When the Honda Civic Type R was first unleashed upon the European market in 2001, Timo Kleine was a mere 10 years old. And while the hot hatch scene pounced on the compact Japanese with its high-rev VTEC sport engine, Timo had somewhat different priorities. And yet, their paths would cross at some point – almost exactly 18 years later.
“I bought the Type R for a friendship price from a good friend who wanted to rest assured that the car is in good hands”, recounts Timo about his silver Honda Civic Type R EP3, made in 2002.
The problem: The Civic with its iconic, 200 hp strong VTEC engine has seen better days. The bodywork and powertrain may be in good condition, but things looks quite different with the suspension system.
Our technician Daniel Boehnke gets behind the (strikingly tilted) steering wheel and goes for a test drive. Once he’s back at the garage, the list of faults is long. “The wheel alignment is off. At the back, the car has no spring deflexion left at all, the shock absorbers are blown. And the shock absorbers at the front also struggle with larger impacts”, Daniel assesses.
So off to the car hoist. Daniel dismounts the old lowering springs and shock absorbers. Looking at the Civic’s old shock absorbers, he explains: “Shorter springs in combination with series shock absorbers, that doesn’t work, because sports springs have a higher spring rate that the series shock absorbers are not designed for. They are simply unable to provide the higher damping performance that is required”.
A complete suspension system with sport springs in conjunction with shock absorbers specifically customized thereto is now meant to put things right. Timo opted for our BILSTEIN B14 threaded suspension system, designed to give the 17 year-old Type R’s driving dynamics a new lease of life. A good choice as Timo loves curves and would also like to take his cult Civic for a spin at the racetrack occasionally.
But even with the brand-new shock absorbers with their blue springs installed, Daniel’s work is far from done. Our technician spends a lot of time measuring the Type R and the precise alignment of its toe and camber to make the suspension system geometry right again.
Timo is now finally able to reclaim his Honda and take it for a first test drive through Ennepetal. Ten minutes later, the trained electrician gets out of the car with a broad grin. “The Type R is now much more pleasant and comfortable to drive“, he says delightedly. “But the Civic still makes a much more sportive impression than before nonetheless. It has much more bounce and curves can be negotiated with much more precision. I am more than satisfied!”