Before you decide on spending your hard-earned money on upgrading your suspension components, it's important to consider purchasing quality components, whether you own a street car or road-race machine. We've heard plenty of stories of people purchasing cheap no-name parts in hopes of saving money, but then losing out when their suspension failed or broke in less than a month. It just goes to show you that you get what you pay for. Eibach, Whiteline, and Skunk2 played a major role in injecting some new life into our '95 Honda Civic.
The first items to address were the OEM suspension bushings. Typically, worn or damaged bushings can be diagnosed by clunking sounds, sloppy handling, and noticeable vibrations that emit through the chassis or steering wheel at various speeds. The Australian-based company Whiteline provided us with a number of replacement bushings designed with a special synthetic elastomer technology. The parts included inner/outer/upper/lower front and rear control arm bushings. Whiteline recently introduced its redesigned rear trailing arm bushing kit that promises to improve handling over its competitors' traditionally designed units sold on the market today. Using a special synthetic material around the center shaft allows the elimination for grease, which does not attract dust or foreign matter. The Whiteline design allows the center shaft to rotate freely, like a journal bearing, to eliminate suspension binding under extreme usage or load, such as track driving-an advantage when comparing with OEM-type design.
Up next on our list consisted of a set of Skunk2 Pro-Series Plus front and rear camber kit and LCA's we sourced from a previous build. Replacing the OEM suspension components with the adjustable Skunk2 parts allowed us to fine-tune the suspension and correct suspension geometry, including negative wheel camber introduced from lowered ride heights. Obtaining proper suspension geometry reduces abnormal tire wear and significantly improves handling and overall stability.
Eibach Street-S coilovers and sway bars were installed before we wrapped up our upgrades with a set of EBC slotted rotors and RedStuff brake pads. Eibach coilovers are competitively priced and manufactured by KW suspension using quality components. These dampers feature a shock body manufactured in stainless steel that's fully threaded, allowing for a greater range in ride height adjustment. Eibach dampers are used in top-level racing series all over the world, including Formula 1, NASCAR, CART, IRL, Super Touring Car, and the World Rally Championship, to name a few. The Street-S coilover system utilizes a monotube damper system that houses a self-adjusting digressive working piston (low flow rate at low shaft speeds, providing resistance and control) and a floating dividing piston where both the oil chamber and gas chamber are completely separated inside a single cylinder. Twin tube dampers, on the other hand, feature dual oil chambers inside the cylinder, causing the oil to move from the inner chamber to the outer chamber as the damper strokes. Because the oil and gas chambers are not separated, both aeration and cavitations can occur, as it cannot dissipate heat well, causing the oil to deteriorate quicker. The monotube design is widely considered superior to its twin tube counterpart in racing applications. A monotube damper can cool itself more quickly and maintain lower operating temperatures due to its larger oil capacity and high-pressure nitrogen gas that keeps pressure on the floating dividing piston.
We teamed up the coilover kit with an Eibach antiroll bar sway bar kit (front 26 mm, rear 17 mm) to reduce body roll--a condition that's synonymous with the Civic. Manufactured from cold-formed, high-strength aircraft-grade steel for precision performance and finished with a long-lasting red powdercoat, the bars feature a hollow design for weight reduction. The kit comes complete with greased urethane bushings for improved responsiveness.
We wrapped up the build with a set of EBC brake rotors and pads. The Ultimax brake rotors (USR) feature EBC's narrow profile slot pattern, which helps cool and degas brakes under load and speed, but also eliminates air noise. Coated with a black zinc finish, these slotted rotors maintain flat and parallel pad wear and avoid the record grooves or galling common with non-slotted rotors. This improves pad contact and braking throughout the life of the rotor and pad set. We mated the rotors to a set of EBC RedStuff ceramic pads. The EBC RedStuff street pads were the perfect match for our daily driven Civic with its Kevlar fiber/ceramic particles compound for increased performance over OEM and improved longevity under heavy braking conditions.
The suspension upgrades transformed our Civic from a common commuter car with sloppy handling into a more capable machine; it not only looked better, but it also performed well. The Eibach coilovers were also surprisingly smooth considering our vehicle ride height. Combined with the Whiteline bushing package, which helped removed unwanted suspension slop, our Civic was ready to hit the streets with a new lease on life.