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A passion that traveled across international boarders

47418 Views 1377 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  Oldcivicjoe
Honestly, I don't know where I should start. Maybe a little bit of background first!

I have been messing with honda's for years, almost 15 to be exact (since I got my license). Many of the honda's I have owned and help friends repair in my youngeryears were the starting point of knowing what line of work I wanted to be in.

I love cars (anything with an engine really), more specifically diagnosing really difficult drivability issues with them. Getting stuck on a problem really pushed me to learn more about things I was unfamiliar with. Through my diagnostic experiences as a vehicle technician, I have learned an incredible amount of internal combustion engine theory and operation including all of the additional systems that support their overall operation and the mechanics at work which ultimately couple the engine output to usable work at the wheels (the full circle if you will).

UNFORTUNATELY, like most people can probably attest, I'm not made of money, I don't have lots of money, I can't spend lots of money all the time (unless I want my wife and son to starve and have no home), I really had to think hard 5 times before spending $50 bucks without jeopardizing something of a higher importance, but that honestly never stopped me from continuing to pursue learning about so many really cool tips and tricks related to Honda's on the countless number of member driven community forums out there (the last year and a bit have been right here!).

I've tuned honda's, built engines/transmissions for honda's, done stupid/cool things with honda's, and most of the time it has always been with someone else's money. All I have ever been truly able to spend on things was time, and I took full advantage of a learning opportunity when it presented itself on someone else's dime.

I am at a stage in my life where money management is still a HUGE part of my responsibility for my overall family goals (as I am still not made from it), but over the past two years things have started to get, dare I say it, slightly "easier" (knock on wood) for me to have like an extra hundred bucks or so every month to put towards my hobbies and things I like to do.

Like most people here, working on their cars is therapeutic and stress relieving. Often times it can turn into downright addiction! I think I'm in the stress relieving group, as I spend time and money on my projects but it's not the end of the world if I have to not touch them for weeks/months at a time.

So without more boring self introductions, I wanted to share an ongoing project that started in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and ended up in North Carolina.

Here she is, the d-series honda platform that has continued to be my hobby that started 2 years ago: the 1999 Honda Civic SI (Canadian, EX in USA) with a low mileage D16Y8 installed by the owner who wanted to get it back on the road eventually (original engine blew up). He lost interest but had money to buy newer toys to pass the time. This car sat in the back of a truck shop for almost 2 years, and the owners of the place were threatening the owner to tow it away if he didn't move it. So I bought it for $200 bucks from him because the engine ran and it was at least worth that by itself, and had it towed to my house.


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A local train at Shin-Hakodate station:

The countryside was beautiful, and looked much like small town places you would find across the US. Nothing was really green, because at the time of year (late April) in Hokkaido the snow was almost finished melting (there were snow banks everywhere):

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Getting off at Sapporo station:

A communication tower downtown Sapporo:

A view from my hotel room in Sapporo, having a Sapporo beer IN Sapporo that you can only get from within Hokkaido:

Heading back to Tokyo, it was kind of a crappy rainy day but the mountains were beautiful:

Lunch at Freshness Burger:

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This store was called Telescope (you think?):

Vending Machines (you see the one that has Tommy Lee Jones sitting in a tube holding a can of coffee? I still never got this advertising campaign lmao):

Street shots:

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Funny signs:

(I still don't know what this business sign was trying to portray lol)

Yes, they have Denny's in Japan! I tossed aside the "special" foreigners menu that had English translations for everything, and looked into their regular menu and there were so many more choices! I had beef with rice and egg, with miso soup. It was freaking bomb!

Main gates to Tokyo University:

A Toyota Rent-A-Car location. See the tall black tower in the background? That is the storage area for the rental cars! Instead of having a parking lot, this thing is a lift system that stores the cars vertically and the operator can call down a car at any time:

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A park with swan boats:

Festival in the park:

A sweet looking James Bond river boat:

The other capsule rooms from my capsule view:

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I'll stop now lol. I have many MANY more pictures and videos, I simply can't share all of them. Hope everyone enjoys the few I posted here!
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I realize I went off on a tangent posting pics from Japan. Back on track! (almost 2 months later lol)

Lots of things demanding my time lately, I've got some free time to continue in chronological order with my build.
I said in the last post I scrapped the 99-00 canadian coupe, keeping the D16Y8 and a bunch of other good parts off the shell.

After getting back from Japan, I headed over to my buddy's house to pick up the hatchbacks and other goodies I bought from him.

$1200 got me two 92-95 EG roller shells, one an SI with 4 wheel disc brakes and the other a DX. Both were in decent condition in terms of the bodies (no rust) but they had been sitting for almost 3 years exposed to the elements. The SI was also unfortunately primer grey and you could obviously see that the mirrors were white, the hood was green, the body was black, both bumpers used to be red, the fenders were an unknown mix of black/orange/red, needless to say this was going to be fun. I HATE body work.

I only had room at my house for 1 car, so my buddy let me keep one of the shells at his house until later so I brought the SI home:

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One of the first things I did when I got the car home was strip the interior. I wanted to start from shell and work my way up. This meant removing harnesses, dashboard, everything against the firewall, subframe, suspension, etc. everything had to go!

It is my process when I get something weathered like this to take it all apart and see what I have, clean and lube everything along the way and reinstall what I could salvage.

I went ahead and began to remove the sound deadening material to inspect for any additional rust, as well as to just remove the sound deadening material. The best way I have found to remove this material is dry ice and rubbing alcohol.

I went to a local industrial gas supplier and bought 40 pounds of pellet dry ice for about $25, then I went to walmart and bought a $10 dollar cooler to keep it in (it was the hottest days of summer while I was doing this) as well as 4 quart bottles of 91% isopropyl alcohol.

Take a sturdy bucket and put about 5-10 pounds of dry ice into the bucket. Pour in a quart bottle of the alcohol. Use a garden trowel and chop up the dry ice pellets into small pieces. The dry ice will gel the alcohol, creating a really wet cold slurry that actually pours like a thick liquid when mixed together.

This slurry allows a constant contact of really cold solution to coat the entire surface of the sound deadening tar material. Grab a shovelful and plop it on a spot of tar material. Within seconds, you will begin to hear it crack and pop. Leave it in place for about 2-3 minutes, then take a hammer and smack it. It will break apart into large chunks. Scrape it away with a pry bar, and continue to move the dry ice slurry around to a different area of sound deadening material.

Continue until all tar material has been removed. DO NOT smoke or use anything flammable while you are doing this! Wear a respirator if you have one, or just use common sense and keep the air moving through the cabin.

Doing it this way, you can strip all of the sound deadening material in the car in about 45 minutes with very minimal effort. Because you are using dry ice and alcohol, all of your mess will evaporate entirely by the next day. Use a shop vac to vacuum up all of the tiny pieces and mess left over once it has all evaporated.
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This is what I was left with:

Oh yea, here are some pictures of the B16A and the GSR transmission that came with the shell purchase:

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I drilled strategically placed holes in the lowest points in the floor boards for water to drain out of, and I hosed the entire interior of the car down and scrubbed the shit out of it with a car wash brush and car wash soap.

My neighbors were looking at me like I was fucking crazy washing the inside of my car haha.

I was curious if my ready-made fuel cell bracket for the 99-00 coupe would fit in the spare tire well of the hatch, so I test fit it:

THEN I found out after thoroughly reading the governing rules for the racing class I was going to participate in, they did not allow these SFI certified fuel cells to be mounted in the car without a custom built stainless steel firewall OR I needed to buy an FIA certified cell (those are f****** 1000+ dollars!).

Needless to say I decided I was going to stick with the stock fuel tank for this class lol as the stock tanks were fully allowed.

After it was washed, my first task was treating and prepping that spare tire well. I went to harbor freight and bought an angle grinder and a bunch of wire wheel attachments, cutting and grinding discs for it and an extension cord. I stopped off at walmart and bought some Rustoleum metal bonding primer, some flat black paint and about 5 cans of Rustoleum "bed liner".

The fact that it took me longer to treat, prep and paint the spare tire well than it did removing the sound deadening material with dry ice is further validation why I hate painting and body work. I don't have the patience to wait for paint to dry lol.

In either case, I felt I was successful in prepping the interior and coating it with bed liner:

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After I got the interior somewhat the way I wanted it, I went to town doing the same scrubbing of the engine bay and under the front fenders. THAT completely depleted my supply of elbow grease, and I was spent. There was so much freaking grease to remove it wasn't even the slightest bit funny.

I wrapped up the day of scrubbing down the engine bay with some actual fun, I test mounted and fit the intercooler to the front bumper support to see how much trimming I would need to do to the bumper:

After all that, I wanted to further have some fun and see what my engine might look like with the turbo mounted to it on the engine stand. I threw the dirty D16Y8 long block on the stand and put both manifolds on it to see:

So sweet :)
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The next day, I started to remove the original fuel tank for inspection. Using a homemade A-Frame that my buddy built, I hoisted the rear of the car into the air for easier removal of the tank and better room to run in case of finding a black widow nest lol (3 years of sitting, you never know what you might find on top of a gas tank!):

No black widows, but tons of other spiders. I sprayed the whole damn car down with bug killer when it was in the air. This has kept the car free of bugs since!

Looking inside the old tank, shit... I was definitely going to need a new one:

It's ok, a new one was only like $75 bucks! (way cheaper than an FIA approved fuel cell!)
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After removing the fuel tank and marking down on my parts list that I was going to need a new one, I decided it was finally time.... to tear down the D16Y8 engine and the D16Y7 transmission!

I had been waiting a while to do this, mainly because I was really busy before this point but I wanted at least an uninterrupted 4 hours to focus, teardown and inspect everything I could to document anything serious right away:

The D16Y7 transmission in all of its 35mm diff bearing glory. I was looking around for a rebuild set for this transmission, and I'm really glad that Synchrotech offered a really nice carbon synchro set for this trans as well as the 35mm ID diff bearing M-Factory LSD! I honestly didn't know an LSD was offered for this transmission until I started looking.

I decided to mark both the carbon kit and the LSD down on my "to-buy" list, as something to seriously consider.

Finished tearing the transmission apart:

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D16Y8 after teardown:

My ghetto parts washer, conveniently filled with high quality 3 year old gas tank parts washing fluid :)

Got the head, block, crank, oil pan, oil pump, crankshaft main bearing caps/brace and transmission housings cleaned and dried, ready for delivery to the machine shop.

I had the machine shop hot tank everything, spec the crankshaft, cylinders, valve job and just overall replace anything they thought needed to be replaced.

Keep in mind, this engine was rather new as it came from the 99-00 coupe. The previous owner put in an engine that the engine seller said had less than 60,000KM on it.

The machine shop said the valve guide clearance was good, valve faces and seats were not pitted, cylinder out of round and taper was good, and magnaflux did not reveal any cracks or major defects.

Overall, they honed the cylinders, did a valve job (lapped valve faces and seats), installed new valve stem seals, milled the head and block head gasket surface flat, shaving them as little as possible to bring them back flat. This left the cylinder bore in STD tolerance with a good hone, and the head back clean and to stock spec.
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While the engine was at the machine shop, some goodies arrived that I had been waiting for!

The STD Vitara piston set with rings, and P2P0 rods:

(stock D16Y8 piston/rod on left, a buddy's melted B16A2 piston/rod in middle, D16Y8 STD Vitara piston/P2P0 rod on right):

You can tell the folks who designed the oil lube zones on the Vitara piston allowed for natural splash oil lube points wherever possible! The number of holes drilled under the crown/oil control ring land, the two holes drilled under the wrist pin bosses on either side, and the divot on the wrist pin c-clip area, they REALLY made sure this piston got as much natural non-pressurized lube as possible! It is a great design, pulling many tricks of piston lubrication control into one package:

Compare this piston with the D16Y8 stock piston, this guy relies on an oil jet feed that was drilled into the rod and rod bearing to squirt oil to all the bits up top. This piston only has one bottom lube hole on each wrist pin boss, and fewer holes behind the oil control ring land. I haven't confirmed this, but I'm sure just adding these P2PO rods and removing the connecting rod oil jet from this setup should improve oil pressure and overall volume available to the connecting rod journals:

Now compare both of these piston designs with the B16 stock piston:

The B16 stock piston/rod set is no joke as a factory unit. These guys are beefy! Just look at the amount of material that supports the wrist pin bosses! The B16 pistons also have very well placed oil lube holes/wrist pin divots (hard to see, they are at 10 and 2), that pair perfectly with the B16's pressure fed piston cooling jet system.

It's no wonder the B16/18 engines in stock form can withstand impressive amounts of in-cylinder pressures and make insane power on stock components. You can definitely see glimpses of Honda's 90's-era F1 design takeaways come to light in the B series!
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I apologize for being away from the site for this long (almost half a year haha) but I am determined to complete my write up.

Picking up where I left off:

With the engine parts and the transmission case at the machine shop set to be reconditioned and hot tanked, I started working on the relocation of the battery to the trunk area.

I had built a trunk battery hold down for the 99/00 civic chassis, but it was obvious it wasn't going to mount the same in the hatch. Here is what it looks like:

NASA and Honda Challenge regulations stated the battery, if stored in the car, needed to be in a covered enclosure secured to the body/chassis. I bought a $10 RV/Boat battery box that my custom built battery hold down would fit in.

I cut a piece of plywood to span 3 conveniently placed mounting spots in the spare tire well that had M8x1.25 threads available. This provided a flat surface to mount the battery box to:

As you can see, I repurposed the center seat belt buckle to serve as a lid hold down strap.

With the battery box mounted temporarily to the plywood with short wood screws, I installed the homemade battery hold down frame into the battery box, then drilled holes straight through the battery box, the plywood and the body of the car. I used 3/8 threaded rod with washers and lock nuts on both sides to clamp the entire assembly to the car. This allowed the battery box to just be an enclosure, not a part of the structure designed to hold the battery down. This way if the car rolls over, the battery will be secured by actual heavy steel components, not thin crappy plastic.

At the same time as I was focused on doing things around the back of the car, I went ahead and deleted the rear hatch glass wiper motor. Instead of spending $20 on some billet ebay plug thing to plug the hole where the wiper motor used to stick through, I used the preexisting washer and a flange head bolt, with a washer and a flange head nut on the other side to pull it against the glass. Painted it all black, and put some loctite on the nut threads to prevent it from vibrating loose:

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Over the next few days, I began prepping the engine bay for paint. This required a brief wash and dry (I did a thorough cleaning prior to this, that took hours), and couple hours sitting in the sun to fully dry, then treatment with etching primer:

I let that cure. I then painted the bay flat black, just rattle canned the whole thing. It turned out really well, and was now a good platform to start reassembly.

At this time, I began the chassis/suspension bushing upgrades. My goal was to entirely refresh the chassis. This meant replacement of the following:

-All new bushings front and rear (Energy Suspension 92-95 civic master set)
-All new wheel bearings and hubs front and rear
-All new brakes front and rear
-Brake master cylinder
-Clutch master and slave cylinder
-Fuel tank
-New manual rack and pinion
-New tie rod ends, ball joints, upper control arms, etc.

I bought all of it. And just like 2 guys garage, it all got cleaned, prepped and installed in about 30 seconds:

Fuck no, it was one of the most labor intensive things I had done in years haha. Took about a month total to finish doing it on weekends for a few hours at a time.
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Here are some finish shots of the engine bay, with everything against the firewall installed:

Also got the hood pins installed:

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Got the engine parts back from the machine shop, and started to begin base engine modifications to suit the parts I was intending to use:

Welded the turbo drain AN fitting to the oil pan:

Had to take a small piece off the windage tray to get it to sit flush against the threaded area where I welded the fitting:

Installed an oil separator AN fitting adapter to get rid of the "black box" CCV oil/air separator, along with a filter sandwich plate and the oil pressure gauge sender:

At this point, I wanted to see how the rotating assembly components were going to fit in the block. I used a cheap stock set of new crank bearings to place in the block to set the crankshaft in (to not ruin my upgraded bearing set). I lubed the bearings, set the crank in and snugged the girdle down to hold it in place. I then put the pistons on the rods with no rings installed, with a cheap set of rod bearings, to be able to focus on any rod clearance issues I might have, sure enough:

The block was going to have to get notched, as the rods definitely hit the bottoms of the cylinders.
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