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By Keith Buglewicz, Keith Buglewicz

^^^who wrote it, from honda tuning magazine

The suspension changes made to the seventh generation "EM" Civic have rubbed a lot of people in the aftermarket the wrong way. It has little to do with technical snobbery. Sure, it'd be nice to have double wishbones on all four corners, but the new MacPherson strut front suspension works fine in day-in, day-out driving. And struts themselves have been used in many performance suspensions.

It has to do with the particular way that Honda chose to implement its struts. Normally, the steering box on a car is mounted low in the vehicle's engine bay. The steering rods are relatively short, and they attach to the wheel spindle. In the Civic's case (and the RSX, too), the steering rack is mounted high in the engine compartment. The steering rods are extremely long (to help combat bump steer, Honda says), and they attach to a beefy arm that's part of the body of the strut itself. This means the normally easy to upgrade MacPherson struts have a huge built-in roadblock to improvement in the Civic.

Strut makers have two choices, and neither one is ideal. First, they can make struts which include the steering hardware. This would mean a lot of money in tooling, higher manufacturing costs, and subsequently a price that would be out of reach of the average enthusiast.

On the other hand, they can make a strut insert that would fit into the stock housing. This is less expensive, but it means cutting up the stock strut. Not only is this method a pain in the neck, it eliminates the chance of quickly returning the car to stock, and it also puts it out of reach of the do-it-yourselfer.

The latter option does have one big advantage, however. It can be done now. Koni has chosen this route, and is the first to have a replacement strut for the Civic on the market. The strut itself is Koni's familiar adjustable strut. Rebound is adjusted by using the included handle to turn a screw on the top of the strut. This allows the driver to adjust ride quality and handling easily and quickly. It's the method of installation that's different.

This one is best left to a professional Koni installer, in our opinion. The precise measurements and heavy-duty tools needed will frustrate the backyard mechanic. And when you take your car to the shop, be prepared to spend some extra dough. Cutting the struts and installing the inserts adds at least a couple of hours to the procedure. It should be pointed out that with a pro doing the work, the installation procedure was virtually snag-free.

Our suspension upgrade included more than just Koni's struts, however. We combined them with Eibach's Pro-Kit springs and camber adjustment kit. The Pro-Kit is Eibach's street spring, designed to offer firmer handling and a lower stance, but without compromising the ride quality or safety of the vehicle. Eibach is quick to point out that the Pro-Kit springs are exhaustively engineered for each application, and are not just shorter, firmer versions of the factory spring. In addition, Eibach's North American spring kits are designed for North American versions of import vehicles to ensure a proper fit.

The camber kit provided for the Civic is elegantly simple and very effective. The kit consists of a smaller top bolt for the lower front strut mount. This smaller bolt has a small cam on one side of it. By orienting the bolt in the hole, it pushes out or pulls in the spindle, quickly adjusting the camber. It's always important to have your suspension professionally aligned after an upgrade, doubly so with a camber adjustment kit installed. If you take the car to a different facility for alignment, make sure you tell the shop that your suspension already has a camber adjustment kit.

Our test Civic was a great candidate for the Eibach/Koni upgrade. Having been the test bed for several suspension alternatives, the stock struts were basically destroyed. One was leaking terribly, and the others were simply worn out at only 22,000 miles, another reason to think hard about what springs you're going to put on your car. The owner had decided it was time to quit the guinea pig game and go with a combination that was sure to offer the ride and handling he wanted. The differences were immediately noticable. The ride was smooth, but still firm. The car's stance was improved significantly (it had a severe case of droopy butt before the install), and although it was no longer in the weeds, its stance looks better to our eyes.

Sure, you say, it works great on a car with a screwed-up suspension. How does it compare with the stock car? With extensive experience behind the wheel of all forms of EM Civics, we can tell you that the car's ride is much better controlled. Additionally, the car's cornering capabilities are also improved, allowing the car to take better advantage of its sharp steering. Note that you aren't going to be pulling massive g numbers with this combination, but that's not the point. You will notice a more finely honed feel on the road, with a slightly stiffer ride, but one that is still plenty comfortable. Definitely worth the effort.


1. Our test car had a severe case of droopy butt. The inexpensive rear springs were shot, and the car's handling wasn't just uncomfortable, it was downright dangerous.

2. This is the culprit. Honda's new steering mechanism attaches to this arm, which in turn attaches directly to the strut. This housing will be retained, but you can kiss the stock strut internals goodbye.

3. The bottom of the strut is held in place by two large bolts that attach to the spindle. The upper of these will be replaced with Eibach's camber correction kit.

4. With the brake lines, steering arm and hat bolts off, the strut is easily removed from the car in one piece. So far, it's like most other strut installs.

5. Indexing the strut components ensures the pieces go back together the way they came out. Marks are made on the upper strut mount, the hat, and the lower strut housing. When the strut is reassembled, these will all be lined up again to make sure a proper fit is achieved.

6. With the strut on the spring compressor, the top nut is removed. Using a spring compressor is the only safe way to disassemble a strut. If you don't have one, take it to a pro. Trust us, a tightly wound spring hitting you in the eye will really put a damper on your evening plans.

7. With the spring off the strut, the cutting can begin. Koni says to first mark the center point of the bottom of the strut housing. The Koni is held in place at the bottom by a very large bolt. It's important to be careful measuring, since you only have one shot at this. Remember: measure twice, cut (or drill) once.

8. The pilot hole is drilled for two reasons. First, to vent the gas from the pressurized strut. And second...

9. ...to make it easier to drain the oil from the strut itself.

10. With the oil drained, it was time to cut the top of the strut. Koni says to cut the first 40mm off the top of the strut housing. Again, careful measurement is imperative.

11. Although Koni says the cut can be done with a hacksaw, it would take way too much time. Eibach had this great pipe cutter, which made short work of the thick metal.

12. With the cut made, the stock strut's guts were removed from the housing.

13. Next it was time to finally cut the hole for the bottom mount of the strut. Again, this is thick material, and heavy-duty tools were required.

14. The strut was pressed into place in the housing. Koni says a hammer will work, but what's the point of having millions of dollars of high-tech equipment lying around the shop if you never use it? Besides, this is a little more precise than a hammer.

15. This rubber cover goes over the top of the Koni and the strut housing to keep dirt out.

16. With everything in place, the strut was bolted to the bottom of the housing.

17. This little white plastic doodad is often overlooked, but its importance can't be overstated. If your strut bottoms out, the impact can actually seal the bump stop against the strut housing. When the suspension decompresses, that seal is broken, and it can actually create enough suction to break the seal on the strut itself. This piece of plastic creates an air gap between the bump stop and the strut, preventing this weird disaster from occurring.

18. To make sure that the stock boot fits over the plastic anti-suck-the-strut-apart device, its lower lip was cut off.

19. Eibach doesn't fit the spring snug against the step on the lower housing, but leaves a little extra room. When the spring compresses, it can move, and if it's too close to that step, it can rub and make quite a racket.

20. Fully installed, you can't even see the Koni strut. The only clue to its existence is the adjustment screw on the top of the shaft. Note the plastic sleeve on the spring coils; that's another anti-noise device. Be sure to re-install your stock bump stops. They're your last line of defense against damage if you bottom out your suspension.

21. Installation of the front struts is a reverse of removal, with one exception. The camber kit is the bolt at the top of the picture. Note the smaller diameter, and the small cam on the side of the bolt. By loosening the lower bolt, and turning the upper one, the camber can be adjusted by a degree or two, depending on the application. It's a clean, efficient, and elegant solution to solving a camber problem. And it's a hell of a lot easier than adjusting camber on a double wishbone suspension.

22. Luckily, the rear suspension is much more conventional. The strut is held on by two bolts in the trunk, and this one under the car. Eibach recommends removing the upper suspension link when removing the rear struts, mainly for the extra wiggle room.

23. The Koni strut comes with an adjustable rear perch, sort of. It doesn't screw up and down, but if you move this collar, you can adjust where you want your spring to sit. The lower one was closest to stock, and that's where our Civic sits.

24. Spring installation is pretty straightforward on the rear struts. Old hardware off; new hardware on.

25. If you removed the upper suspension link, it's important to pre-load the suspension before reattaching it. This will ensure that the bushings are set properly in the car.

26. The front ride height changed minimally, with an increase of only 5mm. The rear is a different story. Gone is the sagging butt, replaced with a cool, sporty and truly usable stance. Ride height increased by a whopping 55mm in the rear, a full 2-in.


SOURCES

Eibach Springs
(949) 752-6700
Eibach

Koni North America
(859) 586-4100
KONI Shock Absorbers are the performance shocks to choose.



also on a side note there are 2 sizes for 01-05 civic. they are 50mm and 55mm. please check before purchacing to ensure correct one, otherwise its a major hazard!
 

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The Almighty
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these kinds of posts are worthless, stop making them, it wont get u into the fs thread faster
 

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yes sir, don't be discouraged tought if you were planning on doing the replacement of the shocks yourself anyway drilling a hole and using a hack saw for 50 seconds shouldn't make things too much harder for you.
 

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k i installed the koni's in the front but when i went to put the ground control coilovers on they sat to low is was wierd do you have to do any mods to make it work? the sprnig did not even meet up with the top hat at all
 

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imo.. this seem like not worth it for the price... lots of work.. add couple hundred then u got coilovers..

is this because these koni's are adjustable(damper)?? was wondering if say the tokico HTS/D-Specs would have lots of work as well since they are adjustable as well??

If not, then might be better off with tokico's, no??
 

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i want to upgrade my stock struts to koni inserts... i'm currently on gc's and stock struts. this work seems intimidating but it'd be a great project.:yumyum:
 

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yea i got these on my civic i didnt know u had to do all that untill i ordered it i guess i was in a hurry to get my shocks replaced but after i got it all on it was way better than i imagined the ride quality is sick but foreal didnt lower my car as much as i thought
 
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