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Old 28th November 2015, 15:45   #1
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Default Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

Or is it just yet another turbo Civic?

Till now all the TC Civics seems to have had some issues or the other... Mine has run 1500 kms till now with all the reliability of a boring Toyota Innova with none of the boredom!

Here is my humble and not so technical contribution to this technical section!

This has been compiled with help from my friends/tuners Venkat and Joe as if I try to write something technical, it will read like the script of a comedy show based on cars!

Even before we started ordering anything from ebay or amazon, I had made my requirements/usage clear to Joe and Venkat. I want a FAST car. A daily driver. As reliable as a stock car. As silent as a stock car. I DO NOT want a BHP monster or a dyno beast. I dont give a rat's a.s.s about how much BHP my car makes. I dont ever want to dyno my car and then get involved with numbers in this incredibly political and emotionally charged automotive tuning scene. I dont care if my car makes 50hp more or 100 hp more or 500 hp more. I just want a fun, fast car with stock reliability.

IS IT POSSIBLE?

If not, let us forget the whole thing and keep it stock.

If it is possible, then I trust you both blindly and will go whatever you recommend.

I know very well that cheap and fast wont be reliable and fast and reliable wont be cheap. So, I was prepared to spend the big bucks.

Please read on for more....

This was posted on 28th November. The below posts were made on 14th February. I am keeping this post instead of editing to capture the entire journey I went through.

Last edited by Nikhilb2008 : 15th February 2016 at 13:29.
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Old 14th February 2016, 18:46   #2
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

Let me begin at the, well, beginning.

I took possession of this Honda Civic from my dad in June 2012. Since then I have focused on making it more fun to drive. The first thing I did was get my suspension upgraded.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...nda-civic.html (Tein Super-Street suspension with EDFC for the Honda Civic)

After that, I was quiet for a couple of years because there isnt much that can be done apart from going Forced Induction.

The stock R18 engine is useless when it comes to ease of modification. The integrated headers/exhaust manifold restricts things a little too much. A remap was an option but it wouldnt result in any major gains.

Kept playing with the idea of going Turbo but delayed it as I wanted my Civic to scale the heights of the highest roads in India first.

In September 2015, I took my car to Leh and the surrounding areas and returned safely.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...ml#post3857818 (Tein Super-Street suspension with EDFC for the Honda Civic)

Prior to going to Leh, I went to the US and my tuners, Joe and Venkat, made me order a bunch of stuff which I brought back to India. The idea was to start work soon after I return from Leh.

We got the following products:

Garrett GT2860 RS 'Disco Potato' ball bearing turbo
Mazda RX-7 intercooler
Haltech Platinum Sport 1000 ECU
Haltech Device Emulator
Some Blow Off Valve
Boost control Solenoid
Wideband O2 Sensor
BKR8EIX-11 spark plugs
RDX 440 cc injectors
EMUSA 44 mm wastegate with boost solenoid
ALM LSU-ADV wideband

As soon as we were ready to work, my tuners gave me another option. Try a CompTurbo Oilless turbo. The installation would be far easier. I, having trusted these two guys from the very beginning, agreed.

So, at the end of phase 1, this was how I summarised my feelings regarding my car on Facebook. (Copy-pasting from FB)


Quote:
Mid-life crisis makeover for my precioussssss.

Let's just say cheap and fast is not reliable and fast and reliable is not cheap!
Pictures don't do justice to the lovely turbo setup on my Civic.

Joe King and Venkat Akella, you guys should be proud of such a clean and neat setup. Which is working beautifully for now! At city speeds, it feels exactly like stock and when the boost kicks in, it goes like a scalded cat!

The only thing faster was the speed with which everything was done by these two fellas. Into the workshop on October 31st and ready for a drive on November 15th! Some final tuning and finishing touches later, November 20th was final delivery!

For more technical details, please call Blackworks It and Auto Private Limited which is a fancy name for what I call Joe-Venkat magic works.

In brief:
1. Stock R18A engine
2. Vertically oriented Comp Turbo CT2 with oil less center section
3. RDX 440 cc injectors
4. BKR8EIX-11 spark plugs modified for increased reach
5. Mazda RX7 intercooler with modified end cans
6. Used BOV from some stock Toyota. Don't exactly remember which one.
7. Custom plumbing using 304 SS
8. Haltech Platinum Sport 1000 and Device Emulator 8 running in tandem with the stock ECU using a custom built patch harness
9. EMUSA 44 mm wastegate with boost solenoid
10. ALM LSU-ADV wideband


Net result: Big grin on my face when I accelerate past 4000 rpm!


BTW, I would like to go on record and say I have never driven a car built by one of these guys. It was purely blind faith and trust which made me hand over the key to my precious to these fellows. They truly listened to me and understood my requirements. I don't want to know how much my car CAN do. I just want enough to keep my happy and with stock levels of reliability. And till now I haven't had a reason to regret.
Am loving it!

What was special was that they retained as much as possible of the OEM mounting points. The Catcon was removed and they installed the entire turbo assembly (including the wastegate) in the same length of the stock Catcon. So, they bolted the turbo assemble to the engine block where the catcon would bolt on and the other end to the exhaust exactly where the Catcon would bolt on.

So, there was no compromise in terms of long term reliability or any extra vibrations or anything. They even got the exhaust pipe end of the turbo assembled shaped exactly like the "Ears" of the stock Catcon so it can fit perfectly.

Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!-2.jpg

Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!-3.jpg

The above two pictures show how Venkat used Laser cut stainless steel plates to make a beautiful stand for the Stock ECU on top of which he mounted the Haltech ECU.


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Last edited by Nikhilb2008 : 14th February 2016 at 21:15.
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Old 14th February 2016, 19:23   #3
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

Remember how I started this thread?

Quote:
Till now all the TC Civics seems to have had some issues or the other... Mine has run 1500 kms till now with all the reliability of a boring Toyota Innova with none of the boredom!
Well, that came back to bite me in the a.s.s!

Let me explain a bit about this oilless turbo.

Where a normal turbo needs an oil line to lubricate the bearings, this Comp Turbo Oil Less turbo comes with the bearings packed with a high speed/high temperature grease. The grease gets warm and lubricates the bearings. It is in a sealed CHRA.

We took pictures of our setup and sent it to Comp turbo who told us that this turbo is more suitable for a remote mounting turbo setup and not at the engine where vibrations and temps were higher than that of remote mounting.This might lead to issues in the future. So, we removed the turbo assembly and installed the stock catcon keeping everything same.

We also ordered for what Comp Turbo recommended. An Oilless turbo 2.0. This supposedly came with better cooling and was better suited to our application. It came about 2 weeks later with a friend of mine. This one also came with a condition from Compturbo. The grease would have to be topped up every 1500-2000 miles. They even sent one tube of grease which cost about $100. Pretty expensive and we were already feeling scammed. This was way too much maintenance and I was not happy about this.

My tuners told me to just give it a go.

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We installed the new one and did a few test runs. The car was running spectacularly and reliably until something broke/got loose inside the turbo and coolant was being dumped everywhere including the cylinders. I got huge plumes of smoke from the exhaust. This was actually coolant being vapourised.

In addition we realised that the grease that was supposedly sealed along with the ceramic bearings inside the CHRA wasnt actually sealed but escaping through the compressor housing. No wonder the Comp Turbo people insisted we top up the grease every 1500 miles.

This was the last straw for me. I told my tuners that I didnt want anything more to do with this turbo.

It was an experimental one and I had followed my tuners' advice but I had had enough. they respected my opinion and told me that the next time I leave my car for a week or so, they would install the Disco Potato I had got from the US.

As you remember reading, I trusted them blindly but I also had my set of conditions/requirements.

So, when I went to Singapore for some work, I left the car with them for close to 8-9 days.

These were the pics I received and I was told that things were going well.

I was looking forward to driving the car on my return. On the Comp Turbo, we had limited boost to 8 PSI as that was the default setting on the wastegate.The Comp Turbo had an external wastegate. The Disco Potato has an internal wastegate which supposedly has a default setting of 12-14 PSI.

I returned with my wife and Joe and Venkat were there at the airport to pick me up. The drive from the airport was absolutely phenomenal. The car was faster than ever and more subtle than before. The Comp Turbo had a ridiculously loud whine which felt like a siren! My friends claimed they could hear the turbo from half a km away!

The Disco Potato on the other hand was dead silent! I have also not got my exhaust changed. It's still stock. So, my car dead silent and faster than I expected!

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Old 14th February 2016, 19:42   #4
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

A quick timeline of the car.

At around 1,29,000 I gave it to Venkat for the first time (October 31st).

Right now it has run about 1,38,500 and continuing to increase.

In these 10k kms, I would estimate the running on the Comp Turbo to be about 6k kms, 2k on the Garrett and the remaining on the stock Catcon.

As I mentioned initially, I didnt want to dyno my car and still dont want to. However, my tuners have convinced me that the dyno is the place where they can fine tune the map and ensure there are no flat spots. So, I have reluctantly agreed to allow them to take my car to the dyno whenever they are ready.

Another thing is I want my car to look bone stock. However, right now, we have installed a hood vent to allow hot air to escape the engine bay as quickly as possible. We have felt a major difference. A cooler engine bay is only going ot help in the long term. So, even though it looks ricer, it isnt. It's fully functional.

Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!-img_9808.jpg

Currently it is a slightly different shade of white from my car but we will be getting it fixed soon.

I havent done any VBOX runs or anything as I am not interested. Some people keep asking for the numbers(Yes Bhuvan, I am referring to you! ) but they seem to not understand my actual feelings about my car!

The way the car is currently, I really dont care if it does 0-100 in 15 seconds or 5. Of course, it will be closer to 5 than 15 but I dont care. It is ridiculously fast and driveable.

At city speeds, I can crawl in 2nd gear at 14-15kmph and 20-25 in 3rd gear .No judder, no noise, no need to slip the clutch or anything. When I put my foot hard down, it takes off after 3k rpm.

Currently in 1st gear, it doesnt give me wheel spin until 5k rpm when the boost kicks in. I have to fight to hold the steering wheel straight.

2nd gear is monstrous. I see the speedo jump from 74-81-87-93-97-102 and then I shift into 3rd.

3rd gear and 4th gear in-gear acceleration is just MEGA. Again, no numbers but by the seat of the pants I can say it's faster than most cars on our roads.

I went on a nice long drive with a very good friend in a stock Jetta 2.0 TDI. In gear I was equally fast. 0-100 I felt I was faster.

At very high speeds, I felt I was pulling away from the Jetta or maybe he was just taking it easy.

That Jetta is of course a very capable car and just being able to keep close to it in my car was a pretty phenomenal feeling. I know people get a little sensitive when someone compares cars, so here is my disclaimer: I am in no way claiming mine is better than the Jetta or faster. Am just using that to give you an idea of what an improvement my car is over the stock Civic. Its a whole different car. What I now have just looks like the Civic but simply doesnt drive like one. Engine is on a different level and the suspension is right up there with the best.

When we do a dyno run, we will know exactly how much power and torque we are putting out. I doubt I'll be posting those on a public forum as I dont want to get involved in number battles. This car is for me and right now it's making me laugh like a maniac when I step on the accelerator!

It fills my heart with joy to step on the throttle at about 4k rpm in 3rd gear. The way the car shoots forward is ridiculously amazing. The car continues to accelerate in multiples of 2 from 150-170. 152-154-157-159-161 and so on. Only after that the acceleration slows to single digits.

Last edited by Nikhilb2008 : 15th February 2016 at 12:06.
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Old 14th February 2016, 20:39   #5
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

What I liked about my entire experience with Venkat and Joe:

They are not as famous as some others who have a justifiably great reputation. However, Joe and Venkat are a little unknown. They are known within a certain circle but not as famous as Race Concepts or Red Rooster or Raj Hingorani or any of those guys! I felt this made them listen to me and my requirements better. They dont have any particular marketing hype to live up to. Because of that they arent any pressure to show any numbers like 200 bhp or 250bhp. They can focus on getting my car to be fast and reliable.

However what I realised through this whole process is that I am partly wrong. They are genuinely good listeners, Joe more than Venkat! Venkat gets excited a lot and sometimes has a tendency to push his point through. He's rarely wrong though and he hasnt given me reason to complain. I realised that even if I pressurise them into giving me a 250 bhp car, they wont unless they think it will be rock solid reliable. They can be strict and put their foot down when needed!

Another point here is that Venkat is based in Bangalore and Joe shuttles between Kerala and Bangalore. So, a large part of my interaction was with Venkat. It's phenomenal the effort he puts in to ensure I am happy. When we had a few issues with the coolant leaking, this bugger probably never slept. Worked through the night to ensure that I will get my car back when I need it.

We needed to change the main power cable from the battery(which is in the boot now) to a thicker wire and Venkat worked through the night just so that I have my car during the day when I need it.

I dont think I've ever met anyone who can do this for a customer's car. Working through the night is common during racing season but for a customer's car? Highly unlikely! Due credit to also be given to this boy Chandru who adores Venkat and will follow him through the gates of hell. He is superb with his hands and is prepared to do anything to ensure that the customer's car is perfect and ready. His attention to detail matches Venkat's and that's saying something!

They also understood my usage well. I am in sales and I use my car a lot to cover South India. I have covered 1,38,000 kms in less than 6 years. So, my car cannot be down AT ALL. It has to be ready to run whenever I want it to run. I dont want to run through an entire checklist like an aircraft pilot every time I drive long distance.

When we faced issues with the Comp Turbo, they both were very supportive and didnt worry. They calmed me down and assured me that they had my back.

I didnt lose a single penny over the whole fiasco with Comp Turbo. Now would be a good time to call them out for the unethical company they are. They were just not forthcoming over the issues that we might face. Looks like they purposely built a turbo that was supposed to leak their high speed grease and then they make a fortune selling over priced grease for $100 a tube. Even now, some of our money is stuck with them. They are yet to refund it.

Very unethical company and forget the oilless turbos which dont work, I wouldnt touch any product from this company with a barge pole. I would recommend every enthusiast to make a note of this and not bother even considering this fraud company.

There are many other good companies out there making good turbos. Just ignore this one.

Coming back to Joe and Venkat; I felt like I couldnt have been in better hands. Whatever doubts I had they answered patiently. I could feel my own knowledge expand over the past 2-3 months being with these guys and hearing them answer my questions.

We spent a lot of time driving around Bangalore. NICE Road, Airport road, NH7 to Krishnagiri, NH4 (to Kolhapur and back on work) and so on.

When I was planning a trip t Kolhapur with the Comp turbo (1st week of December), I just shared my apprehensions with Venkat and Joe. The turbo had run just about 1500 kms. Venkat instantly offered to come with me to Kolhapur and take care of any issues if they arose.

And I was lucky he was with me. There was an issue with a vacuum hose of some sort that tore as it was meant to be under vacuum but now it was running with boost. If I was alone, I wouldnt have known what to do. Venkat coolly inspected the whole thing and repaired it and we reached Bangalore. Unfortunately, it tore once more and eventually we replaced that OEM hose with an aftermarket stronger one.

When coolant was leaking into the engine resulting in a billowing cloud of vapour, it was past 11:00 pm and I called Venkat. He immediately dropped everything and came to my house to inspect the car. When we realised it was coolant, he immediately left his car at my disposal and took my car to remove the turbo and fix the OEM catcon. He delivered the car the next day. This kind of customer service is just fantastic. Gave me peace of mind.

Venkat's attention to detail is just something else altogether. I've rarely met someone who is as anal as Venkat when it comes to doing things right.

They are very honest and kept my expectations realistic. They made my realise the importance of OEM tuning. They made it very clear that reaching OEM levels of refinement is very difficult. OEMs spend hundreds of hours, millions of dollars, many months and thousands of kms of testing to fine tune their final engine map. And doing that for us in the aftermarket is very difficult. This was a pleasant change for me. I am used to people from the aftermarket industry always complaining about how badly designed the stock car or components are!

At the end of the whole process, I have renewed respect for the guy who fine tune an OEM car for all conditions the car is supposed to go through. So, my car isnt as refined as the stock Civic but currently, it is not too bad. Again, I am told it will improve once they do the final tuning session on the dyno.

Last edited by Nikhilb2008 : 15th February 2016 at 12:30.
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Old 14th February 2016, 20:48   #6
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

What I didnt like about my experience with Venkat and Joe

The workshop Venkat was working out of was a bit far (Peenya). Later on, he started his own little place in Nagarbhavi. Still a bit far for me.

We did waste a bit of time with that Comp Turbo nonsense. Its no one's fault as I willingly understood the benefits of not having to worry about the oil line and wanted to try it. However, we did waste almost 2 months with this nonsense. Venkat and Joe tried their level best to sort out the issues but when you are using a faulty product itself, it makes your job very difficult.

Apart from this, I dont think I can criticise them. I know it sounds too good to be true and there might be issues in the future but as of now I'm happy.

When it comes to cost, the bulk of the money was spent on the components listed above. You can google for the prices easily.

Apart from that, about 1.5 lakhs was spent on Exhaust plumbing, Intake plumbing, Coolant lines, hoses, fasteners, misc hardware, ECU wiring, ECU installation + tuning and Labour.

I dont know if it's expensive or not but I dont believe in bargaining. I pay whatever they ask me to and I can hold them to their promise. To be honest I really do think a big premium is worth it. Looking at the quality of work, I am very very impressed.

I'll keep updating this thread with more details as and when it happens.
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Old 14th February 2016, 20:55   #7
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

Current issues I face and the future course of action.

The clutch has expired. It is absolutely gone. It's the stock clutch that has run 73k kms, about 8k of it with a turbo. We have ordered a new one from Honda and will be changing it hopefully this week. Currently I can feel a big difference from 2 weeks ago when the car was scary. Now, I can feel the clutch slipping and not transferring power to the wheels.

The fuel economy currently is abysmal. I am told it will improve a lot with some proper tuning. Under full throttle and high speed/high revving conditions, I am getting close to 7. But if I drive a lot in the city pottering around at 20-30kmph, I am getting fuel economy as low as 5.7kmpl.

I am told this is because the idle rpm isnt stable. The Civic has an electronic throttle (throttle by wire). The Haltech ECU responds to inputs from the stock ECU and then controls fuel injection and ignition. The theory currently is that because of this current battle and the lag between the stock ECU and the Haltech, huge gobs of fuel are being dumped into the cylinder at idle.

To solve this issue we have ordered the Haltech Elite 1500 ECU which can control the throttle by wire. This will ensure that the stock ECU is almost null and void and will only be used to control things like the instrument cluster and other minor things. The engine and related things will be controlled entirely by the Haltech.

We have also ordered a set of Brisk Racing spark plugs. http://www.briskracing.com/premium-m...rk-plug-detail

Currently, we are hitting 80% Duty cycle on the 440cc RDX Injectors. So, a second injector upgrade is also due now!

Apart from this, I dont want to do anything more for the car. It's driving beautifully. Refined, smooth and comfortable at city speeds and a rocketship on the highways.

Last edited by Nikhilb2008 : 15th February 2016 at 12:18.
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Old 16th February 2016, 10:30   #8
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Modifications Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 16th February 2016, 11:45   #9
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

I have spent quite some time in this car as a passenger, both with the Comp Turbo and the Disco Potato.

Its safe to say I have never seen any other car which is a complete package - looks good, feels good, pulls good and handles excellent!

The Comp Turbo sounded amazing! I could also sense the difference in the tuning stages; first ride in the Comp Turbo felt somewhat sedate, the car after a tuning session became a lot more violent!

However with the Disco Potato it transformed yet again! The car has become lot quieter and at the same time a lot meaner as well. I remember the first ride with Disco Potato, I was screaming curse words all the way through and it was scary as hell, which ofcourse is an excellent thing

I had a few interactions with Venkat when we were discussing the car's build and I can safely say I haven't met anyone else who is so technically capable as he is

Wishing Nikhil all the best from his car and may it become even more monstrous!
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Old 16th February 2016, 12:54   #10
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

Could you pls share the link for your travelogue of Leh/Ladakh in your civic, i am also planning the same with stock car but with rubberised coil buffer for increased ground clearance.
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Old 16th February 2016, 14:53   #11
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

Quote:
Originally Posted by StallionAmit View Post
Could you pls share the link for your travelogue of Leh/Ladakh in your civic, i am also planning the same with stock car but with rubberised coil buffer for increased ground clearance.
No travelogue yet... Hopefully in a couple of weeks.
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Old 16th February 2016, 17:52   #12
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

Well Nikhil.....thats sounds like an awesome daily driver.

I am looking for a two wheeler to help me during my early onset of mid-life crisis....but something like this would be good too.

Plus the glowing recommendation.....

Can you send me contact details for your tuners so I can try to avail their expertise as well?

Thanks and Happy Motoring!!
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Old 16th February 2016, 19:06   #13
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mnrvokk View Post
Well Nikhil.....thats sounds like an awesome daily driver.

I am looking for a two wheeler to help me during my early onset of mid-life crisis....but something like this would be good too.

Plus the glowing recommendation.....

Can you send me contact details for your tuners so I can try to avail their expertise as well?

Thanks and Happy Motoring!!
You can contact Venkat at +91 96-32-961225. They have a facebook page called Blackworks or something... I dont know if I am allowed to post FB links here though
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Old 17th February 2016, 01:31   #14
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

Congratulations Nikhil. First the Tein and now the turbo. This was what i planned several years ago and you did it.Always wanted to have a drive in your car post the tein and now with TC am looking forward to it all the more. Happy miles mate!

Last edited by blackbeast : 17th February 2016 at 01:34.
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Old 17th February 2016, 11:17   #15
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Default re: Turbo R18 Honda Civic - 34,000 km, a FIRE and a track day!

Super interesting. Thank you for sharing. Like yourself, I am not too much in to numbers and comparisons. At the end of the day, does stepping on the gas result in a silly grin, is all that matters.

I am no engineer and have not read up on how the Comp Turbo folks managed to build a oil-less turbo. I know the working principle of a turbo charger and the components that go in to making one and if you ask me, it is impossible to build a reliable turbo charger without some form of lubrication. The grease deal, even if effective, does not sound like a reliable way to go about it. For the kinda miles you clock, the Comp Turbo would have ended being a headache.

Except for the Inter cooler, your mechanics have done a outstanding job fabricating all the plumbing. They look top notch.

Looking at the placement of the inter cooler, it looks pretty tight and seems to sit right behind the radiator. There are a couple of radiator fans too. Is there some sort of channel or duct, to draft air towards the inter cooler?
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