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New 2001 Honda Civic EX. Now What?


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#1 of 20 Raymond_H

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Posted September 04 2001 - 06:26 PM

Hello,

I recently purchased the biggest investment in my young 20 years I have been here.

Last Friday, I purchased a 2001 Honda Civic Coupe EX for around 16,000. For those wondering/curious about how I can afford this along with a home-theater, basically I'm a spoiled brat who lives with a parent (no rent, bills etc...) have a pretty good partime job, and go to school full-time(which means more spoiling from parents) Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Anyway, I am going to need ALOT of advice after this huge investment. I love this forum and the people in here, so that is why this is directed here, in a home-theater forum. People here are reasonable.

Just as the topic subject says " Now What?"

FIY, any mods on the car is out of my own pocket Posted Image

I am on a tight budge with about $200.00-$250.00 a month going into any mods.

Right now I have about $500.00 (reasonably) to make instant modifications.

I am looking to getting the following, in order of importance.
    [*] Cleared Headlights[*] Altezza Tail-Lights[*] Lowering Springs[*] 17" Tires[*] 17" Rims[*] Performance Upgrades (Exhaust, Cold Air Intake, etc...)[*] Audio System
I am only knowledgeable on the prices of the audio system, tires and rims. Everything else all bets are off. Especially with my make, no idea on how the pricing of the other components would be.

I live in the Orange County area in Cali, if anybody knows good import car shops which would meet my needs, please let me know.

All of those listed above are my priority, and hope to have the car done with all those mods by the end of this year.

FYI, I am not a racer nor do I have plan on participating in that kind of spectacle. I am not ignorant and think this 127HP can outrun 75% of cars, which it can't. I needed this car to get from A to B.

I want the mods to make the car look nice, preform really good, and sound excellent. That's all.

For the audio system, I have 6 1/2 and I believe the Infinity Kappa are a good fit. With an JL - Enclosed Subwoofer 2 12"(250 cont. power handling)($349.99). I am debating wether to get the Infinity 6X9s.


In terms of the tires and rims, (not moldable on this) My standard tires are 15", if I went with 17" I have heard from a friend that this will mess up my alignment. I will read my manual, but any insight into this, please advise me.

Please, if you have any comments, suggestions, criticism let me know. I would like the best solution to reach my objective with the car
[list=1][*] Excellence Performance[*] Looks Good.[*] Sounds Great.

Ray

#2 of 20 Jay H

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Posted September 05 2001 - 12:17 AM

I think with $500, you might want to hold off on anything other than cosmetic stuff... Seriously, your car's suspension should be looked at as a package, not the weirdos who simply buy new springs and lower their car 2" cause it looks cool. 17" tires/wheels are going to most likely eat up that $500 budget quite quickly and might not make any difference in how your car accelerates or handle, besides making you play with your speedometer.

So, in my opinion, you should either stick to the cosmetics or do the exhaust/chip thing or upgrade the audio. I'd save the wheels/suspension til later, especially if you're honest when saying it's a point a to point b car.

The Altezza/IS 300 headlights are a dime-a-dozen around here on civics/corollas and clear headlights just don't seem worth it for me, but they are fixed cost items. If you run into a suspension problem when you lowered your car or went to 17" rims (like if you had a rubbing problem), fixing them will cost you even more $$ and you might overrun your $500 budget quickly... Cosmetic items tend to be a one time charge. Even a new exhaust might be costly for not that much gain, unless you're one of the people who like loud for the sake of being loud and those ugly coffee can exhaust tips. Being the HTF, a new audio system might be a good upgrade since that might make YOU happy while you drive...

Just a thought anyway...

Jay

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#3 of 20 Max Leung

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Posted September 05 2001 - 08:47 AM

My advice is to not bother with any mods, aside from the audio system (guess you're looking for a CD-changer, speakers, and new head unit). At least wait until you break the car in, or wait at least a year to make sure no manufacturing defects pop up unexpectedly. You may have to report mods to the insurance company too, although it sounds like you're not into messing with the engine/suspension/trannie/etc., so that probably isn't necessary.

Personally, I'd save the money for more important things, like home theater, tuition, social events (beer!), or even a girlfriend! Posted Image


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Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Gamesh....

#4 of 20 Max Leung

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Posted September 05 2001 - 08:54 AM

Oh BTW, there really isn't much you can do to add extra performance out of that car without spending the $$$. Your best bet is to take the car to the dealership for the recommended regular maintenance work. Modifying the on-board computer firmware might be an option, but I'm pretty sure that will conflict with the warranty on the car. Besides, it's quite possible that the dealer may overwrite/update the firmware whenever you take it in for regular maintenance.

Regular maintenance is very important if you sell the car in the future, as you can show the receipts as proof that the car was kept in good condition.

Anyhow, I'm sure you're aware of the many rice-boy websites out there that can give you hints and tips on how to make your car look like it goes fast, when in fact it doesn't. Posted Image

(just be very cautious out there...use a good dose of skepticism when someone tells you that placing a Mugen sticker on the back window will give you an extra 20 HP!)

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Max Leung

Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Gamesh....

#5 of 20 Max Leung

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Posted September 05 2001 - 09:04 AM

Maybe this thread will get more interesting:

http://www.hometheat.../...878.html<br />

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Max Leung

Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Gamesh....

#6 of 20 Mike Lenthol

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Posted September 05 2001 - 10:36 AM

There's a slogan by Nike...

"Just don't do it!"

And another one from somewhere else...

"Be different, don't mod a Civic!"

Especially true of Orange County.

#7 of 20 Raymond_H

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Posted September 05 2001 - 11:46 AM

Thanks everyone for responding, I highly regard your opinions.

More direct replies follows,

Jay,

The cosmetic is definitely my priority, especially with only $500.00. The rims and tires, are probably one of the last things I will do. The audio system, I can gradually put in.

In terms of the suspension, with the lowering, 2" is way too much, I'm looking for about 1 1/2" drop. I want it too look nice but with 2" I don't want any scraping either.

With the exhaust, I don't want anything LOUD, trust me I get as much irritated as the next person when those things go by my neighborhood. I just want a nice *clean* exhaust rather then trying to be a racer.

Max,

Quote:
"Anyhow, I'm sure you're aware of the many rice-boy websites out there that can give you hints and tips on how to make your car look like it goes fast, when in fact it doesn't."

Trust me, I am not a ricer nor do I want this car to be a rice rocket.

A lot of people hate "ricers" and for good reason but I am not a racer nor am I going to try to sup this car up and show-off like it is one.

"(just be very cautious out there...use a good dose of skepticism when someone tells you that placing a Mugen sticker on the back window will give you an extra 20 HP!)"

Trust me, I don't believe in any of the graphix, mugen, R-Type, V-tech etc.... stickers or whatever. That's just not my style, it seems its stylish to some people, especially here in OC, but so be it, its just not to my liking.

I'll probably the get the front and back lights by next week, then see where I can go from there. Wether it will be suspension, exhaust, audio or what, I will do research contact both insurance and Honda, to make sure everything will be fine and the like.

Again, thanks for all your comments.
Ray

#8 of 20 brentl

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Posted September 05 2001 - 11:47 AM

"I am on a tight budge with about $200.00-$250.00 a month going into any mods. "

ONLY!!! most of us old folks would love to have that much to spend.

I'd worry about your warranty first.

Give it a year for all the bugs to work themselves out. Honda may be more reluctant to do adjustments if you car is heavily modified.

Brent L


#9 of 20 James RD

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Posted September 05 2001 - 03:39 PM

As a somewhat amusing and educational sidelight -

http://www.beaterz.com/

You don't want to end up in here!

#10 of 20 Youchan

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Posted September 05 2001 - 04:36 PM

Raymond,

Unless you are serious about performance (i.e. engine swap, turbo, supercharger, NOS), just get an exhaust for performance/looks. There's no need for the intake/headers/exhaust combo on any naturally aspirated SOHC VTEC engine.

As for cosmetics, you can afford to get cleared headlights that should run at or under $200 (not 100% sure what the current rates are these days). It makes the car's appearance cleaner since the amber isn't in the headlights.

I have to agree w/Jay. I don't know about getting Altezza lights either. They're starting to get played out, even here in Texas.

If you're thinking about lowering your car. You will have to get springs and aftermarket shocks. Don't ride on your stock shocks w/aftermarket springs (you will have a horrible bouncy ride and you'll wear out your stock shocks). I used Eibach springs and Tokicko(sp?) shocks. Plus, you'll have to get a camber kit installed or get your alignment redone after you install the springs or you'll eat your tires like nothing (I learned the hardway). It would be ideal to get rims and lower your car at the same time or so you can get everything properly setup. As for rims, it all depends on your taste and budget. Of course you'll need low profile tires to go w/your rims (I assume you already know this), to prevent the tires from rubbing.

Other mods that aren't too much of a hassle would be a carbon fiber hood(to me at least).

Well, I hope my limited knowledge helps out.

Youchan

[Edited last by Youchan on September 05, 2001 at 11:39 PM]

#11 of 20 Raymond_H

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Posted September 05 2001 - 05:55 PM

Hello,

From Youchan

Quote:
Unless you are serious about performance (i.e. engine swap, turbo, supercharger, NOS), just get an exhaust for performance/looks. There's no need for the intake/headers/exhaust combo on any naturally aspirated SOHC VTEC engine.

This seems to be alot of opinions on this, some people told me to get the combo with exhaust/headers and some have told me like yourself just to get the exhaust. To add more to that, those people that told me to just get the exhaust, said also to get a Cold Air Intake.

Any more opinions or explanations why I should or shouldn't just get the exhaust.

Quote:
As for cosmetics, you can afford to get cleared headlights that should run at or under $200 (not 100% sure what the current rates are these days). It makes the car's appearance cleaner since the amber isn't in the headlights

I too am unfamilar with the price, I haven't had time to go to the shot yet, but tomorrow I put some extra time in looking around for the cosmetics, especailly the cleared headlights. Anywone familar with an on-line store or some place in the Orange county area.?

Quote:
I have to agree w/Jay. I don't know about getting Altezza lights either. They're starting to get played out, even here in Texas

I agree, I see the Altezza everyone, I mean everyone on any make. I like the certain aspects of the Altezza lights, especially the Carbon Fiber ones. Any other suggestions for the tail-lights or just leave as is?

From brentl

Quote:
"I am on a tight budge with about $200.00-$250.00 a month going into any mods. "

ONLY!!! most of us old folks would love to have that much to spend.

Mind you, that the figure listed above is my actual spending money, not just for the car. Its a rough estimate. I'd like to get some of the "big" stuff done first while saving extra for the "bigger" things. As months go by, that number will decrease as I have other projects which include:

    [*] A New Computer[*] Home Theater Upgrades[*] Digital Camera[/list] I like saving up money, and have no problem in waiting for certain things. The cosmetics of the car seem to be a the right choice in the "what to get now" for the car. Everything else I'm still deciding, which I'd like to add is becoming more apparent with this discussion.

    Again, thanks everyone with your help.
    Ray

#12 of 20 KeithH

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Posted September 05 2001 - 11:52 PM

Frankly, I'd leave the car alone, with the exception of putting in a nice stereo. I see a lot of people modifying Civics by changing the taillights, adding a spoiler that is so high that it completely blocks the rear view from the driver's seat, etc. I don't see this as a smart use of money. What's more, it draws attention to your car, which may be what you want, but that increased attention can lead to trouble. Just the other night when I was in Pittsburgh with my girlfriend, we saw a silver Civic coupe with all the bells and whistles. I just asked myself, "Why?". The only thing missing is that the car wasn't parked at an angle to take up two spaces. I really hate that. Posted Image In the same parking lot were two other cars, a Saturn coupe and a Ford Focus, that had those colored lights underneath that cast light under the car when it is parked. The Focus had a neon green light, while the Saturn had a neon red/pink light. Those lights are basically saying, "Here I am. Steal me."

You have a very nice car. I test drove the Civic EX coupe before going with the Accord LX-V6 coupe, and the Civic is very impressive for the money. It exceeded my expectations. I'd leave it the way it is, except maybe put in a nice after-market stereo. The only thing I did with my Accord (bought it in July) is add a Sony CD head unit and 10-disc CD changer (mounted in the trunk). Anyway, I agree with others here that the money that you might spend on altering the appearing of your Civic could be saved or spent on more important things like books, beer, dates, DVDs, CDs, etc. Just my $1.26 on the matter.

By the way, I am still using the Honda factory speakers in my car. I saw no need to spend more money on after-market speakers. The stereo sounds quite good for the little money I put into it.

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#13 of 20 KeithH

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Posted September 06 2001 - 01:51 AM

Oh yeah, the only aesthetic enhancements I did add to my Honda Accord were a rear spoiler and bump strips on the sides. Both were done at the dealership. I thought long and hard about spending $800 or so on the spoiler since it really serves no purpose except to be aesthetic. I went with it because the Honda spoiler isn't very high and the trunk looks bare without it, in my opinion. You might consider a factory spoiler if you don't have one already. The spoiler on my car adds to the appearance without being overly flashy.

The bump strips were more of a practical consideration. They were only $130 for both sides of the car, and they can prevent your car from getting scratched by a shopping cart or another car door in a parking lot. If a bump strip gets damaged by a shopping cart or car door, it can be replaced inexpensively. That's better than having a dent or scratch on the car. Of course, the bump strips can't offer full protection, but they are good to have.

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#14 of 20 ken thompson

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Posted September 06 2001 - 09:04 AM

You should've added that $200 a month to the payment and bought a faster car.

#15 of 20 Peter_A

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Posted September 06 2001 - 09:46 AM

I wouldn't be too worried about the warranty. It's against the law for any dealership to say your warranty is void by any aftermarket part. If they do want to try it, they have to prove that that aftermarket part is directly responsible for the problems you are experiencing. Just make sure any aftermarket part you put on meets or beats Honda's original part.

I've only had my Ford Focus ZX3 for a little over a month, and have already installed a B&M short throw shifter, Borla cat-back exhaust, Iceman cool air intake, FK coilovers, and Ford motorsport sparkplug wires among other mods.

No wonder I haven't bought any new HT equipment in awhile!

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#16 of 20 KeithH

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Posted September 06 2001 - 01:16 PM

Ken, you said:

quote:
You should've added that $200 a month to the payment and bought a faster car.[/quote]

That could be construed as a bit harsh, but I have to agree. I could have bought a 2001 Honda Civic EX coupe for around $240 a month, but opted for a 2001 Honda Accord LX-V6 coupe instead for $385 a month. Sure, the Civic is less money, which is nice, but the decision came down to a 127-hp 4-cylinder engine versus a 200-hp V-6. The decision was easy as soon as I test-drove the Accord (I test-drove the Civic first).

I've noticed that a lot of people go to town modifying compact cars like Civics. For all the money spent on making the car look flashy, you still have the small 4-cylinder engine. The engine is what counts most. I laugh when I see one of these modded compacts on the road that can't keep up with the V-6 cars out there. The money spent on mods (which make the car look overdone to me) could certainly go towards a better car.


Raymond,

My intention was not to trash you. Just expressing an opinion. You still bought a nice car. I just wouldn't bother modding the hell out of it. Whatever you do, please don't put one of those huge Honda logo decals on the back window. You know, those decals that block the entire middle of the window. Yuck! Posted Image

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[Edited last by KeithH on September 07, 2001 at 06:20 AM]
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#17 of 20 Peter_A

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Posted September 06 2001 - 05:25 PM

Quote:
The engine is what counts most. I laugh when I see one of these modded compacts on the road that can't keep up with the V-6 cars out there. The money spent on mods (which make the car look overdone to me) could certainly go towards a better car.

See I tend to disagree. It all depends on what type of car you want. You can have 500HP but if the car handles like shit, you better hope there are no bends in the road. Sure I could have got a Mustang GT over a Focus(or any other car with more power), but that's not what I wanted. No matter how much you mod a Mustang, it will never handle like a Focus. Sure the Mustang has straight line speed, but it's handling is no where near that of a Focus. I just came from a day at the track yesterday where I was using my brothers '97 Mustang Cobra SVT which has about 350HP(engine has been modified) and was driving with other Cobra's and also Ford Contour SVT's(those are Contour's with 200HP engines and specially tunned suspensions.) The Contour were out handling the Cobra's in the corners, but the Cobra's where blowing them away in the straights. The only Cobra that really handled, was the Cobra R that was also there, but that's a race specific Mustang.

I wanted a car with excellent handling, and the Focus was that car. Sure a Subaru Impreza WRX has AWD and a comes with a turbo, but it's also about $10,000 more.

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#18 of 20 Mike H

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Posted September 06 2001 - 06:18 PM

I come from a different world I guess. I drive an old(89) BMW 525i. It's got about 167k miles. The paint is great and it runs well. I'm going to try and get another 70-80k out of the car before I have to replace the engine or tranny. It's got some decent power(168hp) mated with a smooth 4 speed auto. It's not going to get more usable power without the chance of blowing up the engine or destroying the tranny.

In my mind the following would be my order if I where to modify a Honda Civic EX.

1) CD Player with decent 6 1/2 & Tweeter Component System. The 6 1/2 makes some decent sounds, especially MB Quarts. I wouldn't worry about replacing the rears, maybe get a set of inexpensive 5 1/4 components.

2) Aftermarket rims & tires. Pay close attention to weight here cause the definately affects the ride and acceleration. Some of the molded alumninum rims can weigh in at 25-40 pounds. Most of the cars I consider clean looking just have nice rims.

3) Window Tinting.

4) Clear corners maybe. I don't know what normal clear corners look like on a Civic because everyone here is trying to imitate a IS300 or an Impala.

Mike

#19 of 20 Scott H

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Posted September 06 2001 - 09:49 PM

Instead of spending money each month, why not save those extras months for an Si model?

At least you seem to understand that the tire/wheel mods are cosmetic. Unless you are smartly upsizing, appropriately re-tuning the suspension (not hacking springs), and then running the car hard in corners a lot, you will likely deminish straight line performance/tracking and reduce mileage. Honda has good engineers, don't just cut springs and throw on larger wheels w/lower profile tires expecting more performance.

I am the owner of a Canadian built 5-speed 95 Coupe EX. I'm also into driving. This car has been from Mexico to Canada, and coast to coast, though it has relatively low mileage for it's age. I drive it hard, but smart. It's had the occasional runs at length in excess of 100mph (Montana, late 90s), and it see's the 7000 side of the tach often. After living with the car for a bit, it turned out that the only modification I chose to make was to replace the factory stereo head unit with a Blaupunkt CD.

I do all my own maintenence, including the valves. Again, I run the car pretty good, yet the lowest city mileage I have recorded was 26mpg (with 10-w30, I strongly recommend 5-w30 for these VTEC's), the highest was 40mpg (average c75mph, St. Louis to Tulsa, no stops). The car has required no repairs whatsoever - just plugs, fluids, filters, and valve adjustments. I haven't even replaced a bulb (even through extreme cold conditions).

Two days ago I had the car up on a lift here in LA, and it gathered quite a crowd of Civic mod kids... Because they couldn't believe my 60K miles Coupe has never had an alignment, that I have 20% tread remaining on the factory Bridgestone Potenza's, that I have about 40% remaining on the factory front brake pads (and I do not downshift for braking to stops, only to power out of turns or engine brake on serious inclines, in other words I use the brakes)... They were telling me about their strut issues, CV probs, brakes...

My point is that most of the mods you mention are only to make you feel better about your car, and will prob cost you a considerable amount of money now and later. Common mod components rarely ever last as long or work as well as either the OEM parts or very high-end mods on modern cars. And Honda often uses suprisingly high quality stuff, even from competing manufacturers. I can't imagine pulling one of my original Stanley headlamp fixtures for the cheapo stuff I see in mod shops, or altering my Nissin brakes, or not using the OEM Wix air filter... And as someone else mentioned, if you want a unique Civic EX/SI, don't make cosmetic changes. Remember, sleepers are keepers, and a car is only as good as it's driver.

Additionally, in regards to Civics, you will significantly negatively effect the resale value of your car by most common mods. In LA, for example, a 92-95 EX Coupe in original condition commands a remarkable premium - the buyers want to mod it Posted Image

There are a lot of faster, quieter, more refined cars... I get to drive many I would like to own. But I have never driven a car that felt better cruising in the 70-90mph range than my Coupe (including any BMW, from the Z3 to the 7 Series). That , and the performance/economy/value equation and ergonomics, is why I got the car back then. My father, who once drove it from St. Louis to LA, and use to complain about Honda's, believes it to be more exceptional in that area than his Acura TL. As do I. I actually think it's not so great around town, but do love it for efficient and non-fatiguing cross country driving.

If and when my original muffler goes, I may consider a mod there (if it's not obnoxious sounding) since a small increase in mileage has been documented. I also wish I had a rear fog light (CA coast).


No matter what you do, enjoy your new car! Once you learn that you have no torque, but you've got a lot of RPMs and a motor that shines on their high side, you'll have great fun Posted Image

Btw, my other car was a 64 Chevelle Malibu SS Posted Image

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#20 of 20 KeithH

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Posted September 06 2001 - 11:24 PM

Peter, I haven't driven a Mustang or a Focus, but when test-driving the Honda Civic EX and the Honda Accord V-6 (both coupes), the Accord lost nothing with respect to handling. Obviously it depends on which cars one is comparing, but Honda just doesn't make a bad car. The Accord handles like a champ.

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[Edited last by KeithH on September 07, 2001 at 06:25 AM]
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