We finished off last week with a broken CV joint and a very loose Honda Civic. This week we’ll discuss what decisions we made to remedy those issues as we prepped for Watkins Glen.
The first thing we did once we got back to the garage was a thorough post-race inspection and maintenance routine. This included checking the valve clearances, re-torquing the head bolts, performing a compression check, leak down test, and checking/replacing fluids. Once we knew the power plant was running strong, we looked to learn from the issues we experienced at Mid-Ohio.
The obvious issue was the broken CV joint. We added one of each, in addition to a quick-fix CV boot, to the cart. We also purchased a small inventory of “just in case” parts (a minimalist’s worst nightmare) for the upcoming event to prevent a 5 minute fix from becoming an hour-long commute to a parts store; something we learned from losing the alternator belt at Mid-Ohio.
The next thought was, “what haven’t we looked at yet?” Keeping our focus on the suspension, we realized the only components we hadn’t paid much attention to were the old, dry-rotted rubber bushings everywhere. A quick Google-search later, and we found Energy Suspension had a kit of polyurethane bushings for any location we desired… *Add to Cart*
The next step was to address the body-roll and overall unpredictability experienced at Mid-Ohio. We knew we wanted the car to be stiffer and lower, so we immediately began researching coil-overs. We wanted something that wouldn’t break the bank, but we also wanted the flexibility to choose exactly what we wanted. Eventually, we came across The Progress Group, who advertised nine different spring rate combinations. Lucky for us they were having a sale at the time, too.
We researched spring rates and decided that we would run a square setup of 550 lb-in. We sacrificed some grip at the limit of traction as compared to a rear end heavy setup, with the trade-off being a more forgiving car for a beginner road racer.
In addition to instability, we also suffered from some minor overheating throughout our first event. We decided to purchased a larger-than-stock eBay aluminum radiator to improve our cooling capacity, reliability, and subjectively speaking, a little under-the-hood bling.
The last upgrade was to order a set of proper racing rims. We decided – well, actually, Hassan decided – on the standard issue Enkei Racing RPF1s in 15×7. Hassan was kind enough to front the cost of the rims provided that the race team paid for the tires. This way he had a set of wheels to use if he ever pursued Spec Miata (a thought that lurked in the back of his mind). The only stipulation was that whoever broke em’, bought em’.
We planned the work, but now it was time to work the plan. Enjoy the following gallery that covers the whole process.
The preparation was completely finished, and we were ahead of schedule. This left time for something I enjoyed most, detailing. It was time to make our turd sparkle. A slew of Chemical Guys products and a full-Saturday’s work made the Civic shine brighter than I ever thought possible. A point came when the car glistened so appreciably in the sun, and I just sat and stared, realizing how much we accomplished. Man, that sure was a great feeling.
The remaining days before the race went by quickly, and before I knew it we were off to Watkins Glen, which is where I’ll have to leave it for now.
Check back in for detailed coverage of our experiences at Sahlens Chumpyard Dog at the Glen. Stay rockin’.
Wheels: Enkei Racing RPF1 Wheels
Suspension Bushings: Energy Suspension Polyurethane Suspension Bushing Kit
Tires: Falken Azinis
Coilovers: 92-00 Honda Civic Progress Group Coilovers