The art of combining aftermarket goods with OEM optional parts is something the Honda enthusiast circle has embraced for years. Optional window visors, various body add-ons, interior amenities, and of course utilizing engine, suspension, and even interior bits from higher-end models became commonplace ever since the ‘90s – even more so after the introduction of the DC2 Integra Type R on U.S. soil in 1997.
With the current generation Civic being so new, you won't find a large number of FK8 Type R parts making that crossover to the Si and other non-R models, but that's certainly in the cards later on down the line as they become more readily available through the secondhand market, and community frontrunners experiment and share their findings. In the meantime, however, Honda's optional equipment and its HFP (Honda Factory Performance) line of parts have been available since the 10th iteration of the Civic lineage was introduced, and there are a few items that seemed to be a perfect fit for the direction of this build series. Beyond what I chose, there are brake rotors, wheels, interior lighting, body trim and more offered for 10th gen. owners.
Having used HFP and Honda optional parts on many of my past builds I knew I was in for a bit of a search. Online hunting usually turns up mixed results, and it can be difficult to track down local dealers that offer these parts or even know what it is you're referring to. Knowing this, Honda recently put together a free app that makes the search so much easier.
Found in iTunes under "Genuine Honda Accessories," the app is user-friendly and allows you to find dealers in your area that you can contact for availability and ordering.
You also get multiple angles, MSRP pricing, and you get to see what the parts look like on the vehicle as compared to stock simply by swiping back and forth. It took just a few minutes to load my cart and find a few different local dealerships that could accommodate.
Just about every aftermarket side skirt, front lip, or fender add-on I've ever dealt with over the last 20 years has required a little extra work, perhaps a bit of trimming, and more often than not, some "aggressive persuasion" in order to fit properly. That's not to say that there hasn’t been some really good ones, there certainly have been, but not to the level of an OEM optional piece like these HFP side skirts. From the paint match to the "snap and go" action of the original factory hardware, even the very best aftermarket manufacturer can't match Honda's efforts.
Slightly more aggressive than the original skirts, the HFP version carries a bolder profile and adds a sharp bodyline that starts from the front and intersects with a secondary line around the center of the rear doors and the sculpted edge lends itself to the factory bodyline that runs the length of both doors. HFP also offers a mild front lip that sits tightly under the factory bumper but in our case, we'll be going with a more aggressive route as the build continues.
To get started, I rolled one side onto a set of Race Ramps in order to get a little more access to the clips that reside under the car.
Detailed installation instructions can be found at https://estore.honda.com and tell you exactly what hardware to remove and where it’s located. In this instance, screws located in the front and rear fender well are the starting point, followed by locating and removing four push clips on the bottom of the stock side skirt.
With the hardware and under-car clips removed, a "love tap" on the rear of the skirt toward the front of the car releases the skirt from the inner clips and off it comes. Those inner clips are then easily removed from the chassis, transferred to the HFP clip holders, and the new skirt snapped onto the car, followed by replacing the original under-car clips and fender well screws.
That's it. Super simple, and with everything carrying a factory fit and finish, you're done in no time with absolutely no need for adjustment.
Also, can't forget to add the HFP badges!
You can find a dozen different brands that offer window visors for the 10th gen. Civic but none will fit as well or as secure as the OEM optional version. Relying on 3M tape in addition to a pair of metal anchors for each door, if you follow the directions and prep the surface correctly, Honda's visors won't fall off the way so many others often do.
To start, I pulled back some of the weather stripping to wedge in the visor anchors first, and with my fingerprints left all over the door trim, I used the supplied alcohol wipes to rigorously clean the area that the visor's tape will attach.
Pull back an edge of tape on each portion of the visor, then line up the holes with the anchors and use the supplied push clips to lock them in place. Satisfied with the positioning, I removed the rest of the tape and applied enough pressure to help the tape seal.
In the old days (you know, way back in the ‘90s), Civics relied on a stout shift linkage for gear selection. Comprised of a set of rods that delivered quite a bit of transmission "feel" to the driver became a thing of the past once the K-series era took over and ushered in a new shift cable standard. Whether you're for or against shift cables, one thing everyone can agree on is that the factory shift cable bushings are pretty lazy. Intended to remain compliant and keep the transmission feel out of the hands of the average end-user, the OEM version is comfortable at the expense of shifter slop. That's exactly why Acuity Instruments came up with their solution that replaces the factory rubber bushing entirely.
Your first instinct is to opt for something as solid as possible with absolutely no give in order to tighten up the shift action, but what Acuity has done is designed a replacement that features an acetal and 6061 T-6 aluminum spherical bushing so that you don't wear out your shift cables, yet you still get the crisp shifting benefits that you're after. In addition, the Acuity replacements include integrated o-rings on each bushing for a perfect fit and the install is very simple.
To reach the factory bushings, you're going to need to remove the battery. The two 10mm nuts on the top of the tie-down are removed to release the tie down and the entire battery and its box are lifted out together. With the battery out of the way, you can see the shift cables and bushings attached to the shift mechanism.
Acuity recommends removing both shift cable clips in order to give you a little more freedom to work with. I only needed to remove the one closest to the battery since the other cable gave me enough slack. The clip, being brand new, took a little work to remove, but using the side of a screwdriver and working back and forth in a rocking motion helped back it out. The factory cotter pins were then removed and using a screwdriver I slowly wiggled the factory bushing free of the shift cable.
The Acuity bushings drop right into place without much effort at all and they're locked in with a set of supplied retainer rings, and the kit also includes fresh cotter pins. Shifts after the bushing swap are noticeably crisper and you clean up some of the factory slop in the already well-designed Si shifter. If you're wondering about other models, Acuity currently offers the same sort of upgrade for 7th, 8th and 9th gen. Civics and 10th gen. Sport, Si and Type R models, as well as 2nd gen. TSX and current model Accords. If you want to take that a few steps further, the group has also designed an upgraded shifter rocker, short throw adapter, shifter base bushings, and centering springs to get the most out of your stock shifter set up.
If you want to get really serious about your gear shifting, Acuity Instruments' Adjustable Performance Short Shifter is the ideal solution for custom tailoring shift action via multiple adjustment points. When I first saw photos of the finished product and pored over the details, I thought maybe it was over-engineered. After installing and having used it daily for the last few weeks, I realize I judged it way too quickly, and all of the micro-adjustments the Acuity piece allows for offers a one-of-a-kind experience behind the wheel.
Here's a rundown of the numbers, specifically for the 10th gen. Civic Si model:
-shifter throw adjustability allows for a 24 to 52 percent reduction
-shift gate spacing adjustment allows for 2 to 37 percent reduction
-knob height adjustment allows for +24 to -10mm compared to stock
Honed bronze bushings and spherical joints are key to the performance and feel of the Acuity short shifter and that's backed by aluminum base bushings and an ultra-stiff spring action.
In order to get to the factory shifter, quite a bit of plastic has to be removed, including the trim around the shifter, the shifter panel and boot, temperature control panel, complete center console/arm rest and the lower USB station that sits behind the main console. Acuity offers two things to make life easier and I relied on both. The first is their interior panel and trim removal tool kit. If you work on cars regularly, you really should have this inexpensive kit in your arsenal. I've had mine for about 10 years and it showed, so the fresh kit from Acuity was welcomed.
The other thing they offer is very detailed instructions in both PDF form on their website, and tutorials on their YouTube channel. Whichever you prefer, both give you precise instruction on what to remove and how to do it properly. There are a lot of steps but if you follow the instructions, it's something you can do in your garage, on your own. I won't show you every single step of the process as it would be over 40 actions but here are a few of the main steps in order to gain access to the factory shifter.
With the negative battery terminal disconnected, the center console lower and upper trim was carefully removed using Acuity's plastic pry tools. A set of screws holding down the shifter surround were then able to be accessed, removed, and I was able to pry the shifter surround up in order to disconnect the brake and drive mode switches before removing completely.
The climate control head unit is released and its plugs disconnected, which exposes a screw on each side of the console that will need to be removed. The entire shifter frame can then be removed, followed by the center console/arm rest.
The shift cables were unlocked and twisted free from their anchors and the 4 bolts holding the stock shifter in place were removed, allowing the plastic factory shifter to be pulled from the cabin.
A look at what will have to come out in order to gain access.
As with most everything Acuity offers, fresh hardware is provided and used to fasten the shifter to the floor using their stout aluminum base bushings. The OEM cable twists and locks into position just like it did with the factory shifter, and on the passenger side of the new short shifter, a grooved cable stabilizer was installed.
The Acuity Instruments adjustable Short Shifter fully installed. A thing of beauty especially compared to the bare plastic stock unit, it's almost a shame to cover this up with the console plastics.
I mentioned in part 1 of this series how the factory shift knob had to go after pawing at it the first few times I drove the car. Acuity Instruments' Esco shift knob looked interesting because it's sized at about the length of your palm, carries a secure, wide grip, and if you look really closely, it's not perfectly straight on the sides, but rather barrel-shaped to sit comfortably in your hand with your pinky resting in the taper at the bottom. A stainless-steel center is wrapped in heat-defying acetal and the feel is great for the OEM shifter and, as you might expect, an ideal addition to Acuity's adjustable short shifter.
Acuity's Esco knob, like many others, features a tapered bottom that doesn't quite match the bulky, flat surface of the factory shift boot collar. To remedy that, they came up with their own version in stainless finish, burnt titanium and black to suit your style. The clever design offers support for numerous shift knob types and even includes a binding nut for the shift knob to sit tightly and the boot to lock into in order to avoid sagging - just like the factory piece.
With the shifter surround plate removed, the boot is flipped inside out and the factory zip tie snipped off, allowing the OEM collar to slide out. The Acuity boot collar is slid in and a new (provided in the kit) zip tie holds it in place as you flip the boot back to its correct position.
Since I had the center console pulled apart for the short shifter upgrade, it was the perfect time to install Honda's optional wireless charger This kit allows you to get rid of the wire (only for phones compatible with wireless charging systems, of course) and appearance wise it blends right into the storage area under the climate control so you don't lose any space.
Removal of the fuse access panel under the steering wheel is necessary, and after releasing the clips on each side of the panel, I unfasten a few connectors and the in-car temperature sensor hose to remove the panel entirely.
Under the dash you'll need to locate the two fuse box plug points to connect the wireless charger's harness and you'll need to ground it to the factory ground cluster behind the fuse box. From there, the harness is run under the dash, avoiding any moving parts, and it even has white tape on some portions to signify where it should be zip tied to the factory under-dash harness. I left all of the zip ties loose until I had the harness snaked all the way over to the center console, double-checked for any signs of moving parts interference, and then tightened them all up.
The provided 20amp fuse is added to the fuse box, the wireless pad secured with a set of screws, and the kit's trim piece snaps into place to complete the install.
The charger works far better than I anticipated. Even with a thick case around my phone as well as a pop socket on the back, the system still charges properly. Convenience with a factory finish.
This next piece is something I didn't realize was even needed until I tested it. Acuity Instruments sent over their Throttle Pedal Spacer that allows you to move the throttle pedal to a more useful position. I use the term "useful" for a few reasons. First, if you crouch down and take a good look at Honda's pedal spacing in a stock Si, you can see just how far the gas pedal is from the brake pedal. Not a big deal for someone with sasquatch feet, like myself, but others have complained about the distance, especially those that like to "heel-toe" at times and have a narrower foot. The gap between the pedals is pretty significant and beyond that, the gas pedal sits quite a bit lower than the brake pedal. Again, something I didn't really take note of until I took a look at the Acuity spacer.
Installation only requires disconnecting the plug at the top of the pedal, unbolting the factory pedal, and using that same hardware to install the Acuity Instruments spacer.
Due to the spacer now under the pedal base, the throttle pedal is immediately pushed upward and even with the brake pedal. Choosing to use position A pushes the pedal closer to you, position B isn't quite as close to you but is in fact closer to the brake pedal. Finally, position C places the pedal a little further from you (still much closer than stock) and closer to the brake pedal. After placing the pedal in all three positions, B seemed to suit me the best.
Here you can see how well the gas pedal now aligns with the brake pedal and with my foot covering the brake pedal, the throttle is much closer. Heel-toe shifting or rocking the ball of your foot left to right, manipulating both brake and throttle at will is far easier with the Acuity spacer in place.
While I was already working in the floor space of the Si, I decided to pull out the plain black original floor mats for a set of HFP mats. The group has offered bright red floor mats for a select group of Honda's over the years and they were the perfect addition to the red accent-heavy Si interior.
The material is coarse and far thicker than factory-issue floor mats yet they work with the quarter-turn carpet anchors already in the car. The brushed aluminum-style badges on each front floor mat edge are a nice touch, and of course the fit is right on point.
And while it's not as eye-catching as the bright red HFP mats that command attention in the main cabin, this OEM optional trunk tray is something I always opt for with my daily drivers. It slides right into place and offers a dam that runs all the way around the trunk floor, which is ideal for catching oil or other automotive fluids when I'm transporting parts - something I do regularly. Trust me, from experience, having oil or coolant embedded in your car's carpet for eternity is no fun.
Other details added to the cabin are these high-quality pieces from Revel USA. The Revel GT Dry overlays are produced in dry carbon fiber with a very precise weave, then UV coated with a gloss finish. With the red-stitched factory steering wheel and seats and the various hits of faux carbon throughout the interior, the door controls were left out of the mix, so Revel designed these pieces to add some style to the plain plastic trim that gets lost in the interior.
All you'll need to do is clean the plastic surface thoroughly, peel back the supplied tape, line up the Revel carbon piece and apply a little pressure. It's a 10-minute install that makes a big visual impact.
The openings cut for the factory door switches are extremely well done and smooth to the touch so that there are no issues with functionality and no jagged edges to worry about.
The Revel GT dry carbon overlay also livens up the toned down factory plastic gauge surround. The group has recently introduced additional pieces to cover the vent surrounds, shifter surround, and gauge cluster visor if you want to completely makeover your interior.
The Si project looks a little better, has a bit more convenience, and shifts like a whole new car. While waiting for the front lip to be painted and the tires to arrive, it's time to start digging into the performance bolt-on parts. Stay tuned...