May 15, 2008 update to the Honda CRX HF project car

CRX (Finally) Gets Some Love

f all goes according to plan, the car will make its HPDE debut this coming weekend.
Yep, it’s 1993 all over again. Now we just need some TSW wheels and a SuperTrapp.
There’s a lot to love here: Progress coil-overs and SPC aluminum arms.
The front suspension got a redo, too.
The CRX is much happier on its new suspension. It’s quite comfortable, too. Yes, we’re going for the stormtrooper/panda look.
The old air filter looked a little tired, so it has been replaced. Eventually we’ll get a real brand-name filter for it. Call this a stopgap measure.
The CRX with new front brakes—Si calipers and rotors along with Hawk HP Plus pads. Fluid is Ate.
While the car was in the shop we also changed the oil. Here’s Per pouring in some Royal Purple, the official oil of “Iron Man.”

First thing to do was make the car mobile.

After sitting in an auto cocoon for way too long, the CRX has been moved to the front burner. How’d we do that? Easy. Just registered for a NASA HPDE track event that takes place this coming weekend at Roebling Road. That phone call got us moving.

First thing to do was make the car mobile. We loved the weight savings provided by the little Braille Auto battery, but it wasn’t happy sitting dormant for so long. The original-style battery is now back under the hood. Sure, we may be giving up some max performance, but at least the car now starts when asked.

The next big project was to get rid of the world’s worst steering wheel. The car came with some cheese-o aftermarket place hooked to an equally lame quick-release hub. Apparently someone else also detested this piece, as the hub bore the scars of a removal attempt.

Yeah, the wheel was on there tightly. Guess they never heard of a steering wheel puller. The half-hour spent going down to AutoZone for the puller and Lowe’s for some hardware was worth the trip. A few turns of a ratchet put the offending steering wheel hub in our hand.

In its place went a retro Momo Benetton wheel. We were looking for something cool and different and found this NOS wheel online. Price was about $150, which is really a great deal for a new Momo wheel. The hub came from LTB Motorsports, and the whole things went together as planned. This was Thursday evening’s project. (By the way, props to LTB for shipping the wheel so quickly.)

On Friday, the car got a new suspension. While the latest and greatest isn’t required for an HPDE event, our car had some suspension issues including positive camber at one corner and a serious clunk. We figured it was best to start here. Out when the old, in went a set of beautiful Progress coil-overs.

Since the Progress rear shocks are designed to work with 1989-’91 lower rear arms, we had to replace our stock 1988-spec pieces. SPC makes some nice aluminum pieces that fit the bill. They also have provisions so we can mount a rear anti-roll bar. We also installed some SPC adjustable upper arms at the same time.

Everything fit perfectly, and the ride is actually pretty darn good. We’ll give a full report once we put on some miles, but initially we’re really happy.

The clunk? A previous owner had fitted a camber kit up front, and one of the bolts had failed. Fortunately the seller still had the stock Honda piece. Geoff Thompson aligned the car, dialing in zero toe out back and 1/32-inch toe-in up front. We now have -.8 degrees of rear camber and -1.2 degrees of front camber.

Now we need to do the brakes. Turns out that really no one stocks decent pads for our HF calipers, so we’re upgrading to Si calipers and rotors.

In other news, our CRX is now rolling on some Rota Beats.

We also took a real look at our air filter, and it was pretty gross. It’s basically a no-name open-element affair. The grassroots thing would have been to clean and re-oil it. The really grassroots thing was to replace with another one that we had here at the office. We figured this move saved us some time so we can get back to editing the next issue.

Finally, we cleaned up some of the under-dash wiring. There were some speaker cables laying behind the pedals, and we figured that wasn’t the safe setup for a visit to the track. A few strategically placed zip-ties made things much neater.

Then we turned our attention to changing the oil and installing new brakes. Since we had a tough time finding some track-ready pads for the stock HF calipers, we upgraded to Si calipers along with the larger, matching rotors. Both pieces bolted to our uprights. (We’re pretty sure they’re Si pieces.)

The HF and Si versions of the CRX used the same master cylinder and proportioning valve that year, so in theory there wouldn’t be any surprises. Now we could install some easy-to-source Hawk HP Plus brake pads. After doing the work, we followed Hawk’s bed-in procedure for the pads.

We also changed the oil last night, and today we picked up our numbers from Hawkeye Signs & Graphics. Tonight the car gets a bath.

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Comments
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ZOO
ZOO UltraDork
5/19/08 12:08 p.m.

I'd be curious to know what your track mileage will be compared to an Si. Do you have anything to compare it to?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/20/08 9:29 a.m.

We used about 4.8 gallons per hour on track. (That includes cool-down laps, too.) More on our track outing soon.

wbjones
wbjones UltimaDork
5/17/09 9:37 a.m.

Now we need to do the brakes. Turns out that really no one stocks decent pads for our HF calipers, so we’re upgrading to Si calipers and rotors.

it's too late now since you've already done the upgrade, but for future reference , Carbotech will custom make just about any pad if you will send them the backing plate...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/2/10 5:04 p.m.

That is true, Carbotech will do custom pads. Since we were short on time, we needed something readily available. We also didn't know the condition of our calipers, so it was probably smart to replace/refresh them, anyway.

PS122
PS122 Reader
3/1/11 11:57 a.m.

Which Progress Coilovers did you use Competition Series I or II (CS-I or CS-II)? And how do feel they compare to the more commonly used Koni/GC set-ups?

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