Minor suspension lift. (I don't know why everyone is so against this)

davidronolson

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I have been trying to do some research on this, and every time I find someone else that wants to do this, all they are met with is a bunch of criticism. I have read a few threads on this site, and as I said, no one is helping anyone with this. I am here to try and see if I can help give some understanding (and also get some help as to what I would need to do to complete this)

Firstly, most of the Honda enthusiasts that I have encountered seem to think that the only way to make a civic look cool is by slamming it to the ground, putting over-sized rims with thin strips of rubber called tires, slapping a wing on it and adding a body kit. (Don't take this as a personal attack. Maybe you're one of the enthusiasts that actually appreciate ingenious solutions to everyday problems instead of making a car that you have to baby over everyday roads.)

I have a silver 1998 Civic EX, 5-speed, bare bones stock and basic steelies on it. I live in Southern California where almost every intersection has a serious dip in it. I hear other cars bottoming out left and right, and have unfortunately bottomed out myself on a few occasions. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I feel that I am an exceptionally decent driver and seem to care about my car more than most people. (Take it as you will, I guarantee I am going to catch guff for that statement.) Personally, I have never really liked the slammed to the ground racer look, especially on civics. I think it's cheesy and overplayed. With that said, I love the look of my stock silver civic with black steelies. It's simple and clean. No frills. What can I say? They're phenomenal cars.

Now that my little rant is out of the way, I am hoping that I have weeded out the haters and bashers and I will receive some positive feedback and helpful information from someone. (although I probably just instigated them to give me a ton of negative responses)

I would love to put a very minor lift on the car (we're talking 1 to 2 inches tops. I have seen other people say that they wanted to lift it over 4 inches, and I just think that is absurdly excessive.) and also put a push-bar/bull-bar on the front of it. The lift would help deal with the large dips in the roads around here, and as for the push bar... well, I honestly just think it would look sweet.

Here is my initial thought process: If I were to make some 1 or 2 inch spacers for the top of the shock mounts, this would push the entire coil over assembly down accordingly, then I would assume that I would either have to lengthen the control arms in the front, or weld new mounting points into the body. I might also need to lengthen the axles somehow. My guess would be to either purchase longer axles (if possible) or cut the axles, weld in spacers, sleeve it, then re-weld it for extra strength. In the rear, I would need to lengthen the trailing arms and lower the control arm mounts. (Unfortunately, I don't have a welder at my disposal, and I am not exactly comfortable enough with my welding abilities to make it strong enough to weld anything on to a car that has to do with my suspension and steering.)

So there you have it. If you're against this idea, please do us both a favor and don't comment. If you have some insight or ideas, please comment away! I would love to talk to an enthusiast who is willing to think outside the box and help create a sweet little dirty cruiser.

Thanks guys!
 

HeX

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You seem like a nice enough guy that actually took the time to write out a respectful thought out post, so you dont merit any flack thus far. At least you have an understandable reason as to why you want to lift it. I hope you understand the resistance you've received is because these Civics body lines just look odd when lifted and economy cars arent exactly considered lift-worthy candidates. But if thats what you want then thats all that matters. I hope tou have ideas on how to help blend the styles together. I'd be curious to see it pulled off.

I hope you've taken to account that a heavy push bar and possibly heavier wheels will impede the 125hp your EX engine might push (keep in mind that old engines lose power). I cant speak for the suspension modding except that custom parts seem like the only route. I believe there are companies that will build axles to your requested specs.

What size wheel & tire do you intend to use?
 


buzzbombtom

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whats your question? are you lifting it and showing us? i just want more modded civic in this post less damn text
 

buzzbombtom

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Lol easy there big guy. I have now read the post 3 times still no question, I'm all for any modded civic, I just want pictures!
 

davidronolson

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You seem like a nice enough guy that actually took the time to write out a respectful thought out post, so you dont merit any flack thus far. At least you have an understandable reason as to why you want to lift it. I hope you understand the resistance you've received is because these Civics body lines just look odd when lifted and economy cars arent exactly considered lift-worthy candidates. But if thats what you want then thats all that matters. I hope tou have ideas on how to help blend the styles together. I'd be curious to see it pulled off.

I hope you've taken to account that a heavy push bar and possibly heavier wheels will impede the 125hp your EX engine might push (keep in mind that old engines lose power). I cant speak for the suspension modding except that custom parts seem like the only route. I believe there are companies that will build axles to your requested specs.

What size wheel & tire do you intend to use?
Thanks for compliment, HeX.

I was debating on maybe just stepping up to a 15" rim, and a slightly thicker sidewall tire. Just enough to fill out the wheel wells. I figure that will help with the appearance of the body lift... almost make it look like a little brick sh!t-house of a car... If that makes sense. Haha. Stout might be an appropriate word. In my head, I picture it looking like a street legal rally car. Maybe not a push-bar on the front.. maybe a little A-bar would work. I don't care for the row of lights on the front, they're technically illegal and I don't have any use for them.

In regards to the actual build, since it's the stock 4x100 lug pattern, I don't know if I must convert it to the 5-lug pattern to get the bigger 15" steelie. I don't think it would be an issue in clearance with a 205/75R15. Anyone know what the biggest size tire I can use without running into clearance issues? I would like to stick to more rubber than rim, hence the 15" wheel size.

In regards to the power issue with the extra weight and beefier components, I was thinking just minor power upgrades might be enough. I know I am going to loose some fuel economy, but I recently drove from NJ to California with the car completely packed and still averaged 40mpg across the entire trip. (Minus the high elevation in Arizona. it averaged 35mpg. Haha.) I live in a city-esque area with lots of stop signs and traffic lights, so I don't really have a need for a "fast" car. Plus, I got all of my speed junkie habits out of me when I was younger and owned a BMW E36 and an E21 (Sorry, but if you want a fast and wonderful car to drive, go with German engineering. Seriously, nothing drives like a BMW.)

I also kind of figured that thanks to Hondas basically being the Lego of cars, I figured longer axles and control arms might be able to be used from other Hondas (CRV's, Accords, etc) Does anyone have any insight on this? Suggestions? Do they make kits for this type of thing? Maybe if anyone knows a company that would make custom parts?

Thanks again for taking the time to read my post. I'm open to suggestions, comments, insight, or all round general help.
 

davidronolson

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Lol easy there big guy. I have now read the post 3 times still no question, I'm all for any modded civic, I just want pictures!
I thought I was pretty clear on what I was asking. Sorry for my post being too "wordy" for you, but I am a firm believer that you must be able to purvey your thoughts through the use of the English language. If you cannot thoroughly express your opinions, then what are you really thinking?

I have started highlighting my direct questions, for anyone who doesn't like to read and just want to cut to the cheddar... or whatever else expression you kids use these days. Maybe this will help?

What I asked for was insight and suggestions from the gearheads on this forum. Has anyone done this type of thing before? What is the biggest size tire for a 15" rim that I can put onto my car without running into clearance issues? Do I need to convert to a 5 lug from the 4x100? Maybe all I need are slightly bigger tires to achieve the look that I want? Is it possible to use parts from some of the higher sitting Hondas (CRVs, Pilots, etc) to achieve my ultimate goal of lifting it only 1 or 2 inches? (axles, control arms, brackets, swaybars, etc)

I will gladly post pictures of it, if I can feasibly make this work.
 
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HeX

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Speaking in theory, the added inch of heaight should allow for a 15x7 wheel with a fatter profile like a 75 or 85. There are online tire size calculators you can play with. I forget the best offset but I know its posted all over and someone should likely provide it soon.

I think the added cost of upgrading to a 5 lug set-up would be a needless expense for your goals. A 15" 4x100 stealie set should be easy to find but look around at their styles because some can be dressed up better than others.
 

davidronolson

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Thanks for the info. I gotta take some measurements of how much clearance I have to play with. I had trouble finding 4x100 15" rims with the look I am going for. I couldn't find 15" steelies with a 4x100 bolt pattern. (weird, right? Then again, I haven't searched that hard yet. Still in the beginning stages.) I actually walked past a sweet little civic hatchback si (newer, my guess is 2010 or so) but it has these awesome recessed fat 5 spoke rims that had a really nice matte blackish brown color on the spokes and a matte black circumference. They might have been 16" but I didn't stop and snoop on the guys car. I figured that might be weird.

Maybe some stiffer shocks and springs, thicker sway bars and the right tires will be perfect for what I want to achieve. Anyone have some suggestions on rims to look into? I don't want to break the bank on cost. Any insight on the shocks and sway bars? Maybe adjustable coilovers, and just don't lower it? Maybe it's possible to adjust them up (If this is even possible. I don't have much experience with adjustable coilovers) without ruining too much of the alignment?
 

buzzbombtom

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You might want to look into the type r Integra rally car that's been popping up all over the interwebz, see what he did, for the most part you are in uncharted territory... most if not all have zero input on knowledge of the process you are trying to achieve. I would suggest looking into air ride, will get you the height you want.
 

mc360

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Still don't see why you would want to raise the car for the road conditions. With that said you can probably find spacers to fit between the top of the coil springs and the body of the car to drop the suspension down effectively raising the cars body. Then the next thing to worry about would be the alignment, not sure if caster or toe would be effected but camber most likely would be
 
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davidronolson

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I can assure you that I know my routes and how to traverse the place where I live. I can also assure you that I'm not bottoming the car out to the point where I have to worry about damaging any major components, because as I said, I am not some novice idiot driver. But I do appreciate your concern. Correct me if I am wrong, but buying a truck would defeat the purpose of having a gas efficient four door sedan, wouldn't it?

You hit the nail on the head with the alignment issue, which is why I posted a thread, hoping that maybe someone out there had some insight. Maybe not direct, but indirect experience could be a useful bit of knowledge.

But if all of the suspension and steering components are lowered correctly and evenly, it should in theory, eliminate the alignment problems... Or so I would assume... Right?

Airbags are too costly and is a task that I really don't feel like tackling. Hence, why I am starting to lean towards just getting slightly bigger rims and tires, and stiffening up the suspension without lowering it and leaving it at that.
 

HeX

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Still don't see why you would want to raise the car for the road conditions...
I think your reasoning to do this makes functional sense while the asthetic reasoning is negligible. If Im understanding you, your goal is to have the reliability and comfort, that most of us appreciate and enjoy, with added road safety and ride comfort that you desire while using a reasonably low budget that would end up costing less than or around the cost of comparably optioned cars or trucks that you just msy not like.

It may not look pleasing to the eye to the majority but its about you creating the ride you want. The way I see it is at least youre not another argumentative ricer with an attitude trying to ruin another Civic.
 

davidronolson

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Thanks HeX,

Yes, the aesthetic appeal might not be what the majority of Honda people find appealing, but that's none of their business. It doesn't have much to do with cost, it's just that like everyone else in the world, I would much rather make it inexpensive and just as effective. I don't see the reason in blowing a couple grand on an air ride kit on a car that cost me less than $4k. I do plan on getting myself a truck sometime in the future, but that has nothing to do with this car. If I were to just go buy a truck and then never drive my civic... then what's the point in having the civic?

Does anyone have any useful suggestions on tires, rims, and suspension upgrades that don't lower the car? Let's leave it at stock ride height. I appreciate the comments and suggestions from HeX, Buzzbombtom and will most certainly start looking in to your ideas.
 
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HeX

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@davidronolson & @ mc360, I cleaned up the unnecessary comments and bickering as theyre counterproductive to the topic at hand. Mc360 still added some helpful info so that stayed. David, keep yourself on topic and ignore any blatantly negative comments. Otherwise, you're just fueling the fire you want to avoid.

Us moderators will do our best to keep everthing neutral. Any disagreeing points should only be voiced constructively. Carry on.
 

HeX

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About wheel options, avoid brandless wheels as theyre more likely to damage easily. Style-wise falls entirely on you as we dont your your taste, although the style youre going for helps narrow thst down. Consider wheels in the style of small SUVs or crossovers.

As for suspension, Buzz made a good suggestion do research that along with the spring & shock diameters, lengths, travel play, & weigh ratings. You may end up needing to frankenstein somevstuff to accomplish either a smooth lifted ride or a tighter stock height ride.

Chinese tires are garbage so look at quality brands such as my go-to Hankook tires. If you end up raising the car then you might be limited to less brands.

Research is the key to all youre considering, so start becoming familiar with our search function & Google.
 

Intertwined

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I would research whats used when people do the small lifts on AWD CR-V's. Might be able to easily modify some of the suspension parts over to the Civic to get the desired effect.

 

HeX

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Curiosity led me to find these potential reference photos.







... and of course the best Civics for lifting (in my opinion)...
 

mc360

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Something like this is what I was talking about, also If I remember right people put civic suspension on crv's to lower them so it should work the other way around to lift a civic
 

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Intertwined

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i could see something like that working well mc360.........thats basically what my Jeep has on it right now. 2" Skyjacker puck leveling kit.
 


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