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Old 13th May 2013, 18:18   #1
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Default Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.

Mod Threads on this Car:

Disco ICE (Turning my Honda Civic into a DISCO!)

Coil Spring Adjusters (Coil Spring Adjusters : VFM Fix for the Honda Civic's (lousy) soft rear suspension?)

Dyno 1 (Honda Civic Dyno Run no.1 - Stock)

Dyno 2 (Honda Civic Dyno Run no.2 - With performance exhaust)

Dyno 3 (Honda Civic Dyno Run no.3 - With K&N Typhoon air intake)

Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-civic_pics-19.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 13th May 2013 at 18:23.
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Old 13th May 2013, 18:18   #2
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Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-civic_pics-14.jpg

The Civic completes 6 years in 2013. While most people start considering selling a car of this vintage, I don't subscribe to that school of thought : Related Article. When she's still looking fab, is mechanically tight and overall competent even by newer standards (space, safety, design, build, power etc.), why take a massive depreciation hit?

Equally, it's important to please the enthusiast in us. At this point of ownership, I generally soup the car up in some ways, spending a fraction of what it would cost to buy a new ride, yet ending up excited about the fresh, improved package. My 1st-gen Honda City Vtec (link (REPORT with PICS: Refurbishing my OHC Vtec. And some mild performance mods!)) and the Jeep (link (Mahindra Classic 2.5L : In Tight New Clothes!)) went through similar midlife workouts.

And so, the mods list began.

1. RaceDynamics PowerTune Piggyback ECU.

2. 17" 5-Spoke Wheels.

3. 225 mm Michelin PS3s.

4. Subtle aesthetic enhancements : Black roof, mugen-style grille, debadging etc.

5. Koni Dampers : Waiting for the stock hardware to wear out before swapping.

Last edited by GTO : 13th May 2013 at 18:22.
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Old 13th May 2013, 18:18   #3
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Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-civic_pics-12.jpg

The wheels came in first. For some peculiar reason, and in what is an annoying trend, tyre shops have started selling alloys in sets of 4 only. Having suffered alloy wheel damage on my Accord (USA) and C220 (Goa), I was firm on buying a set of 5 only. What are the odds of getting the same design 4 years down the line, if one wheel needs to be replaced?

I'm a sucker for 5-spoke rims and the Enkei RP03 / Hijoin H125 were pure love at first sight. Completed the entire deal with Sai Mag Wheels (Alloy Wheels - Sai Mag Wheels (Rama Road Industrial Area)) via email and made a bank e-deposit. Including the time taken for the international shipment and the truck drop-off from Delhi to Mumbai, it took about 45 days for the 17" wheels to arrive at my place. Honestly, for these wheels in a set of 5, I'd have waited 6 months.

Hopped over to Rio Designs (Custom Bodykits : RIO Designs (Mumbai)) to get the wheels painted in matte black, along with the roof panel. Those who've seen the car in person find it hard to believe that the wheels have been painted in the after-market. The finish is truly "factory-grade".

Loved the PS2s on another car of mine. Here's a comparo with the new PS3:
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I've been a loyal customer of Saifee Tyres (Tyre Shop - Saifee Tyres (Santacruz, Mumbai)) for over a decade. Good thing that they have a working relationship with Rio. The tyre mounting, transportation etc. was co-ordinated between them independently; I didn't have to bother with logistics. I chose Michelin Pilot Sport 3s in the 225/45 R17 size. While these would have been my pick all along, there really wasn't much to choose from. Due to the silly new ISI regulation (ISI Mark on tyres - A requirement from 17th May 2010 onwards?), XL size tyres are a rare breed in the market. This useful thread (My BMW, upgraded to Michelin Pilot Super Sports! Imported from TireRack.com, USA) will definitely help you if you're sailing the same boat.

Attention to detail from Rio. Placed so that the spare's paint doesn't get scratched:
Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-20121122-15.34.06.jpg

I'm pleased with the end result. The Civic was always a looker and the subtle enhancements have done their bit to make it look nicer (but not overdone). The PS3s have completely transformed her on-road behaviour (remember, I was running the lousy Goodyear OEMs before). Grip levels are simply amazing; there's always reserve traction available, and I've not lost her even once on a fast corner. Sometimes, I miss the (fun) sliding tendency of the older tyres though, especially on my favourite ghat sections. The low profile tyres lead to noticeably sharper turn-in. The Civic has decent highway manners in stock form. Riding on the 225s, she is now rather European in nature. Expressway stability is absolutely topnotch. The Civic's steering is the benchmark in its segment for weight, feel & feedback. It's gotten 10-15% firmer now, yet hasn't become so hard that it becomes a pain in the city. It's completely manageable in traffic too (a layman friend didn't even notice a difference).

The ride quality is obviously firmer. My driving is primarily in the West & South side of Mumbai, between Juhu <-> Nariman Point, on the main artery. The roads here are reasonably well-maintained and there's no badly broken patches or potholes to contend with. Of course, if I frequently drove on ill-kept / rural roads, I'd have never opted for 17's. Important to note that the tyre sidewall height is greater than my Vtec's 205/45 R16 rubber that I never had much trouble living with. During family drives & dinners, my folks and siblings haven't felt the slip in ride. That said, if you hit a bump at speed, it can get truly bone-jarring and you do feel more of the road's ripples. On a less than perfect patch, you are always aware of the road conditions. Requires caution too, a sharp hit at 100+ kph could damage the tyre and / or wheel. Keep your daily driving conditions in consideration before opting for low profile rubber.

This car is now entering her 7th year. Does she look it? The car cover (used whenever she's parked) greatly helps in keeping her cleaner & whiter:
Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-civic_pics-52.jpg

Neat on the inside as well:
Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-wp_20130509_002.jpg

Debadged. Visited 3M for matte black vinyl wrap on the upper part of the Mugen-replica grille:
Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-gto_3m.jpg

Wrap being applied:
Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-gto_3m007.jpg

Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-gto_3m008.jpg

Matte black paint on the roof:
Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-gto_3m006.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 13th May 2013 at 18:26.
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Old 13th May 2013, 18:19   #4
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Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-wp_20130401_021.jpg

To say that tuning options are limited for naturally-aspirated petrol cars would be an understatement. This is unlike the situation for turbo-diesels and turbo-petrols (notably, those from the VAG) that enjoy wide variety in the after-market.

I chose the piggyback ECU over a remap for several reasons. One, to promote Indian talent. RaceDynamics (RD) runs a tight ship and is extremely active with its research & development activities. They've also got a fanbase in the Indian Motorsports scene. With a piggyback, it's a simpler exercise to take the car back to stock form anytime. At the time of resale, you can port your box over to the next car, and there's no danger of overwriting a remap if the ECU is flashed (similar thread (Tuning Box versus Remaps (Diesel tuning))). If you are so inclined, it's possible to tweak the map yourself with the RaceDynamics software.

Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-wp_20130401_015.jpg

Unlike the diesel power boxes though, there aren't any switchable driving modes (e.g. economy, performance etc.). Further, the overall effect isn't as strong as what a power box brings to a turbo-diesel. After my first experience (year 2006) with a diesel power box in Robin's Octavia TDi, I went "WOW". Upon driving the RD in my Civic, I said "Nice". It's important for you to understand this, don't expect the kind of gains you get on turbo-charged motors.

I got in touch with Karthik @ RD earlier in 2013. Told him that I'm really looking for low to mid range power enhancement, as the Civic has excellent high rpm performance in stock form.

Old PowerTune:

It was decided to temporarily fit the outgoing generation PowerTune as a stop-gap until the new piggyback was ready. I got the piggyback fitted @ KS Motorsports. RD didn't have the simpler connectors ready and initially, a more complicated wiring harness was used. Honestly, the wiring & install looked incredibly messy, I wasn't happy at all. The ECU was mounted differently too. The improvement in driveability with the PowerTune was immediately noticeable, while power delivery in the mid-range was punchier too. On the flip side, there was a distinct hesitation just after idle rpm. The engine would knock from time to time below 2,000 rpm as well. At times, I could hear the exhaust pop (when letting off the throttle).

I kept Karthik in the loop with feedback at all times. In a couple of weeks, my car got the new PowerTune Piggyback. This report will focus on the updated box.

New, current-gen PowerTune:

Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-wp_20130401_014.jpg

The new piggyback was a quicker & easier install. Karthik had pre-loaded the maps before sending it across to N1 Racing, Mumbai. The shorter & simpler wiring harness looks neater and the ECU has been moved back to its stock position. I'm a fan of "clean" and don't like modifications that end up with a cluttered look. On a related note, the PowerTune casing looks / feels very high in quality. It's got a decidedly premium finish, faux carbon fibre included.

Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-wp_20130401_011.jpg

I was pleasantly surprised that the low rpm throttle delay and knocking issues were completely solved with the new RD PiggyBack. Throttle response has significantly improved and there is simply no comparison with a stock Civic. While the intake & exhaust (link to earlier reports are in the opening post) made the Civic's driveability stronger, the new Piggyback has made the a-pedal even sharper. Torque delivery from idle rpm is seamless, and you can move away with light accelerator inputs (no fear of stalling, Civic owners will know what I'm talking about). Additionally, the Honda clears medium-size speed breakers in 2nd gear itself (no downshift required like in a stock Civic). Power kicks in an extremely linear manner and driving around town at low speeds is actually a hassle-free experience. If I were to put a number to it, part throttle response from the engine is at least 30% better. No, it's no Toyota Corolla yet. If the Altis' driveability is 9 / 10 and the stock Civic 5 / 10, my car's current tune can be safely given a rating of 7.5 / 10. It actually doesn't feel like a weak Honda engine at <2,000 rpm anymore!

The fun continues on the open road. Floor the throttle and there's increased torque steer (first indication of a bump up in power)...in 2nd gear too, you can feel a certain amount of torque steer. Keep the pedal pinned to the floor and you'll have the Civic wheel-spinning in the upshift from 1st -> 2nd (never happened before on the Michelins). While I had stressed on the low - mid revv range, the engine has become more eager past 4,000 rpm. An added bonus. The Civic was always a revv-happy engine, itís even better with the piggyback. From the seat of the pants, I'd say the RD piggyback has taken power up by 6 - 7 BHP.

The map Karthik has chosen for my Civic is spot-on. Next up : Asking him to remove the revv-limiter and take me to 8,000 rpm.

For Rs. 21,500, I'm pleased with the engine's enhanced state of tune. Of course, 20K would get you more bang for the buck if you drive a turbo-engine, but again, the options are limited for N/A petrols. I'd still recommend the exhaust & K&N Typhoon as the first mods to a Civic owner, and the RaceDynamics after.

If you're a Civic owner running a RaceDynamics Piggyback, I hope you've got the exact same map as my car. It's spot on.

Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.-wp_20130401_003.jpg
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Old 13th May 2013, 18:28   #5
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Default re: Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Mods Section!
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Old 13th May 2013, 18:43   #6
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Default Re: Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.

NICE is the word! Now I know why I never got any reply about your rims on the other thread. Your car just keeps getting better with these time-to-time upgrades.

One question though, with the FFE, taking out CatCon and now RD box, would you say that you have cured the Achilles heel of this gen of Civic (and Hondas in general), the oh-so-annoying low end grunt.
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Old 13th May 2013, 18:50   #7
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Default Re: Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.

Looks absolutely fabulous Rush. I love those 5 spokes but personally i prefer gun metal / titanium finish instead. But that's me. Great choice of wheels and the paint finish looks wow.

She looks gorgeous for a 6 yr. old. Very well kept and like you said, it makes more sense to plonk in some goodies instead of spending on a new car.

This should go into the Tastefully modified car's thread.
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Old 13th May 2013, 18:56   #8
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Default Re: Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.

Car looking very nice there GTO!
Does not look at all like a 6 year old car
The alloys really suit the car along with the black roof and the grill.
How about nice rear spoiler? Would look really cool.
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Old 13th May 2013, 19:02   #9
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Default Re: Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.

Lovely car. Rims look very nice. On the Konis are you getting the Yellow dampers or FSDs ?? If you are going in for the Yellow's I would advise to stay away infact I would recommend you get something like the Tein SuperStreet coilover. I was never happy with the Konis on my civic.
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Old 13th May 2013, 19:34   #10
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Default Re: Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.

The Enkei 5 spoke wheels are straight out of NFS. I used to love the design there and all the cars in my garage in NFS had the same alloys and that too in the same black finish

I have never seen these on road though but they really compliment the civics looks.

Could you share the costs please.

VVB
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Old 13th May 2013, 19:41   #11
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Default Re: Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.

Great work GTO! Congrats on keeping her so tight and fresh. Hope you really enjoy the enhancements.

Just one opinion here. I have never liked that Mugen style grill on the Civic. I think I mentioned this on another thread as well, it so reminds me of the evil smile of those old hindi movie villains..!!
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Old 13th May 2013, 20:32   #12
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Default Re: Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.

Great job Rush!

17'' rims look like they were tailor made to fit these wheel arches.

What next? Any plans for Xenons ? They look downright awesome on every Civic I have seen 'em on
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Old 13th May 2013, 22:16   #13
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Default Re: Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.

Ah, so that was you driving through Vasant Vihar in Thane a couple of days back! Your car looked sexy, spotted the sticker quite late in the ORVM. Thanks for the RD link, looking for a similar upgrade on the Corolla in a couple of months.
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Old 13th May 2013, 23:07   #14
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Your car indeed looks sexy GTO. The paint on the alloys does not look an after-market job et all. Even I love 5 spoke alloys and 17 inch 5 spoke wheels are definately something to drool about.

The rear looks a bit missed out to me. How about installing a spoiler?

Yours is one of the best looking civics around. Enjoy with your beauty.
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Old 13th May 2013, 23:31   #15
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Default Re: Honda Civic with RaceDynamics, 17" Rims, Michelin PS3 etc.

Superb mods GTO. Loved your style of owning/maintaining/modding a car. Its indeed very thoughtful and I have become a fan of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dZired View Post
The rear looks a bit missed out to me. How about installing a spoiler?
Quote:
Originally Posted by nipcarlover View Post
How about nice rear spoiler? Would look really cool.
I have the same question. An awesome rear spoiler is very much missed on your car and the rear just looks incomplete without it. IMHO, this should be your next immediate mod and will finish off the overall exterior looks.

Congrats and happy driving. Envy you.
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