Install and tuning by Eric Hernandez of InlineFour
Project AP1 has seen some aesthetic, handling, and very minor power upgrades thus far, and for the most part, the progress has been steady. However, as with every Honda enthusiast (or any other car fanatic), more power would make things much better behind the wheel. Doing an absurd amount of research online, the basic bolt-on upgrades that most people start with simply don't equate to a noticeable jump in useable power. I've waited over eight months for a header that was supposed to release, but still hasn't shown itself on the S2000 market and I've grown a bit restless. With thoughts of boost beginning to cloud my judgment, not to mention the revolutionary new ECS system from Design Craft, and of course, the K24 swaps that will no doubt hit the community hard next year, I've decided to open a new door for future upgrades with an aftermarket engine management system. Whether I decide to keep the car N/A, or opt for boost in the future, this upgrade will give me the ability to properly tune the motor.
If you're talking about engine management and Hondas, you're undoubtedly going to hear the name Hondata brought up almost immediately, and for good reason; Hondata has continually shown its forward thinking and impeccable performance knowledge with each and every new offering that has come from the ECU trailblazers. Their early S100 system shed light on an industry that was, until then, forced to choose from ultra-expensive stand-alone systems, or insufficient "fuel gizmo" add-ons that seemed to do more harm than good. As Honda's engine management systems have become increasingly complex, and most have been skeptical about cracking their codes, Hondata stepped up to the plate and introduced their FlashPro system - once again setting the standard many would attempt to follow. In my case, the car is an '01 model and Hondata's tuning solution is a bit more complex than a simple add-on or re-flash. However, the payoff is huge with the K-Pro system, which will give the tuner full control over fuel, timing, and the rest of the supporting cast. Researching the process of installing K-Pro revealed a somewhat intimidating task, so I called upon an expert in Eric Hernandez and InlineFour to give me a hand with the surgery. Here's a breakdown of the process, with a few notes to keep in mind along the way.
The Hondata K-Pro system for the AP1 requires the actual Hondata ECU and harness, along with OEM Honda/Acura RSX crank and cam triggers with matching sensors, and a later model AP2 valve cover and sensor to operate. Some Hondata dealers may offer the complete package, or you can buy just the ECU and harness, and source the OEM pieces through your local Honda/Acura dealer.
• Crank sensor 37500-PZX-003
• Crank wheel 13622-PCX-013
• TDC sensor 37510-PZX-003
• TDC wheel 14112-PCX-003
• Valve cover 12310-PCX-020
• Drain plug washer (for PCV valve) 94109-14000
• PCV valve 17130-PCX-003
• IAT sensor
Although the Project AP1 isn't heavily modified, there's still some room for improvement on the tuning front. Hernandez has a mountain of experience with tuning, especially with K-Pro, and he was able drastically smooth out the entire graph. A little over 200hp might not seem like much, but for an F20 with a few minor bolt-on's, it's not bad at all. And for those in the know, the peak number doesn't mean much for real world driving, not when you've got serious improvement in the areas which you use most. What the smother graph translates to on the street, is a night and day difference in drivability that has literally transformed the 2.0L from "barely tolerable" to downright fun to drive. A once non-existent midrange is now realized and the stirring of the shifter to scoot around traffic or transition up hills is a thing of the past. Redline seems to come faster as the DMV-like waiting experience that once plagued the 2,500-5,000rpm range has now been dismissed. More importantly, when and if I decide to take the next step toward more N/A power, or perhaps even boost, the K-Pro will give me the support to fine tune it. Another area that some may be nervous about is initial start-up. The K-Pro, after tuning, allows the car to start up exactly like stock, however the idle doesn't sit high until the car warms up like a stock S2K, instead it's rock solid at 800rpm and my neighbors should be happy about that, especially with a 75mm exhaust system.
Now with over 2,000 miles on the Hondata system, I've experienced no hiccups along the way and I'm kicking myself for not doing this six months ago.
As if carrying hard to find, high quality aftermarket goods from overseas and domestic powerhouses wasn't enough, InlineFour has stepped up their presence considerably as of late, and has begun making yet another name for itself; this time in the tuning world. Recently acquiring a Dynapack 3000 and its accompanying software, the InlineFour garage has been a hotbed of activity as locals and even weekend visitors make their way to Garden Grove, CA for IL4's complete tuning services. Additionally, on the parts front, InlineFour's has introduced its own signature line of pistons, brake lines, and various other performance parts that are now stocked, on the shelves, and available to the public. Now you can buy your parts, have them installed, and even tuned, all under one roof. Many of the parts they sell are track tested and proven with the shops winning '00 Civic time attack car (full story in this issue).
Log onto www.inlinefour.com to view their extensive parts collection and inquire about their high-level tuning services.