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Honda Civic Upgrades - Tech Support March 2010

Where We Cure All Your Tech Problems

Day Photography
Feb 22, 2010

Here's where we act like we know something technical about cars. Feel free to ask us about your technical troubles. Write us at tech or Super Street c/o Tech Support, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245. Feel free to include a picture of your project or tech problem. Any images submitted become the property of Source Interlink Media, so be warned!

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Q: I just bought a 1987 Honda Civic 4-door and it is all stock with its original 4-cylinder motor and five-speed transmission. I was wondering if they make high performance parts for this year because I want to make it fast. If there are parts then please tell me which parts are the best.

Via the Internet

A: While E-A chassis Civics are very cool they have little current aftermarket support. However if you decide to swap the engine to a newer D or B-Series there is plenty of potential. If you insist on leaving the engine stock you're going to have to go old school. Mugen and HKS were the two brands to own back in the day and they both offer performance products for your era Civic; the problem is that they are extremely hard to come by. We'd recommend doing further research with your peers on, a forum dedicated to 3rd generation Civics.

Q: I have been an avid reader of your magazines for a long time now (about two years). Anyways, I just have a few questions for you. I have a '96 Nissan 200SX SE-R, it has the SR20DE, FWD. I have a short ram intake, a Stillen header, stock cat and then aftermarket exhaust and sitting on some 17s. Anyways up here in Minnesota it's winter time so I have stored it away, and during the winter I'm going to save up enough money to swap the engine out for the GTI-R engine, the 220hp SR20DE. Now my questions really are: What tranny do I need to keep the car FWD? Where is the best company to go through to purchase these items? What else is needed besides engine, tranny, ECU, MAF and the wiring harness? Also... any other tips, tricks, ideas, helpful information would be appreciated. Thank you SUPER STREET!!

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Via the Internet

A: Sounds like you've got a pretty good grasp on what is required for the swap. For the transmission you can retain your stock unit or use the transmission that comes with the swap (if it comes with one) as all FWD SR20 transmissions are interchangeable. As for tuning parts we highly recommend Jim Wolf Technology, you should checkout their website and contact them for more information regarding your swap. That or you could ditch that pile of crap SE-R and buy a S13!

Q: I just purchased a 1995 Civic. How can I tell if it is a true Type R Civic? Thanks guys I love the mag.

Jerry Jackson
Rockford, IL

A: Simple, there is no such thing as a 1995 Civic Type R. The production of Type Rs began with the EK chassis. Now you know 100%, without a doubt, you got ripped off.

Q: I have a 1979 Nissan 510 that I would like to upgrade/update. Where can I find info on parts that will interchange? Will parts from other Nissans fit or do I go the custom route? Thanks for any help on this manner.

Mark Bremmer
Tulsa, OK

A: Most of the parts on the 510, and most cars of the pre-'80s era, are proprietary to the chassis so little interchangeability exists. McKinney Motorsports makes a mount kit for an SR20 swap and there are a few other niche parts here and there. We recommend checking out for more info about the 510.

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Q: I've been reading your mag for quite some years now and I'm planning on reading it until I go blind (probably never happen). Even if I do go blind, I would just have someone read it to me, or special order the braille version (I hope you print those, and if you do, I request that the girls be pop up with 3d boobs ;>). But enough about DD-36, my concern is about an S15. I live in Aruba and recently a law was passed prohibiting the import of RHD cars. Now I've been dreaming of owning an S15 Spec-R since I found out the R on a shifter doesn't stand for race. To my knowledge the S15 was only produced in RHD, but I have seen pictures on forums where it has been converted to LHD. It would ruin the true nature of the car if it where converted but think of the result as Selena Spice after cosmetic surgery. My question is, are there companies that produce a LHD conversion kit or could you be able to give me an idea of what would have to be done in order to do the conversion and/or how much it would cost? I have never owned the car but I have been saving up for a long time (since I stopped racing in reverse), and I would love to have this car as my first ride and I intend to keep it.

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John W Cangieter

A: Converting an S15 to LHD would be no simple task. You'd have to cut out the firewall and weld in a LHD one (either off another S-Chassis or fabricate your own) which isn't exactly easy. Then you'd have to make or swap in a LHD dash and pedal assembly; again lots of customization would be required. Then you'd need to figure out the little things like steering rack, brake hard lines, etc. Honestly it would be more money and time than it's worth. Just buy a LHD S13 hatch and do an S15 front end conversion. They're much more simple and you'll have a bunch of money left over for performance parts!

Q: I need help. I have a 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS and I want to build the car into a road race car. I've had it for a while and never got around to it. Can you guys give me some ideas on where to start? What engine do you guys think I should go with? Should I go with the current engine or use another? Basically lets act like it was you building the car and let me know what you would do to it. Thank you for the time.

Edwin Diaz
Via the Internet

A: For inspiration you should look into the Limited FF class Super Lap Battle winner - Fair Enough Competition / KBR Performance / ROBISpec Eclipse. We'd recommend using the 4G63T engine if you want to be competitive. But if you really want to know what we'd do if we owned the car and wanted an FF track car, we'd sell it and buy a Civic.

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