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1994 Honda Civic Sedan - Forums Be Damned!

An Unloved Chassis Puts The Garden State On The Map

Brian McGurk
Mar 16, 2010
Photographer: Eric Tong

Franklin Perez' 1994 Civic Sedan
People from New Jersey get a raw deal most of the time, if it's not "armpit of the country" jokes it's MTV and that human car crash of a show that has your Facebook page saturated with quotes. The constant criticism has given Jersey natives like Franklin Perez of Piscataway some very thick skin; a good thing because once Franklin started building his '94 civic sedan the way he wanted, the internet hate machine kicked into high gear.

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Franklin's civic started as a hand-me-down sporting some ugly front-end damage, so fresh panels and a coat of electron blue pearl were the first on his to-do list. "It had to be EBP paint. That's the best OEM Honda color in my opinion." Over the next few months Franklin treated the civic to every part he could get his hands on; from a full JDM Ferio interior to super rare bronze glass all around. Four corners of coilovers by K-sport got the civic sitting pretty, and an ASR sub-frame brace paired with shock tower braces in the front and rear tightened up the body. Franklin rounded out the Civic's first incarnation with a set of Axis OG +25 offset wheels and a thread or two documenting the Civic's journey. The internet lemmings weren't kind. "Don't build it for the people on the internet or friends. I figured I'd show the internet my build and boy did I catch some serious heat." Franklin let the hate roll off his shoulders and started in under the hood. K-powered dreams were cut short with an unexpected discovery. "Turns out the frame had been crashed previously and I wasn't aware of that; I was told if I did the swap, the motor might snap the frame and end up on the ground." Not one to be easily deterred, Franklin sourced another sedan shell as his new foundation. "It was literally a shell; no doors, trunk, fenders, hood or interior. It pretty much looked like a theft recovery. I took it to the shop and put the K20 in, then swapped the body parts and interior from the old shell and made one complete car. She was pretty much brand new again." A fresh coat of EBP and Franklin's civic was better than ever.

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

After a proper break-in period, Franklin strapped the Civic to the dyno and was expecting to see over 200 wheel horsepower numbers. Instead, he was blindsided with an inexperienced operator pushing the little four cylinder mill well over 11,000 RPM which resulted in a walked crank and the spinning of almost every bearing the K20 possessed. Faced with another roadblock, Franklin could've easily given up on his sedan desires but instead took it in stride and used the bay devoid of a blown-up K20 as an excuse for a RHD swap. "While the RHD was happening the motor was getting its groove on. Everything went back in and was buttoned up after the longest four months of my life, but I knew it had to get done. In the end, it felt like I'd just witnessed my own child being born." The civic debuted with a new K24 bottom end topped with the original K20a2 head. The factory JDM Ferio interior was slightly interrupted with a set of Bride Vios IIIs draped in Takata harnesses. The rollers were upgraded to much more forum-friendly bronze TE-37s and even rarer JDM pieces were mounted throughout the cab. To most, the civic would be considered finished, but Franklin's not most people, and after just a few weeks, the "franken-K" was pulled so the bay could be cleaned up and covered with a fresh coat of gold paint to make the new engine really stand out.

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With the civic sporting a new, stronger drive train, the rarest options from the land of the rising sun and Europe alike, and a freshly painted bay, Franklin thought he'd be satisfied. Proud of his work despite the hater-ade sipping forum trolls, Franklin and his team loaded up and made the 14 hour trip to Import Alliance in Nashville, TN. After over a year of jumping through hoops to get his civic straight, Franklin was used to surprises, and Import Alliance was no exception. "We took a trip to Nashville, TN, for the famous Import Alliance Meet. While at the meet, it hit me, K is the new B-series and everyone had one at IA. I like being different and I figured a J-series would be the way! As soon as I got home, I started reading and after a week I pulled the K and started the J build." After some research, the 260hp J32a2 from the Acura CL and TL type S, mated to a six speed manual transmission from an Accord, was enlisted for duty. Franklin used Hasport solid engine mounts and 36 to 32 spline axles to connect the engine to the chassis. A Karcepts shifter mounting kit and Karcepts radiator relocation kit paired with a Mishimoto radiator were added to the big block swap. A set of OBX headers were chosen to pass a little gas, however downpipes for a V6 in a Civic chassis are nonexistent, so Franklin had to break out the welder to get the exhaust manifolds to work with the Apexi World Sport II exhaust system. Helping get more air to the combustion chamber is a K-Tuned throttle body adapter connected to a custom short ram intake. Bringing the civic back to its roots, Franklin purchased a set of Work Equip 03s with the same +25/+35 offset of his original OGs.

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A major issue facing J-swapped Honda's is the dreaded hood clearance. Franklin's initial idea was to run hoodless, but after getting a slap on the wrist by local law enforcement, that idea was quickly scrapped. "It was the same day I got the car running. I drove it down my street and got pulled over. I should've gotten the car impounded but I guess I got lucky." Franklin's final hurdle was a simple one, but the hardest for him, "all I had was my carbon fiber hood. It was one of the first mods I did to the car, and it was sad to have to cut it up." Knowing that he had to do it, he broke out the Sawzall and got to work. With the hood trimmed, the now somewhat "legal" Civic was street ready.

Since its completion, Franklin's sedan has been busy winning multiple awards. This daily driven four-door sees rain, snow, and ice, and has consistently pulled low 13-second passes. With the Civic as finished as Franklin wants, he's already got his hands dirty working on his next project. It's a secret currently, but he did let it slip that it's a V.I.P. themed "something" with five doors. If it's as notorious as his Civic, I'm sure we'll see it being flamed soon enough. Not that it matters, Franklin knows better.

Bolts & Washers
Propulsion
J32a2
Hasport Motor Mounts
Hasport Axles
Mishimoto Radiator
Mishimoto Radiator fan
Walbro 255 High flow Fuel pump
AEM Fuel Pressure Regulator
Custom Short ram intake
Blox Velocity Stack
Ktuned Throttle body adapter
OBX Headers
Magna Flow High Flow Cat
Apexi World Sport 2
Karcepts Shifter Mounting Kit
Karcepts Radiator Relocation kit
Mugen Reservoir Covers
Mugen Oil Cap

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Stance
K sport control pro one piece coilover
ASR Subframe Brace
Skunk2 LCAs
Skunk2 Lower Tie Bar
Skunk2 C-Pillar Bar
Skunk2 Rear Upper strut bar

Resistance
Brembo Blanks
Stoptech Stainless Steel Brake Lines

Rims & Rubber
Work Equips 03s 15x8 F+35 R+25
195/45/15 Toyo Proxies
Blox open ended extended lugs
Skunk2 Extended studs

Exterior
Vision Front Lip
VIS carbon Fiber Hood
VIS carbon Fiber trunk
Custom Carbon Fiber OEM Ferio wing
Ferio rear door garnishes
OEM JDM Side markers
OEM JDM Headlights with city lights & corners
OEM JDM Ferio badge
OEM JDM SiR badge
OEM Bronze glass with working Rear wiper
Antenna Block off plate
EG9 fog lights
OEM JDM Power folding mirrors
OEM JDM Relocated Rear antenna
OEM JDM Thin side moldings
Window Visors
OEM SiR rear Fog
OEM Ferio Lip
OEM civic ballade Mud Guards
50/50 tail lights
EK side skirts
Benen Rear Tow hook
Bumper Pole with "H" emblem

Interior
Bride of Japan Vios3 Low max Bucket seats
Takata Harnesses
OEM JDM Civic Ferio Rear seats
with center console
Panasonic seven-inch touch screen with DVD/CD/Navigation/Ipod interface
six sony explod 6.5 speakers
12-inch Slim Kicker sub with kicker 4channel sub
OEM JDM Momo EG9 steering wheel
NRG Quick release
Dojo Custom Carbon Fiber Pedals
Skunk 2 6sp shift knob
Bride Floor Mats
OEM JDM Amber clock, OEM JDM Amber
Climate control, OEM JDM Extended Armrest,OEM JDM EG9 Cluster

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Interior
OEM JDM Half Switch for antenna
OEM JDM Extended Dash Console
OEM JDM Fuse box cover
OEM JDM Road Flare
OEM JDM Ferio Door panels
Type-R Shift Boot
Squash Air Freshener
Mugen ECU Holder
Wink 5-panel rear view
OEM JDM Gathers speakers

Props
Albert and Katie @ Certified Racing
Eric at Yosolo Tuning
Jason at Wall Monkeys
Don at RPM SYSTEMS
My almost blood family with Tu Madre Racing
All my friends and family who put up with me throughout this build
Nick @ GrafX
Jay @ Pride Performance
solFRESH crew
4function crew

Owner Specs
Favorite website
I'm on too many forums!

Screen name or nickname
FranklinHID

Building Hondas for how long:
This is my first car, so three years max

Your dream car
Skyline R34 GTR Spec V in Midnight Purple III

Build inspiration Not having many sick 4drs being built, figured ill try to be one of them

What's playing in your iPod/CD
MP3 player right now
Something You Forgot

Greatest movie of all time
Gone in 60 seconds (remake)

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Engine Control Mismanagement
The whole V6 thing is somewhat new to the Honda community at this point, and for some, it can be a hit or miss affair. While building his Civic, Franklin ran into a major snag that seems to be tripping up a lot of the J-series swaps being attempted currently. "Not too many people know, but unfortunately the Type-s ECU runs in limp mode due to it looking for the Tiptronic shifter. I found that out the hard way when I went to the track for the first time and never saw more than 5,000 RPM." The fix is easier than you might think, and thanks to trial and error, Franklin got it sorted out with a base manual TL ECU as opposed to the TL-S variant. And now you know!

By Brian McGurk
47 Articles

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