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Acura Integra GSR Customizing and Modifying



  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,137
    I gotta get hold of that SCC issue. Do they say anything about Pat Salerno in AS? Pat took the '99 championship in A stock with his Porsche Boxter but lost in '00 to a guy (forget his name) driving an S2000. Pat is at most of the clubs I race at and usually gets FTD and even beats the go-karts! All he has on his Boxter is Koni yellows (single adjustable) just like ours.
    The other one is Ken Frey. He took last's year champtionship in CS with his MR2. He is also at every event I go to. Ken has been auto-xing since 1979! (he is in his early 50's). Ken has spent about $4K just on the Koni shocks alone which of course are custom valved according to the each corner's weight, double adjustable, etc. He has a cat-back exhaust and custom camber settings - all allowable in a Stock class. That non-turbo MR2 looks so darn fast when he 's driving it, I could swear he has other mods :-) BUT most national level drivers do look much faster than everyone else even in mostly stock cars..
    A couple of months ago, I was on the competition forum at H-T and a bunch of GSR guys in DSP were talking about how they 're going to a PRO (solo II) championship event in St. Petersburg (North Carolina or Virginia I think). Well they were all talking about Mark Daddio and were saying how none of them stood a chance.. they were pretty good sports about it though, since many of them were driving 100's of miles to get there from NY, NJ & PA. I think it's nearly impossible to beat a modded Street Prepared Neon ACR with a GSR prepared the same way or the maximum allowable mods in DSP. The Neon is 150lbs lighter than the GSR. Even if you take out the stuff you 're allowed to, to make the GSR lighter, like the back seat (for the roll cage) and the trunk liners and stuff, the Neon guy can do the same and make it even lighter. Did you know that the Neon ACR came with Koni Yellows from the factory?
    Yep. I think it's a little unfair to have the ACR in DSP with the Integras. The Neon ACR is normally in D Stock when not modified, and the GSR is in G Stock which is a slower class. But when street prepared, they put them together in DSP. I think a modded ACR would be a better match for the MR2s, CRX's & older Miatas in CSP. Mark Daddio beat all the CSP times in his DSP Neon the last time he was in one of my events. I don't know, it's probably his natianal level driving skills, but the CRX Si's there were well modded and pulling some admirable times. I don't think an Integra can ever beat a Neon ACR, unless that Teg has a LOT more money invested in it, and the Neon is not as modded or doesn't have the best of parts.
    I just have never seen a DSP GSR or any other Integra do 2 sec. better than me (which is what Daddio beat me by) in the 5 clubs I 've raced at. 1/2 sec. maybe, and CSP Type-R's (which are not in DSP) about 1-1.5 sec. better than me. Well you can't lose hope :-) The GSR's day may still come.
  • Well, here are SCCA's predictions about a few classes.

    In SS, Erik Strelnieks is picked to win, followed by John Ames, Stacey Molleker, Dave Schotz, and Roger Johnson. All these guys are driving Z06s. Rob Falkner (Boxster S) is also said to be strong contender, as is Mark Sipe (Z06).

    In DSP, it's Hoelscher (X1/9) followed by Mark Daddio (Neon). Brian Flanagan (BMW 325is), Mike Neary (Integra GS-R) and Arie Villasol (Capri) are also mentioned.

    In CS, Andy Hollis (Miata) is the predicted winner. Also mentioned are Jonathan Roberts (MR2), Randy Chase, Jim Daniels, Barry Ott, Clemens Burger, and defending champ, Ken Frey (all driving MR2s).

    Sure would be cool to go and watch, but spending a whole week at a Solo II event would be hard to justify to the other adult in this house ;-). Oh well, there's always retirement time to look forward to...

    Hope you're having a Happy Labor Day weekend.
  • Tomorrow, I'm having an entirely new exhaust system put on -- from the header to the exhaust tip, the whole thing will be brand spanking new. I've been looking forward to this for a while. Should be interesting to see how the "sound" of the car changes. Obviously, it will have a different note at the tail pipe, but also cars with headers emit a different sound from under the hood -- can't quite explain, but it is different. After that, I think I'm going to invest in some dyno time to see what whp I'm producing and then to see if there's any way I can tune the care for better performance. This car stuff is like a drug... a little doesn't last long enough... gotta keep on going back for more...
  • Everything worked out very well, but man is the thing loud now! I've definitely lost the sleeper effect on my car for the time being. You know, it's funny how you live and learn... And, now, having gone through major research, discussions, etc. trying to figure out every angle about how good, how loud, how big, what diameter, what material, etc. for this exhaust, I would certainly do things differently had I to do it over again. And just to clarify, I'd say the exhaust is within the realm of what's considered legal, but it's just soooo different from the stock sound I guess that's what has caught me so off guard. At idle, it's got a very deep tone, which I like. At low RPM (say from 1.5K to 4K) it has a resonance to it that kind of drones out all other sounds, and that's the part I dislike the most about it. Above 4k rpm, it sings, and sings nicely. Still a bit on the loud side, but the resonance is gone. One thing that caught me by complete surprise is that you can definitely hear (and there's really no mistaking it) the VTEC crossover now. Not quite as pronounced and aggressive sounding as a Type R with an intake, but very noticeable nonetheless. So, I'm going to live with this thing for 3-6 months and then decide if it's something I'll keep or change. According to the "seat of my pants" (aka: butt) dyno assessment, it's really hard to say how much quicker, if at all, the car is now -- I'm to distracted and self conscious about all the noise to focus on performance =:-o) It does have excellent throttle response, quicker than before, and seems to pull very strong from 5K-8K rpm. I'll have to get on a dyno to really know for sure.
  • Harry, it's bad enough that it's just you and me who are regularly checking in here. But when that doesn't happen, it's just me talking to myself -- and that's just plain creepy! Well, I'm getting used to my new exhaust now. No, it's not any quieter, but I'm not as self conscious about the noise anymore. The only thing I miss hearing because of the exhaust is the growl from the CAI. But, hearing the VTEC kick in ain't too bad either. I'm heading to Philly today on business so I'll check back in here on Friday. Happy racing!
  • chem123chem123 Posts: 272
    Sorry guys it took me so long to find this board...I thought you just packed up and left :). After reading up on you guys on all the posts I missed, I concluded you are both dying to hear my questions. Right now I am looking at three options for tightening up my body roll:

    1) Comptech rear sway/rear tie package ($369)
    2) Suspension Techniques rear/front sway ($220)
    3) ITR rear sway with Si endlinks and other mounting hardware (around $200)

    Will a front sway induce more understeer? Would a camber kit on the rear help dial in more oversteer by making it more neutral in the rear tires? Thanks guys
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,137
    Congrats on your new exhaust!! What kind of header & exhaust did you get? Did you install a new Random Cat or did you leave the cat alone?
    I 'm sure you have a few extra ponnies now and where you feel it the most is on the high end and at high speeds. The loud noise is what 's been keeping me from getting a header & exhaust, plus I like the sleeper look (not that my car is a speed demon, but the handling usually surprises everyone especially with R tires on. I can leave anyone in the dust on the twisties, even Vettes, Boxters, and almost ALL cars on street tires - thank god for R tires!). If there's one thing I hate is lound and noisy exhausts on a long trip or just driving around. ON the track, they 're fun and I enjoy listening to other Integra's exhausts & header sounds but I have been in them and I know I wouldn't like driving in those cars for more than 10-15min. The humming on the hway would drive me crazy I think. That's too bad because I wouldn't mind spending the money on a decent exhaust system and getting a few extra hp & torque.
    I 've been too busy at work & home where I 'm doing some renovations to the house, painting, etc. I haven't raced in a couple of weeks and my next race is not till the end of the month (1 club I used to go to lost its kicked out, don't know details).
    Coincidently I 'm going to Philly on business in October for 4 days. I 'm glad you 're getting used to the new system. Let me know what you got so I don't get the same one :-)
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,137
    I 'd stick with just a rear sway. You do have a 20mm front sway as do all g6 Civics and that is fine. You don't want to induce more understeer with a bigger bar. Any of these sway bars are good with probably the Suspension techniques being at the bottom of my list and Comptech at the top. The ITR bar would be good too but more risky and a lot more involved as far as making adjustments and acquiring all the hardware to install it properly. Comptech comes with everything you need and they make a really good sturdy bar and hardware (I don't have Comptech but I 've seen this sway/tie bar kit up close).
  • The new exhaust consists of a JDM 4-1 header, a Carsound hi-flo cat, and a 2.5" stainless cat back exhaust (made by Dave Stadulis of SMS Products -- he goes by SMSP on that utilizes a Magnaflow resonantor and muffler. Now that I'm getting accustomed to the new "sound" I can definitely notice that the car feels stronger at certain points in the powerband. Around town and when driving in the low RPM range, the car feels no different -- not stronger and not weaker (thank goodness, I was concerned that my car would be more anemic at low RPM with the new header). From mid to high RPM the car is noticably stronger, most notably in 2nd and 3rd gear it pulls very strong to redline. Cruising on the highway, the car feels much more responsive and stronger to the slightest throttle adjustments. Even blipping the throttle to rev match on a down shift produces an incredibly quick engine response. And I'm still loving it when I hear the VTEC crossover -- the car sounds beautiful when the hot cam kicks in! Needless to say, I'm pleased with the results. I've got an autocross this Saturday in Atlanta, so I'm looking forward to racing for the first time in a month! I've got some new AEM rear brake pads and speed bleeders I want to put on the car before then, and then also bleed the entire system, too. Hope you're home improvement projects are going well; those things never seem to end, do they? ;-)
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,137
    it all sounds very good and tempting :-) That JDM header must 've cost a bundle.. Who did you order it from? "RacerX"? He sells JDM stuff on H-T. I bet you got some nice torque increase starting mid-range.. What's the wife saying about all this $$ you 're spending?
    I finally sold sold my old Borbet Type-F 15x7" wheels for $200. I got them in '97 and had them on my Civic DX for about 6mos. They were too heavy (18lbs!) but the Civic handled great with 205-50's ZR Dunlop tires on them.. So I got some more spending money for the GSR now :-)
  • chem123chem123 Posts: 272
    Although it is too bad there is really no other option for my car (and I've been hiding from it all this time), I will go ahead with the Comp. rear sway. Hopefully I can finagle some discount out of the dealership as the price is ridiculous.
  • chem123chem123 Posts: 272
    When I took out the center gauge cluster to wire up my tachometer, I noticed the metal directing behind the steering wheel had rusted. What is this metal responsible for and should I be worried about rust in other parts of the car?
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,137
    Don't know. Why don't you give the dealer a call and ask them if it's supposed be rusted and/or ask them why would a vital piece like that connected to the steering wheel is rusted..

    I told you to go with Comptech 4-5 mos ago. I have seen g6 Civics with the Comptech set swaybar/tie bar and it looked really good. The owners also said good things about it so that's why I stressed Comptech as your first choice. To use anything else you have to do other mods like control arms, bushings, reinforcement plates, etc. BTW, my Acura dealer has the sway bar for $230. Actually their regular Comptech prices are all 15% discounted all the time. That's not bad. I paid $189 for my Neuspeed 19mm on a really big groupbuy 1.5yrs ago but was never able to see that price advertised ever again. Neuspeed now goes for a lot more and it's not even 22mm. I really wanted the Comptech bar but was trying to save a few bucks. I kind of regreted not getting a 22mm one.
    Hey at least you have some choices. Noone makes a sway bar for g7 Civic yet!
  • chem123chem123 Posts: 272
    It doesn't seem like the aftermarket has taken off in terms of the g7 Civic. Besides the Civics on the dealership floor, I don't think I've seen too many modded g7 Civics (and those are just with body kits, etc.) Has the aftermarket given up on your car? I guess we can't always expect WRX-like response from the aftermarket to brand-new model lines.
  • ... and I'm actually improving, believe it or not!

    All I can say is that the phase I Evolution driving school is worth every penny and made a HUGE difference in how well I did within STS. Before the school, I used to be about 3-4 secs. behind the STS leaders, and usually in the bottom quartile of the final standings. On Sat., I shaved that margin to about 1.5 secs. My best of 42.1xx was good enough for a 4th place finish, less than .2 secs. out of 3rd place and a trophy spot Not too bad for a rookie in the fifth event of his first season... As all the good drivers say, seat time makes such a big difference...
  • Thanks for the note. Having just re-read my post, it sounds a bit "braggy" to me. And Lord knows I don't have the right to brag about anything special in my new autocross career, I was simply feeling good about my improvements.
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,137
    That evolution school is like attending at least 4 auto-x events + the instruction & tips you received to make you drive a little better are all worth it. There 's nothing better than "seat" time. So now it's like you 've attended about 9 events. That's how we all get better, experience, ie: more time behind the wheel.
    I raced on Sunday and I think my raw time was in the top 10. For the first time we had 2 new carts in B Modified & A Mod! The 2 fastest classes in Solo-II! Both looked like Formula 1 and the AM had a modified Porsche 914 2.0L motor in it. It was bored out 2.4L! It was a screamer and the fastest "vehicle" I ever seen auto-xing. The BM cart was pretty fast too but 2-3 secs behind the AM one. They were scary and took turns faster than a rollercoaster and probably averaged at least 1.5g! To give you an example, the fastest car was 33.2sec. (I was 34.9x). The BM cart got 30.0x and the AM got low 27's! That's 6 secs. faster than the fastest car which was CP (C Prepared) Mustang SVO turbo with 9" rims and hoosiers sticking out of the fenders by 4", plus 650lb coilovers. Usually the C & D-Mod carts are only about 1sec. faster than the fastest cars. These A & B Mods were monsters. I spoke to both their owners who said they won't compete Nationally for a while because they wouldn't be competitive! Anyway, if it weren't for those 2 carts I would 've been 1.7sec. behind FTD which I 'm happy about. There were only 67 cars so it's not that good either.. My goal is to come in like 10th out of 90-100 cars or top 10% which I don't think is going to happen this year. I have managed to come in the top 15% several times this season but the top 10% seems really hard to do, as all of the top 10-15% drivers are national & divisional champs/ex-champs. So it looks like the GSR needs a makeover to accomplish this task :-)
  • cjhannancjhannan Posts: 201
    Harry: Sounds like you're making great strides in DSP. Top ten time? That's awesome! Did you ever get the GC coilovers you were talking about a while ago? or are you still running on your H&Rs? If I were to get another set of wheels, what would you recommend? STS allow any diameter wheel as long as it's no wider than 7.5" wide. 7.5" is a funky size and I can't think of a single company that makes this width in a 15" wheel. So, I'll likely go with some 15x7s. Kosei's are the perrenial favorite because of the price to weight ratio ;-) Are there others you'd recommend I take a look at? Also, what the proper offset for whatever wheel I might end up with? Thanks.
  • chem123chem123 Posts: 272
    CJ, also check out the SSR Competitions ( For wheels weights:

    Harry, have gone back and forth with Tirerack about the center caps. So far, they have offered a discount price of something like $26 for all four center caps. I'm not giving up yet, though :).

  • cjhannancjhannan Posts: 201
    I like your taste in wheels. I saw a set of the SSR competitions on a vtec Civic at the southeastern divisional event in August -- they are a reaallly nice looking wheel. They're also one of the lighter wheels out there, but with that they also come with a high price tag (around $300/wheel if memory serves). At that price, I'd probably go with my favorites -- Volk TE-37s!!! But I'm really not thrilled about dropping $1,200 on a set of wheels, so I'm going to keep on looking...
  • chem123chem123 Posts: 272
    How do you like the O.Z. Superleggera? 15x7 is $200 per wheel but only weighs 11.0 lbs. The Kosei wheel in the same size is 13.5 lbs but is only $139 a wheel. The 9.2 lb SSR Competitions in 15x7 are $299. Volk TE37 are around $310 each and weigh exactly the same as the SSRs.
  • wiwangwiwang Posts: 17
    Do you guys know if a AEM CAI will void my warranty? and is it worth installing if my car is less than 6 months old? how hard is it to install for someone with not much car fixing experience (i've changed the oil filter on a camry before..hehe!) and also, i've read about 10-15hp gains from a CAI...but does that require the installation of a freer flowing exhaust as well? how much more hp would an exhaust add?

    Thanks in advance for any info!
  • cjhannancjhannan Posts: 201
    Sounds like you definitely know your data about wheels! The OZ superleggera look OK, but too similar to my stock GSR wheels to tempt me. For the $$, the Kosei are a great choice -- about 1.5 lbs. lighter than stock and you get an extra inch in wheel width. If I'm going spend the big $$, I'll probably go with the Volk's -- they're only $11 extra per wheel, plus you get the choice of a few colors, and as far as know the SSRs only come in the darkish gunmetal gray.
  • cjhannancjhannan Posts: 201
    As far as bolt-on performance value for the $$, the AEM CAI is the way to go. As you mentioned, it can give you 10-15 hp at the wheels and you'll definitely notice the difference. As far as your warranty, it depends on who you ask but I'd say it probably would void your warranty because car dealers are always looking for ways not to fix things at their cost. I installed mine after 50k miles so the warranty had already expired. Then again, I bought my '97 GSR in late '99 w/ 41k miles so I didn't have the same dilemma as you. Another intake option you could consider is the Comptech Icebox. It's supposed to produce similar performance gains as the AEM plus Acura dealers sell and install Comptech products. You'd have to double check with your particular dealer if they recognize Comptech as factory authorized replacement parts so that your warranty would still be in tact.
  • chem123chem123 Posts: 272
    I believe the dealership still has to prove that whatever was modified caused a problem and then the warranty will not cover it. As far as difficulty installing, it will make it a lot easier if you take the passenger-side front wheel off and jack the car up. You basically will have to cut some metal tubing and connect hoses. Good luck!
  • wiwangwiwang Posts: 17
    Thanks for the info guys. I'm just itching to go ahead and get and install the CAI. do you think an exhaust is needed?
  • chem123chem123 Posts: 272
    Just be careful with the install if you are doing it yourself because it can get pretty involved. As far as exhaust, it depends what your goals are. Back when I was this [] close to getting a 01 GS-R I figured my first mods to be AEM cold air, ITR rear sway bar, Bridgestone RE730 tires, Tsunami front lip (love how it looks :) ), and eventually Koni adjustable struts with Ground Control coilovers. Of course, I planned to do most of these after a couple thousand miles on the car with the first mods being the intake and sway bar. When I got tired of the stock tires and suspension, I would replace those. Wheels would have come sooner or later and I probably would have gotten some Koseis or gone for the Rota Slipstreams. My goals were pretty much handling, a little power, and a little appearance. Just make sure you kinda map out what you want it to be in the future so you don't wish you had spent the money on other stuff.
  • wiwangwiwang Posts: 17
    Funny you mentioned front lip spoiler...I was planning on getting one as well. where can i go to buy one? how do the Tsunami front lip look? i want to mod my car to look a little different than the others, but i also dont want to look too rice boyish. i was also thinking of some side skirts or whatever you call those...the factory black ones are a little plain...and i wish they were red to match the body color. oh, also, i wanted to get a mesh grill thing on the car. I read somewhere that someone actually made their own before using the screen door screen material...any thoughts? is it hard to make and install one on my own?

    In terms of goals...i was planning to up the power and handle and appearance a little. Im not planning on auto-x or street race, but i'd like a little more oomph. I plan to get the AEM CAI, probably an exhaust, a rear sway bar (probably comptech since i hear good things about it...but it's a little's neuspeed?), and maybe a set of wheels later on. Then maybe some springs...but that's probably last cuz i think it'll look better a little lowered with bigger wheels...17in at most.
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