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1990 EF Honda Civic Brake Job Tutorial

Follow As We Watch A Honda N00b Do His First Ef Brake Upgrade

Dru Barrios
Jun 15, 2007
0707htup_01_z+1990_honda_civic_dx_brakes+car Photo 1/28   |   1990 Honda Civic DX

How You Do That Thing You Do?EF Brake SwapWen it comes time for a kid to buy their first car they rarely realize what affect the decision will have on the rest of their life. Most will choose a ride based on limitations like money, parental acceptance, or gas mileage. Other kids, whose parents are usually flipping the bill, make the choice based on far less practical selling points. I've heard of girls buying mustangs because they "like the horsey in the grille." I've also had somebody tell me they bought a 2nd gen. DSM because "the window looks like a pretty eye." I've actually seen somebody turn down a DC5 for a Tiburon because they "liked the color."

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There are, however, a few lucky kids out there who have an older sibling, or some outside influence, to push them in the right direction. When you've watched somebody build bad ass cars for a few years before you get your own, your idea of what a proper first car should be changes significantly.

My girlfriend Alex's little brother Scott just had the privilege of being in this same situation. With a bit of nudging from the big sis and bro-in-law, we got him into a '91 DX hatch. There is no better car on the planet for a first ride, and there is definitely no better first project.

0707htup_03_z+1990_honda_civic_dx_brakes+ebc_brakes Photo 3/28   |   EBC Brake Pads

First thing's being first, we got the car on some H&R springs with some Tokico blue struts. After the suspension, it was time for brakes. The stock DX brakes are cute little things that look like they belong on a radio flyer. We upgraded the front setup by using that of a '90 EX 4-door. These rotors are almost an inch larger in diameter than the stock almost-nothings. Better yet, the whole knuckle assembly will just bolt right onto the DX as well.

0707htup_04_z+1990_honda_civic_dx_brakes+old_new Photo 4/28   |   1990 EF Honda Civic Brake Job Tutorial

With the OEM upgraded front brakes in place, and the rear drums still tryin' their best out back, the balance was off. We needed to finish the job. To do so we called up our boys over at Password:JDM to hook up a set of rear trailing arms from a JDM EF9 SiR. Since the trailing arms had been sitting in the open air on a boat all the way from Japan, you could imagine what they looked like when we got our hands on them. That is expected though; all we really wanted were the arms, calipers, lines, and cables.

0707htup_05_z+1990_honda_civic_dx_brakes+pads Photo 5/28   |   1990 EF Honda Civic Brake Job Tutorial

With the essentials in hand, we called up our English brake buddies EBC to complete our list. They came through with Yellow stuff pads for the front and the back, and their new black slotted rotors for the front and rear as well. Unfortunately, we mixed up the order on the front rotors and ended up with the wrong pieces, but we'll get them on there eventually; if for no other reason, because the black rotors are amazingly hot.

0707htup_06_z+1990_honda_civic_dx_brakes+paste Photo 6/28   |   1990 EF Honda Civic Brake Job Tutorial

Since this is his car, and his project, we made Scotty do the work. In the true nature of a first project build, we didn't let him have a lift or air tools either. Call us cruel, but it's an experience we all have to go through in the beginning, no matter who your older siblings are.

The Hard PartThis whole swap is super easy. Everything bolts right into place the same way you took it off. The only thing you may run into trouble with is how to get the e-brake cables off. We decided to walk you through it. By the way, installation is reverse of removal.


EBC Brakes
Sylmar, CA 91342
Pico Rivera, CA 90660
By Dru Barrios
60 Articles



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