Written by Ravi Dolwani, Owner of CSFRace
Make sure to check out Part 1 – “Giving New Life to the Daily“
*Exhale*… After a long 8 months, I finally had my RSX back – full identity change into a JDM Honda Type-R DC5 build.
With most car builds, especially ones that involve engine overhaul work, it always takes longer than anticipated… This wasn’t my first rodeo with a big build so I knew it would take longer than the “6 to 8 weeks” that was estimated to me when I first dropped off the car off to MotoIQ. 😂. But after 8 months, the holidays, three industry trade shows, some last minute tweaking, and a trip overseas… I was just so damn happy to finally have my car back after returning from Tokyo Auto Salon. Being back in my hands, it was time for me to soak it all in – Now packing 300 horsepower to the wheels, not only did the car look different, it definitely drove different.
The way the internet works these days – it’s all about the pictures of the car and the numbers attached to it. What’s the horsepower rating, what’s its 0 to 60, what’s its quarter-mile time, what are the offsets of your wheels, and so on. Everything is a picture or a stat online. There is a perfect reason why our industry is like this now, because you can’t tell how a car drives from a picture on social media. 😉
The breakdown of my initial driving impression:
A Tuesday night, right after the car was done with final tuning at Church Automotive, Martin from MotoIQ personally delivered the car to my house – so it was pretty much warmed up. Jumping into the driver’s seat and turning the key, the whole car just started to rumble and…
- 1st thing that popped in my mind after cranking the engine over… “Damn” – that was the only thing that I could think at the time. The car was loud, and this was with the custom 3-inch valved exhaust by Eimer Engineering closed.
- 2nd: So I put it into first gear and immediately looked down at the shifter. That K-Tuned Billet Shifter hiding behind the shift boot immediately hit different – it was notchy and it was precise. I was digging it so far.
- 3rd: Putting the car into gear, with the new McLeod Street Elite Clutch and Pressure Plate, I definitely over-revved it. One, I didn’t want to stall right out of the gate and, two, that engine sound – gotta hear it!
- 4th: I’m in first gear and needing to do a u-turn at the end of my street. Upon entering the turn, I hear a rub… I thought, that’s gonna have to be fixed but, at this point, I just wanted to get it out on the road.
- 5th: So here I am, driving it calmly on PCH before the street lights fade away, and the road opens up – I immediately smash the gas and run the engine up to 8k RPM (pretty much drove the car like I stole it). First I drove the car with the exhaust valve closed, and when the VTEC hit, the car just bogged down. Martin had told me that the exhaust valve needed to be open for full power, but I had to experience what it was like for myself.
- 6th: So I get what “normal” every day driving will be like with the exhaust closed. Next step take it on the highway, open the exhaust, and let’s see how fast this car really goes. With a hit of the button on the exhaust remote, you can hear the frequency of the exhaust note go up a few octaves with a little bit of bass added into the mix. It’s slightly noticeable when cruising, but when I smashed the peddle into VTEC on the highway, the sound level went to 100 and the car took off. At that moment, I pretty much came to the conclusion that I now owned “the sport compact version of a Porsche GT3.” 🤯
* Biggest mistake I made about this first drive was asking my wife to come with me for a late night run down PCH (she’s not about that import life). She was definitely not impressed. I got the, “You spent all your money on a Honda?” 😂
The next day, I drove the car one hour, to work. The same one-hour drive in that I had the epiphany to build the car in the first place. Weaving through traffic (now way more enjoyable than before), I noticed a couple of things.
- 1: Way too much wheel hop. Being front-wheel drive with this much power, dicing through traffic and going over bumps, even with Mike Kojima’s special suspension secret sauce and the KW Suspension V2 Coilovers, something needed to be done about that.
- 2: A few rattles coming from the exhaust area.
- 3: A little too much rub when pounding the pavement. It’s my daily after all, and I put a lot of miles on the car everyday. I was planning on driving it rough, and I needed to make sure it was going to be dialed in if I was going to start putting some serious miles on it.
- 4: I still had my shitty, OEM 2005 CD player/radio in the car!
I knew what I had to do to take things to the next level – to make it an awesome daily driver and weekend track warrior + I had the Eibach Meet in mind…
Stay Tuned for Part 3