MotorMo's Whip


MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
Recently swooped an EJ6 97 Black Civic Hatchback. I've wanted to build on this platform for many years, so finding the right one was a must. After some time searching I found this totally stock 97 hatch that I couldn't walk away from. It's now been almost a year since I've owned her, and much has changed since.
I'll start from the beginning of my journey and leak out my adventures of the past until these posts catch up to the present state my whip.
Here's a Photo of the fist day I got her. Black and beautifully stock, even with those 14 inch steel rims with hub caps.
IMG_1223.JPG
 

Last edited:

MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
The next step was to swap out the 14 inch steel rims for something a bit more suitable. I had a set of Integra Type R replica rims with a 4x100 bolt pattern laying around from a previous project, so on they went!
Surprising how much different the car felt with less unsprung weight. She almost felt more secure with the heavier stock rims when mixed with the stock suspension.
Also installed some front mud guards, and started the search for a good pair of rears.
Here's a photo with poor resolution-
IMG_0481.JPG IMG_0568.JPG
 


MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
I wanted my ride to have luxuries like auto windows and power locks. I figured it was the next logical step set since summer was on its way and I needed auto locks for my alarm. So I went to work on getting it done.
After some junk yard searching, I was able to round up all that I needed to complete the install. Both door wiring harnesses, the floor harness, both window regulators, door lock control module, both door lock actuators and the appropriate rods, all the door bezels and switches, the door panels, and the relay to power it all up. I invested in new Honda OEM door lock actuators, so I would never have any problems in the future.
With the new harness on the bench, I installed three pigtail wires in each side of the door harness connector for easy installment of powered mirrors in the future. I also swapped over the wires needed for the rear wiper to work (since EX coupes never had a rear wiper). That way I could make it all OE spec.
It took about a full day-Removed all of my interior and found about 3.46 $ in change, a kids toy, a french fry and some dog hair left by the previous owner. I took the advantage of the situation and detailed the interior of my car under the carpet and behind panels.
I smile now every time I roll down my windows, or use my rear wiper. Its the little things.

IMG_0321.JPG IMG_0295.JPG IMG_0296.JPG IMG_0320.JPG
 



MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
What are the plans for this man?
Big plans haha. Planning on staying NA for as long as I can. Building a balanced car, with a unique touch of personality. Auto crossing, drag racing, coastal driving, and most importantly enjoying the process of the build is what its all about for me. My car is my passion, always has been. Most important to me is the quality of the build, driven by my respect and love for the Civic.
Thanks for checking her out- more updates will follow. (Engine swap, suspension upgrades, and many more...)
 


King Sir

Apex Master
Donator
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
1,489
Cool big plans indeed.

Any idea what engine swap you will do?
 


MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
Cool big plans indeed.

Any idea what engine swap you will do?
Yes, a GSR B18C1 mated to a 98 spec 4.7 Type R trans, with a 9 lb flywheel. I just completed the swap about 3 weeks ago. My thread is far from caught up haha.
 


MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
One of the elements lacking for me on this car was not having power steering. It came with a manual rack which worked well, but I have a hard time leaving things alone when I can improve on them.
I had a 98 spec Integra steering rack from a previous project laying around. I bought it "new" at the dealership, and had about 4,000 miles on it when I removed it. I was hot on the idea of making this rack work in this chassis. The shorter gear ratio, the option to have a fatter front sway bar, and not to mention the Integra Sub frame is a bit beefier than the EJ6's. This is a performance based build after all.
Again to the local junk yard I went. Scavenged up lower control arms, the sub frame, all the bolts and hardware needed form an Integra. I also learned that a four door LS Integra came with the same sway bar as the GSR, So i scored one of those while I was there. I mixed and matched the rest of the steering hoses, reservoirs and brackets to make it all fit and function- robbed parts from an EG, EJ, and DC.
Since the "EG" and the "DC" chassis share the same sub frame, I gambled and used a rear T-Bracket and engine mount from a 93 Honda Civic. Which ended up fitting like a glove.
Every thing went in as if it was designed to be that way from factory. The only hang up was the mounting bracket on the high side hose (from the pump to the rack) needed a custom bracket due to the difference of a B vs D engine.
I included a photo of this make shift bracket. Function over form on that bracket haha.

I performed an alignment before and after the swap to inspect how the two sub frames would effect it. I was amazed to find that after the suspension settled, the alignment specs were exactly the same as before the swap. Go Honda. Lego's for adults.
I have a lack of photos of the swap, because I was getting it done, not focused on posting on line. But photos or it didn't happen right? IMG_0566.JPG IMG_0567.JPG IMG_0715.JPG , so here are a few weak ones.
 


MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
One thing I have always been a weak point in the EJ6 chassis is the seats. They feel like lawn chairs- useless for any spirited driving.
After doing some digging, I fell in love with the pre-face lift EK4 style seats- good bolsters to keep your butt planted in the seat, but comfy enough to drive on the daily.
Found a sweet set that i couldn't pass up- Included was both door panels, both front seats, the rear seats, and the center console.
Some modification was needed on the rear seat brackets, as the JDM bolted up differently.
j.jpg gd (2).jpg IMG_1250.JPG
Now I had a mix of black door panels and grey interior. So the next obvious step was to find some black rear trim pieces. Upon installation, I learned that the EK4/EK9's dont have the rear "crash bar" that USDM EJ6's have. So after some cutting and grinding the install was complete.
IMG_0327.JPGuy.jpg
Fun learning process this has been to see the differences between the EK4/EK9, and my EJ6 chassis.
 


MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
To my surprise, I found out that the EK models had different dashes than the EJ6's. EK's had a center vent built in much like the 5th gen Civics. How could I resist....the search began.
I finally found a left hand drive EK4 dash, with the center vent and air bag location not yet cut- my lucky day.
I quickly went to work, and found that I was able to "peal the dash skin off" with out removing the entire dash ( crash bars, wiring harness, etc... ). All the mounting locations were the same, and the center vent fit perfectly into the EJ6's existing air ducts.
After wiring the clock to the EJ6 dash harness ( never a factory option ) , and figuring what resistor to put in place of my passenger side airbag ( so I could still use my Drivers side SRS )- It was all installed and in working order.
IMG_0334.JPG IMG_0340.JPG
I wanted to reserve the original radio din for gauges as things go down the road, so I relocated my radio to the compartment down below at the cup holders. It took some modification, but I got it looking factory, and was able to make it secured- so it wont fly out at me when I launch down the 1320.
gh.jpg
 


MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
Time to kick the little 1.6 D16Y7 out the whip and swap it for something stronger.
Found a donor Integra GSR, with heavy body damage, but the power train was workable. So after the 4 hour drive at 75 mph in 4th gear (5th gear didn't work) she made it to the operating table. IMG_1018.JPG
Let the surgery begin.
 


MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
The extraction was straight forward and went smoothly. De greased it and begun the tear down.
Funny thing about the 5th gear popping out intermittently- It ended up being caused by the right inner axle splines wearing smooth due to a failed c clip. When the axle road out far enough it would kick it out of 5th. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't experienced it.
IMG_1029.JPG IMG_1051.JPG
I found the 180,000 miles of wear obvious. So I sported for a new, out of the box short block from Honda. Decided to save the original bottom end for a bit more of a radical build down the road. Never hurts to have two engines.
IMG_1067.JPG
It was time to get all the necessary pieces to complete the swap, and send the head out for some reconditioning.
 

Last edited:

MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
Beefed up the top end with some stiffer Ferrea bee hive valve springs, titanium keepers and the appropriate seats. Cleaned up the ports just a bit while it was all apart, but found the intake bowls were already worked on a bit from the factory- ( unlike a OBD0 B16A head I put alot of work into...). Keeping the factory valves, I gave it all to my machinist who put it all back to ether with a fresh valve job. He even back cut the intake valves a bit for better flow. Love my machinist.
Stoked to get the head back all completed- now the long block needed to be assembled, so the wiring harness could be made.
I kept the factory GSR intake manifold, which limits top end power for a bit more low end. There's no races this time of year, so I opted to wire in the IAB's and enjoy the low end grunt for the winter season. I will look forward to something that flows a bit more at a later date.
IMG_1120(1).JPG
I felt like modifying my DX harness was a bit more pain in my ass than I was looking for. In a perfect world, the wiring harness needed to be a modified 97 Civic EX engine harness. So off I went to the junk yard and found a clean donor. The EX harness came with an extra 2 pin connector for an EVAP canister solenoid that my "97 B18C1" didn't use. I was excited as its easy enough to lengthen a couple of wires to reach the IAB's and re-pin a couple of wires at the ECU.
I spent alot of time making the harness perfect to fit and function like a stock wiring harness should from Honda. It basically took both harnesses (the EX and the GSR) to be stripped completely down, over laying the wires, and mocking the harness up to ensure proper length and fitment before the final solder. After re-taping it all up with different looms, it passed my seal of approval.
IMG_1124.JPG IMG_1125.JPG IMG_1126.JPG IMG_1127.JPG IMG_1128.JPG IMG_1129.JPG IMG_1130.JPG
 


MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
IMG_1131.JPG After buttoning up the long block, I mated it up with a 98 spec DC2 Type R trans. Joining the two was an Exedy 9 lbs Flywheel and Type R OEM clutch.
IMG_1136.JPG
Drank one in my car before I put her to sleep.
Pulled the motor out, prepped it and dropped in the B18.
IMG_1117.JPG IMG_1134.JPG IMG_1144.JPG
Finished up some wiring at the ECU, and wiring the secondary O2 sensor through the Factory corresponding connectors and harnesses.
IMG_1151.JPG
After hanging the engine, I learned that the P54 A/C bracket has clearance issues between the chassis and the torque mount. No huge deal, just shaved the top of the mount flat and it fit.
IMG_1159.JPG I later got a PJ7 A/C bracket and a new mount, and things lined up like they should.
IMG_1163.JPG
 


MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
So its handled. Got the B18C1 all bolted in, wired up and running good. Fun to test drive it around my block open headers before i had it towed to the exhaust shop- reminded me of my hay days. Great feeling to drive a brand new out of the box engine from Honda- never thought I'd get to experience that in this life.
Bolted it up to the Apexi Noir exhaust system. Only 2.25 inches Inside Diameter, but all mandrel bends, and the fitment was spot on. I'm sure to open it up bigger down the road, but for what I was looking for, nothing was more spot on. A nice low note, with decent flow, and the blacked out look to not attract the wrong kind of attention.
Got it "Refereed" by California Air Researches Board, basically saying its smog legal, and drove to the coast to further the break in of my engine, and enjoy the music of a new relationship.
IMG_1189.JPG
 


MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
Worked on upgrading the overly small sized brakes on my DX hatch model this week.
Sourced up 2001 GSR complete front hub assemblies from my donor DC2 in the driveway. Found a decent pair of 2000 Civic EX front knuckles from a local junk yard as I needed larger knuckle to accept the bigger front brakes.
The old hardware from the sourced parts were showing there age. The backing plates were crumpled like old tin cans; both ball joints were wiped; one of the wheel bearings failed causing the inner race to spin, damaging the hub. My "spare no cost" mentality with this build lead me to completely strip down and rebuild the knuckles with all new OEM parts. I've learned that its more fun if you only do things once, and never look back.
IMG_1656.JPG IMG_1657.JPG
New Honda ball joints, wheel bearings, hubs, and backing plates were installed in the EX knuckles.
IMG_1644.JPG IMG_1645.JPG IMG_1646.JPG IMG_1647.JPG
Here is a photo of a side by side comparison of the complete knuckles, EX to DX.
IMG_1648.JPG
Found I had to "message" the DX brake lines to accommodate the larger calipers, but got it to work without the lines getting kinked or having sharp bends. My initial thought was to use the DC2 soft brake lines, until I realized that the hard line for the EJ6 comes through the chassis in front of the strut, where as the DC2 hard line comes out behind the strut. The ultimate fix will be 2000 Civic Si brake lines at a later date.
The day was getting late, so I put down the camera and picked up the wrench so I could make time for a burger and beer. Here is a photo of the final product tucked behind my rim. And yes, of course it has new OEM brake pads installed.
IMG_1658.JPG
 


MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
Finished up some suspension work today.
I previously swapped the EJ6 front sub frame for a DC2 sub frame. The lower control arm bushings were shot. I didn't want to go anything but OEM for replacements. I was happily surprised to find that Acura still sold individual bushings, so I didn't have to get a complete new control arm.

IMG_1649.JPG IMG_1650.JPG You can also see in the picture evidence of past mechanics not "preloading" suspension before tightening bolts. Tiny tears from a twisting force helped degrade this bushing.

IMG_1643.JPG IMG_1641.JPG Out with the old, in with the new.

IMG_1651.JPG Never thought new bushings could look so good.
The ride is soo much better. Even my stiff Eibach springs feel much smoother.
Another step closer to race season.....
 



MotorMo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
154
Car(s)
USDM 1997 EJ6
The other morning I started my car, and it started making a super loud ticking sound. The noise got softer when oil pressure showed up to the party. The noise was for sure coming from the valve train. Knowing how problematic the lost motion assemblies are, I quickly went to work on the repairs. Funny because I just built this engine 3,000 miles ago, but decided to leave the LMA's alone. Whoops haha.
IMG_1672.JPG IMG_1673.JPG IMG_1674.JPG IMG_1678.JPG IMG_1680.JPG IMG_1685.JPG IMG_1686.JPG
Super happy with the results. I didn't realize just how noisy all of the older LMA's were. After the repair, I can now hear the sweet symphony of the valve train harmonics. Highly recommend this to any one who has not yet done it. The engine now sounds like its running much smoother, even tho it didn't change any performance or drivability aspect.
IMG_1690.JPG
 


Pete180

Lost in dreams..
Joined
Apr 13, 2012
Messages
1,247
Car(s)
EM1 Coupe
Nice little write up and pictures! I might have to do this new LMA job on mine, I get this rattle sound for 2 seconds on cold starts.
 


Top