Thursday, June 11, 2009

Steering Knuckle Comparison

Bigger = better when it comes to brakes. The rotors and calipers are larger on the Integra, so putting the knuckles on the Civic seems like an easy brake upgrade. We took the steering knuckles from the Civic and the DC Integra off and put them side-by-side.
Unfortunately it was obvious that there was little chance that the Integra knuckle would work as it was. The top ball joint was almost 1.5 inches inboard of the Civic ball joint location. That translates into LOTS of positive camber. We went to the wrecker yard and got a DA (90-93) Integra knuckle in the hopes that it would be a closer match. It was, but not as good as we hoped. The uprights also get taller as you go from EF>DA>DC. The DA is about .25" taller than the EF, and the DC is about .125" taller than the DA. Taller means that the camber curve gets more agressive.
Here's the camber comparison if we bolted the knuckle onto the Civic at stock ride height:
EF Civic knuckle (88 Civic DX)= 0°
DA Integra knuckle (91 Integra LS)= ~0°
DC Integra knuckle (95 Integra LS)= +5.2°
These measurements are approximate, as I based them on the distance from the top of the lower ball joint to the upper ball joint hole. Ideally the measurments would be from the center of each ball joint, but I think the error is less than .25 degree.
It's not all bad. Lowering the car will create some negative camber. Ideally we'd have -2° to -3° (I think). I've read about people taking a torch and bending the upright to correct camber. It's a pretty cheesy solution, but that's what makes it LeMons worthy. I'm going to do a bit more research on it.
I'm going to double check my measurements and then put the DA Integra knuckles on the car for the time being. (edit - doublechecked the DA knuckles and they're closer than I measured earlier. I'll post better numbers later)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chop Chop

Problem: The Integra is hard to move around without a rear suspension and wheels.

Solution: Chop the car into managable bits.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rear End Swap

There's two reasons we want the Integra rear suspension. The first is that we'll be able to replace the crappy civic drum brakes with the newer Integra disk brakes. The second is that we'll be able to use the stiffer/newer Integra spring and damper.
I was a little afraid that the '95 Integra parts wouldn't fit. The 90-93 (DA) Integra's rear trailing arms were the ones that were typically swapped into the 88-91 (EF) Civics. The later 94-01 (DC) Integra might be different.
We went ahead and pulled the rear passenger side suspension off both the Integra and the Civic. The trailing arm looked very similar, but the compensator arms were dramatically different. I did some measurements using Photomodeler and it confirmed that the arms were very close. Photomodeler lets you take several photographs of an object and can trangulate the XYZ coordinates of selected points. It works great for situations where you can't easily measure between two points because they are on aribtrary planes. The measurements arn't terribly accurate, but they were better than I could do with a tape measure. The upper and lower control arms are close, but the Integra arms seem slightly longer. I kept the Civic upper arm, since it should give us slightly more camber.

Plan 2.0

Sick of driving a slow automatic car with crappy brakes we decided to do some upgrades. Integras are essentially souped up Civics, so we started looking for an Integra from which we could swap parts. From poking around on Honda sites, it looked like the Integra parts would bolt up pretty easily. This site had some of the better info on getting better brakes in an older Civic.
Fortunately we came across a '95 for only $600. The car wasn't much more than a bent shell. The previous owner had been T-boned, trashing the body. He had already stripped and sold everything that wasn't making the car go. What was left, however, was exactly what we needed: and engine, manual transmission, and the brakes.
So now I have two trashed cars in my driveway. My neighbors must be so happy.