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Old 12-06-2010, 08:38 PM   #1
gunsup0331
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Chandler/Phoenix
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Suspension, Brakes, Energy on EF hatch

Didnt take a ton of pictures because there was nothing too spectacular about this, but it has made a huge difference in the way my hatch rides so I figured i would briefly write up what I have done. All the parts that arent new either came from this site or the junkyard after plenty of research and waiting around for deals to pop up. This is a budget project/DD so I was using as much OEM stuff as possible. The Energy Suspension master kit was like $120 so i figured its 10x better than getting crappy replacement bushings or keeping the old crusty stock stuff.

1989 Civic Std Hatch
one billion miles

Before


FRONT:
-DA knuckle/hub assy (new bearings and ball joints)
-DC calipers, rotors, brake lines
-'90-91 Civic OEM civic upper control arms (new ball joints)
-OEM GSR shocks, energy tophat inserts
-Skunk2 DA Teg lowering springs
-Old ebay camber kit (still had nice bushings, $20 ftw)
-Energy LCA and lower shock mount bushings
-Energy steering rack bushings
-Energy Tension rod bushings
-Civic 26spline axles
-4040 Prop Valve, original MC/booster

Everything bolted right up in the front with no drama whatsoever. Had to loosen the steering column joint to get the rack low enough to install the energy bushings. Easy peasy


NOTE: All Control Arm bushings being replaced with Energy stuff had to be pressed out. Good luck doing it some other way. Energy bushings slide right in with a little man skills.

REAR:
Came across a DC in the boneyard with RTAs totally intact, with minty Prothane RTA bushings (solid chunk of polyurethane pretty much) SCORE!!

-OEM GSR shocks with Energy tophat inserts
-Skunk2 lowering springs
-Ingalls Camber kit
-DC entire rear RTA assembly obviously including brakes***
-DC parking brake cables
-DA LCAs with all Energy bushings
-Ebay subframe brace (ties the LCA mounting points together)
-DA oem rear sway bar

Everything bolted up beautifully with the exception of
***MUST USE YOUR CIVIC TOE LINK! ITS THE LITTLE ARM IN THE VERY FRONT OF THE TRAILING ARM ASSEMBLY! There is a 3cm difference between Civic and Integra

Even the parking brake cables went right back in the same exact spot as the 21yr old EF drum brake cables. The DC cable ends came up about .5" shorter inside the car but theres lots of room for adjustment in the Oem brake adjuster so no worries there. Did not have to touch the gas tank whatsoever when removing/installing the parking brake cables.
I used the DA rear sway bar exactly as it came on the integra, same brackets, endlinks and mounts. Only problem was the lack of threaded holes for mounting the brackets. Using the brackets as a template, I drilled holes through the subframe into the trunk area, and secured the brackets with 4 long 10x1.25mm bolts and some big ass washers. When tightening down the bolts it smushed the stamped sheetmetal of the trunk floor a bit to conform to the washers but nothing obvious or any real damage, just flattened out the stamped area where I had drilled through. With the carpet down you cannot tell, and its a very solid setup imo.
I sprayed all exposed metal from the holes I made with clear paint to minimize any possibility of rust (itll take 80 years to rust here in AZ but hey why not do it right)

When mounting the swaybar brackets I had the rear suspension settled at ride height so as not to create any preload in the swaybar assembly when at rest.



Middle: The Energy kit cam with poly replacements for the shift linkage bushings. There is a bushing for the stablizer bar that attaches to the tranny (not the actually shift rod, the one next to is that doesnt do shit), and a rubber thing at the rear that supports the linkage right behind the shifter, underneath the car.
Super easy to install.

REVIEW:

No squeaks, rattles or clunks anymore from the suspension!! The Energy kit makes a night and day difference in road feel. You are much more connected to the pavement, although some can see this as a negative because you feel all the little rocks and cracks. The suspension has to do more work instead of the rubber bushings absorbing it all. You actually feel like you are in a performance car with the full Energy kit. I like it
AND OMFG THOSE TWO LITTLE SHIFT LINKAGE BUSHINGS!!! The shifting in my EF went from granny slop to race car tight. Shit is PRECISE now fucking awesome. Easily the most impressive change from stock. I highly recommend these!

I chose the Skunk2 springs because the spring rate is not much more than the stock ones and I didnt want to be bouncing around like a homeboy. The GSR shocks are doing an admirable job at damping these springs but any stiffer and I would want aftermarket performance shocks. Rides stiffer than stock but not annoying, very moderate drop (EF weighs a bit less than a DA so the drop is less dramatic.

I drove the car without the rear sway or brace installed, then installed the brace with a little inward preload. You can tell the difference but its not a crazy huge deal.

Then i put the sway bar on a drove around a bit. Huge difference in the corners, flattens out the back end nicely. It was really obvious on my car since i dont even have a front swaybar (yet).

I read somewhere that keeping the dinky civic MC and booster would result in increased pedal travel and softer pedal feel...With a good bleed I cannot tell the difference in pedal squishyness, especially since the DC brakes work absolutely amazing on such a light car. With good tires this thing will probably pop your eyeballs out when you hit the brakes. There is a difference in travel, since the brakes are bigger and less drummy, it takes less brake to come to a stop.

Sorry there arent many pics or detailed instructions. If you cant figure this one out on your own just find a buddy (or me) to do you wrenching because you just arent cut out for this type of thing.

Hope this novel helps somebody out with their suspension/brakes ideas.

CLiff's Notes: Integra disc brakes and energy suspension bushings fucking ROCK!!
Well worth it, esp. the shifter bushings ftw

AFTER:
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