The daily driver Si project hasn't shown up in the magazine in quite some time, but don't think that I haven't been pushing forward with it. In the previous installments, I'd experimented with a few header designs, opened up the intake and exhaust, added a set of Drag Cartel mild drop-in cams, and used FlashPro to get the car's powerplant dialed in with the help of Elton Lo and the Raceline USA dyno. On the suspension side of things, a complete coilover setup and rear sway bar from Progress, along with some used Work wheels and a fresh set of Falken Azenis RT615Ks got the car lower, stiffer, and handling much better than stock. Thanks to Hybrid Racing, I was able to rid the car of the dreaded "clutch click" with the company's clutch master cylinder upgrade, and the factory slop provided by worn shift cables were cured via Hybrid's own shift cable and short shifter upgrade. Exterior-wise, things remained pretty mild, with Norm Reeves Honda providing an HFP kit to give the car a little more character, but not stand out too much on the street.
So what's happened since August of last year? Well, for one, the front end was converted to CTR-spec using all OEM components. A pretty straightforward affair, the conversion only required minimal wiring and the trimming of the front crash bar. Out back, I installed an OEM FD1 trunk and FD2 octagonal taillights but kept the HFP rear apron and side skirts because I love their subtle flow. A few Backyard Special bits were painted, and I installed them at home, and I'm pretty content with the exterior as it sits.
Torque On Order
The car has been running so well, I really haven't felt the urge to make any changes. It has been incredibly reliable (no surprise there), and the power is pretty respectable. Of course, that feeling of "respectable" can change pretty quickly when you jump behind the wheel of another, more powerful car. Having spent a week behind the wheel of the 2012 Si, I was bitten by the torque bug and almost immediately began putting together a list of parts. A new K24 bottom end will eventually make its way to Project Si's bay, but I'll save all of that for next time.
I did find some time to stop by Sportcar Motion in San Marcos, California, for some help on installing a set of Supertech valvesprings and retainers. Most are probably wondering why, since the DC drop-in cams are factory-friendly. While that is true, upgrades will be made later on, and in the meantime, a little extra security while visiting 8K-plus regularly is always a good thing in my book.
By now, everyone is aware that larger cams and extended revving will certainly benefit from upgraded valvesprings and retainers, but do you know what actually goes into these products? Supertech has been around for a number of years and proven itself time and time again, with its products being used in some of the fastest Hondas on the face of the earth. Its valvesprings, produced in premium chrome vanadium steel alloy, are ultra-lightweight and incredibly strong, offering far more durability than your stock springs. To match that performance, its retainers rely on military-certified titanium alloy, which is CNC machined for an absolutely perfect fit. Engineered for the highest quality in competition surroundings, they work flawlessly on a street car like mine as well.
The previous wheels on the Si were temporary until I found something that I wanted to keep. Temporary status turned into well over a year, and with the wider FD2 front end in place, it was time to find something a little bigger to replace them with. I came across a set of Volk TE37SL in 18x9.5 +22 front and 18x9 +45 rear in excellent condition and picked them up. Speaking of picking them up, the weight of the TE37SL, even wrapped in a bigger 255 tire (previously 235) this time, is mind blowing. At about 4 pounds lighter per wheel, the improvement in acceleration can be felt whether leaving a dead stop or just giving it some gas on the freeway. Most look for a wheel that will look good on their car, but weight is something that should be also factored into the decision-making process.
Contacting Falken, the company suggested I give the new Azenis FK453 a try. In all honesty, it was tough for me to not reach for the RT615K, which is a tire that I absolutely love. The grip, the aggressive "blocky" sidewall, it's a tire that I've recommended to friends and readers time and time again. Falken understood my infatuation but explained the new FK453 was packing quite a punch and I wouldn't be sorry. Increased technology that includes nylon-reinforced layers for better high-speed stability, a high silica compound for improved performance in both wet and dry conditions, and some cutting-edge noise-absorption technology; it seemed to have everything I could want in a performance street tire. A set of 255/35-18 front and 235/40-18 rears were installed, and I noticed a few things over the new few weeks of use. First, the road noise was considerably lower than the previous tires. With plenty of freeway driving in my weekly routine the difference was obvious. While we haven't received any rain in quite a while, dry performance has been excellent with a mildly warm or hot footprint. The predictability is there, and increasing the tire size to a 255 on the wider 9.5 front wheels was, as expected, a marked improvement in handling as well. A major part of the Falken's FK453 handling equation rests within what's referred to as an "asymmetric tread design." When looking straight at the tire tread, large outside shoulder blocks are in place to provide better overall handling and, as proven by my road time, a welcome decrease in road noise.
As I alluded to earlier, a 2.4L will eventually sit below the original K20 head, along with some supporting parts to enhance the increase in displacement. We'll take a look at the hard parts being used and with any luck, find some solid torque for the Project Si in the not too distant future. Stay tuned...