The Energy Suspension master bushing kit came with this gnarly sticky silicone based urethane lube called Formula-5 Pre-Lube. If you don't have that, we highly recommend that you get at least some sort of urethane lube. Lubricating all of the areas on the bushings that come in contact with metal surfaces helps increase the life of the polyurethane; especially for the bushings that see lots of stiction.
When preparing the bushings for installation, we found that a vice and a couple of sturdy flat surfaces really helped with compressing the metal sleeve into the bushing, and with installing the bushings into the control arms.
My only gripe about Energy Suspension bushings are their motor mount bushings. They had inserts that slipped into the stock bushings. I wish they would make solid bushings that would replace the entire engine mount bushings – I think I remember having the same complaint 6 years ago when we were building the NX2000. Although I do like the inserts for the sake of them being easy to install and remove if we do feel that they would be too stiff; it would be nice to have the option to have a solid polyurethane motor mount if I wanted one. Energy Suspension guys, are you listening?
The next part we installed was the Suspension Techniques front sway bar, or anti-sway bar. Or roll bar. Or anti-roll bar. Or stabilizer bar. I don't think there is another car part with this many variations in name. Whatever you call it, our bar is powder coated ecto-plasma green. You can't miss this modification. Although I have not tried it, I think this sway bar might be black light responsive.
To front sway bar, or not to front sway bar; that is the question. Although it is debatable whether or not you should run a front sway bar on a FWD car, we think that it's not a bad idea. Why wouldn't you run a front sway bar? While some people think that running only a rear bar helps with traction while exiting a corner in a FWD car, our in house suspension guru Mike Kojima says that the opposite is true. As long as the front sway bar is properly balanced with the rear roll stiffness and excess roll is controlled, the front sway bar will help with corner exit traction.
The ST front sway bar is 2mm thicker than the 22mm Civic sway bar which comes stock on top trim Civic models. Most Civics come with no front bar from the factory so adding the bar would make a huge difference in overall roll stiffness. Having a thicker, stiffer front bar increases the overall roll stiffness of the chassis, which is equivalent to increasing the spring rate by a couple hundred in/lbs. Our next Civic suspension article will go into more detail on the functionality of sway bars and how they work.
The ST front sway bar was fairly easy to install, since it used the same mounting points as the stock sway bars that are present on all Civics. Similar to the Energy Suspension bushings that we installed for the other half of the suspension, the ST front sway bar came with polyurethane bushings for the bar mounts and end links as well. As mentioned earlier, anything to increase the stiffness and reduce the squishiness helps.
|The only issue we ran into (literally) was the exhaust heat shield. We had some slight clearance issues that were easily remedied with a pair of tin snips.|
We're almost done with the Civic's suspension! Stay tuned for the next in the suspension series where we will be spending more time on sway bars and how they work.