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1998 Honda Civic CX - The Good Times and the Bad

Frustration is no match for dedication

Jonathan “JT” Thompson
Oct 17, 2013
Photographer: Chris Dornon

Most builds are not long-term, despite requiring massive amounts of resources such as time, energy, labor, money, and, of course, a little love. Despite the fact that car purchases, along with the sometimes staggering additional costs associated with project cars, are for many the second most expensive purchase of their lives-with a home purchase being the single most costly. With cost almost always a factor, some choose to keep builds short-term; achieve a goal and then move on to the next project. Others become short-term due to unforeseen events like collisions, theft, or financial uncertainty. For Jonathan Tanguay of Knoxville, Tennessee, his 1998 Honda Civic Hatchback CX started off and thankfully, is still a long-term project. The adventure began in 2004 when this hatch became part of the Tanguay stable.

1998 honda civic CX EK4 front bumper 04 Photo 2/8   |   1998 Honda Civic CX - The Good Times and the Bad

Jonathan's EJ6 fulfilled daily driving duties from 2004 all the way up to 2009, when a two-car garage became available and, having amassed a solid collection of high-end and rare parts over the years, he turned it into a weekend warrior. Parking options at work didn't provide ample security from theft, so Jonathan decided to find a daily driver, and that proved to be a drastic change in driving behavior. Going from daily doses of dopamine derived from high-revving shifts to grocery getting confinement is hell to most, but Jonathan is satisfied with his decision. "I am OK with only driving it very little because I have had the car for so long. It kind of makes me enjoy it more when I drive it."

2018 Honda Civic
$18,940 Base Model (MSRP) 28/40 MPG Fuel Economy

What's not to enjoy? A well-rounded build, just about every inch of Jonathan's Civic has seen some sort of update or upgrade. A slew of OEM EK9 interior and exterior pieces, a number of J's Racing and Spoon Sports parts throughout the build, and the list goes on. Like any complete build, the powerplant wasn't untouched, nor was it gingerly massaged. Instead, a complete B18C1 swap was performed, but not until after the bottom end was fitted with RS Machine pistons and reworked GS-R rods. Up top, a set of Skunk2 Stage II cams sit inside of a ported and polished head, and both ends are held together with ARP hardware.

Many emotions were experienced over nearly 10 years of ownership, including plenty of frustration. For example, after the engine was installed and everything seemed to check out, the car wouldn't run properly. The engine was idling rough enough to leave Jonathan and his friends completely puzzled. They went back over their work, but everything checked out visually. Thankfully, someone suggested checking the transmission ground. Jonathan quickly dove under the chassis and noticed the transmission ground bolt was loose. Closer inspection revealed that paint had entered the transmission ground bolthole and was preventing solid contact. He used a wire brush to clean out the hole, was able to properly tighten the bolt down, and finally, the engine ran smooth.

1998 honda civic CX RMF narrow style exhaust manifold 06 Photo 3/8   |   1998 Honda Civic CX - The Good Times and the Bad

Under the arches are Magnesium Blue Volk CE28Ns, and Jonathan went through a great ordeal to own a set. He saw a hatchback with these exact wheels two years prior and fell in love with the combination. Someday those rims would be on his Civic, he thought to himself. Upon initial research, he realized the 10-spoke version was not offered in a four-lug bolt pattern. No worries, he placed an order for a five-lug conversion kit to make this combination work. The CTR five-lug setup was ordered through an importer in Canada. A package arrived just a week after ordering but contained only one item. Where was the rest of the order? The seller was not responding to repeated attempts of communication and the parcel service was confused. Eventually, he learned that the seller had shipped the order in four separate pieces to reduce shipping costs, but this was not stated in advance. After dealing with the five-lug fiasco, he placed an order for the made-to-order wheels through another shop. It was during this time that a massive earthquake hit Japan and, as a result, global supply lines saw instant strain. All told, Jonathan waited four months and spent upwards of $5,000 to obtain the wheel and suspension setup he had dreamed about. Despite the setbacks and the expensive price tag, he enjoys the setup and loves the way they complement the overall look and feel. These are the little hang-ups that everyone faces when building a car, and no matter how minor, they always seem to drive us crazy.

All setbacks and tribulations aside, Jonathan's Civic was built exactly the way he wanted and has recently experienced several changes. The build continues to progress toward a more track-ready vehicle as plans for a local autocross track unfold. Although the Civic's presence is in a constant and gradual state of change, one variable that remains constant is his desire to keep it and never let go. "There are no plans right now. I need to save up to get the rest of the [current] parts I want." The never-ending story, and the adventure that goes along with it, continues.

1998 honda civic CX volk CE29 08 Photo 4/8   |   1998 Honda Civic CX Volk CE29 08

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
B18C1
HaSport mounts
RS Machine pistons
ARP bolts
ACL bearings
CTR N1 polished pulley
Port/polish
Fastech machine work
Kevin Daniels engine assembly
Skunk2 cams
Skunk2 cam gears Skunk2 valvesprings
GReddy timing belt
Supertech valves
Vibrant Performance piping
Blox velocity stack
Blox air filter
Blox intake manifold
Hondata air intake manifold gasket
Skunk2 Racing 68mm throttle body
RMF narrow-style exhaust manifold
Omni-Power test pipe
J's Racing 60rr exhaust system
Walbro 255-lph fuel pump
RC Engineering 310cc fuel injectors
AEM fuel rail
Big End fuel filter
B&M fuel pressure regulator
Competition Clutch Stage 2 clutch
Fidanza 7.5-pound flywheel
OBX limited-slip differential
S2000 clutch master cylinder
Spoon Sports spark plug wires
Spoon Sports spark plug wire cover
Moroso catch can
J's Racing oil cap
Koyo radiator
J's Racing fan switch
Carbing cooling plate
Samco radiator hoses
Blox Racing coolant temperature sensor
J's Racing valve cover
Skunk2 VTEC solenoid cover
Blox liquid-filled fuel pressure gauge
Si axles
P28 ECU on Crome

1998 honda civic CX B18C1 engine 03 Photo 5/8   |  
GS-R swap features RS Machine pistons, Skunk2 cams, and an RMF header.

Suspension
TEIN Super Street coilovers
Energy Suspension bushings
ASR subframe brace
ASR 24mm rear antiroll bar
ASR rear antiroll bar endlinks
J's Racing front shock tower bar
J's Racing rear shock tower bar
J's Racing C-pillar bar
Skunk2 Racing front alignment kit
SPL rear alignment kit

Resistance
Brembo brake discs
Hawk HPS brake pads
CTR brake calipers
ATE brake fluid
Goodridge lines and fittings
CTR 5-lug conversion
Civic Si brake booster
Civic Si brake master cylinder
Civic Si brake prop valve
ARP extended wheel studs
Project Kics neo chrome extended lug nuts

Wheels & Tires
Volk CE28 16x7+33
205/45-16 Yokohama S Drive

Exterior
Antenna delete plate
Color-matched engine bay
EK4 front bumper
EK4 rear bumper
EK9 front bumper grille
EK9 rear lip
EK9 taillights
EK9 thin side moldings
Honda Access hatch rear spoilers
Honda Access window visors
J's Racing front towhook
J's Racing rear towhook
SIR headlights
Spoon Sports duck bill
Spoon Sports front lip
Spoon Sports hood
Spoon Sports side mirrors
Top One rear diffuser

1998 honda civic CX AEM digital gauges 02 Photo 6/8   |   1998 Honda Civic CX - The Good Times and the Bad

Interior
'99 Civic dashboard
AEM digital oil gauge
AEM digital water temperature gauge
AEM digital wideband gauge
CDM airbag tray
CDM power locks
CDM power mirror conversion
CDM power windows
Cerwin Vega rear speakers
Circuit Hero shifter extender
Si bezel
Si double din block plate
EK4 door panels, EK4 front seats,
EK4 gauge cluster, EK4 rear seats,
EK9 shift boot, EK9 sun visors
H.O.P. ashtray console
H.O.P. sliding arm rest lid
Honda Access roof console
J's Racing blue shift knob
JDM cupholders
JDM dash vent pocket
Nardi steering wheel hub adaptor
Neo Grinta steering wheel
Odyssey battery tray mount
Odyssey PC680 battery
S2000 pedals

Props
Heather, Alex, Jimmy, JP, Shawn Stone, Zach, Chris D., Kevin D., Steve Thomsen, Chris @ Fastech, Mark @ Fastech, Don @ Import Alliance

1998 honda civic CX blox air filter 05 Photo 7/8   |   1998 Honda Civic CX - The Good Times and the Bad

Owner Specs

Daily grind
Boeing 787 Dreamliner electrical mechanic

Favorite site
8thcivic.com

Screen name
blacksnow

Building Hondas
4 years

Dream car
Nissan Skyline GT-R

Inspiration for this build
Function and form-car that turns heads and makes power

Future builds
No more projects...saving for a GT-R

1998 honda civic CX top one rear diffuser 07 Photo 8/8   |   1998 Honda Civic CX Top One Rear Diffuser 07

Sources

AEM
Hawthorne, CA 90250
800-992-3000
http://www.aempower.com
HASport Performance
Phoenix, AZ 85040
602-470-0065
http://www.hasport.com
Circuit Hero
San Diego, CA 92111
858-874-2585
http://www.circuithero.com
Vibrant Performance
905-564-2808
http://www.vibrantperformance.com
By Jonathan “JT” Thompson
11 Articles

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