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Old 3rd May 2007, 08:56   #1
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Default REPORT with PICS: Refurbishing my OHC Vtec. And some mild performance mods!



At almost 50,000 kms, my 2003 Honda City Vtec was due for a revamp. There aren’t too many new cars that offer the same level of driving pleasure under 10 lacs, so I decided to retain the car and add certain performance / pleasure enhancements to it. It has all kinds of running; thus reliability was key and heavy performance modifications were a big no-no.

First things first, the Vtec was sent over to V12’s / Gordon’s garage for denting and repairing. The initial plan was only to repair certain damaged body parts but the Vtec body is too fragile; daily urban use leads to innumerable dings and dents all over. The car was given a complete make-over paintjob and delivered in 10 days flat. I highly appreciate people who keep their time commitments, and Gordon’s garage was an exception rather than the rule. At least from the Mumbai auto-segment. They delivered a value-packaged paintjob.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 08:57   #2
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Upon delivery, the car was driven straight to Saifee (Santa Cruz) for a tyre / alloy wheel upgrade. The car was yet running on stock 14 inch 175mm tyres which I was really happy with. But Rudra, Rtech, Rehaan and Psycho heavily disagreed . The decision was made to upgrade to 16 inchers with 205mm Yokohama rubber. I am verrrrry particular about alloy wheel design and feel that they really make (or break) the look of the car. For instance, I had spent about 45 days looking for the right set of alloys for my Jeep. Saifee is aware of my nature and had assured me that he will keep a good range of 5 spokes ready. Well, of the 10 designs that were shown to me, I choose these. It was love at first sight and I didn’t even bother to go through the rest of the range. These are perfect! What do you think?

My only initial apprehension was the ride quality with 16 inchers, but boy…I was blown away. The quality of rubber counts a lot and the Yokohama ES100s are pretty soft tyres. The ride quality is extremely compliant and in no ways harsh. Rtech took a spin and commented that there really wasn’t too much of a difference between the old and new setup. Butttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt the steering and handling have gone on to a different level. The grip levels are fabulous (well, as much as the basic Vtec suspension can manage) and at least a couple of light-years ahead of my previous setup. I had to actually alter my driving style since I was so used to “sliding” the Vtec around on bald Bridgestone’s! The steering has become a lot more direct and precise, with the torque steer well under control now.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 08:58   #3
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After an initial glitch where the filter / pipe length I asked for was unavailable, Lalit (from Four Seasons Tardeo) delivered an exemplary level of service by delivering on what was committed. As promised, my car was called for on a Saturday morning and made ready before the committed time. The K&N extreme-flow filter was installed immaculately well with just the right quality of piping, clips and rubber parts. The intake sound is to die for at high rpms, though there might also be a marginal performance increase.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 08:59   #4
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Next on the cards was upgrading the ICE. To check the review, click here.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 08:59   #5
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I gotta admit…..I am a huge sucker for good sound! Psycho told me of the availability of one set of Greddy headers, which were a bolt-on fit to the Indian Vtec. Ajmat had already got a similar pair installed on his Vtec and raved about the performance. It was a no brainer - Order placed and the headers were on the way. I am from the service industry, and am aware of the high-level of commitment (supported by quality infrastructure and staff) that is required to do a professional job. When my headers arrived and it was time for the free-flow exhaust, I didn’t trust anyone as much as Automech exhausts at parel. Me and Rtech headed over to meet Vivek at Automech pretty early on the next weekend. Vivek gave me a couple of options (stainless steel / MS) and asked where I wanted the power delivery improved (Low / mid / high rpm range). The Vtec anyways has a great top end, so I asked for a low – mid power band increase. As promised, the car was ready in the afternoon. The install is extremely clean and looks stock….not like an after-market fitment at all.

I headed straight to an open stretch. With the engine sufficiently warmed up, I let her loose. The throttle response was UNBELIEVABLE! It had become really crisp and the low to mid-range power delivery was leaps ahead of the stock setup. The sheer climb of the needle through the rpm gauge has become a treat to watch and the engine feels a LOT more tractable all through. A bonus was the improved top end. The Vtec has just gotten better!

Look at the headers in the picture. When cold, they are a delicious chrome. Warmed up, they turn bronze.

Last edited by GTO : 3rd May 2007 at 09:22.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 09:00   #6
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All in all, it was a fun month of rejuvenating the Vtec. The customary oil changes / radiator flushes etc. were also completed in the same period. Not only does it have loads of character now, but also has balance. It’s extremely drivable and reliable for daily cruising, yet has become a lot more fun to drive due to the mild pleasure / performance enhancements. I don’t intend to tweak the power any more, but yes….would like to improve the handling and braking. In typical Vtec tradition, the handling leaves a lot to desire for. Even with the 205 rubber.

I got what I wanted and was lucky to find the right service providers.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 09:19   #7
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Good mods. Enjoy your souped up entertainment.
I am not going to ask you how much the entire changes cost
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Old 3rd May 2007, 09:46   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deepakhon View Post
I am not going to ask you how much the entire changes cost
No problem man. Including the paint job, wheels etc. the total came up to about 1.2 lacs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nischint View Post
nice car dude !! from where you got the got bhp sticker ????man..you also have great wheels!!!
Thanks for the compliments. I had some old stock of Team-BHP stickers lying around.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 09:52   #9
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SO your underdog is backkk in action and HOW !
A new sound, new wheels(gr8 choice btw, they blend in well) and a new heart . . . its like putting a whoole lot of anti-aging cream on a 60 year old supermodel . . damn thats a bad analogy i guess i can get away with it ,being a "Senior BHPian" .. newbies pls refrain from such comments

Last edited by Sahil : 3rd May 2007 at 09:54.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 10:04   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Look at the headers in the picture. When cold, they are a delicious chrome. Warmed up, they turn bronze.
Make a long trip and keep above 3500 for some time...it'll be metallic blue.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 10:04   #11
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Let me tell you all the hard work paid off,absolutely well done.Me too agree that the alloys are a major part in defining a good looking car and your choice is excellent.

Also being from the old school of thought I like cars like this which do not shout out that they have been modded.

Last edited by rahul_intlad : 3rd May 2007 at 10:07.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 10:25   #12
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i love your wheels.. and the paintjob looks great.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 10:25   #13
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A perfect example of understated elegance. Beautifully turned out car. I like the way the headers look, superb finish. How do they sound ?? Loud or a rumbling kind of sound ? Overall a very nice car. What's with the handing you said....the usual "unplanted" drive of the OHC ? Can that not be addressed by using KONI shockers ?...uummmm This Vtech is beginning to inspire me , may be I should start looking for one. Enjoy your drive.

Cheers
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Old 3rd May 2007, 10:26   #14
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very neat choice of alloys, purfect rather!!

and a great job at refurbishing, i suggest you get some inputs on suspension job from psycho for handling issues

i was about to say "wash the engine bay" when i saw the air filter pic but then i guess you did by the time you got the headers fitted??
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Old 3rd May 2007, 10:27   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
In typical Vtec tradition, the handling leaves a lot to desire for. Even with the 205 rubber.
Good rejuvenation, GTO. Did you eventually settle for steel/MS for the Automech ? Final query - what abt strut braces on ur VTEC ?
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