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2002 Acura RSX Type-S - Goal Oriented

A 5th grader with a vision, and the guidance to make it a reality

Joey Lee
Jan 7, 2014
Photographer: Chris Dornon

"It all started when I was in 5th grade," says Ethan Hamilton, owner of this 2002 RSX Type-S. "I remember it like it was yesterday. I was lying in my family's den-room floor watching television with my mom when the RSX commercial popped-up on the screen. I saw the (RSX) and instantly fell in love with it. I turned to my mom and told her that I would one day own one of these cars."

For the most part, you wouldn't think much of what a kid in 5th grade thought about his dream car because kids can be pretty fickle at that age. They want and ask for one thing and then forget about it moments later. It takes a special kind of determination for someone to have a dream in their younger years and see it to fruition years later.

2002 acura RSX type s cusco b pillar bar 08 Photo 2/12   |   2002 Acura RSX Type-S - Goal Oriented

"I remember my mom telling me that if I really wanted something, I'd have to set a goal for myself and keep to it. From that day on I started saving money and well, I guess you can say that I did it." Hamilton declares.

The whole thing sounds a little too fairy tale-ish, and it is, but his journey to acquiring his dream car wasn't exactly that simple. See, by age 15, Ethan had already saved-up enough for a car—it just wasn't an RSX because he didn't have quite enough yet. Instead, he settled on a 1998 Accord commuter vehicle to get around in while he continued to save for his DC5. By the time his senior year of high school rolled around, he had saved up just enough. The Accord had seen the ravages of an adolescent youth so it was time to retire it from its daily duties. Ethan then found an RSX in the exact Satin Silver Metallic finish that he wanted and had his dad give him a lift 4 hours north of Alabama to go get it. He recalls, "Once I bought the car, I had one dollar left in my savings and a dollar in my checking account! To say that I was 'broke' would have been a gross understatement."

Fortunately for Hamilton, he didn't stay broke for very long and found ways to acquire more funding for his dream build. He was still living out his days as a high school senior and spent every dime he earned on parts. Like many of us, he would sacrifice a good meal for the sake of his ride and whenever the holidays or a birthday rolled around, he just asked for money to put into the car. Soon after, Ethan found himself with a nice set of adjustable coilovers, a set of Enkei RPF1 wheels, and a complete OEM JDM ITR lip kit.

2002 acura RSX type s K20A2 engine 06 Photo 3/12   |   2002 Acura RSX Type-S - Goal Oriented

Once college rolled around, Ethan had more time to work so he could fund his automotive addiction. Every paycheck went into the car and all seemed well—that is, until he took a fateful drive with his friends that would ultimately change the entire direction of his build. "I was cruising around with some friends and my buddy Paul was begging me to get on the car to see how fast it was. Like an idiot, I downshifted to First and hammered on the gas. I went full throttle into Second gear, then tried going into Third, but missed and accidentally downshifted to First. That was pretty much the end of my K20 motor." He can laugh about it now, but for a college student on a budget, it wasn't the best scenario to be in. Hamilton's mom saw how hard he worked and how much he loved his car, so she gave him the green light to use his school credit card to fund his engine build as long as he paid it off in time.

Ethan opened up the motor to find that he had dropped three valves and ruined the cylinder head. The bottom end was still okay so he machined it to 87mm before installing a set of 11.7:1 Wiseco pistons. He then acquired a new K20A cylinder head and upgraded all of the valvetrain components to back up a set of Kelford 179-B cams. He'd taken a ride in some other cars equipped with the same cams and loved how they performed. While the motor was out of his RSX, Hamilton also took the time to cleanup his engine bay. He shaved some parts of it to give it a cleaner appearance and opted to get rid of his power steering, heat, air-conditioning, and ABS system before re-spraying the bay. Once the motor went back in, it looked like an entirely new car under the hood.

"In hindsight I can't say that I totally regret blowing my motor. Obviously, it would have been better if I had just built my motor later but things just happen. I took it as a learning experience and I'm proud to say that I built my own motor and did basically everything to the car on my own. I started out as just a high school kid with a dream and now I am a technician for a Honda dealership. The car is tuned now to 230whp and I'm getting used to making more power. I still drive my RSX all the time and I find myself falling in love with the car all over again. I have some big plans for it, including a new aero kit and all, so I'm excited for what's to come."

2002 acura RSX type s JDM OEM DC5 ITR rear lip 07 Photo 4/12   |   2002 Acura RSX Type-S - Goal Oriented

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion:
K20A2
Hybrid Racing engine mounts
Hybrid Racing timing chain tensioner
Balanced OEM crankshaft
Wiseco 87mm pistons/piston rings
Blueprint Racing connecting rods
ERL S2000 oil pump
Kelford 179-B camshafts
Decked cylinder head
Blueprint Racing 5mm intake valves
Blueprint Racing OEM-size flat face exhaust valves
Blueprint Racing dual valve springs
Blueprint Racing retainers
Blueprint Racing keepers
ARP head studs
Cometic head gasket
Custom 70mm air intake
RBC ported intake manifold
Hybrid Racing 70mm throttle body
Hondata intake manifold gasket
Hybrid Racing RSX header
Yager Autowerx 3-in custom exhaust with turndown tip
Hybrid Racing fuel rail
Walbro 255lph fuel pump
Injector Dynamics 725cc fuel injectors
-6AN black-braided custom fuel lines
Custom inline fuel filter
AEM fuel pressure regulator
Hybrid Racing heater delete
Hybrid Racing coolant hoses
Karcepts AC/PS delete
XSM5 6-speed transmission
Buddy Club shifter box
Hybrid Racing shifter bushings
Clutchmasters Stage 4 6-puck clutch
F1 Racing flywheel
WaveTrac limited-slip differential
Driveshaft Shop Stage 1 axles

2002 acura RSX type s RBC intake manifold 04 Photo 5/12   |  
Ethan’s engine bay eliminates many unnecessary bits and looks incredibly clean as a result.

Suspension:
Megan Racing Track Damper coilover kit
Cusco B-bars
Custom C-bars
Function7 rear lower control arms
Function7 rear subframe brace
Beaks lower tie bar

Resistance:
EBC drilled/slotted brake rotors
Hawk brake pads
Custom stainless brake lines
OEM '99-spec Civic brake proportioning valve
Bolt Boys brake fittings

2002 acura RSX type s custom c pillar bars 02 Photo 6/12   |   2002 Acura RSX Type-S - Goal Oriented

Wheels & Tires:
Front:
17x8 Desmond Regamaster EVO
215/40-17 Nexen N3000
Rear:
17x9 Desmond Regamaster EVO
245/40-17 Nexen N3000

Exterior:
JDM OEM DC5 ITR headlights
JDM OEM DC5 ITR front lip
JDM OEM DC5 ITR side skirts
JDM OEM DC5 ITR rear lip
JDM OEM DC5 ITR rear spoiler
Seen It! custom winglets
Spoon Sports side mirrors

2002 acura RSX type s JDM OEM DC5 ITR rear spoiler 03 Photo 7/12   |   2002 Acura RSX Type-S - Goal Oriented

Interior:
Buddy Club Racing Spec seats
Nardi Classic steering wheel
NRG carbon fiber quick release
Mugen GT pedals
Hybrid Racing shift knob
Gutted rear trunk

Electronics
Hondata K-Pro
Chasebays CM1 RSX engine harness

Props:
My amazing and supportive family, my girlfriend Jessica, David and Timmy at HybridRacing, Chase and Scott from ChaseBays, Travis from Yager Autowerx, Don Napier of Import Alliance, Matt T, Brandon N, Blake N and Drew N, Nick W, Danny D, Kyle D, Rommel, Chris D, Dustin H, Paul B, Bradley B, and Dornon Photography

2002 acura RSX type s hybrid racing engine mount 05 Photo 8/12   |   2002 Acura RSX Type-S - Goal Oriented

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Honda Technician

Favorite Site
Facebook.com

Screen Name
256-DC5

Building Hondas
8 years

Dream Car
R35 GT-R

Inspiration For This Build
My friend Kyle Dick

Future Build
Continue building my RSX

The Hybrid helping hand

Though Ethan built his RSX from the ground-up entirely on his own, he credits a lot of the ideas for his built K20A2 motor to the guys from Hybrid Racing. There isn't an over-abundance of parts from the aftermarket parts manufacturer on the car but there is quite a bit of knowledge provided to Hamilton's DC5 build. He was on the phone with David at Hybrid constantly, brainstorming ideas and looking for input on what he needed. At the build's most critical point when the motor was finished and he couldn't figure out why it wouldn't run correctly, it was also the team from Hybrid that helped him figure out that he had his crank position disk on backwards. They flipped it and the motor has been smooth as butter ever since. It's great to have quality products provided, but even better when they present you with knowledge that can't be quantified on a mod list.

2002 acura RSX type s seen it custom winglets 09 Photo 12/12   |   2002 Acura RSX Type S Seen It Custom Winglets 09

Sources

Hybrid Racing
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
225-932-9588
http://www.hybridracing.com
EBC Brakes
Sylmar, CA 91342
702-826-2400
http://www.ebcbrakes.com
Driveshaft Shop
Salisbury, NC 28147
704-633-2380
http://www.driveshaftshop.com
By Joey Lee
242 Articles

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