David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/4/04 9:27 p.m.

The car made its competition debut this past Saturday, as we ran it at the 4th Annual Florida CRX Meet. Organizers have opened the show to Civic hatchbacks, while any Honda can run in their nighttime autocross.

Before heading out to the Orlando autocross event, the car received a little love. The car has been so maintenance-free to date that we figured we should give things the once-over.

First, we decided to swap the stock 14-inch wheels and tires for something a little sportier, so we dug through the garage to see what would work. Longtime GRM readers may recognize these bronze 15x7-inch Konig Burner wheels, as they graced our 2000 Civic Si at one point. They're still wrapped with a set of BFGoodrich Comp T/A ZR tires, which at this point in time have more or less past their expiration date. Still, we figured it was a decent stopgap measure.

We also changed the oil since, according to the paperwork, 3000 miles had passed since the last service. Out went the dirty old oil, and in went a couple of fresh quarts of Valvoline MaxLife Synthetic oil. Valvoline says this oil is engineered for engines that have covered more than 75,000 miles, as "special seal conditioners to help keep engines cleaner and reduce oil consumption."

We were not experiencing any oil problems beforehand, but figured it was good insurance. We'll keep an eye on oil consumption and keep everyone posted.

So, how did the car do at the autocross? Well, fellow Honda enthusiasts praised the Civic's clean engine compartment, but to be honest the car was a bit of a handful out on course. As expected, the tires were no longer super-sticky, while the totally worn-out shock absorbers allowed the car to lose all composure under braking, acceleration and corner turn-in. The brakes are also a little underwhelming.

At least the event gave us a baseline, confirming that while the car is in good overall shape, it's also a little worn-out. Fortunately these are parts that can easily be replaced--and we have already ordered some stuff....

Longtime GRM friend Lyonel Kent turned us on to RPM Engineering (phone 865-769-4130), a source for Delrin suspension bushings. Our set arrived today, and as a bonus they come pressed in to refurbished control arms.

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