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Staff Project Car Updates - Our Garage

Jonathan Wong
Jan 11, 2010 SHARE

Jonny's Civic - OEM EF3/Recaro Seat Upgrade

Back in 2008, after searching for replacement OEM USDM seats for my '90 Civic with no luck, I decided maybe it would be a better idea to find SiR seats instead. The only problem was the availability of such parts and price. With little to no leads on the Web or through the usual JDM parts suppliers, I had to stick it out, mainly because my original seats were pretty thrashed (the front pair). Finally, after stopping by GSpot Automotive (www.gspotautomotive.com) in East LA to pick up my side skirts and rear bumper, the owner, Frankie told me he also had a set of really clean, complete set of OEM seats from the JDM EF3, which were more unique to me than the EF9 seats in that they came with a different cloth pattern and rear headrests. Best of all, they were a great price in the condition they were in, which was damn near new. Little did I know I'd be opening a whole new can of worms when it came time for installing them...

Sstp_1001_02_o+garage+jdm_wong Photo 2/17   |   Staff Project Car Updates - Our Garage

For those of you who know, EFs produced in years '88-89 differed slightly from those out of '90-91, mainly things like suspension, seatbelt configuration and wouldn't you know it, the seats, too. It's like this: the '88-89 seats won't fit into the '90-91 and vice versa; so if you're trying to do this to your EF, make sure you get the right year seats for your car, otherwise you're gonna have to do what Charles did to my seats. It's a labor and time intensive seat bottom swap that requires you to disassemble the seat and remove the bottom pans so you can interchange everything over. It's not hard mind you, but I'm sure most people would get stumped at "this doesn't fit" from the beginning; just take your time and you will have proper fitting JDM OEM seats. More recently, Charles also knew that I was on the hunt for older Recaro seats and found a local seller with a LXA seat for sale, also in great condition and a steal of a price, so I picked that up, too. All that's left is to find rails and sliders and I'll be able to rock more classic style to match the rest of the car's theme. Score! - Jonathan Wong

Sstp_1001_01_o+garage+seat_interior Photo 3/17   |   Staff Project Car Updates - Our Garage

Charles'- Project S14

The first thing I always do on a new project car is the sound system. You just can't enjoy a car without hearing your music properly, especially if your car is your daily driver. Now if I get suspension, wheels or anything else, driving is still no fun if I don't have any entertainment. The 14 year-old blown-out speakers and skipping CD player wasn't cutting it in the 240SX. I actually had to buy CD-Rs to burn some music onto. Technology has vastly advanced since 1995. These days you can get quite a lot with your head unit and I'll show you how far you can take it.

Sstp_1001_04_o+garage+roof Photo 6/17   |   Staff Project Car Updates - Our Garage

All those features a new luxury car has in its head unit can be had in any old car with the Eclipse AVN726E. This thing does everything and more. It is the end to all solutions. I did my homework and was originally looking for something that could play MP3s via USB as well as have navigation. I do have navigation on my cell phone but it's much more useful to have a larger fixed display. Those are the only two features I thought I needed. After getting more than I asked for, I don't see how I could have done with anything less. Along with the navigation and USB feature, I now have DVD playback and Bluetooth hands-free. I wasn't looking for a DVD player and didn't think I needed that at all. But now I know, the only thing better than hearing your music is watching your music. Music videos and movies now entertain me on my long commute. And if I have to make a phone call, I don't even have to pull the phone out of my pocket. Phone calls come through the speakers and a hidden mic. Another cool feature of the Eclipse AVN726E is the trip meter. Not only can it tell you how far you've driven, it also measures the time, the average speed, max speed and even stop time. This is great for finding new shorter routes. In the end, I now can be entertained through music via MP3, radio, HD radio, satellite radio, iPod, SD card or USB. Along with that I can watch video in any format - WMA, DVD or DivX. To add the icing on top, all this comes with a 7" touch-screen display, 50 watts at 4 channels, AMP outputs, sub outputs, iPod scrolling and multiple color illumination to match any car's dash lights.

Sstp_1001_12_o+garage+eclipse_din Photo 7/17   |   Staff Project Car Updates - Our Garage

I don't really care to add weight to this car with a subwoofer or an amp. It's just not that type of build. The only other thing I wanted to do to finish off the system was the speakers. For the fronts, an Eclipse SC6500 component set filled the space of the factory 6.5" speakers and pillar tweeters. In the rears, Eclipse SE6500 6.5" 3-way speakers mounted perfectly on the rear deck. The speakers are now ear piercingly loud. I really can't hear any other speaker other than the one closest to me because they're so freakin loud. I love it. My only complaint here is I can't figure out how to upload my phonebook from my cell phone. More than likely a problem with user error. - Charles Trieu

Sean's - Project Leroy

I'm sure many of you out there are wondering just what in the hell is going on with Leroy. In short not much. I have been collecting new suspension components however and they should be installed on the car soon. Let's take a look at what we have in store.

Sstp_1001_06_o+garage+super_street Photo 11/17   |   Staff Project Car Updates - Our Garage

To go along with the LCAs I got the new EK rear subframe brace. This brace ads a sturdy sway bar mounting point while reinforcing the subframe to prevent tear out. And again, it looks totally killer.

Sstp_1001_16_o+garage+tie_bar Photo 12/17   |   Staff Project Car Updates - Our Garage

First up is a set of billet LCAs from Function7. Besides looking badass these do several things for the car. First they are the only LCA available that allows a JDM EG/DC2 rear "eye" type strut to be mounted to an EK chassis. They are billet aluminum which is lighter and stronger than stock, and they have multiple sway bar mounting points for added adjustability.

Sstp_1001_08_o+garage+arms Photo 13/17   |   Staff Project Car Updates - Our Garage

For the coilover department I decided to go with a set of Buddy Club Racing Spec dampers that were previously at home on the Project Car CRX. What a nice guy I am! Anyway they should perform much better than my blown-out Zeals and are still streetable with fairly modest 12k/8k spring rates. Like most mid-range coilovers they are independently height and preload adjustable and feature one-way damper adjustment as well.

Sstp_1001_15_o+garage+coils Photo 14/17   |   Staff Project Car Updates - Our Garage

The car wouldn't be ready to hit the track without properly dialed in camber and Buddy Club again was my first choice for the job. The front control arms feature a full metal UCA, unlike the hollow versions that almost every other company makes. This prevents tearing or bending of the UCA where the ball joint is secured. The front UCA also features a shorter hardware assembly to prevent those nasty holes that get punched into the strut turret by other kits. The rear is pretty simple but very nicely made.

Last but not least a set of roll center/bump steer adjusters were in order. Bumpsteer adjusters are commonly overlooked but they are a part that seperates good handling cars from hard parkers. Unfortunately I don't have much room to elaborate but essentially roll center adjusters counter the negative effects of a lowered car while retaining the positive. They alleviate bumpsteer, body roll and steering effort for a very predictable driving feel. Hopefully I can get into this in greater detail when I install these parts. - Sean Klingelhoefer

Sstp_1001_14_o+garage+buddy_club Photo 17/17   |   Staff Project Car Updates - Our Garage
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By Jonathan Wong
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