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My SM2 setup

10546 Views 21 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Taekwandean
Inspired by Fireant's thread for the STS2 setup, I got my car set up great with two autocrosses this weekend, thought I would share my setup. My CRX runs in SM2.

Wheels, Tires, Brakes:
Civic HX wheels, 14x5.5
195/60-R14 Falken Azenis RT-615
38 psi rear, 35 psi front (on the 215s I ran 40 up front)
Powerslot rotors and EBC Green stuff all around

Front Suspension:
550 lb/in Eibach linear springs on Ground Controls
Koni Yellows very soft
Lowered until the LCAs are just about level
0 Toe
-3* camber
stock Si sway

Rear Suspension
650 lb/in Eibach linear springs on Ground Controls
Koni Yellows very stiff
Again, lowered until the LCAs are near level
0.5* toe out
-0.5* camber
SPC Camber Correcting LCAs
Stock Si Sway bar

A6/Y8 mini-me, fresh rebuild two weeks ago
Crower Stage 2 street/strip (non-turbo) cam
AEM cam gear
DC 4-2-1 Ceramic Header
Z6 intake manifold/OBD2 injectors
Custom 2.5" exhaust: 24" resonator and glass pack dual tip (loud)
AEM 3" Cold Air intake from 2000 Civic Si with K&N filter
ACT HDSS clutch/PP
ACT Streetlite 12lb Flywheel
Energy Suspension Poly motor mount inserts, shifter bushings
Tuned with Crome
New 2/4 Gauge grounding wires
8mm JR (made by magnecor I believe) plug wires
OEM NGK plugs

ES Poly bushings through whole car
Full interior minus the carpet and non-bolted down items
No AC (I live in the Northeast, and this car never had it)
Radio removed with OEM block off plate (not required in SM2)
PC680 battery in cargo box
MOMO 300mm steering wheel with MOMO hub and NRG Quick Release
Stock Si Seats/belts

The car is a 1991 Si, and it's my daily driver. The spring rates, coupled with the poly bushings can be pretty harsh on the street. This car is very rough and loud, not a good street setup for everyone obviously. For daily driving I usually have a few of my jackets and a blanket in the rear, along with a small sub box, so it kills the noise nicely.

I prefer to stay with 14" wheels, though I have some 13x7s if I want to run slicks or R-compounds. 14" tires re cheap, so you can burn through them a lot more without hurting your wallet.

Stock brakes with decent pads are more than enough. With my stock-sized brakes I can lock up the wheels with brand new sticky rubber, no need for any more. I will probably switch to Hawk HP+ pads when the EBCs give out, I only have them because they were on the car when I got it.

Notice that I'm not running an aftermarket rear sway bar. The SPC arms seem to eliminate a need for that, the rear end pivots very well and handling is much like a car with a rear sway on stock arms. I like this better for a couple of reasons. First off, it's cheaper. I also feel like a sway bar is just and extra thing to supplement the rest of the suspension, my ideal setup wouldn't even have a bar (but would probably have very stiff springs). Having low camber in the rear and a little toe-out makes it easy to unsettle the car and get it to pivot via late braking, and with my car I also get throttle-on oversteer.

The engine obviously isn't the best swap you can have, and pretty much any motor/work to your motor will land you in SM2. I personally like it, it's got just the right amount of power. I'm not spinning tires, but it pulls the car pretty fast. The cam helps a lot in the high end, and I'm usually at high RPM during autocross. I've driven Matt's B18cRX in autocross and it's a handful, it has too much power.
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Looks like a fun setup, Tom! I'd love to drive it on slicks.
Thats a nice idea using just upgraded LCA's instead of adding a bigger sway bar. Im gonna look into that myself. How much did you pick them up for?
iLLA said:
Thats a nice idea using just upgraded LCA's instead of adding a bigger sway bar. Im gonna look into that myself. How much did you pick them up for?
I got them used for a very good deal... I'd rather not say. I think they go for 200+ new.
Dont know how long you have had the Yellows but do they hold up well to a lowered car?
daveb91 said:
Dont know how long you have had the Yellows but do they hold up well to a lowered car?
I have the old ones, that you have to take off to adjust. Apparently they've held up well, but I got the car with them already on it. I had Illuminas on my old car and liked those as well too.
i like the (loud) disclaimer on your exhaust.

I agree with you on the whole more is less theory as well. Im always trying to get people to upgrade to fix a problem, not just for the hell of it.

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Also the yellows tend to hold up very well to a lowered car. they will be my next shock. I had them before and have nothing but good things to say about them, and now i can get even better ones.

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Seems like it would be fun. Maybe once my setup is running good ill look for some autox's near me. I know a guy about 2 hours from here that also has a s/c crx.
Looks like a good set-up downest. At our local chapter we adapted a SMS class for street tires. If there are enough people in Street Modified near you, might be something to split up the class and make it more competitive for those on street tires. Doesn't sound you have too much of a problem with the mini-me on your tires. I loved my mini-me set-up in my last car. I didn't win a whole lot of races, but it was a quick (not so much fast)/fun set-up.
iLLA said:
Thats a nice idea using just upgraded LCA's instead of adding a bigger sway bar. Im gonna look into that myself. How much did you pick them up for?
You might be a little confused here on what the LCA's are doing. They are not replacing the duty of the rear sway bar. I think what Tom was saying is that with the use of the SPC camber correcters, he's added back some positive camber so that the car is loose and that is why he's not running a beefy rear bar. I mean, he's got some pretty heavy springs in the rear too so I'm sure that helps.

The LCA's don't really do anything except maybe save some weight and provide stiff new bushings in their pivot points.

I can't believe you can get power-on over steer. Your car must be really loose. Have you done any testing on a skid pad? I understand that it's most favorable to dial the car in so that it has a slight push at mid corner and exit. If you are saying your car starts to oversteer when you add power out of an exit, you might conside adding a bit more rear camber.

I dunno.

I didn't put them in with the intention of loosening up the rear, but it happened anyway, so yeah, I don't need to run a bigger rear bar. I've had some issues getting my toe zeroed out in the rear because of them though, so I'm considering some Function 7s or something and getting a larger bar. The toe-out is fine for autocross, but it's my daily too, and it's damn scary in the rain or snow. I also don't let anyone else drive it besides my girlfriend, who knows how it handles, because it's unpredictable.
I am pretty sure the SPC arms are responsible for the handling, they aren't just there for the weight savings. I was driving it before with stock LCAs and no sway bar, then with the SPCs and stock sway. The stock sway is out for the winter now, but it's still pretty tail happy (more so than with the stock arms). The power-on oversteer isn't really apparent during autocross, at low speeds it's relatively neutral, snaps right around once it's upset, but definitely shows on highway onramps.
I'm unsure if I'm happy with the setup right now, but it's working well and I haven't exhausted it's potential. I will probably move to some F7s like I said, and use a camber kit in the rear as suggested by ComposiMo. I like the larger bar setup better because it gets the inner wheel off the ground. Anyway, it's a fun ride as it is, I've taken a couple members here for autoX runs and they can tell you about it, I think Matt Miner said something like "this thing isn't front wheel drive" when he came up to RPI for an autoX.
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Ok after going to a autox yesterday I have found out I am getting all I can out of my current setup which is 15" wheels All season tires and eibach lowering springs on my Si. I got down to 3.5 sec of another CRX with R compunds, and Konis. So other than getting some nice tires on a extra set of 14" rims I have would youe say the GCs with the rates you have is a very good setup?? Or would you go softer?
First off, I am 90% sure you aren't at the limit of the car, but... that's your call. Also I would get a nicer set of tires before getting springs.

But to answer your question, my springs are awesome for autocross, but not ideal for daily driving at all. Aside from the harsh ride, it's almost dangerous how the car snaps around in the rain and snow, and it's skittish at speed over rough pavement.
Well Im just saying I tried and tried and couldnt make up any more ground on the better tired and suspension CRXs. I havent been to many autox so I know I could probably still pick up more time with braking habits and more driver experience. I did improve throughout the day so that was incouraging. Maybe some more sessions before I start modding but I also dont drive the car much and never in rain or snow and I am sure this one event I used more brakes up than the last two years of driving did. :oops: One ? about the Ground Controls how low do you adj them 1"? Thanks for the help!
Oh and I just read you are lowered until the LCA are level sorry.
Apparently you and I are of opposite camps:

I am more of the soft springs / stiff sway bar persuasion.

Stiff springs won't follow bumps in the road as well as soft ones, so I believe you should use softer springs and increase roll resistance with big sway bars (in fact, for the 1st gen CRX I don't think they make em big enough). If there is any reason you'd want stiff springs is to limit suspension travel due to camber issues--this is a relative non-issue on the 2nd gens (due to the better camber curve of the double wishbone suspension).

Also, CRX chassis are not stiff and you gain little once you go over ~500-600lbs/in springs (neither generation is stiff--but the 2nd gen is certainly much stiffer than the 1st gen--my limit would be less on the 1st gen). Once you go too stiff, all that the springs will do is twist and flex the chassis, which moves suspension attachment points, which changes geometry, which alters grip...

Probably the single most beneficial mod to the handling of your car would be to strip the chassis and seam weld the entire thing. This, however, will take you straight in to DM where you will have no chance of competing against the caterhams/lotus sevens/other similarly extremely light cars.
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I haven't run a big sway on my car, but I've driven other setups with them before. I think it's beneficial because of the limited droop on the inner wheel, but I find the higher spring rates and smaller bar to be more predictable (less snappy). I know my rates are pretty high, I bought the car like this, but I don't think I will change it. On a faster autocross course the car is planted, and since I've removed the SPC arms and set the toe to zero, the car is stable at speed on a ramp... more later... have to run...
I think the more forgiving nature may be due to the chassis flex causing a gradual loss of contact patch as you approach the limit. Ultimately you are getting this loss of grip sooner than with a softer setup.

If the car is snappy with soft springs / big bars, it probably just means your inputs are snappy. Because the chassis is not flexing as much, the car will be more directly responsive to your inputs. The key to autocross is driving smoothly and this starts with driver inputs.

Probably the single most difficult things to learn when autocrossing are smooth inputs and learning that in order to go faster, you must go slower (ie, go slower in the slow parts to set up your corner exits--this leads to you going faster in the fast parts).
shadowboy said:
Apparently you and I are of opposite camps:

I am more of the soft springs / stiff sway bar persuasion.
I agree with you, keep the springs comfy and increase the roll/sway bar. More contact and it is easier on the shocks.
The 10k/12k/14k spring rates that the "mad tight JDM y0!" cars have are silly :rolleyes1:
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