Categories
Brakes

How Much Unsprung Weight Does An RB Performance 2-Piece Rotor Save?

Let’s let the images do the talking. These rotors are all from a 2004-08 TSX. First, an OEM Rotor. This rotor comes in at 17.8 lbs:

17.8 lbs for a stock TSX front rotor, with minimal wear. The rotor is not near the service limit.

Now, a Racingbrake 1-piece UP rotor for the same application. There is some added weight added coming in at 18.3 lbs with this rotor since it is a bit thicker than the standard rotor, and has more material in the hub area which is greatly reinforced versus the stock rotor :

Racingbrake UP 1-Piece Front Rotor, 18.3 lbs.

The 2-Piece rotor from Racingbrake, featuring a forged and CNCed aluminum hat, free-floating, center-mount design, and G3500 racing alloy material, weighs in at a paltry 12.7 lbs per side! This is a 5.1 lb saving per corner versus the stock rotor, and 10.2 lbs of the whole front axle!:

Racingbrake 2-Piece Rotor for TSX Weighs 12.7 lbs!

With the ability to stand up to street- and track- duty pads, lightweight for better acceleration and suspension action, and reasonably priced replacement rings, the Racingbrake 2-Piece Rotor is a definite winner for street performance and track-day enthusiasts. And if you are for show, you simply cannot beat the look for the cost.

Is it any wonder we chose these rotors for our HT-Spec Stage 3 Performance Brake Packages and for our HT-Spec TSX Project Build?

Categories
Heeltoe Explains Intake & Exhaust

An Outline Of The Exhaust Layout On J-Series Honda/Acura V6 Engines

Updated Nov 9th, 2016

Later model Accords from 2013 and newer have a little different layout where the catalytic converter that used to be after the j-pipe is now incorporated with it. So replacing the J-pipe is now something that will also replace the cat.


The J-series Honda V6 found in all V6 Hondas and Acuras since 1998 (such as the Accord, the TL, the MDX, Odyssey, Ridgeline, and even the limited production TSX V6) has a special cylinder head that has a manifold integrated into it. As such, there is only a single port coming off the head that leads to the exhaust system.

Early J-Series

The first generation of the J-series found in 01-03 CLs, 98-02 Accords, and 99-03 TLs featured a traditional manifold layout with a front and rear bank of primary tubes that heads down to a collector.

1g J-series header from CT Engineering

Later J-Series, “Pre-cats”

Later 04+ J-series engines have quite a different design.

Diagram of the J-series cylinder head showing a single port.

The single-port then dumps directly into the “pre-cats” as people refer to them. As a matter of fact, these are the primary converters in the car, containing 2 O2 sensors each. These cats are restrictive and are frequently removed (albeit illegally) in favor of open units, which we are told make a significant power increase. RV6 Performance makes Pre-Cat Deletes. Often these are referred to as PCD’s throughout the web. Deleting these converters will cause and engine light to come on, but the RV6 pipes do come with provisions for fooling the sensors so the light does not come on.

RV6 Pre-cat deletes. RV6 also produces versions of these pipes with metal-core converters, called High Flow Pre Cats, or HFPCs.

J-pipe as the new “header”

Immediately after the pre-cats, there is a “j-pipe” as has been dubbed by the industry. This pipe takes the flow from the front and rear bank cats and brings it together into a single exhaust system. There are significant gains to be made from replacing the factory j-pipe to an aftermarket version. Larger diameter piping and a smoother collector improve the volume capacity and flow of the system. RV6, ATLP, and XLR8 all make j-pipes for the TL/Accord. We prefer the ATLP version as it has been redesigned to allow more ground clearance due to customer demands and produces maximum power in the upper RPM ranges. The others may have been updated recently, but ATLP remains our preferred brand because it’s the price point is competative, ability to keep the stock cat and provide a lot of ground clearance.

ATLP J-Pipe, smooth transition, large piping, ground clearance, can use stock 3rd cat.

The 3rd Cat

After the J-Pipe there is the 3rd cat. This cat, which lacks any O2 sensors, exists to provide additional of the exhaust not taken care of by the pre/primary converters. This pipe can also be replaced by a test pipe or a high-flowing converter to produce more power. ATLP, RV6, and XLR8 all make both options to replace this converter, although it should be noted that replacing this converter is completely illegal as well, however, deleting it will not cause any engine lights to come on.

ATLP Race pipe, a 3rd car delete.
Categories
Brakes Heeltoe Explains You Can Do It! DIYs

How To Remove The Rotor Screws From Your Honda/Acura’s Brake Rotors

Brake rotor retaining screws are a pain to remove. They are soft, and strip easily, despite having large Phillps heads and generally not being on very tightly. Heeltoe’s got a surefire way to remove them using simple common tools that works 100% of the time. You’ll never reach for an impact driver again. And, luckily, once you get them off you don’t need to re-install them!

I hate these screws. Most European cars don’t even have them, but for some reason, the Japanese feel the need to equip their cars with them. The reason they are there is to hold the rotor securely to the hub of the car once the wheel is removed. If you look at how the whole assembly of hub/studs, rotor, wheel, and lug nuts fit together, you will see that these screws serve no purpose once the wheel is installed. The screws exist merely as an unnecessary assembly aide.

Their function is so superficial, in fact, that they are made out of what must be the softest metallic substance on the entire car. Under any load from the brakes, I can imagine these screws’ heads popping off instantly. Alas, they are on the car holding the rotor in place and must be removed in order to change rotors (another insufficiently designed component of the Honda/Acura braking system, but that is another blog topic...) The process of removing these screws appears to be as simple as grabbing a Phillips head screwdriver and giving them a twist.

Unfortunately, life creates its own interesting moments when it is realized that even a very minimal amount of unseen corrosion or galvanic action LOCKS these bad boys in place, causing the screws to strip with ease. Once these guys are stripped, you need to grab a drill and bore out the heads to get them off. I have done this drilling more often than I have had the miraculous joy of actually removing the screws properly. I never want to do it again.

Let’s say, I was to stop writing here. One might no doubt search their favorite message forum and read all of the wonders of a tool called an impact driver. This tool is a sort of screw-driver with a spring-loaded twisting action that works when the handle is hit with a hammer. The idea is, the hammer forces the driver into the screw while the spring action twists the screw just enough to break it free. Much of the time an impact driver is the perfect tool for the job. But I content this method is no sure-fire way to unscrew these screwy screws without possible need for the drill.

Problem one with the driver is, not everyone has one, and not everyone who changes brakes every 2-3 years wants to buy one. In order to get one that works reliably, you’ll need to spend enough money that you might well have paid someone to do your brakes for you. I’ve used cheap ones and broken them almost instantly. Bonus…before they broke, they stripped the screws.

Problem two, even with a good driver there exists an estimated 10% chance you will strip a screw anyway because the screws are just that bitchy.

So here is my SUREFIRE, WORKED EVERY TIME I DID IT WITHOUT FAIL way of removing the rotor screws from your brake rotors. It involves two simple tools nearly everyone has in their toolbox.

Now it is all about technique. Make a dimple in the screw head near the outside diameter of the screw. You just need to dent the screw a little, not chop a chunk into it.

Using the dimple for “traction,” hold the chisel about 45 degrees from the rotor hat (make sure you put the dimple in a place not directly adjacent to a stud) and give it a few good whacks to work it free, and you’ll need to rotate your position as you hit to walk the screw around.

Use a screwdriver to spin the screw out! No new tools. No special tools. Hell, you can use the crappiest hammer and screwdriver you have. The real trick is not to get too wily with your chisel because you can make mince-meat out of the screw, making the job harder and making the potential for getting that drill out a reality. With a bit of practice, you can get this process figured out before you are done changing 4 rotors.

With the screws removed, go about the business of changing rotors, and if you are re-installing the screws. You’ll have to deal with them again later though. For this reason, I usually toss them in the trash. If these are intended to make my life easier, I wonder how things would be designed if designed to work against me.

GEEK TIME! Why does this work?

It works because when driving a screw with a screwdriver or an impact driver, the majority of the twist happens very close to the center of the fastener, imparting a minimal amount of torque to the screw (remember, torque is force x distance). In order to get the amount of torque needed to remove the screws easily, force must be applied to a point on the fastener as far from the center of the fastener as possible. In T = Fd, you are increasing d.

Likewise, a screwdriver has a tendency to impart minimal grip on the screw itself, which is why when you turn it the driver wants to naturally pop out of the head as you twist. This reduces the force you are able to put into actually turning. In order to get a screwdriver that really grips screws well, you need to come out of pocket more than you might want. You will find yourself putting lots of effort into shoving the driver into the screw to prevent this action even with better tools. A quality impact driver that will handle the extreme hammering that is needed sometimes is even more costly than a good screwdriver! When using the chisel method, the force you impart on the screw is concentrated in a localized area where it does the most good without any “fighting.” It is easy to remove the screws because so much of your effort goes into doing work, not to counter ancillary tendencies. In T = Fd, you are effectively increasing F.

There you go. All you wanted to know about getting the rotor screws out on your Honda/Acura…and more. Too much maybe.