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2000 Honda Civic Hatchback - M3 Killer Weekend Thriller

Witness one M3 owner's attempt at building a Honda that is more fun to drive than the BMW he drives to work everyday. We think he hit the nail on the head.

Dru Barrios
Jun 1, 2006
Photographer: Rodrez

When your daily ride is an E46 M3 dumped on BBS LM's, it takes a bit more for a Civic Hatchback to catch your eye. Brandon Mallough of Santa Ana, Calif., set out to build a Honda weekend track toy that was more exciting to drive than his lackluster Bavarian commuter. The hatch's power-to-weight ratio gives it the advantage over the M3. Its weight savings also equate to a more nimble, easy-to-manage car.

Brandon has found a foolproof formula for a kick ass Honda street/track killer. The K20A found in Mallough's EK is about as stock as it gets. The only performance modifications made are the addition of a DTR header, a custom intake, some fuel system upgrades, and a Hondata K-Pro, all of which are necessary for the swap. Even with such minimal modification, the K unit managed to muster 240 wheel hp and 177 lbs-ft of torque, the power equivalent of a heavily built, naturally aspirated B-series.

2017 Honda Civic
$21,500 Base Model (MSRP) 31/40 MPG Fuel Economy
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The price of a Type R K series swap is approximately the same as, if not more than, that of a similarly powered built B-series. So what's the point?

Two reasons: reliability and torque. First, one can safely assume that a K20 in factory form should hold up to whatever abuse you throw at it as long as it is treated like a stock motor (i.e. no 11,000 rpm burnouts).

Second, if reliability is not an issue for you, then going fast must be. There isn't a B series motor on the planet that will pull out 177 lb-ft of torque at a mere 240 wheel hp. Slap that kind of reliability and power into a RHD EK Sir-II, and you save the trouble of having to track down all the JDM parts you would be buying anyway if it were a USDM EK. Getting it registered to drive on the streets in America, in Southern California for that matter, is some pretty tasty icing on the cake.

HONDA TUNING: Lets start with how you came across your EK4 in the first place. Did you import it directly or pick it up stateside?

BRANDON MALLOUGH:Actually I got the car from my friend Jeren. I had a RHD EG4 Eti that was registered and Jeren didn't want to spend the time and effort to go through the DMV process so I told him I'd trade him shell for shell as long as I could register it. Once I made sure the registration was possible, I pulled the Type-R motor out of the EG and replaced it with the EK's B16. We also pulled the EG's 5-lug setup, but I decided to keep it EK4 and rock the 4x100.

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HT: If you already had a RHD EG hatch, decked out with a B18C and a 5-lug setup, why trade for the EK?

BM: I've already had two RHD EGs. I'd had my fun with them by then and it was time to change things up a bit.

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HT: Do you drive this car everyday or is it more of a toy?

BM: I drive an M3 on a daily basis. The EK is a weekend/track car. It's built for road racing but it'll see some time on the strip, if for nothing else just to get some numbers.

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HT: How much did you drop into the car? Which of the mods took up the biggest chunk of change?

BM: I've spent roughly 20k on it so far. The motor was pretty damn expensive. With all of the parts I needed for the swap it added up to around $8000. It was $5500 just for the motor. There's a lot of little things necessary to make the swap work, but it's worth saving all of that money. Some shops are charging up to $12k for a complete changeover installed. I think I saved a lot of money by doing the swap myself.

HT: We noticed your motor is completely stock. Was that a cost issue or a conscious choice?

BM: Yeah, the motor is bone stock right now. I wanted to see what kind of power we could pull out of the stock Type R before I went ahead and built something crazy. I do plan on trying out some of Ron's cams [Ron Acevedo, owner of Intrinsic Performance Solutions] in this motor to see what they'll do, but I plan on actually building a motor in the future. I'm on the lookout for a Type-S short block to build. I'm thinking 12.5:1 or so, nothing really crazy, I'm just looking for around 270[whp] to the ground.

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HT: What did the R put down as it sits?

BM: It made 240 wheel hp and 177 lb-ft of torque on [Church Automotive Testing]'s Dynopack. It probably took Shawn [Church, owner] less than an hour to tune. We even made those numbers on 2.5-inch piping. I'm planning on going to 3 inches in the near future. The header that Danny [Tran of DTR] made, and the intake Tony [Jackson, from JHPUSA] made, along with the Hondata intake manifold gasket, made a lot of the power, but it was the [Hondata] K-Pro that really did it.

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HT: Why did you choose to make so few exterior modifications?

BM: I like how the Sir looks from the factory. I wanted to keep the stock look and focused more on the inside and under the hood. I got the Spoon mirrors and wing to enhance the factory look without changing it.

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HT: We noticed you have a Spoon battery too. Was that necessary?

BM: That thing sucks!!! I have to jump start the thing every time I drive the car. Spoon parts have a lot of hype so I got it for the bling factor, but tell [HT readers] that it sucks. I think it was made for a Honda wheelchair or something.

Bolts & Washers

Brandon's Type-R K20A is completely unaltered internally. The two liter has only been enhanced by the addition of a DTR (Danny Tran Racing) custom header dumping into 2.5-inch piping straight back and out a Spoon N1 muffler. A custom intake was also built by Kevin Wei using 3-inch piping, a velocity stack and a K&N filter. Fuel is controlled by a SX-10 fuel pressure regulator which is remotely connected to a Golden Eagle fuel rail sitting on the stock 310cc injectors. Cooling duties are left up to a C&R half-sized radiator while pretty much everything else relies on a Hondata K-Pro for guidance. The transmission itself is an OEM Type-R six-speed, but the axles necessary to get it to fit into the Sir-II are a combination of RSX and GSR parts Frankensteined together to create a cheap alternative to the expensive aftermarket K swap axles available on the market.

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Rims & Rubber
The EK rocks a set of white, 15x7 Mugen MF10L's shod in 225/45/15 Toyo RA1 competition DOT legal race tires.

Tein RA coilovers take up residence in each of the wheel wells. An A Spec Racing subframe reinforcement facilitates the installation of a Civic Type-R rear sway bar to go with the GSR front sway bar on the EK. A Spoon rear strut tower bar and J's racing rear pillar bar help an OEM GSR front strut bar keep the chassis rigid under high load.

The braking system on Mallough's EK is another amalgamation of OEM Honda parts and aftermarket goodies. He started by re-drilling a set of 4x144.3 Prelude VTEC rotors to fit the 4x100 hubs. Spoon Sports calipers clamp down on Project pads when the Motul RBF600 fluid is transferred from a Civic Type-R master cylinder, through a 40/40 proportioning valve, and to the calipers via Earl's lines.

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Inside: Bride Zeta 2 seats and a Spoon Sports steering wheel make up the entirety of the EK4's interior modifications.
Outside: A set of Spoon Sports mirrors and carbon-fiber duckbill wing are the only two exterior modifications to this car.

Stock Gathers stereo powered by a super baller Spoon Sports battery.

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By Dru Barrios
60 Articles



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