Braking And Appearance
It's a sad day as we realize we're nearing the end of our journey with the Project TSX V6 series. With over 25,000 miles on the odometer, we couldn't be happier with the way the car has performed flawlessly through multiple road trips, dyno sessions, and daily driving. Not one issue has plagued the TSX after almost a year of ownership. That is, until just a few weeks ago. The sound started out as nothing more than a random scrape, an occasional grind, but transitioned to a full-blown nuisance shortly after. The rear brakes seemed to be screaming for a replacement. Typically, front-wheel-drive vehicles will go through their front brakes before the rear, so the idea of just the opposite happening had me a little worried. After doing some research online, I found that other TSX owners had experienced the same issue with their rear brakes wearing out first. Seeing this as an opportunity to upgrade, I started searching for a performance-oriented upgrade. That led me directly to EBC Brakes, who offer pads and rotors for just about every application on the planet. At the same time, I'd just received the completed prototype front lip and rear wing from JDP Engineering, and had to find a paint shop to color match them ASAP. Read along as we take care of the brakes, aero, and paint issue all in the same week.
EBC Brakes offers a number of different pads compounds for various driving and vehicle types. From high-performance, track use to average daily-driven people movers, EBC has you covered. In our case, we wanted something that could take some serious repeated heavy braking, as our TSX sees some R&D time and you can bet that it gets abused regularly. The Red Stuff brake pads offered by EBC seemed to fit our situation perfectly. Proven to stop sport compact cars quicker and produce far less dust than OEM pads without fade seemed like the perfect fit for our project car. On top of that, each pad features a brake-in surface coating that helps to condition the rotor surface so we won't have to pile on the miles just to get a proper bed-in.
With the nasty "fingernails on chalkboard" sound that was beginning to emit from the rear of the TSX, it was obvious the pads were history, and we figured the rotors would probably be in the same boat. Speaking with the helpful reps at EBC, they suggested we try their Ultimax USR slotted rotors, both front and rear, to complement the Red Stuff pads. The first thing you'll notice about these rotors is the sleek black finish, and the precision crafted slots that help move gas, heat, and moisture away from the rotors surface. Unfortunately, many "thrifty" Honda owners (let's just call them cheap) will opt for no-name blank rotors from their local auto store, but remember this, if you're going cheap on something that can potentially save your life, what's that say about the rest of your build?
We initially took it easy on the brakes to make sure the bed-in process was completed and all was well. After that, it was time to really give the brakes a good workout on both the freeway and the surface streets. Whisper quiet with a clamping force that simply dwarfs the OEM discs, the EBC Ultimax rotors and Red Stuff pads are what "should have" come on the TSX V6 from the factory. The timing of our upgrade couldn't have come at a better time as Southern California was hit with two weeks of harsh (by SoCal standards anyway) rain that really put the EBC setup to the test and proved to us that the wet braking was just as impressive as the dry. With approximately 3,000 miles now on the upgraded brakes we can honestly say that the EBC kit far exceeded our expectations. In fact, some of our personal cars will soon be (if not already) switching over to EBC products as well. It's not a huge investment, and the "bang for your buck" result makes the EBC upgrade a no-brainer.
Last issue we gave you a sneak peek at a few aero pieces that JDP Engineering was working on for the second-generation TSX. The first is a front lower air dam that essentially covers up the bottom quarter of the front bumper, as well as adds a lower, more aggressive look. The new piece slides into the front grille and foglight area of the front bumper, and gets rid of the factory "fangs" that protrude from the front end. Though the JDP lip brings the lines of the car a bit lower in the front, ground clearance is still a top priority and since installing the front lip, we have yet to scrape it on any driveway or speed bump. To add a little flair to the rear of the TSX, JDP also developed a flush-mount rear wing that carries the rear body lines right off the trunk lid, lengthening the profile of the car and giving it some much needed spice out back.
JDP produces their parts in carbon fiber, but on a silver sedan, the classic black-and-gray weave seemed a bit much. The decision was made to color match all but the very bottom of the front lip and just the top portion of the rear wing. This would give a smooth flow to the factory lines, but with a little bit of exposed carbon to accent the wheels and tinted windows. To take care of the paint duties, we contacted DTM Autobody who said they could not only get the paint color right, and properly mask off the parts, but they'd have it done in just three days. Sure enough, 48 hours later we got the call that the parts would be ready for pick up the next day. Not only was the new paint an exact match, but the lines separating the paint from the carbon could only be described as surgically precise. Straight as an arrow all the way around, it's safe to say that we were blown away by the job DTM did.
The new front end and rear wing completely change the look of the car without going overboard-exactly what we wanted and expected from JDP Engineering. That's it for Project TSX V6, stay tuned for a complete overview of the car in all its glory.