wheels back on as well, a long time coming....
The rear had some set backs, I came to fit them on but the Hardrace bushes had not been fitted st the correct angle, so Dan at HondaHQ had them back and I gave him an old one to work from, a couple of weeks went by until I could refit them, but they all went on with no problems this time around, coilover all lined up perfectly and bolted up no problems, again using copper grease on all the newly cleaned up bolts, it was coming along nicely with the new and old parts.
Once these were fitted then I could start with fitting the other suspension components on.
Now the arms were on then I was time to move along to fitting more new parts, Hardrace Rear control arms, Progress 24mm rear Anti Roll bar with built in tie bar, new Hardrace drop links and also Hardrace camber arms were all replaced and fitted.
With the work I had already done cleaning up the underside of the car as well at the rear, it looks great underneath with all the new components, and will hopefully transfer to the handling and overall feel of the car when it’s on track. It’s been a while doing the work, but there is something satisfying when you start putting parts back on making it worthwhile.
So when it came to the choice of brakes I had looked at quite a few, from used Stoptech kits, to new YellowSpeeds or even the Ksport kits, but I kept coming back to these.
I have been impressed with the kit on my road Civic, I spoke to Peter who owns K-Systempro who puts these kits together including the amazing machines brackets he uses on the kits.
However these are are slightly different to the kit on the other, the calipers are from the Megane RS 250/265 so are slightly larger, but again the discs come from the 350Z, which gives the option to have 2 piece, single discs etc... at reasonable costs, compared to replacing Stoptech and the like, which was a
factor when choosing, so a kit was ordered and I purchased PBS pads for them along with the rears for the standard Civic calipers.
The discs come with shims to fit the centre bore of the Civic perfectly, they certainly look the part when I fitted the calipers and discs to the car, unfortunately I had an issue with removing the standard brake lines, in order to fit the new HEL lines, and the kit is for standard brakes, so the connector is not fitting up to the Brembos, so this may need to have custom lines done.
I then had to start on getting the rear calipers
to match with the front, so I removed the one caliper but the passenger side one was not coming off, so I had to leave and clean it up and paint it by the car, the other was removed, I replaced the seal as the original was split, then I could paint it as well. So I used VHT paint and also clear coat, and was pleased with the results, they looks loads better now fitted, with the PBS pads and new RPB grooved discs, it has freshened it up no end.
These particular discs were actually purchased for the other Civic to freshen the rear brakes on that, but they were needed more importantly for this.
Now with the brakes going on I decided to get the wheels and it them on, for a little bit of protection and security really, as brakes cannot be removed with wheels on, so I had to order Evo nuts, spigot rings and fitted them.
I do want to get them refurbed at some point, but too many other things to do before that happens, I was thinking of a grey colour, but the brakes do look great behind the black.
So then the focus went back to the interior, and work began on removing the sound
deadening and seam sealer.
It was hard work to remove it to start with, I was told dry ice was the best to use, but it’s not easy to get hold of, so I used a pipe freeze spray, 4 cans of it and it still didn’t remove quite a bit of it. I think whoever did the seam sealer when building the car at Swindon, went a bit OTT with it, and was all under the sound deadening on the passenger side, for no apparent reason as no seams were present, just loads of it, which made it harder to remove with the freeze spray, so the photo shown to the left is after using the spray.
So my next method was heat, I bought a cheap heat gun from Amazon and used this to remove the remainder.
I have to say I was expecting it to be extremely messy using the heat, but it actually went a lot easier than the freeze spray, including removing the seam sealer as well.
After a few hours or hard work getting the seam sealer from inside the seams, I eventually got it to the stage it’s at now shown to the left. It’s just a case now of getting the plates for th cage welded in.