Suspension, Appearance, And Results
Our project Fit has come a long way. In the beginning, we could barely scrounge up a set of coilovers since no one was jumping in to make new parts for the '09 GE. In fact, when the car was handed over to me, it had nothing more than a set of coilovers, HKS axle back muffler, and set of Gram Lights. A great beginning, but there wasn't very much aftermarket support for the '09 GE. Being the internet nerd that I am, I searched high and low, looking for anything to add to the list of upgrades. Eventually I ran across a cold-air intake from Takeda for a little more power, and some beautiful carbon fiber pieces from JDP Engineering. It's been a long hunt, but I've managed to dig up a few more items to bolt on.
Honda Factory Performance And Mugen
One cool thing about the '09 Fit is that it has some optional equipment available through HFP. I'm not just talking about gold license plate frames, dash mats, and key chains at your local dealer. No, I'm referring to genuine Mugen parts. That's right, from a Mugen oil cap, to a full body kit; you can order a number of items. We were lucky enough to get our hands on a Mugen grill, floor mats, and oil cap. By far, the front grill makes the biggest impact. It comes pre-painted to match your Fit's exterior, includes the infamous Mugen badge, and features a border that really changes the look of the front end. It installs in less than ten minutes, and you can do it on your own. Check it out...
Stiff Stuff From Ultra Racing
I searched every corner of the web in search up suspension stiffening upgrades with no luck at all. I remembered seeing a catalog from Ultra Racing, and it seemed like they made a set of bars for every car in existence. After contacting them, it turns out that many of the bars they made for the '08 Jazz would work with the '09 U.S. Fit. The Ultra Racing crew shipped me a pile of bars to install on our project car. I got the car on a lift, and this is what I ended up with...
The additional rigidity could be felt in the Fit as soon as I pulled out of the garage. The chassis felt much more solid and the little GE had no problems being pushed harder than ever through the local back roads. With a bucket seat and a much lower seating position, this could car would be a blast on a short road course. The tighter the turns, the better it will perform.
Paying A Visit To The Godfather
When I attended the Kraftwerks Honda Fit dyno day a few months ago, I heard Oscar Jackson talking about a breakthrough that he'd come across with the Fit motor. Apparently Honda chose a spark plug that protrudes into the head enough to create a power-robbing hot spot. Oscar had tracked down a much better option for the older model Fit, and initial testing on a boosted version produced eight horsepower. I asked O.J. if we might see any increase in power with a naturally aspirated '09 model. His answer, "there's only one way to find out." This would be a perfect opportunity to test our cold air intake, as well as Oscar's theory.
It was brutally hot the day I arrived at the Kraftwerks dyno. The kind of hot that makes you wish you'd stayed at home, soaking in a tub filled with ice, eating a chocolate frosty. Not one to ever back down from a dyno session, Oscar braved the heat and got the dyno session started as soon as I arrived. I had installed the factory air box back in the car to get a baseline. Horsepower peaked around 102. Trading out the stock filter for the Takeda cold-air unit earned us a bit more peak horsepower, but more importantly, provided a nice useable kick in the midrange, where the car spends the majority of its time. This is far more important than a peak number when dealing with a street car.
The Spark Plug Theory
If anyone else had told me I might pick up a few horsepower with a different set of plugs, I would have probably laughed and moved on. But I've learned not to doubt Oscar Jackson very often, as he has a funny way of delivering on every claim he makes. Since changing the plugs on a GE was a first for him, as well as me, we started pulling parts out of the bay until we found the proper route.
With the new plugs installed, Oscar let the car get hot at idle. That's not a mistake, he let it get really hot. Instead of trying to cheat the dyno by running the car much cooler, or covering the intake manifold with cold towels, he prefers a real world test. He states "I could run the car right away, before it gets really hot and probably pull a better number, but what good is that? In the real world, your car gets hot, REALLY hot. Why not measure something realistic?" After a few pulls, the average number is 104.5 at peak. It might not sound like much, but think about the motor we're dealing with. His theory proves that for the price of a set of spark plugs, you can make as much power as an exhaust or an intake on your Fit. People like Oscar Jackson are what keep our industry moving. No one else is willing to do the tedious research, while he relishes in it. Kraftwerks has these in stock, and they're just a phone call away.