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Chassis You Can Do It! DIYs

DIY: TSX Carbing Truck Floor Brace Install Tutorial: 2004-08 Acura TSX

Heeltoe Automotive has recently started offering the Carbing link of products for the 04-07 CL9 TSX! One of the most interesting offerings in this lineup is the Trunk Floor Brace Bar. Heeltoe recently acquired a shipment of these bars and installed one on a customer’s car. Check out how it went!

The virgin TSX trunk (if yours is not this clean, make it so! Dirty boy).
I first loosened the carpeting to get the lay of the land. You will need to remove the side bolsters in the rear seat area as well. the rear seat does not need to be removed for this install.
The Carbing bar will fit over the hump at the base of the seat. The vertical braces behind the seat will sandwich the Carbing bar onto the chassis. Remove the 3 bolts that hold the vertical braces to the chassis.
Inside the trunk, you can see where the Carbing bar will bolt to the trunk floor. This grommet will need to be removed so when the brace sits on top of the hump it will line up with preexisting holes.
You can see how the brace fits over the hump and the vertical brace sandwiches the Carbing brace. I was concerned about fitment here but I was pleasantly surprised to see how all the parts fit and holes lined up!
Reinstall the bolts loosely to locate the bar. You’ll tighten later.
With the grommets removed I confirmed that the rear mounts lined up with the OEM holes (it did quite well!). We opted not to remove the stock carpet from the trunk but rather decided to carefully trim it to accommodate the brace for a clean OEM look. Put
With the carpet reinstalled and the brace resting on top (with the front bolts installed to ensure proper placement), I marked the carpet where the hole would need to be cut. The cut is tricky because it is felt on top of the plastic. After drilling a pilot hole I used Lexan scissors (from my old RC days cutting Lexan bodies- go to the hobby stock and pick some up! You’ll thank me) to cut the round hole. Start small and make the hole bigger as needed. A snug fit will ensure the best possible look!
Bolting the brace to the trunk floor was the most difficult part of installation, and will take some dexterity. The Funny looking stud is designed to fit in the grommet hole and resist spinning when you tighten down the Carbing brace. The problem is, the stud will fall into the hole if you let go of it, and the washer (which is designed to thread onto the stud to keep it from falling) is too big to hold the stud in the chassis.
But, look closely at the washer…I used a chisel and hammer to dimple the ID hole of the washer to allow it to bite into the stud. With the stud suspended in the hole by the washer, you can carefully drop the Carbing brace over it to install the nut.
Aw crap, we’re not out of the woods yet…for some unknown reason, the company that is capable of designing such a well-fitting brace failed to supply nuts that match the studs!!! Test the nuts on the studs before installing. If they are wrong, get the correct hardware before beginning (any decent hardware store should have the correct fasteners).
Here is the Carbing bar loosely installed. Carbing recommends cutting the foam tool holder to allow easy removal. The instructions tell you where to cut along the horizontal bar.
With a little more carpet trimming at the back of the trunk, the center carpet fits quite well.
View from inside the car with seats folded.
Final fitment.
YES, WE WERE ABLE TO EASILY REMOVE THE SPARE TIRE WITH THE BAR INSTALLED.
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Chassis Heeltoe Explains

Stock shocks with Sport Springs : Yay or Nay?

I am asked this question frequently, and I have an answer.

Nay.

Back in the mid-’90s when I started with this import stuff, we did not have much choice. Lower the car with shorter springs. Usually, with shorter, you get stiffer too. Both these factors will improve the handling of the car. The problems with lowering a car on sport springs with stock shocks are pretty significant, though.

#1 Reduced Travel

The stock dampers are designed to work within a given travel range. They will stroke up and down as the car goes over bumps. This movement is needed to maintain a good, safe ride. By lowering the car you are actually moving the range that the shock is asked to work under. You are asking the dampers to do something they are not designed to do by working them in a range that is smaller than they normally do. And one result of this is “bottoming out.” When the shocks compress completely they bottom out, and the car crashes on the bump stops. This causes the car to pogo and bounces over bumps in the road, drastically hurting the ride and performance of the car. It is highly recommended to use dampers that are short-stroke or short-case with lowering spring to maintain travel in the damper system.*

#2 Degraded damper life

Speaking from experience, dampers in import cars generally last a very long time under normal conditions.

I have seen numerous Accords, Civics, etc go well beyond 100,000 miles with the original shocks only showing hints of softening. You know a shock goes bad when the car seems to float around like a boat as though the springs are allowed to oscillate freely. The shock/strut system is designed to match the stiffness of the spring and keep it in check. The spring compresses to absorb bumps, and it expands to maintain contact with the road over dips. The shock is there to keep the spring from exhibiting natural perpetual motion which would allow it to bounce up and down forever.

The combination of lowering the car into a modified travel range, and making the spring firmer (disrupting the stock shocks/spring balance) combine to cause advanced wear in the shocks. A shock that might normally last 10 years now won’t last 6 months under normal driving conditions.

Here it is recommended that shocks be replaced in conjunction with lowering springs to better match the performance characteristics of the springs.**

#3 Perceived savings result in more costs.

Typically, the savings associated with installing springs onto stock shocks are counteracted by the need to later replace the shocks with new units, aftermarket or otherwise. If shocks and springs are replaced at one time the labor costs are combined into a single cost. Shocks will be needed sooner than normal, and the labor to install them being paid twice; once when the springs are installed, and once more when the shocks are replaced. In effect, while saving money in not upgrading the dampers, you will just be deferring the cost that you will eventually need to pay anyway, and indeed paying more by paying for labor twice. Save if you gotta. Do the shocks at the same time as the springs.

So, that’s my story. I’m stickin’ to it. Besides the fact that the stock shocks are not designed to accommodate the lower ride height of sport springs, they are often valved wrong and will not provide the performance or longevity you expect from a sports suspension. You’ll end up replacing the dampers sooner and pay more labor in the end.

* Note that Tein coil-over damper kits all have short-case dampers and are designed to work at reduced ride heights without bottoming. They provide ideal travel, ride, and handling characteristics; all of which we strongly recommend for street sports driving. These kits are also adjustable for a range of ride heights, along with options such as firmness adjustability and rigid upper pillow mounts.

** We strongly recommend either Koni (twin tube) or Bilstein (monotube) dampers be used in conjunction with any aftermarket spring, soft, stiff, low, mild, etc. Koni Yellows have the advantage of adjustability to tailor them to nearly any given spring available. Bilsteins offer a monotube design which is an upgraded design over twin tubes that provide better driver feedback, response, and accuracy.