Klayfish
Klayfish HalfDork
1/24/12 6:37 a.m.

In my search for a weekend/sunny day/maybe HPDE day car, I've mostly been looking at NA Miata. Also have non-kid hacked Integra, non-kid hacked MKII MR2 on the list of potentials. While combing CL and Ebay, I realized that I may be able to stretch my budget just far enough to grab a higher mileage '02-'03 Acura RSX.

I don't have any experience with them. I've had an Integra ('96 GS-R), but that was many years ago. Is the 5 spd RSX a fun street car in non Type S form? If I can get to a track day, I will, but 99% of it's use would be street driving on days I don't take my DD. Any trouble spots to watch out for? I see them all over with 200k+ miles, so I'm guessing they're pretty stout.

Sonic
Sonic Dork
1/24/12 7:25 a.m.

The non-s RSX just isn't that good. The suspension is inferior to the Integra (struts instead of double wishbone, and has very limited travel). The biggest thing the RSX had going for itself was the engine/trans combo in the type s, which is great. The non s is a very pedestrian motor, sucks most of the fun out of the car.

Rusted_Busted_Spit
Rusted_Busted_Spit SuperDork
1/24/12 8:31 a.m.

The only experience I have had with the RSX is the driving school at Mid Ohio. When I went they were using RSX Type S. If I remember correctly the school only changed the suspension and tires. It seemed to work well for the day we got to beat on them.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
1/24/12 8:52 a.m.

I drove and raced a 2002 RSX for 3 years and had a ball.

People talk trash all day about the K20A3 engine but it was more flexible than the Type S engine, made its torque lower in the rev range, didn't require 93 octane and is reliable as an anvil. Also, it was geared lower and didn't have any of the syncro issues of the 6-speed.

My car met its demise via old man running a red light in 2010. I had 186k miles on it and it was still running as new. Compression numbers never changed during my ownership, which was from 56k to the final 186k. Zero rust issues.

The only thing I ever had to fix was a TPS, rear motor mount (10 minute job) and an O2 sensor. Other than that it was oil changes and fill it with gas.

It was a great car and if I found another good example I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. Things to look out for with racing - the rear end takes a TON of spring to get real any real effect and the biggest tire you can fit is a 235 in the rear unless you roll the fenders. The front end can take a 245 tire no problem. I ran 225/45-17's and regularly outran Type-S' on the autoX course.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve SuperDork
1/24/12 8:59 a.m.

What ever happened to the small car from Acura? The TSX is not much of a replacement for the Type-R Integra, or even the RSX-S. They used to have the most beloved pocket-rocket in the US, and now they have a small wagon. (A good small wagon I'll admit, but not a Type-R certainly)

szeis4cookie
szeis4cookie Reader
1/24/12 9:02 a.m.

I rode in an HS base RSX once a couple years ago. Granted the lot was VERY tight, keeping speeds down, but it sure seemed like it was a riot. Exactly how cheap have those gotten?

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
1/24/12 9:11 a.m.

If you can get past the looks.... the Celica is a lighter, more nimble choice.

But if you can't get past the looks, i certainly understand.

Klayfish
Klayfish HalfDork
1/24/12 9:14 a.m.
Sonic wrote: The non-s RSX just isn't that good. The suspension is inferior to the Integra (struts instead of double wishbone, and has very limited travel).

I loved my GS-R. I never autox'd or tracked it, but I enjoyed the hell out of it in regular driving. But finding an unmolested Integra that doesn't look like a Pep Boys refugee is virutally impossible. The NA Miata is probably still at the top of my list, but thought the RSX might make a fun little coupe I could drive a lot.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
1/24/12 9:45 a.m.

I have never liked the RSX. It always felt like a massive disappointment compared to the Teggy.

I would look at the Celica over the RSX but the Celica does have oil starvation problems in hard cornering.

Otto Maddox
Otto Maddox Dork
1/24/12 9:47 a.m.

I think the RSX is a great car, but they are really overpriced. Well, they seem that way to me.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
1/24/12 9:49 a.m.
93EXCivic wrote: I have never liked the RSX. It always felt like a massive disappointment compared to the Teggy. I would look at the Celica over the RSX but the Celica does have oil starvation problems in hard cornering.

Moroso pan FTW.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
1/24/12 10:01 a.m.
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote:
93EXCivic wrote: I have never liked the RSX. It always felt like a massive disappointment compared to the Teggy. I would look at the Celica over the RSX but the Celica does have oil starvation problems in hard cornering.

Moroso pan FTW.

Does it do enough? I was under the impression that an Accusump was needed as well.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
1/24/12 10:05 a.m.

I don't know... i'd be perfectly willing to give it a shot, though.

I still feel this issue has been blown out of proportion. Might be an issue with big slicks on a totally worked suspension, but i don't see it on street tires, quite honestly.

jonnyd330
jonnyd330 New Reader
1/24/12 10:17 a.m.

In reply to Klayfish:

I am doing the same thing, looking for an NA miata for weekend duty and maybe some weekday driving. I am having a hard time locating a decent one in my area so I was thinking about looking at some other cars. I really would prefer RWD for track days but I don't know what else to look at.

BenB
BenB New Reader
1/24/12 10:24 a.m.

I've had an 05 Type S for 18 months. By far the most reliable car I've ever owned, but also one of my least favorites. One of those "seemed like a good idea at the time" purchases.

The good:

Goes great down the highway; nice and stable above 75. Seems to have good handling, but I don't really explore it because of the seats (more on that later). You can get a lot of crap in the back, thanks to the hatch.

The Bad:

I could have made better seats with some plywood. The seat bottom is hard and horizontal, so I tend to submarine under the seatbelt, even with the seatback complately vertical. After driving 4.5 hours home from the Mitty, I had cramps in my left leg and lower back from constantly pushing on the dead pedal to slide myself back into the seat. The side bolsters don't really keep me in place, either. Going around cloverleaf on-ramps is interesting. Maybe my butt just isn't wide enough. I gave the drivers seat a Miata-style foamectomy, which helped a little. Not a fan of the 6-speed, but you need it to keep the engine spinning fast enough to keep the V-tech kicked in (yo!). Otherwise, typical Honda no-torque engine, with no power below 5500 rpm. Car has the outward visibility of a Lamborghini.

I gave up my 96 MX6 V6 for this car, and even though the Mazda was slower, it was actually way more fun to drive. Looked a lot better, too! BTW, I liked my old Integra better, too!

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
1/24/12 10:58 a.m.
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote: I don't know... i'd be perfectly willing to give it a shot, though. I still feel this issue has been blown out of proportion. Might be an issue with big slicks on a totally worked suspension, but i don't see it on street tires, quite honestly.

I have heard of a race prepared Celica going thru 5-6 engines a season.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
1/24/12 11:00 a.m.
93EXCivic wrote:
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote: I don't know... i'd be perfectly willing to give it a shot, though. I still feel this issue has been blown out of proportion. Might be an issue with big slicks on a totally worked suspension, but i don't see it on street tires, quite honestly.

I have heard of a race prepared Celica going thru 5-6 engines a season.

I'm starting to get deja vu.

Be as it may... i'm not entirely sure that applies to what OP is looking for.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
1/24/12 11:02 a.m.
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote:
93EXCivic wrote:
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote: I don't know... i'd be perfectly willing to give it a shot, though. I still feel this issue has been blown out of proportion. Might be an issue with big slicks on a totally worked suspension, but i don't see it on street tires, quite honestly.

I have heard of a race prepared Celica going thru 5-6 engines a season.

I'm starting to get deja vu.

Be as it may... i'm not entirely sure that applies to what OP is looking for.

I would agree that it probably depends on the level of grip but Elises have that problem on the stock tires...

I like the Celica but I would do at least a swap the oil pan and maybe add Accusump before using it for HPDEs.

Hasbro
Hasbro Dork
1/24/12 2:50 p.m.

Op, the RSX is basically the same suspension, chassis, and drivetrain as the EP3 Si. They are great dd but for performance they are a bit lackluster in stock form. They are locally competetive and are fun track cars.

To be serious machines the modifications take them out of competetive classes but pretty good headways have been made. Na, the K20A3 is good for about 185 or 190 whp but there are some guys changing a few things around and it looks as if a very dependable fuel efficient 210+ with very good torque and oem Honda parts is very close to fruition. Most guys turbo/sc or swap in a different motor and leave it at that.

The suspension mods have also improved to the point they can be lowered decently with caster, roll center, etc., improvements. A racing engineer on the RSX/EP forums has recently started doing some really great work on the suspension.

The car also really comes alive with weight reduction. It handles like a different car. Stock the A3 RSX/EPs have about 20.5lbs/whp. :( The JDM R has about 14.8/whp... lots of room for improvement.

I have an EP3 and really love it. It's sort of a dd and my goal is 10lbs./whp using the K20A3 na. I'm also pleasantly surprised by how well it handles and it will only get better. Basically nuetral with a bit of oversteer when expected. Very predictable.

Hope this helps.

Zomby woof
Zomby woof SuperDork
1/24/12 7:06 p.m.

My son has one, and loves it. It's been perfectly reliable, and excellent on fuel. I love the way it looks, and think it's probably a great car, but have no interest in driving it. The car has no personality, is uncomfortable, and just seems so boring. To me, it is in no way superior to my wife's Cobalt, which I think it should be.

kilgoretrout
kilgoretrout New Reader
1/25/12 12:18 a.m.

My girlfriend has an '02 Type S that I pretty much drive all of the time. In the 4 yrs that she's had it there have been exactly (knock on wood) zero things go wrong. Change the oil, fill with gas, repeat.

The handling is pretty good stock, and I'll never get sick of taking the engine to 8K. Overall, I would describe the car as being "zippy" around town. Also, the hatchback makes it really nice for shoving big things in there. I've even slept in it a few times, with the seats folded down.

However, I did own a GSR at one point and I can say, without question (for me at least), that the Integra was a much more exciting experience. I can't explain why but it just is/was.

02rsxpilot
02rsxpilot New Reader
5/10/12 11:50 a.m.

Been driving a base 5-speed RSX for nearly 10 years. Bottom line, for what the OP is asking (99% DD/Fun, 1% HPDE) this is a brilliant car. Sure, the Type-S gets the glory, and there are times I wish I had that extra 40 HP, but I actually prefer the 5-speed gearbox and base stereo flexibility. Throw in the difference between buying 87 instead of 91 for 10 years, better MPG, and insurance differences, and the 40 HP starts to get trivial real fast.

For HPDE, this was widely praised as being one of the best handling FWD car ever tested by numerous mags when it came out. For pure tracking, the rear geometry is a bit lacking when you get into lowering the car, so if you do modify the suspension you need to retain some ride height.

The downsides are obvious. It lacks low RPM power, so you have to be in the right gear all the time if you want throttle response. It also has a bit of a blindspot on the driver side, but the mirrors do a great job of minimizing this. It is also a bit bland in styling as a stock model. I, however, got mine with the factory side skirts, aero front and rear, and spoiler. Frivolous, perhaps, but it is a damn good looking car with these options, while still looking mature enough to outclass the fast and furious wannabes.

My recommendation is if you can find one that has been babied for under $10k, buy it. You won't regret it. I think it looks vastly better than a Celica, or Cobalt.

coll9947
coll9947 Reader
5/10/12 12:25 p.m.

I know that the handling was so suspect that the 05+ RSX is one of the few cars made that had springs wound in opposite directions for each side in a poor attempt to fix it.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury UltimaDork
5/10/12 12:47 p.m.
coll9947 wrote: I know that the handling was so suspect that the 05+ RSX is one of the few cars made that had springs wound in opposite directions for each side in a poor attempt to fix it.

lol, I once had a honda-tech troll try to convince me that the reason some of the springs on the 05 were wound opposite because the opposite wound springs were JDM - he wanted me to believe that they were wound different because Japan is in the southern hemisphere ...kinda like how Australian toilets flush opposite of ours.

...I never talked to that guy ever again

bravenrace
bravenrace PowerDork
5/10/12 1:07 p.m.

I think Klayfish has probably made up his mind about this one by now...

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