2002 Honda Civic Si

EP3 CivicI purchased a Honda Civic Si brand new at the end of 2002.  I thought I got a pretty good deal on it since it was a “leftover” and was on sale for 15k.  I needed a new car and Honda has a pretty good track record of being reliable, plus the Si model was supposed to be kind of sporty.  Of course as time went on I found that the K-Series motor that came in the Civic stock was the crappy one, it was the K20A3 with the V-Tech operation only working on the intake side of the valve train.  The motor made 160 HP and was quite peppy, it revved clean to the redline of 6800 RPM and made the little Si fairly quick.  I surprised quite a few unsuspecting 8 cylinder cars with it.  Not that I won or anything but it could keep up.

I didn’t do any modifications to the car for the first couple of years that I’ve owned it, except for a DC Sports shorty intake that I put on at about 20k.  The car was my daily driver, and as a field technician for a small computer company, I need my car to be reliable.  As soon as it was out of warranty however I started making changes.  The first real change that I made was an exhaust system.  I purchased shorty headers, a Magnaflow high flow catalytic converter, and a Magnaflow cat-back exhaust.  The muffler had a dual tip on it just like the factory exhaust so hopefully the system wouldn’t really be noticed, but that was hard to avoid once I started it up.  This exhaust was really loud!  However, it was brand new and definitely helped the power in the upper RPM range so I kept in on.

Single SubAt the time I was a real audiophile when it came to the sound systems in my cars.  I still like to have nice tunes in my cars but I have kept the one in my current car stock up to now.  The next modification to the car was a Kenwood receiver, an Amplifier, and a Rockford Fosgate 10″ Subwoofer.  This brought a new feel to driving the car with the booming bass now available and the extra amps being sent to the factory speakers.  The tunes in the car were now much improved!

The next modifications that I did were to lower it on Tanabe GF210 Springs with Tokico Blue shocks.  This change was made at around 100k miles and was done to replace the worn out shocks on the stock vehicle.  I ran into quite some issues when doing this upgrade as the driver’s side trailing arm in the rear of the car did not want the shocks to come out.  In my numerous attempts at removal, I ended up stripping some bolts and completely screwing it up.  I needed to actually cut the trailing arm out and replace it!  What a nightmare, but once everything was done, the car looked great and had the stance that it should have had from the factory.

After a while, I got tired of the loudness of the Magnaflow exhaust and decided to replace it with a quieter unit.  I decided to go with an APEXi WS II Cat-Back System.  This system did not have the dual-tip look of the Magnaflow but was much quieter.  Unfortunately it did come with a giant 4” exhaust tip to make the rear of the car look very “ricer” like.  It wasn’t terrible but wasn’t the look that I would have wanted.  However, the car was not running at an acceptable sound level and the copes stopped pulling me over!

The next set of mods were ridiculous!  I was starting to get the bug to make my car ridiculously fast but lacked the funds to really do it.  So I decided to go for the feel of a racy car and put a gauge pod in it!  Don’t get me wrong, I love having all the gauges in the car telling me what is going on and what not, but it was completely unnecessary and was all for show.  Looking back on it, it was a silly modification and should not have been done.  I will never again put gauges in a car that are completely unnecessary.

I came across a set of rims for a fairly cheap price and I was going to need tires pretty soon so I decided to put them on.  They were a set of American Racing Wheels.  They were light silver with a 2” chrome lip on them.  They looked great on the car!  They say wheels make a vehicle and sometimes I think they are right!  Even though I think that handling and speed are more important.  I got a lot of compliments on the car after the rims were installed than I got in its entire life prior.  Random strangers would come up to me and say that the car looked great and that it was very tasteful and not “Ricey”.  I took that as a compliment.

At this point the car was starting to get pretty old and I was making a lot of repairs to it pretty frequently.  Not that the car was unreliable but it was getting old.  There were no really major repairs that had to be done but the parts that were going to wear out were.  I ended up needing to repair the exhaust again due to the Apexi one rusting out.  I put in a completely new systems from the headers back.  The front lower control arm bushings went bad and I attempted to just replace the bushings but failed due to the lack of a suitable press, so I replaced the entire lower control arms on both sides as well as the ball joints.  The clutch went bad and I replaced it in my driveway with an F1 Stage 1 clutch and lightweight flywheel.  I removed the gauge pod and fixed the panel that was destroyed by the installation underneath.  I was pretty much working on the car every weekend and not having too much time for my family or to do anything else but keep this car running and reliable.  Looking back on it, I probably should have just repaired all the issues and kept driving it, like I said there was nothing really wrong with it and I thing the repairs would have eased a bit after fixing everything.  I think I just ended up getting tired of it after driving it for 10 years.  Now that it’s gone though, I miss it.  It was a very fun car to drive, especially after modifying the suspension.  Twisty roads were extremely fun and that high revving naturally aspirated engine was a blast to keep wound up and moving!  I miss my Honda…….

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