My 1999 Championship White EK9


ek9_jamie

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Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
39
Car(s)
CW Facelift EK9
Hi All.

I recently picked up my 1999 Championship White EK9 Type R. I managed to buy the car at a great price off a fellow forum member and I couldn’t be more happy with it. The car is very tidy considering the price that I paid.

It has been a week since I’ve picked up the car so I’ve not really wanted to do much to it except from drive it and enjoy it. I’m fortunate enough to live right next to the New Forest, which has some great driving roads so I’ve been finding reasons to try and take it out every single day, whether it’s going to the post office or just going making use of the great roads.

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In comparison to my previous car, a Renaultsport Megane 275 Cup-S for anyone interested, it feels completely different in the best ways. The steering has so much more feel and really feels connected to the wheels, the gearbox is absolutely sublime, the engine is an absolute masterpiece and I’m finding myself quickly becoming addicted to reaching the heights of the rev band.

I was lucky enough to find one completely stock except from an intake and an alloy radiator so it’s extremely rewarding driving the car as it would've came from the factory to the most part. It comes as no surprise that our roads in the UK are pretty shocking but the factory suspension makes quick work of it being compliant and well damped but still finding the middle ground where it’s reasonably firm and eager to fly around the corners.

There are a few things that I have noticed from driving the car, nothing massive, but things that I want to sort to make it better and more of a tighter drive. One thing I have noticed is that the car does feel a little bit edgy going around some corners. Where it’s a new car to me, and being a lot older and more raw than the Mégane, it could be a sense of speed on the most part as the Mégane masked speed very well. However, part of this was down to the mis matched, ditch finding tyres that were on the car so I have replaced them by recommendation of a friend to the OEM 195/55 size’d AD08RS. This has made the car feel noticeably more stable but there is no doubt the car could feel much more confidence inspiring. In addition to the new tyres, I’ve booked the car in for a wheel alignment as this is another thing that could make the car feel unstable and one of the basic points that I want to tick off. I do solemnly believe the car would really benefit from having the bushes refreshed but I have my eyes on a specific set and I’ll purchase them in due time.

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After giving the car its first wash recently, for anyone who likes to take care of their paintwork, you end up going over it with a fine toothed comb and for someone as OCD as myself, you notice every little bit. Unfortunately, I did notice a slight bubbling on the rear left arch and a slightly orange tinge on the right rear arch. I also noticed more paintwork related things but the paintwork is surprisingly good on the car so this doesn’t have the up-most priority to be sorted.

After noticing the arches, I decided to strip the car of the bumpers and sills with the help of my brother as he’s a mechanic. One thing that I love about the EK9 is how it encourages you to get stuck in and work on the car. In comparison to my previous cars, it’s incredibly simple where all the rest have been intimidating and made me shy away from trying to work on them, especially where I have very limited mechanical knowledge. Once stripped of the bumpers and sills, I was very happy to see that there were no ‘oh sh*t’ moments. In fact, to the most part, it is very clean and the underseal had done it’s job. There are minor bits that do need attention but nothing that can’t be sorted and nothing to a dramatic extent.

I have managed to book the car in with a highly recommended local bodyshop and will drop the car off with them on August 22nd to see whether I missed anything and how much work I wanted to have sorted on the car. I wanted to have the car booked in before winter so there was no time for anything to get worse. After this, I’ll have to apply some underseal to the areas that have been worked on or find a place to help as I don’t have any experience in this area. Once it comes back from the body shop and has been protected once more, I am eager to change all of the fluids on the car and do the general maintenance just for my peace of mind. This will mainly consist of changing the majority of fluids and filters.

For now this about concludes my first post on the build thread. My vision with the car is to try and make it as tidy as possible while adding a host of the best parts I can get my hands on to make the car as good as it possibly can. I have a terrible habit of trying to rush cars but I’m going to take my time with this one as I am extremely fond of it so I imagine updates won’t be coming thick and fast. I hope it will become an extremely capable and clean example of an EK9 that I’m not afraid to use on track or just use in general. With the level of enjoyment that comes from driving these things, it’s almost criminal to keep it locked up in a garage 90% of the time.

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ek9_jamie

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
39
Car(s)
CW Facelift EK9
The car had its alignment yesterday and it was good to find out that I wasn't going completely mad about the car not driving to its full potential. We got the car up on the alignment machine and could see that it was reading that the rear of the car was toe'ing out by 6mm in total. We tried to rectify it but realised the car was actually setup to run full toe in on the rear already so there was no room for further adjustment.

On closer inspection we realised that the bushes were in such a bad way, that there was nothing we could do until I refreshed the bushings. In conclusion, I'm going to do a complete bushing refresh on the car, I know all of them don't need to be replaced but the car is at that point where I think the rest will be quite worn. I'll be sticking with the OEM Honda rear trailing arm bushes but I'm still undecided what to do with the rest. Needless to say, I can't wait until I can refresh the bushes, set the alignment straight and give it a good drive.

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gwailo

Active Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
177
When it comes to replacing mine, which I am doing very slowly, I'm using Hardrace bushes, trying to retain some comfort as the UK roads are crap. OEM was used for the rear trailing arm bushes, as most recommend.

For the front lower ball joints, I will stick with OEM as they lasted 130K, but they are on there way out.

Some people have commented that poly bushes can be harsh for NVH.
 


ek9_jamie

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
39
Car(s)
CW Facelift EK9
When it comes to replacing mine, which I am doing very slowly, I'm using Hardrace bushes, trying to retain some comfort as the UK roads are crap. OEM was used for the rear trailing arm bushes, as most recommend.

For the front lower ball joints, I will stick with OEM as they lasted 130K, but they are on there way out.

Some people have commented that poly bushes can be harsh for NVH.
How are you getting on with the Hardrace bushes? Finding much of a difference? I’ll be sticking with the OEM RTA.

I haven’t looked at the ball joints but I imagine I will stay OEM when they need replacing.
 


gwailo

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Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
177
Still got them to fit, hence the very slowly part : )
So waiting to go on are new front lower control arms inc new bushes, front ARB bushes, drop links, will be looking to buy the upper control arms when we get closer to black Friday sales, probably get the lower ball joints as well. Something to do over the winter.
 


danbo2002

Active Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
194
In my opinion your best to do them all man, if some are away chances are the rest are not far behind

The parts I used for my overhaul was
Spoon full bush kit
Honda RTA bushings
Honda ARB D bushes, front & rear
Hardrace reinforced endlinks, front & rear
Honda ball joints, front, upper & lower
Honda track rod ends
Hardrace OE style hardened inner tie rods
Hardrace steering rack bushes
Spoon rigid collar kit, front & rear

I also fitted Spoon fixed height progressive suspension kit which came with new top mount rubbers,

Had it on over a year now.
No extra cabin noise or vibration over stock setup, comfy as stock setup but a little extra performance.
 


ek9_jamie

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
39
Car(s)
CW Facelift EK9
In my opinion your best to do them all man, if some are away chances are the rest are not far behind

The parts I used for my overhaul was
Spoon full bush kit
Honda RTA bushings
Honda ARB D bushes, front & rear
Hardrace reinforced endlinks, front & rear
Honda ball joints, front, upper & lower
Honda track rod ends
Hardrace OE style hardened inner tie rods
Hardrace steering rack bushes
Spoon rigid collar kit, front & rear

I also fitted Spoon fixed height progressive suspension kit which came with new top mount rubbers,

Had it on over a year now.
No extra cabin noise or vibration over stock setup, comfy as stock setup but a little extra performance.
You’ve got a great setup by the sounds of it. To start with I’ll try and do the bushes and move onto other parts when I have the income.

I’m torn between OEM Honda, Hardrace and Spoon for bushes. People seem to really like the Hardrace offering and speak highly of the quality, plus it’s £140 cheaper than Spoon. I’m not sure I’d be paying for the brand name more than anything with the Spoon bushings?
 


danbo2002

Active Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
194
I’m torn between OEM Honda, Hardrace and Spoon for bushes. People seem to really like the Hardrace offering and speak highly of the quality, plus it’s £140 cheaper than Spoon. I’m not sure I’d be paying for the brand name more than anything with the Spoon bushings?
There’s definitely not much between them in build quality mate, from what I’ve seen they are all excellent. So you can’t really go wrong with whatever brand you pick.

I’d say the Spoon and Hardrace hardened rubber stuff feels about 25 percent stiffer over the OEM Honda stuff but It’s still perfectly comfortable for everyday road conditions. I Live in Edinburgh, I’m sure we have some of the worst roads in the UK and it deals with it as the stock setup would. Perfectly. no unwanted noises or vibrations. Doesn’t crash about or get unsettled on uneven surfaces, just like stock but slightly stiffer

only reason I went with the Spoon bush kit over the Hardrace is I wanted my setup to stay consistent, I had already chosen the Spoon suspension kit to go on and had the Spoon engine mounts fitted so wanted to make sure all the rubber was pretty much the same firmness throughout the car. I pieced in the Hardrace stuff to keep the slightly stiffer than stock theme going

I tried the Hardrace ARB D bushes but found them to be very squeaky, Greased them up but the squeak appeared again a few weeks later, so I changed them out for OEM Honda ones and problems never came back
 


ek9_jamie

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
39
Car(s)
CW Facelift EK9
There’s definitely not much between them in build quality mate, from what I’ve seen they are all excellent. So you can’t really go wrong with whatever brand you pick.

I’d say the Spoon and Hardrace hardened rubber stuff feels about 25 percent stiffer over the OEM Honda stuff but It’s still perfectly comfortable for everyday road conditions. I Live in Edinburgh, I’m sure we have some of the worst roads in the UK and it deals with it as the stock setup would. Perfectly. no unwanted noises or vibrations. Doesn’t crash about or get unsettled on uneven surfaces, just like stock but slightly stiffer

only reason I went with the Spoon bush kit over the Hardrace is I wanted my setup to stay consistent, I had already chosen the Spoon suspension kit to go on and had the Spoon engine mounts fitted so wanted to make sure all the rubber was pretty much the same firmness throughout the car. I pieced in the Hardrace stuff to keep the slightly stiffer than stock theme going

I tried the Hardrace ARB D bushes but found them to be very squeaky, Greased them up but the squeak appeared again a few weeks later, so I changed them out for OEM Honda ones and problems never came back
I’ll look more into the Spoon option of the bushes and see what the best price is that I could get them for. Do you mind me asking what you paid?

I’d probably change my engine mounts too and if you have a tried and tested setup which causes minimal vibration, this is quite encouraging. When I emailed Hardrace they actually said that their hardened rubber bushings were 50% stiffer than stock so choosing their engine mounts too could cause issues.

I’ll make sure to keep that in mind when I replace the ARB bushes in the future.
 


danbo2002

Active Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
194
I’ll look more into the Spoon option of the bushes and see what the best price is that I could get them for. Do you mind me asking what you paid?

I’d probably change my engine mounts too and if you have a tried and tested setup which causes minimal vibration, this is quite encouraging. When I emailed Hardrace they actually said that their hardened rubber bushings were 50% stiffer than stock so choosing their engine mounts too could cause issues.

I’ll make sure to keep that in mind when I replace the ARB bushes in the future.
I can’t remember the exact price I paid mate but I got them from Spoon.eu

50 percent stiffer surprises me, to me they don’t feel that stiff but I suppose it’s hard to quantify.
I know Hardrace offer two types of engine mount kits. One kit has the original 5 mounts, this is there OE style kit, the other kit is a 3 mount kit and it has to be stiffer as you lose the 2 torque mounts.
So would be interesting to find out which kit they were meaning when they said 50 percent stiffer.

I’ve seen folk saying they do get a little more noise and vibration from the Spoon mounts but I’ve not experienced any over the standard items. If there is more it’s minimal, that slight that I haven’t noticed
 


ek9_jamie

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Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
39
Car(s)
CW Facelift EK9
I can’t remember the exact price I paid mate but I got them from Spoon.eu

50 percent stiffer surprises me, to me they don’t feel that stiff but I suppose it’s hard to quantify.
I know Hardrace offer two types of engine mount kits. One kit has the original 5 mounts, this is there OE style kit, the other kit is a 3 mount kit and it has to be stiffer as you lose the 2 torque mounts.
So would be interesting to find out which kit they were meaning when they said 50 percent stiffer.

I’ve seen folk saying they do get a little more noise and vibration from the Spoon mounts but I’ve not experienced any over the standard items. If there is more it’s minimal, that slight that I haven’t noticed
That’s interesting, I’ll take a proper look into the Hardrace options but I think I would rather go Mugen or Spoon engine mounts for sure, like you said it would be better to keep it OEM plus.
 


ek9_jamie

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
39
Car(s)
CW Facelift EK9
I've starting to slowly make a few modifications to the EK9, nothing big but I find joy in the smallest details. Unfortunately, I haven't spent much time driving the EK9 recently, all down to a certain circumstance which I'll explain more about in due time. I did get the chance to drive it recently after a few weeks. The driving experience is so intoxicating, smile inducing and full of theatre. Coming from my previous car, I was slightly skeptical how much fun I would have but it never fails to put a smile on my face.

Now, down to the modifications. I managed to get my hands on a Honda stereo and aerial delete and some Spoon Sports rear view mirror glass. I don't really find myself using the stereo when you have the B series soundtrack to listen to, it never gets old. With the EK9, I think it suits the raw and driver-focused persona down to the ground, it doesn’t need ‘luxury’. The Spoon Sports mirror glass comes as a nice subtle upgrade where my OEM mirror glass was starting to peel and scratch away. I'm very happy with the outcome, it's a very small detail but makes such a big difference. Unfortunately, I didn't find time this weekend to install the stereo and aerial delete but managed to get the Spoon Sports glass in.

The more time I spend in the EK9, the more fond I grow of it. Since the start of my ownership I've had three people get in touch with me directly asking if it's for sale and the truth is, I can't see it being for sale any time in the near future. It really ticks every box I wanted and shows that you don't need hundreds of horsepower and luxury options to have fun.

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