In the last installment of project TSX V6, we found a whole new attitude with a set coilovers, new wheels and tires, and a little fender flare to make everything fit nicely. A little window tint went a long way, and the new look is sleeker and more aggressive now. We'd planned on doing a little more in the way of appearance, but instead decided to search for a few ponies. The motor is still completely stock and since there aren't any companies out there producing power parts specifically for the V6 model, the hunt was on for someone to take a stab at producing at least a little bolt-on power. With a rich history of high performance, often C.A.R.B. legal, bolt-on parts for various Honda/Acura models, we thought DC Sports might want to take a crack at creating something for our project. DC Sports is an icon of the automotive industry, well-known for producing everything from high-quality intakes and headers to suspension bars and engine dress-up pieces. We gave them a call, and they jumped at the opportunity to work on the all new TSX V6.
Intakes are often the first modification people look to when upgrading their Honda/Acura, and for good reason. They're very affordable, often make horsepower and torque, and it's something that's placed out of plain sight, so most civilians have no idea they're installed. There are a number of different brands and styles, but we couldn't find even one available for the new 3.5L. On the forums, there were a few people who asked about fitting an Accord V6 intake to the TSX, but no hard proof that it would fit, or make any power.
To get started, DC Sports took a look under the hood, and after removing the puzzle-like plastic engine covers, found that there was room for piping behind the battery to snake down and place a filter behind the front bumper. As you've most likely read numerous times, placing the filter away from engine heat and in-line with fresh air is a perfect way to pick up some additional power, due to the cooler, denser air that it ingests. The external filter placement insures you won't be "heat-soaking" the filter in your hot engine bay. The filter itself is a DC Sports original, and features an aluminum top and bottom (no rubber) and a built-in velocity stack to encourage even more airflow. The prototype intake in our project car is a three-inch, one-piece cold-air system, though the production version will be a three-inch, two-piece system. This will give you the option to run a cold-air intake, or a short ram if you're cursed with a rainy season in your region. Installation is as simple as it gets, from the standard removal of the factory air-box, to the slip-and-fit couplers included with the DC Sports kit; the install can easily be conquered by just about anyone, requiring only basic hand tools. With the intake installed, the car had a noticeably deeper "growl" as the needle climbed, but it wasn't overtly loud and obnoxious the way so many other kits are. However, at full throttle the VTEC crossover was much more pronounced and seemed to "snap" with the DC Sports filter. The butt dyno said there was more power with the intake kit, but the butt dyno is a funny thing, in that it's rarely correct. But with a blatant increase in power, we were convinced the dyno would reflect a torque increase.
Breath check 1
After the prototype was fitted and tested to insure there were no clearance issues, the factory box was replaced for the time being, and we were off to visit Elton Lo of Raceline Development in Temple City, CA. Raceline's dyno services are top notch so we knew we could rely on them for a proper baseline and a comparison once we re-installed the new DC Sports intake. Here are the results:
Exhaust systems are usually the next area a new car owner will focus on both for performance, and sound. Something about the grumble of a high-flow exhaust is almost mandatory for every car-guy. The TSX V6 was a little tricky in this area. When the DC Sports crew lifted the car, they realized that Honda utilized a much different flange system than previous models. The awkward plate had to be special ordered just to get the prototyping phase underway. With three factory catalytic convertors and a whisper-quiet set of mufflers, we felt that at least a few horsepower could be picked up with a free-flowing exhaust system. The piping used is two and a half inches, and incorporates two separate silencers along its path. In the rear are dual polished mufflers with four-inch exhaust finishers. The four-piece kit is completely comprised of T304 stainless steel throughout the entire system, so it's built to last.
Breath check 2
Due to the rush to get the intake system ready for production before the big SEMA show, we weren't able to test both the intake and exhaust at the same time. However, once completed, we did have a chance to test the new cat-back on its own. Once again, we relied on Elton Lo and his team of experts for their dyno services, and they had us in and out of their facility in no time. Below are the results.
With the basic bolt-ons completed, our TSX V6 did find some hidden power. Thanks to DC Sports, the first group of TSX V6 modifications have been tested, dyno-proven, and will be available as you're reading this. We're hoping other companies will follow suit and help develop more performance goods for the V6 family. Next up, a little more in the way of appearance as JDP Engineering has just completed the carbon fiber front lip, which we mentioned last issue, for the second generation TSX. Stay tuned. . .