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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've decided things are getting sketchy enough(hi speed float) that I need to replace the struts on my 2004 civic ex sedan. I've always wanted adjustable damping on my car like I have had on motorcycles and bicycles for many years so that limits the choices some. I also don't like the idea of dumping thousands of dollars into a strut kit. I'm not racing, just an enthusiastic daily driver that does an occasional rally/touge run on tight Viriginia mountain roads, which sometimes get rally rough. This has led me to the decision that I don't want to lower the car much if any, but at the same time reduced body roll and torque on the stabilizers would be nice. My current thinking is Koni sport inserts(since I can't find yellows anywhere) and a ground control coilover kit that will let me decide on ride height.

It's already got eibach stabilizers which really help control body roll. I considered them a repair when I bought the car with wanky little wires they put on it for the U.S. market. Without them the car would lift the inside rear in a butt puckering sort of way on complex corners. Not something you want when braking into an off camber downhill switchback.(yikes!)

Anybody got ideas or thoughts on this, or alternative setups that won't break the bank or arbitrarily lower the chassis to bouncy skateboard level, Also, any other adjustable links or bits I should consider?

thanks.

Ray
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update on my research. I know I want something with "digressive" damping, because that gives the most body stability for the rollercoaster roads I drive on. I've also figured out that many "track" offerings are way oversprung, no wonder people are bouncing around blowing dampers. I've had trouble finding specs but my best efforts show that stock springs on my es2 are very soft compared to even the most forgiving coilovers. Best I can tell, stock appears to be somewhere around 2kg/mm. Offerings range from 6kg/mm all the way to 14kg/mm, with the most interesting offerings in the lower price range ($1000-1500) typically being 8kg/mm. I suggest most folks would be very happy with the lowest of these ranges in daily driving conditions. I also have had some trouble with arbitrary lowering, which is why the rates are so high on some setups. I still have to be able to get into Food Lion parking lot so lowering much at all is out of the question. Yellowspeed racing offers a coilover that allows for stock ride height and up to a 3" drop without shortening shock travel, but I haven't seen a dyno test on them yet, or verified damper type. I asked the company via their North America websitebut have not yet gotten a response.

It's worth looking at damper types before putting out major cash like this. There are three typical types of pistons:

Linear:
The shock has a flat curve that means big bumps are damped harder and you feel the and there is body float that has to be controlled with spring preload - stock struts and most cheap coilovers have this. Damping is achieved by a single plate valve restriction with no torque on it.​

Digressive:
This one has a tensioned valve plate which causes more restriction for the lowest velocity inputs and then once the valve preload is overcome the fluid flow is regulated by a jet at a lower damping rate. This means the car body is stable when low speed pressure is applied such as in turning but big hits(like curbing or potholes etc.) are soaked up nicely.​
Regressive:
These shocks have less low speed damping and the damping curve increases for bigger hits to prevent bottoming. This is mostly used in off road vehicles(afaik).​

One shock company is actually hand making coilovers in a town only a few hours away but they cost nearly 3x as much as the imports and I can't give them a recommendation since they don't offer a kit for 7th gen. I may have to pay them a visit one day if I have to go that way and find out why they don't. Props to one of our vendors @carid for offering several coilover kits for the 7th gen civic. Maybe you guys have an opinion or info and or corrections to add?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Followup: I debated and researched coilovers but in the end decided that the shortened travel would not work out well in the mountain roads, because they really are "rally" level bad sometimes. I also decided to keep the stock springs for now, until I see how my choice does with them. I decided on Tein Endurapro plus which gives me easily adjustable damping. I've installed the fronts but the heat is a challenge right now. I hope to have the rears installed over the weekend. Even with just the fronts replaced it's already much more stable. I started about midrange and turned it 5 clicks tighter this morning to see how rough it got and the combination is very stable without beating you up. Another reason I picked these is that I could use the savings to buy or build(30yrs in electronics) an EDFC unit for it. EDFC stands for "Electronic Damping Force Controller" and it mounts little motors on the adjusters which can be controlled in real time manually or, in the pro model, automatically in order to provide the best damping for the situation and driving style. There's even a GPS unit for Tein's EDFC but I haven't figured out why as yet --unless they use it for the gravity input. Tein has some nifty ads for the toy, but sticker shock has made me sit on that bit until I get things working. I may decide I don't need it.

Worth noting, Tein's current em1,em2.es2 model has the lower mac strut mount holes too small so it would be better to look at that before you install springs, in case you decide to return/exchange them. I have not asked Tein about this as yet but will report here if I get an answer. I'm thinking the my having 15 inch rim EX model might be the reason.
--I decided to drill them out myself, which worked out okay but porting them was a job using a dremel and stones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One of the rear lower mount bolts had found the power of the force and became one with the strut mount. An extra day, 2 trips to town and 2 sawzall blades later I finally wrestled it out and got the job done. Kitsune is much more nimble now. The car is noticably higher diue to the eom struts being flat and riding lower, so I might get some stiff Tein lowering springs for it at some point. They have some that only drop it an inch or so, but considering it was a bit of a struggle, and the 50$ for an alignment in the next week or so, I might put the spring job off for a while. ...or I might order springs today becuase I'm clearly a masochist..
 
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