Springs, Struts, Swaybars, Bushings, Tower Braces & more
By TDFbound
#6908873 Hello! I just had to create an account on here in order to get some different advice and recommendations than the honda-tech crowd has offered. It seems like most replies are steering people towards the cheapest or the "coolest" items, neither of which is really what I need. Here's hoping I have better luck here!

Ok, I recently purchased a 1992 Civic VX with 246,xxx miles on it, and in less than a month I'm already closing in on 251,xxx miles. Car is basically all stock, decent body and great interior, and runs and drives quite well especially considering I paid like $1700 for it. Motor has rough idle, but runs smooth as glass once rolling and will happily cruise down the highway at 80+ mph, steering is super light and it shifts like butter (except into reverse sometimes...?) Anyways, it has the original springs and the shocks appear to be original as well, or at least OEM replacements from 15+ years ago, and they are pretty well toasted. When parked, the car sits around 1-1.5" lower on the driver side than the passenger. While the suspension isn't horrible and actually handles my local roads (mountains of western North Carolina) pretty well, I'd love to upgrade it to give a better ride. For what it's worth, it has stock size wheels and tires though not the same wheels it came with. I'd like to eventually upgrade to a lightweight 14" wheel versus the 13" alloys.

The car is used purely for driving from point A to point B, mostly on twisty back roads but also a fair amount of highway driving (including 1000+ mile trips), and will never see a race track or an autocross course. That being said, I regularly drive some of the best roads in the country for "spirited driving" and have found this little car can really get around if you can pick smooth lines. I'm thinking that slightly stiffer springs and perhaps some sway bars would go a long way to improving the fun factor. I must emphasize "slightly" as we have our share of bridge seams and potholes and I don't want to go so firm as to risk damaging anything or losing traction if I hit some bigger bumps mid-turn. I had seen a forum post somewhere that Ground Control had recommended 9" 315# front and 8" 250# rear springs, which is probably 3-4x the stock rates. No idea if those numbers are any good for what I've mentioned. Since the springs are sagging, I'm assuming the whole car is effectively "lowered" a bit from stock ride height already and that a direct OEM replacement of everything would raise it back up a bit. It's got between a 2-2.5" gap tire to fender on driver front, and around 3.5" gap on passenger front. Not sure what the stock ride height is, but I'd probably like to have it 1-1.5" lower than factory, but again due to some rough roads and things like roadkill to drive over, I probably don't want to go any lower.

To recap:
Looking for firmer, sportier ride than stock but still fairly comfortable for all-day driving
Lower than stock by 1" to 1.5"
Want good quality parts, but certainly doesn't need to be "high end." Maybe some Bilstein mono-tube shocks and some decent springs?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm honestly a bit overwhelmed by the variety of responses out there and my overall lack of experience with cars.
By TDFbound
#6908874 Also, it has been suggested that I use sway bars. I doubt I need anything heavy duty, but less body roll would be nice. Is there any sort of formula to use to calculate what stiffness sway bar to use compared to other factors such as spring rate or vehicle weight?
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By EconoBox
#6908875 Sorry my post is long but I've owned a lot of these cars and these are mods I've personally enjoyed having on my daily use applications.

For a daily driver that you want to have a little more fun with and not get too carried away there are some simple mods you can do that will really make the car more enjoyable. These aren't the cheapest options but they work. This is also the order I usually do the modifications in as well. I've owned nearly 20 EGs and some variation on these mods is what I've done to all my cars. There is no need to get into calculating sway bar sizes and spring rates unless you plan on tracking the car. This is a common setup and there are many tried and true combinations that work great and will provide a fun drive and not make your ride terrible.

Before doing anything you have to remember the car you're using is 25+ years old and everything in the suspension and brakes is old a tired.

Everything rubber is going to be worn out. You will want to start with some kind of bushing kit and stainless brakes lines.

While upgrading the brakes isn't necessary it's a fantastic time to do it and it's a great mod.
If you haven't upgraded to rear disc find an EX Civic or a DC2 junk car to cannibalize. You may as well get everything from the suspension and brakes on one. You'll get bigger front calipers, a rear disc conversion, front and rear sway bars, a LCAs front and rear that are compatible with sway bars. You'll probably have to tracking down a 40/40 prop valve on eBay but you'll want the correct brake bias with the upgraded brakes. Also if you do the brake upgrade first you won't have to redo bushings or brake lines later on. You can use your stock boost and master cylinder or upgrade to Integra or ITR non ABS ones now as well.

PowerStop even sells a full kit for the GSR brakes that is all 4 powdercoated red fresh calipers, rotors, pads, and all the hardware front and rear that is a great option when you do the brake conversion. This link is just a quick Amazon search I'd double check a part number with Power Stop before ordering them.
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By EconoBox
#6908876 After brakes/ maintenance these would be my choices.

1st: Wheels & Tires
Get some 15 inch wheels and 195/50r15 tires to lower the sidewall profile. This makes a nice difference in handling right away. You lose A LOT of slop that those stock VX 13s with a 70 sidewall give you. The 15 inch size is a suggestion from personal experience but anything to have a lower profile tire will make a nice difference.

2nd: Bushings (mentioned in maintenance suggestions but these are how I usually fix them)
I'd install an energy suspension hyperflex kit (plus their trailing arm bushings which aren't included) or a Hard Race hardened rubber bushing set. This will get rid of all the slop from the 25 year old rubber. I have some pictures of installing these on my $200 civic build thread link in my signature or feel free to message me. You will need a access to a press either way (and a torch if you go the energy suspension route). the two options are great for street use. They do both have drawbacks for really pushing the car or for track use but the solution to those issues is spherical bushings and they aren't very street friendly. If you go the Energy Suspension route pick the black bushings over the pretty red ones. The black color is from the polyurethane being colored with graphite. This makes them self lubricating which helps to prevent squeaking over time as the lubricant they come with degrades.

3rd: Shocks and Springs or Coilovers (will post these at the end of my long winded post)
As long as I've been driving Hondas the default everyone recommended setup for daily and track use has been the good old Koni Yellow shocks and Ground Control Coil Sleeves. Its a tried and true setup you can't go wrong with. It's more expensive than some other options but it works fantastic.

4th: Sway Bars
Pop in some stock Civic EX front lower LCAs and a stock EX civic front sway bar with polyurethane bushings and sway bar links. For the rear you can go stock EX civic for a little less body roll or I personally like the rear to be a little stiffer to rotate a little easier. I have always used the ASR rear subframe kit with their 24mm sway bar ( I believe their new V2 kit is a 25mm hollow bar haven't used it yet but I ordered one for my daily to install with everything in a few months). If you go to an upgraded rear sway bar without a subframe brace the EGs are notorious for the subframe tearing from the sway bar. You will also need rear lower control arms from an EX or aftermarket to install the rear sway bar. ASR makes rear LCAs as well as a ton of other brands. Pick whatever you are comfortable with.

5th: Adjustable arms
Camber Kits Front and Rear and adjustable toe arms if you're having issues getting the car properly aligned at you chosen ride height ( shouldn't be an issue unless the car is slammed on some 0 offset wheels). Pick whatever brand name product fits your budget. Hardrace, Ktuned, TruHart etc... These just let you dial in the alignment with your slightly lowered ride height. You can play around to see what alignment settings you like or read around on the forums. For daily use I have my car ever so slightly toed out and run right around -1.5 front and -1 rear degree camber. If your toe is too far out or in it will kill tires.

Energy Suspension Hyper Flex kit: [url]https://jhpusa.com/collections/bushing-kits/products/energy-suspension-hyperflex-master-kit-honda-acura

Energy Susupension Trailing Arm Bushings: https://jhpusa.com/collections/rear-trailing-arm-bushings/products/energy-suspension-rear-trailing-arm-bushings-88-00-civic-94-01-integra

Hardrace Master Bushing kit: https://jhpusa.com/collections/bushing-kits/products/hardrace-hard-rubber-bushing-set-92-95-civic-92-97-delsol-94-01-integra

Koni Yellow Shocks: https://jhpusa.com/collections/shocks/products/koni-yellow-sport-shock-set

Ground Control Coil Sleeves: https://jhpusa.com/collections/coilover-sleeves/products/ground-control-coilover-kit-acura-honda

ASR rear subframe brace and 24mm sway bar: https://jhpusa.com/collections/sway-bars/products/asr-24mm-swaybar-black-reinforcement-kit-88-00-civic-90-01-integra

Rear LCAs: https://jhpusa.com/collections/rear-lower-control-arms
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By EconoBox
#6908877 And last on my list is "Full Coilovers"

I left these for last because there are so many options and price points. The quality and functionality of everything out there is all over the place from awful to fantastic and everything in between.

I've used several options personally on my cars as well as friends. And others I can't speak from personal experience so I won't list them. Also for ride comfort this is where there is a lot of personal preference regarding adjustable settings or taking a chance on off the shelf non-adjustable options. I may love one option and you may hate the ride so I'll try to stick to quality anything ride related is my opinion on them. There are tons of forum post for picking spring rates but for a daily I'd start with the off the shelf option and then change them out if you aren't happy.

Brands that have worked out great for me: Skunk2 Pro-C, Buddy Club, BC Racing, Fortune Auto, TruHart, Function and Form, Tein

Garbage I wish I'd never wasted money on: KSport

Budget Friendly: TruHart and Function and Form Type 1.
Both have separate height and preload adjustment and while stiffer than stock they are daily driver friendly in my opinion. I don't have a long term review for TruHarts yet they are only a few months old on my brother in laws Del Sol but they have been great so far. Function and Forms my friends had on his EG for years now.

Little bit pricier: Fortune Auto Fortune 500, BC Racing, Buddy Club, Skunk 2 Pro-C
All of these have everything the cheap options do but add adjustable dampening. I've owned all these options personally. Buddy Club's are stiff and not street friendly in my opinion adjustable dampening barely softens them. Skunk2 Pro-C very similar to Buddy Club. Really stiff and no major change from dampening adjustments.
The Fortune Auto and BC options are able to be ordered with custom spring rates.

I will say the only coilovers I've bought more than once are Fortune Auto. I love them so much I bought them for my last EG, My TSX, and am going to order another set for my current sedan.

K Sport coilovers were so stiff they lost traction over any uneven surface and the shocks blew the first time I went over a bump in the interstate where it transitioned from the asphalt road to a concrete bridge. It was a construction zone but I've driven over It may times with the Fortune Autos in my TSX and had zero issues. I ordered two new front shocks and sold them ASAP. :cheers:

Anyway that's all for now of my long winded post. Again personal opinion and experience. Hope it helps you and doesn't add any confusion.
By TDFbound
#6908878 Wow, thank you so much for the great information! It may take me a little to process it all and do some more reading on the items you mentioned, but this is really a good help! I'll reply back or PM you if/when I have any follow-up questions. Lots to learn for a guy who's never played with cars before!
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By EconoBox
#6908880 No problem. Always glad to talk cars and help out.
By TDFbound
#6908883 Just because I was curious, I took some measurements today to have a "before" measurement before messing with the suspension. Kinda odd numbers.... Do those mean anything besides the obvious that it's time to replace it all?

Driver Front Jack Point: 6.5"---------------------------Passenger Front Jack Point: 7.25"
Driver Front Tire-Fender Gap: 2.5"--------------------Passenger Front Tire-Fender Gap: 2.25"

Driver Rear Jack Point: 6.75"---------------------------Passenger Rear Jack Point: 7.375"
Driver Rear Tire-Fender Gap: 3.5"---------------------Passenger Rear Tire-Fender Gap: 3.0"
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By EconoBox
#6908885 Honestly never measured to those points before. Would be curious to see the measurements later. Just guessing but I'd assume it's worn bushings and shocks causing it to lean to the side that got more use.
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By teal_dx
#6908890 I installed the Energy Suspension master bushing kit as well as their trailing arm bushings on my EG and it made a world of difference. It was great handling, but rode harsh over bumpy roads (There's a lot of them in Ohio lol)
The urethane bushings really made the suspension work harder. I was surprised how much slop the OEM rubber bushings allowed - and that was back in the mid 2000's. ~15 years later, a Civic's rubber bushings have to be pretty mushy.
I never ran Koni Yellows + GC's on my EG, but put them on my 2006 TSX to replace the clunking FF Type 2 coilovers, and I'm now a Koni Yellow/GC customer for life.