EK4 VTi-R Project

Hey everyone! Just for something random today my girlfriend and I bought an EK4 Civic VTI-R hatch, which is an extremely rare find down here! It's in truly excellent condition considering the age, but previous owners have done some evil things to it such as a truly horrific stereo install, and lowered the car so much that it's a nightmare to drive on the road, etc.

It's going to be a second car/city car for us, but also a bit of fun and a project. The first thing on the to-do list is to remove the "ultra-low" suspension and replace it with the factory springs which were also supplied...it's simply unusable in its current state, not able to negotiate driveways/entrances, soaking up flaws in our crappy road surfaces, etc and it's bloody dangerous! New performance tyres and an alignment will follow obviously, as the ridiculous camber on it currently has destroyed the insides of the nearly new tyres that are fitted (what a waste!).

The second thing on the to-do list is to rip out the entire dodgy stereo install and redo it neatly and correctly. I'll take some better pics tomorrow of it, but we were cringing in horror at how bad it is! The subwoofer is also so large that the whole boot is unusable (thinking of getting a slimline all in one unit), and the amps need to be relocated into a better spot to avoid damage and be more practical. I'd be interested in seeing what solutions people have come up with for this problem btw!

The main priority for now is tidying it up and getting everything sorted, then the fun begins with modifications. Improving braking performance and handling are are what I want to address as soon as possible.

That should do it for my into for now, but I look forward to all your input and feedback, and sharing this build with you! Enjoy these pics and I'll put up some proper ones tomorrow morning! =)

Despite the rain, I ran outside to take a few pictures of the "professionally installed" sound system (that's what was advertised!). I should mention that the live wire from the battery is through the firewall without a grommet surrounding it...heavens above!! :shock: Like previously mentioned, I'm going to pull everything out and start from scratch which also means buying a whole new system that actually fits the car.:D

Firstly we have a massive subwoofer which takes up the entire boot, and is free to slam about in there because it's not secured down. Fail.

Next we have a 2ch amp which was clearly installed with zero care-factor given. The wiring's a complete mess and a blindfolded monkey could have done better. Fail.

There's also the 4ch amp which has the same high quality of installation work as the 2ch one above. Fail.

Somebody thought it would be a brilliant idea to fit "oversized" Pioneer 6 1/2" component speakers (that's what it says on the grille), and think that this actually looks acceptable. It looks like utter crap and the speakers are just as bad to listen to. I'm hoping that the door trims haven't been mutilated to make these fit, but thankfully the original speaker grilles for the door trim were included in the sale.

Lastly the tweeters have been mounted on the dash and look absolutely hideous! They're really screechy and unpleasant to the ears, so will be glad to see these gone! For the next pair of speakers I will get some factory tweeter mounts like are shown in the second pic and have a discrete installation. That will go a long way to making the interior less of a teenager's screwed up version of "cool"! :cool:


Just a quick progress update. The engine bay was pretty filthy and was in need of a good clean, so while the weather has been nice this morning I've managed to get things to this level so far. Plenty more cleaning still to do!

Super clean start! I like where your project is heading. Its amazing the crappy work that people will pay for and be ok with. As the famous quote goes " Build the best, fix the rest". You can fit 6 1/2 front speakers in the door and make it look stock, but you need to grind the plastic 'basket' in order to make it fit. Google it up. She looks real clean.

Thanks for the kind words mate! The best place to start is with a clean slate, so getting everything back to original and perfectly clean makes sense, plus it's my way of knowing that everything is done properly and reduces likelihood of problems later on. Thanks for your heads-up with the front speaker sizing btw, much appreciated! Armed with that knowledge I've found a set of components which are the right diameter and depth to fit behind the factory grilles, so that's one less thing to stress about. =)

Today is suspension day which I'm pretty excited about, but also dreading the boredom of it. It's going to be one of those days I can sense...I just tried to jack the front end up, but it's so low that the trolley jack won't even fit under the jacking points, and I can't even drive it onto some ramps to help! :cussing: I'm hoping that by doing the rears first, it should create just enough clearance to squeeze the jack under the front jacking points. It just mystifies me why people do such crap and impractical modifications at times...sure it looks "cool" lowered so much, but it's completely ruined the handling, you can't drive it anywhere, and you're screwed if you get a flat tyre (quite likely here in Aus)! :what:
I feel ya. It seems in my area that slammed look is the last stop for a Honda before it gets retired. As a mechanic I've seen many smashed oil pans causing oil pressure issues, crushed header pipes, and wrinkled chassis. Kinda sad- or maby I'm just getting older and have a soft spot for the older Hondas of yesterday as I watch them go. Like any thing else tho, if done well it can look super 'clean', but to do it 'right' takes alot money and time-and not everybody that wants that look has those two ingredients. Nice that you seized the chance to save one. High five.
Here is a tip for ya- you can put 2x4's under the tire and drive up on them to give you the space you need or the jack. Good luck.
Annoyingly my day was interrupted yesterday, so didn't get time to do the suspension as planned! While I was out running errands I picked up some replacement globes for a parker light, the rear high-mount stoplight and the interior light, and will fit those tomorrow. In between running errands today I managed to detail the interior and exterior of the car, and am amazed at how well it's come up (sorry for the bad quality of pics!). The exterior black trim pieces were starved of nourishment and took a lot of time to get right, but it was well worth the effort. For a 22yo car, it's still looking like new! :D

I've also got around to photographing all of the audio gear and listing it on Gumtree (a local online site for selling stuff). The idea is that the proceeds from that train-wreck of a system go towards the new system. Speaking of, I did some digging around in the garage and found a cracking headunit which I bought for a BMW I had a couple of years ago and never got around to fitting. Winner winner chicken dinner! :D



I had a Civic once.
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Looks good! JL Audio subs are some of the best you can find, so make sure to get some good $ if you sell it!

You have a very clean platform to work with here. Paint on that looks nearly flawless! Looking forward to seeing how this progresses.
Looks good! JL Audio subs are some of the best you can find, so make sure to get some good $ if you sell it!

You have a very clean platform to work with here. Paint on that looks nearly flawless! Looking forward to seeing how this progresses.
I've got $60 on it which is a reasonable figure and should help it move quickly...storage space is at a premium around here unfortunately so it must go asap!

Thanks for the kind words! The paint is in really great condition and has been well looked after, and there's a surprising lack of stonechips. There is a minor amount of clear coat which is starting to lift just below the rear side window and below the drivers door, but I'm not too fussed about it for the moment, that's something to address a little later. There are also a couple of very minor dents on the passenger door which I'll get seen to shortly. Considering it's 22yo, I'm seriously impressed by its condition. :D

I've already written a need-list and a lust-list, which has helped me plan out how the build is going to take shape. I plan on keeping it looking immaculate and as stock as possible, as it's more fun not flaunting what you've got...very much a "sleeper". ;)

The suspension will be changed tomorrow so that it's ready to pass the Roadworthy Inspection. Ditto for the rear engine mount next week (had to order it) and some new tyres. After that changing the stereo system is my priority, then will be getting into the fun stuff like braking upgrades, suspension change, chassis stiffening and bracing, upgrading bushes, etc. Once I'm happy with that, then it's all about the power! :D
I got up early this morning and got cracking with swapping the springs over. The trick of driving over a block of wood did the trick (just!), so was able to get going with the front end.

The old strut out

The original spring and shocker cleaned and ready for assembly

Refitting the strut

I figured while I was in the wheel arch, I might as well give everything a thorough clean

Everything bolted up without too much drama, popped the wheel on, lowered the car off the jack and all I could do was burst out laughing!!! The bloody car is sitting even lower than before!!!

This leads me to thinking that either the shockers are completely stuffed and the stiff springs were masking it, or these aren't direct replacement shockers and are for an ultra-low setup. Either way I can't use them, but have been lucky enough to find an OEM full set of suspension for sale nearby for $60, and we'll pick them up in a couple of hours. As luck would have it, it's started raining now, so no more working on the car until tomorrow...d'oh!
I've just returned from picking up a full set of OEM suspension, and will give them a good clean before fitting. I guess I should be thankful that I have far less work to do installing these as they're already assembled! I figure once I've pulled out the ultra-low springs, I should be able to sell them for $200 and that can go towards other more useful things getting the car on the road. :D

Someone came and picked up the 4ch Pioneer amp this afternoon for $60 also, so that's covered the cost of the suspension. That worked out rather nicely indeed! I've also pulled the trigger on a set of component speakers for the front doors, and they should be arriving later next week.

We're just about to head off and pick up a roofline spoiler for $20. As you can see, the high-mount brake light and the plastic shroud are broken and need replacing, so for $20 it was a bargain. I just wish it wasn't all the way over the other side of the city for pickup! Haha!

We've just returned with the roofline spoiler, and the high-mount brake light and the plastic shroud are in perfect condition. That trip was totally worth it! :D

Wow, looks like your having some serious fun in Honda land lol. She looks amazing for a 20+ year old car. Funny about the suspension- it looked like you couldn't even remove the jack from under the car after lowering it lol. Hope this other suspension does you right.
Your Honda is going to have a good life
Wow, looks like your having some serious fun in Honda land lol. She looks amazing for a 20+ year old car. Funny about the suspension- it looked like you couldn't even remove the jack from under the car after lowering it lol. Hope this other suspension does you right.
Your Honda is going to have a good life
You're dead-right about not being able to move the jack after lowering it...I had to raise the car and stick 2 bits of wood under the wheel just to get it out!! :rolf: Everything was going too smoothly so I figured a challenge had to show up sooner than later, and naturally it had to be shagged suspension. I've got all weekend free to work on the car with good weather forecast, so a lot of progress is going to happen sorting this and many other things out. It's all good fun, keeps me out of mischief, and because my girlfriend's the resident Honda-nut, it's great to have her on board with this project too. :thumbs up


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Lets see some pics of the car from all angles with the lower springs...

Maybe keep it low? You can give shocker to your girlfriend or one of your mates...
Time for the latest installment of things happening!

Today the local auto store had a 25% off everything sale, so spent a while cruising around the store and bought a few things for the Civic. Mostly painting stuff for the engine bay and cleaning items, a couple of electrical supplies, but also got an oil filter and some new spark plugs. Those with a keen eye may notice something out of the usual...body deadener! While I was in the wheel arch yesterday I decided to give it a fresh coat which will not only make it look better and offer improved protection, but will slightly reduce road noise inside. I'm OCD, what can I say?! :rolf:

While I was at the store they had this bad-boy sitting out the front...

I also had a fair bit of interest in some of the audio gear which I put up for sale, so thought I should rip all of that out of the car. What a mission that was...the wiring was all over the car and even worse than I had expected! Good thing I did because a complete jerk of a kid with a s**t-eating grin turned up hours late to buy multiple items and conveniently only had $50 on him, and expected me to give him the lot for that price! Let's just say that he only walked away with the splits and a bit of "worldly advice"... :lol:

I put the interior back together, and gees the doors look so much better with the factory grilles on!

I was pretty bummed out to find that the tweeters had been screwed into the dash and left a mess. This is going to annoy the daylights out of me, so will have to call the Dash Doctor to make a house-call in the coming weeks and fix that abortion!

I've also pulled the trigger on a pair of 6x9 rear speakers and they'll be arriving later next week!
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Yea man, I think its essential to be a bit OCD if you work on cars lol. It allows us to keep them cleaner :hitlol:

Share some photos of your rim lining if can when you do it, as this is a new concept of me.
Love that green color.
Take 2 on doing the suspension! I had a lazy start to the day, got everything ready, then got stuck into it. First thing was to clean the replacement struts.

Clean and inspect the steering and suspension components plus the brake lines

Have a laugh at the damage done to the car because of ridiculously low suspension!

Fronts done, time to work on the rear, starting with the usual cleaning and inspections

A pleasant surprise to find Nolathane bushes in the lower control arm! :D

Lower control arms dropped to allow for the rear struts to come out.

LHR strut out, wheel arch and components about to be cleaned and inspected.

Original suspension fully installed and the car is ready to be driven. Once it's had a drive, the suspension will settle in a bit and the car will sit a bit lower.

The car is a massive step closer to being ready for roadworthy inspection. I just need to fit new wiper blades, change the high-mount brake lamp over, and fit a rear engine mount, then it's good to go! :D

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