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Honda Civic Chassis Tuning - SOHC On This: Part 4

Tuning The Chassis Of The War Wagon

Super Street Staff
Feb 2, 2010
Photographer: Sean Klingelhoefer Writer: Bisi Ezerioha

If you've been sleeping under a rock and haven't been reading every page of the greatest magazine ever to materialize, then let us get you up to speed. This is Bisi Ezerioha's ultimate street car build up. An EF Civic Wagon with a SOHC 1.6L D16A aimed to hit 700hp on unleaded gas. This month's update includes tuning the chassis; bushings, rollcage, alignment, sway bars and coilovers.

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After paint-master Luis Rueda of Rueda Custom Paint and Body performed his meticulous cleaning, stripping and painting the entire Civic Wagon (including the custom NHRA approved Steen Chassis "Cage-Tuck" rollcage), the Bisimoto Wagon was promptly sent off to Progress Suspension in Anaheim, CA. The Bisimoto Electric Blue multi-stage paint scheme (same as the Insight racecar) was sprayed and wet-sanded to a high shine luster, and the engine was gently placed in the bay with Hasport EF/EE hydro mounts. The Hasport kit allowed the ease of installing a 1998 Civic gearbox, with an Action 2MS clutch to handle the torque to come. With the basemap in place with the AEM Gen 2 EMS, at idle, the Hasport mount kit did not present harsh chassis vibration, as other mount kits tend to do.

Progress has been the suspension facility of choice for all Bisimoto Engineering projects, and many successful road race, time attack, drag and salt flat teams in the US and overseas.

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Progress creates and calibrates the dyno curves on all coilovers designed, utilizing an in-house shock dyno, and matching the spring rates to optimize performance and ride compliance. All sport spring designs are painstakingly designed in-house and extensively tested to meet exacting standards.

The Bisimoto Engineering WagoVan was graced with the Progress Series I coilover kit. The "easy to install" coilover system is the perfect balance for the performance-minded enthusiast looking to make huge improvements in handling and appearance where quality, durability and proven track performance is of the utmost value. The aggressive suspension tune is ideal for superior street performance, light drag and autocross applications. The Series I exclusive take-apart dampers are tunable and rebuild-able; in addition, the threaded steel bodies are plated with attractive corrosion-resistant electroless nickel. This kit gave us the ride height adjustments we desired, ideal for on the track or at the show. The average Honda enthusiast will love the fact that these kits are covered under a one-year warranty to protect them from any defects in workmanship or parts failure.

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An obvious weak point on the EE suspension was the skinny OEM sway bar. On spirited driving days, I would love to prevent traction robbing "leans" that rolls part of the outside tires off the pavement. Progress Sport-tuned anti-roll bars came to the rescue: replacing wimpy OEM bar and rubber bushings with larger diameter (stiffer) alloy steel bars and polyurethane bushing. More roll stiffness means less body "lean", and the Toyo tires stay flatter on the pavement (for a larger contact patch). The result is more grip and added driver control. After two decades of abuse, the rear trailing arms were in a horrible state. Progress Civic rear trailing arm bushings are a high durometer, polyurethane replacement bushings to minimize deflection. These SCCA & NHRA legal components respond instantly to driver input and maintain suspension geometry under load, making them the ideal choice for demanding drag and road racing use. Another set of cost effective and excellent upgrades from Progress Technology were their front and rear lower control arm bearings. These are zero-deflection control arm solid bushings that are popular for racing and hot street applications. The all-metal pivot bushings replace soft OEM rubber parts with spherical bearings. These bushings are machined for direct replacement fit with no machining required for installation.

The balance of the suspension rubber was replaced by the Energy Suspension Hyper-Flex Master Set bushings, for the 1988-91 Civic/CRX. Energy suspension offers patented front-to-rear coverage for most import and domestic vehicles, with the largest product line in the industry. The kit even has a shifter bushing set, which gave an amazing positive feel to the Skunk2 short shifter mechanism used in the Bisimoto Wagon. Honestly, if you plan on modifying, restoring an old car like we are, or even building a car from scratch, the Hyperflex system is highly recommended.

Next issue, we will cover the custom Bisimoto Fighter special wheels, Toyo tires and some low boost dyno sessions with the new Bisimoto Engineering Level 3.6 camshaft!


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