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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here it is. When I get the replacements for the broken ones I will take some pictures of the install, there's one front and one rear broken so it should cover everything. Edit it up, and hopefully this one will end up in the HOW TO.
As always, wear safety glasses, this is a messy job and you spend a good deal of time under the car (for the rear anyway), there is a lot of falling dirt and metal (rust). Also, I did not use a spring compressor, because it wouldn't fit. I used an air impact gun to remove the nut, with the top aiming into a plastic barrel. I know it's not safe, but really nothing happened. The front springs were broken, and the rears barely moved anything. If you do this... WEAR SAFETY GLASSES AND GLOVES! Ideally it shouldn't be done that way but everyone does stupid stuff, so at least be safe about it.

______Installing Tokico Illuminas & Ground Control Coilovers______

This is a guide for replacing the stock shocks and springs on a second generation Honda CRX. I used Tokico Illuminas and Ground Control Coilovers with Eibach Springs. It should be nearly the same for any shocks, though using a normal (non-adjustable) spring might be different. Also, 1988 cars may have a different rear setup than the 89-91 (mine is a 90).

<<<<<MATERIALS AND TOOLS>>>>>

Obviously, you need the shocks and springs you want to put in.

I used air tools, but you don't need them, though they do make the job a lot easier.

Get some anti-seize for reassembly, and PB Blaster or something similar to help with disassembly. Some of the bolts on my car were so stuck they didn't come off with an air impact gun, I had to use a breaker bar with a cheater.

You need at least 2 17mm wrenches and/or sockets, 12, 13, 14, and 19mm sockets as well.

Spring compressors. I actually didn't use these, since the ones we have at the shop wouldn't fit between the Honda spring coils, but you should use them to be safe.

A torque wrench

Assortment of hex keys (I don't remember the sizes)

Floor jack and 4 jack stands (unless you use a lift)

Tape measure

flatheat and phillips head screwdrivers

<<<<<REMOVING THE OLD SUSPENSION>>>>>

First off, get in the car and take out the rear interior. This makes it easier to access the rear shock mounts, and it's not absolutely necessary, but it protects the interior from accidents and makes the job a lot easier (and it's not hard to do!). Jack the car up and get it securely on all 4 jack stands. Take the wheels off, and if you are using jack stands, put them under the car (just in case). We'll start with the front, both shock/spring assemblies are the same. Unbolt the brake line bracket from the shock. Loosen the wishbone holding the bottom of the shock, this one gave me a lot of trouble. Now take the 17mm through bolt out of the bottom of the wishbone on the shock assembly. It has a nut on one end, so hold the nut with a wrench and turn the other end with a ratchet or air gun. Now remove the other bolt holding the wishbone to the shock, and take it out of the car. Undo the 2 bolts at the top of the shock tower, and the shock/spring assembly should fall right out. It may take a little maneuvering to get it out past all the other stuff in there, watch the brake lines especially. Same thing for the other side, no on to the rear.
Unbolt the lower control arm, sway bar, and shock fork from the rear hub. I found it easiest in that order, if your car is from the Northeast like mine is, it will be a pain to wiggle everything apart, but it will come. This is a good reason to clean everything up so it won't be bad next time (and use anti-seize!). Unbolt the shock assembly at the top, you might want to have somebody hold it so it doesn't fall on the floor.
Now you need to get the tops off all the shocks. If your spring compressors fit the springs, put them on now. There are 2 ways to secure the shock rod on the stock suspension. If you want to reuse them (not damage them) then you need to grab the flat part that sticks out with vise grips or something and turn the nut. Otherwise just grab the shock rod with the vise grips (make sure they are TIGHT). If you are having trouble with the flat thing on the end, and you don't want to damage the shock, you can also grab it at the top of the rod, where the bump stop would go, just don't scratch any part of the rod that will go into the shock. The easiest way to get these 15+ year old nuts off is with air tools, if they are stuck use penetrating lubricant, but DO NOT heat the shock up. When you get it apart, keep all the washers and stuff that are part of the assembly. The Ground Controls and the Tokicos come with installation instructions that are pretty easy to follow, they tell you what you need to reuse. I did not reuse the factory bump stops, the Tokicos came with new ones (you need to cut them in half). Also note that the rubber bushing at the top of the REAR springs will come with the Ground Controls, but not the front. You also need to cut apart the factory dust boots (you don't need them anyway) to get the washers out.

<<<<<INSTALLING THE NEW STUFF>>>>>

Now that you have everything out, it's time to put together your new shock assemblies. Before you put anything together, work the shock up and down by hand. The easiest way to do this is to put the bottom on the ground and use something soft like a piece of wood or rubber to push the rod down. Since the Ground Control springs are pretty short, you don't need a spring compressor. Follow the directions they came with to install the springs and perches on the shocks. Make sure you use all the new Tokico bushings for the top hat. Here's the hard part. The top of the shock rod is held together by a nut, with a hex key down the middle. You are supposed to hold it with the hex key and turn the nut with a wrench, and torque it to 32 ft-lbs. Good luck with that, I broke 2 of mine around 22 ft-lbs. The good news is, Tokico will replace them for free, but it sucks to have a new part and not be able to use it right away. I really think it's stupid design on Tokico's part, I have installed Illuminas on other makes of cars and they were different (and fine!). So get them on, and then drop in the little adjustment pieces, which snap in on top. For the front shocks, you also need to attach the brackets for the brake lines. The rear shocks are both the same, but the fronts are labeled with R and L, so don't mix them up.
Now it's time to put them on the car. The rears go back in easily, just how they came out. When bolting everything back together, the best order seems to be the top of the tower, then the control arm, shock fork, and sway bar. Work your way in from the hub, it makes everything easier to maneuver and things tend to line up better. For the front, get the wishbone on first, it takes a little creative positioning. I greased the inside of it a little just so it would slide around the shock. The bottom of the front shocks have a little tab where they fit into the back of the wishbone, if you don't have the tab in you will notice they don't sit all the way down. Close the clamp on the wishbone around the shock, and then attach the tower bolts. Now you can bolt the bottom back up to the lower control arm. Same deal for the other side. Pretty easy eh?

<<<<<ADJUSTING RIDE HEIGHT>>>>>

Adjusting the shocks is easy at any time, you just turn the little adjuster at the top of the rod, which is easily accessible. The Ground Controls, while easy to adjust, are kid of hard to reach with the wheels mounted. I adjusted mine to what I thought would be a good height, but when I let the car off the lift they were tucked up under the fenders in the front. Here's how I set mine up. First off, I put the stiffer springs in the rear, I wanted to get less understeer and have the car rotate better in autocross. that means the front end will sit a little lower with its extra weight. After everything settled, I took the wheels off, and I have the front perches pretty high, they preload the springs about 4 turns of the dial. In the rear, there is about an inch between the top of the spring and the seat for it on the frame. This gives a nice 2 finger gap at all 4 corners, the jack points are 5 inches off the ground with me in the car. You will want to adjust it to your liking, but I feel this is a pretty good setup that doesn't look too ricey. You will want to set it up to your liking. The best way to do this is get it close at first, and then go drive around to let everything settle. Now go back to a level surface, and measure all the jack points' distances from the ground (make sure it's level!). Now you can adjust the spring perches according to your measurements. This is possible with the wheels on, but MUCH easier with them off, especially in the rear.

If you are lower than 5 inches and have OEM mudflaps, they will scrape a little around corners at first. I was going to take mine off, but a friend of mine who ran the same setup on 13" slicks said "just let them find their own height" meaning, let them scrape down so they stop making noise. You can take them off, they are really just a cosmetic thing, but personally I like them. Mine were scraping at first, but when I got the height up and switched from 185/60-14 tires to 195/60-14s, they stopped scraping. The ride is going to be really really bumpy. I was going to install polyurethane bushings, but now that I have this in I'm not so sure about that, it's a really rough ride. You will get used to it, but if you carry passengers, be ready for complaints. Just remember, the CRX is a sports car! If you want a smooth ride, go buy an Audi.

So here are the two bolts you need to loosen on the front:


When you get the front done it will look like this (passenger side shown):


Now for the rear, first the lower control arm to hub bolt:


and the shock and sway bar bolts on the LCA:


The rear will look like this when it's done, note the spring is completely free with the suspension unloaded:


And some nice pics of the car lowered a bit (don't look at the rust!):




For reference, here's the old front wheel gap:


The new front gap:


and the new rear gap:
 

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ANd damn I cant spell.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Haha, weird that I didn't catch that. I have to take a look and see if it's still that way, I've reinstalled that corner, it was one of the warranty replacements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just FYI, I looked at this recently, the black rubber washer has a big enough hole in the center to allow the bumpstop through it, it was installed fine.
 
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