Project EP3 Civic Si: Fixing EP3 Bumpsteer with Hardrace

Project EP3 Civic Si: Fixing EP3 Bumpsteer with Hardrace

by Mike Kojima


In prior editions of Project EP3 Civic Si, we went over the history of the car, the worst handling Civic made with suspension geometry taken right from the Stream minivan. Well, so far we have gotten rid of squishy rubber and added swaybars with help from Whiteline. We also got rid of the flaccid shocks with a set of coilovers from Fortune Auto

Perhaps the worst issue with the suspension of the EP3 is the large amount of bump steer present in its steering geometry. With its origins coming from a  van, apparently, the steering was designed for ease of running a steering column instead of any kind of aspirations of good handling. In fact, the layout of the steering is perhaps the worst that we have seen in a modern car!

Ideally, in a McPherson strut front suspension, the steering rack should be placed so the inner tie rods pivots are in line with the lower control arm pivot bolts with the outer tie rods being in the same plane as the ball joints. On an EP3, the steering rack is midway up the firewall. The rack is also very short and the tie rods very long; this makes for a lot of toe in under suspension moments.

The constant big changes in toe makes the car squirm around and wander which is annoying, and in some cases, it's so bad it makes it hard for the car to stay online.  All is not lost- we have obtained some parts to help reduce the bump steer, hopefully, to manageable levels. 

To read more about Project EP3 check here!

We got a set of these bump steer correcting tie rod ends from Hardrace. These parts relocate the tie rod from the top of the knuckle to the bottom.  This moves the tie rod pivot point down about 2 inches from stock. This is about an inch too far for optimal bump steer reduction, but since it is on the far side of the knuckle, it at least can be moved.

Here you can see how the shank of the Hardrace tie rod end has the taper on the opposite side as normal.  The tie rod end itself is a spherical bearing rather than a ball joint. This makes for less play. The spherical bearing is shielded from the environment by a rubber boot. 

We also installed Hardraces roll center correcting ball joints. The balljoints have a longer body which relocates the pivot point of the of the balljoint almost an inch lower. This raises the roll center and goes a long way to correcting its location which dropped when the car was lowered. Correcting the roll center height increases geometric anti-roll and helps improve the poor camber curve of lowered McPherson strut suspension.  If you want to learn more about roll centers check this out. 

On an EP3, the ball joint presses into the knuckle instead of the control arm so to relocate the pivot of the ball joint, it has a longer body to move the pivot down. Your typical roll center correcting ball joint that presses into the control arm has a longer shank to do the same job. The relocation of the ball joint pivot lower corrects the too low position of the inverted Hardrace tie rod end!



  1. This EP3 series is awesome. I love all the insight Mike gives into this car’s weird handling dynamics.
    I have a question about replacing all these bushings and roll center adjuster ball joints and tie rod ends: Is it OK to replace these parts on the stock suspension or is a lowered ride height needed for these adjusters to be effective? Thanks!

    1. The bushings and steering rack spacer work fine on a car at stock ride height but the roll center adjusters and bump steer correctors are best on a lowered car only.

      1. ” roll center adjusters and bump steer correctors are best on a lowered car only.” – not true.
        It lovely works also with standard ride height on stock suspension. It worth to invest in it

        1. There are a lot of bolts and items here, if it is Honda, contact your Honda dealer, if Hardrace contact them.

  2. My Civic Si is the ’04 EP3, and Hardrace’s website say the roll center correcting ball joints are for 01-03 only? What parts do I need to replicate this on my EP3 if it’s lowered a 1-2 inches?

      1. So on an 04 si, the type s parts have been corrected or we should still buy hard race correction rod ends and ball joints? Should I refer to your answer above regarding stock suspension for an 04 model year? I have a 5 bolt hub stock configuration, does that make some of the correction work easier?

  3. Hi Mike, I just bought the RCA and Front LCA spherical bearing to replace the OEM parts on my ‘03 EP3, should I replace both or either one. Thanks in advance.

  4. Where can I find the connecting tie rods to relocate them I don’t see this on hard race website

  5. In order to adjust the camber and toe in the rear were there any special parts not mentioned on the article to make these adjustments? such as LCA’s or camber kits I have all the front end dialed in and parts replaced as recommended. I was looking to go get an alignment and figured I’d ask.

    1. My experience has been that to get these Fortune Auto coilovers dialed you will need a camber kit in the rear of your DC5 or EP3.

  6. Alot of comments on height for a ride height specs( where to take the measurement and the proper height. Your article does not address this alingment spec. Front and rear height ( some claim front should be less than rear height by a factor of two. Example floor to fender is 25 1/2 inches rear and front is 24 !/2 on my 2002 EP-3 . Tire is a 24.8 diameter.

  7. Mike, I am truly a fan of your work explaining the logic behind suspension operation, thank you. I nerd out reading these type of articles.

    I’m helping my brother with his 06 SI Coupe. We are working on the shopping list of parts to make his car handle better. He has chosen to install Tein Flex Coilovers.

    I have been copying most of the work you have published for suspension.

    Knowing that the RSX and Civics of that era share may of their components, would you also recommend the Roll Center Correction and Bump Steer Correction for his chassis since he will be lowering his ride height?

    Thank you,

    1. Your brothers car has vastly better geometry than the EP3/DC5 but can still benefit from these parts like any macpherson strut car.

      1. Mike thank you for this write up! Do you know the total length of the tie rod for an ideal toe setting? I’m having a hard time dialing this in.
        Otherwise everything else makes the car handle amazing, thanks again!

        1. If its a track car set it for 1/8″ toe out. A street car where you want your tires to last a long time might be better at Zero. I have no idea what tie rod length that is because that’s not how you align cars.

  8. Mike kojima do you have anyone in NYC the fix ep3 ? I need to get the steering to together and the car in general. When you have time can you email back . Thank you very much.

  9. Mike, what torque specs did you guys apply to the hard race inverted tie rod end nuts? I’ve currently got my hands on these for my EP3 and am wondering how tight they should be. Thanks.

  10. Mike, do you know what torque specs you guys tightened the Hard Race tie rod ends to? I got my hands on a pair and would appreciate the info. Thanks.

  11. Hey, so I bought these tie rods after reading through all your posts (This and the steering rack slider were the only things I got). I have a problem however.
    My car is completely stock and the inverted tie rod ends can only screw into the tie rods by only two full 360º turns (Or two threads) before it stops being installable. This is absurd, it’s “hanging by two threads” in the literal sense! (For comparison, OEM threads into 9 threads/9 360º turns).
    So, what the hell is the problem? For reference, it’s a facelift EP4 (1.7 Diesel). Would it being the EP4 make a difference? Hardrace website says it works for all EP models…

    1. im going to say that i belive because your car is not lowered the tie rod ends are not needed, these are for lowerd cars. When stock the legenth of the rods is what its designed to be, the issues that come up having a lowered car makes the tie rod ends longer and angles them up more as the car gets lower the inverted tie rod ends are to get rid of that issue with the increased angle on the tie rods. if you are stock you should just use the slider. and dont worry about the tie rod flip kit.

  12. I have a 2003 RSX-S and will be installing Tein Flex Z coilovers. If I only drop it 1″ do I still need the roll center correcting ball joint or would I be fine with just the tie rods?

  13. Hi Mike
    Loved this series and been accumulating all the parts for my 02 K24a2 with JRSC EP3! No more Fortune autos for this car, so got Feels instead, and such nice guys!

    Question, I also have HONED DEVELOPMENTS (Australia) Adjustable Inner Tie Rod Mount and the new Ktuned Adjustable Inner Tie Rods. Will all four (with your articles inverted and roll center adjuster) of these products work well in conjunction, is it overkill, or just creates even more ability to adjust Toe and geometry etc.

    Thanks Mike and great articles!

  14. Are the inverted tie rod ends just for lowered cars or is that just the ball joints? I have around $2000 of sporty suspension junk into my honda element (dont ask) including the SHG slider and it still drives like ass.

    1. The tie rods lower the tie rods too much, it’s way better than stock but still not totally correct. We are going to get an adjustable rack slider to help with this.

      What is your alignment set at?

      1. At the exact moment my alignment is a mystery because I broke my steering rack again, but I usually have it set to about stock toe and camber. I dont have the adjustability of coilovers since I did an element SC suspension swap as I dont exactly trust that most coilovers for the element had much testing done

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