We know how difficult it can be to work on cars; believe us, we’ve had more than our share of problems over the years, too. Good thing we’re willing to share this knowledge of problem solving with you and act like we know something technical about cars. Feel free to ask us about your tech problems by writing to Super Street at firstname.lastname@example.org or Super Street, Attn: Tech Support, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245. If it helps to include a few photos to describe/illustrate your problem/project, please do so.
Q I own a 2010 Civic with a 1.8L SOHC engine. I already installed an Injen cold-air intake, Skunk2 exhaust system, Cusco upper strut bars and Eibach springs and sway bars. I tried to install Hypertech’s tuning system, but unfortunately, it only works up to 2009 ECU’s and Hondata does not carry one at this time. I’d like to know, how I can squeeze more power from this engine by staying naturally-aspirated? Do you have any suggestions? Seems like options for the R18 is very limited.
A It is true that there are not as many options for the R18 motor as there is for the K-series. Seems that the K-series engines have more potential, therefore more companies support those motors—but in your case, with the R18, you can still do things here and there to increase performance. Hondata has a Flashpro you can use to fine tune with, and you can also look into a throttle body spacer and thermal intake manifold gaskets for more gains. You might want to try a cat-delete if it’s for off road use. Good luck with your build and let us know how it comes out.
Hit and Misfire
Q I have a ‘92 3000GT VR-4 that has a major issue. It started as a slight misfire and a minor annoyance. Eventually, the thing wouldn’t take throttle and I changed the engine thinking it was years of neglect that had finally caught up with the car. Now, it runs nearly perfect when it’s cold but as it warms up, the same symptoms return. It has a GReddy Profec B Spec 2 boost controller and I reused the MAF, ECU, wiring harness, and a round white sensor under the throttle body that I don’t even know what it is. Turning the boost controller off seems to help, but other than that, I am lost on how to narrow the problem down. PLEASE HELP! I put a lot of work into the car only to get the same symptoms again.
A Depending on your skill level and how mechanically inclined you are, we can recommend a few things that you can possibly do yourself. Check, clean and/or replace any of the following, if necessary. Try checking the following first: the air mass sensor; make sure you have an air filter that is not clogged or unusable. Check the fuel system to ensure the fuel pump, injectors and regulator are functioning properly. See that your spark plugs and coils are in good functioning order. Other than that, it may be time to take it to a professional mechanic to have it diagnosed. Based on the symptoms you have mentioned, it could be a variety of things causing issues. Hope that helps and good luck fixing your car.
These Are The Brakes
Q I have a 1990 Honda CR-X HF and I want to convert my rear drum brakes to disc brakes but I don’t want to spend too much money. I heard that some Acuras have similar rear disc brakes parts that are easy to swap over. What years/models are compatible with this conversion?
A The best way would be to get your brakes from a ‘90-91 CR-X Si; they came with rear disc brakes from the factory. If you get the whole rear-trailing arm, you can swap them on with common hand tools. Easiest way would probably be to find a wrecked car at a junkyard or you can try to find them online from forums or Craigslist. Don’t forget to get the e-brake cables, brake lines and proportioning valve. Ironically, the HF is the only model EF to come with lightweight aluminum drums, and as this conversion is popular in the drag scene, you might find someone willing to trade their heavier discs for your drum setup. Last but not least, make sure you get an alignment before you go testing your brakes out on the track!
Up In Smoke
Q I have a problem with my 1998 Eclipse GS-T; it’s throwing a lot of white smoke out the back but I think it only does it when the car warms up. I don’t know what the problem is; think you can help?
A A little bit of white smoke is normal upon start-up. Normally, it clears up in a few minutes after the car has warmed up. If you are getting more than normal, it is definitely a sign of a potential issue. Does the white smoke have an odor to it? Usually it is either coolant or oil. If it’s oil, it has a burnt smell to it but if it’s coolant it will have a sweet smell and dissipates faster. Since your car is turbo, we recommend that you check the turbo carefully since it is a common sign of turbo wear, when the seals are bad and failure may be imminent. Also, be sure to check your oil and coolant levels because if there were a long-term leak, you would definitely notice a change in fluid levels. If you’re not sure, be sure to consult a reputable shop that specializes in Eclipses or turbocharged cars. Good reason to do a turbo upgrade and crank up the boost!
Carrying On the Legacy
Q I drive a 2007 Subaru Legacy 2.5 Limited. It isn’t the turbocharged GT version, and due to this, I am unable to find any aftermarket performance parts for it. I have plans to purchase other cars to pursue my tuning passion, but would still like to get some more power and handling out of my daily driver. Nothing crazy. An intake, struts or an exhaust would be nice. So since my search results have turned up nothing, I turn to the experts to see if I have any options. Any suggestions?
A If your goal is just to make the car a bit more fun as a daily driver, you may want to consider doing some light mods to it. Here are a few suggestions: get a drop-in panel replacement filter from K&N. Look into some universal mufflers and tip combinations that suit your taste and have them installed by your local muffler/fabrication shop. As to suspension, our sources indicate that it is the same fitment as the Turbo GT, though the ride height, strut damping and springs rates are different. So you would be able to use whatever suspension is used on a GT on your 2.5 Limited as well! Remember that a lot of Subaru parts interchange so some parts that work on a WRX may work on your Legacy as well. With a bit of work you maybe find a lot more upgrades for your car.
Q I have a 1997 Honda Accord. Recently, I have noticed that the RPM are really low at idle when I am warming up my car at times. Also more and more frequently, when I come to a stop, the RPM dips to 300-400rpm then back up to 600-700rpm. Everything is fine when I am driving on the freeway or accelerating. It happens at random times. I have tried to look for a possible vacuum leak and also to see if there is any bad sensor but so far I have not come up with any solutions. Please help I am afraid that the car will stall and leave me stranded somewhere!
A We have run into this type of issue before and there are a few different probable causes for this. First and most common, is there is a vacuum leak somewhere. It is very common on older cars and takes time to find if there is a cracked vacuum line or other defective part, so it is sometimes easy to miss. Another thing that we know that causes this is a clogged or dirty idle air control valve. Here is a quick tip on how to clean the valve. You didn’t mention if it was a 4cyl or V6. If it’s a 4cyl (which are more common) it should be located to the right of the throttle body between the intake manifold and the firewall, if you’re looking from the front of the car. If it is the 2.7 V6 then it should be located on the intake manifold to the left of the throttle body behind the distributor. Using a 12mm open wrench, loosen the two bolts that hold the idle air control valve in place. Be careful when removing that so you don’t damage the rubber gasket or bend the two coolant hoses too much. Spray some brake or carburetor cleaner into the mesh section. Do this a few times until most or all of the black dust is gone. Turn the valve upside down to drain any excess cleaner fluid out of it. Let the valve dry for 1/2 hour to 1 hour before reassembly. You should notice that the idle is more stable and doesn’t dip as much. Hope this helps you out with your idle issues.