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Drivetrain You Can Do It! DIYs

MFactory Helical- and Plate-Type Diff Break-In Procedures

MFactory differentials have proven to be a fantastic convergence of performance and value. As much a great value they are, they are certainly not disposable items. Add in the considerable labor required to install them, it is in the user’s best interest that they are installed and broken in properly to ensure longevity.

Helical Type Differentials

Great news! No special break in procedure is needed for these diffs. However it is recommended that the transmission fluid be changed after 500 miles of steady use. The best possible fluid to use is Synchrotech’s MTF formulation produced by Torco Oils.

Plate Type Differentials

For these sorts of diffs, a break-in procedure should be followed. The plates in Plate-Type differentials are basically clutch plates. When they lock up they lock up solid, but to get them to grip properly they have to be conditioned. We consulted Synchrotech (AKA MFactory USA) and they gave us this procedure.

The MFactory recommended break-in procedure is as follows:

  1. Fill the transmission with mineral oil 10w30 for break-in.
  2. Drive in a figure-8 for 10 mins (Clutch disengaged while turning, Don’t exceed 15mph)
  3. Drive in a figure-8 (Gently apply part-throttle while turning)
  4. Drive in full-lock circles for 10 mins (To the left, part throttle)
  5. Lean head out of door and vomit.
  6. Drive in full-lock circles for 10 mins (To the right, part throttle)
  7. Drain fluid, clean drain plug.
  8. Fill and add Torco Type-F friction modifier.

Thanks go out to David at Synchrotech for these procedure notes. Except for step 5. I added that one.

Be sure to look up Heeltoe for all your MFactory and Synchrotech needs!

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Chassis Heeltoe Explains You Can Do It! DIYs

Spoon Rigid Collar Bushing Reuse: Are They One Time Use?

The Spoon Rigid Collar Bushings are great pieces for ensuring subframe-to-chassis alignment is correct. If you are not familiar with these awesome bushings, please see a very informative video in this post explaining what they are and how they work.

Here is what the Spoon Rigid Collar Bushing kit looks like:

In a nutshell, the Spoon Rigid Collar Bushings slide over the bolt and deform to fill the tolerance to the bolt hole.

Subframe bolt hole diameter versus bolt diameter.

The irregular mating surface between the subframe and chassis is made more rigid which really does dramatically improve the chassis feel.

Spoon Rigid Collars Bushings deform to fill tolerance between the subframe, chassis, and bolts.

The question of the day is, once these rigid collars are installed and deformed, do they need to be replaced if the subframe comes out again?

Heeltoe’s answer is no, these are not one-time use bushings. We have in our own shop #HTSpecTSX removed the subframe twice after initial installation, with plenty of driving stints in between removals. Our observation was that while the bolts are decidedly more finicky to remove and replace after the bushings are in, and that subframe re-installation alignment is more challenging because the bushings are in place, the re-installation of the subframe had gone without issue.

Indeed the additional effort needed to remove and install the subframe, while not excessive by any means, proved that the collars worked and did their job.

No degradation of the effect of the bushings was noted after repeated removal and reassembly.

That being said, we would NOT recommend attempting to remove deformed bushings from one car to install them on another, even of the same model. Once a Spoon Rigid Collar Bushing set is deformed on a specific chassis and subframe we feel this “mates” these items all together and that attempts to move used bushings from one car to another would be an unsuccessful job.

On a final note, Heeltoe DOES recommend that the suspension alignment be adjusted after subframe removal, even with the bushings in place.

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Drivetrain Heeltoe Explains You Can Do It! DIYs

No Clutch Alignment Tool? No Problem!

NOTICE: This blog was written as I was installing a clutch and the alignment tool was mysteriously missing from the kit. I’ve gotten agitated calls about this relatively normal issue enough to have a lightbulb moment…this is not a huge deal, folks!

When installing a clutch it is necessary to align the disc with the flywheel before installing the cover (pressure plate). If you don’t, the input shaft from the transmission will not engage the disc properly and you will never get the transmission lined up and installed!

A clutch alignment tool is a specific tool with splines that match your transmission and a snout that fits in your flywheel. It holds the disc perfectly centered on the flywheel. Most clutch kits come with a clutch alignment tool matching your application.

But it happens rather often that you are not supplied the tool on accident, or you are doing a non-standard install, or are installing something used…no tool! Many customers get upset and concerned that they need the tool to complete the install. Getting the tool outside the kit is sometimes difficult and can take time…time you don’t have.

Instead of freaking out, grab a socket or tube of some sort which is a bit smaller size than the flywheel snout, and wrap some tape around it to fit into the flywheel and disc size. You might even have a different toll from a past job that is smaller and can be used. In my example, I am using a socket adapter that was rolling around in the toolbox. The splines are really less important…it is all about getting a snug fit.

Build the tape up a wrap or two at a time and test it a few times. Add tape as needed. You’ll find that you can get the disc pretty firmly in place by adding the right layers of tape.

There you have it! Installing a clutch with a clutch alignment tool is definitely preferred, and in some cases may be required. But for many installs, a little ingenuity is all you need to install your clutch without relying on tools you don’t need.

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Chassis You Can Do It! DIYs

Ingalls 38725/38720 Rear Camber Kit Install Tips

NOTICE: As of around 2016 or so, Ingalls Engineering was bought out by Dorman products and the kits discussed in this article are no longer available. We have replaced these Ingalls 38725 kits with SPC 67291 camber arms and 67295 toe arms (one each of these SPC kits equals one 38725 Ingalls kit).

The Ingalls rear arm kits come disassembled. In each kit are two tubes and four bushings. Take note that one arm may be longer than the other, and the bushings are all different. There are wide- and narrow- bushing collars, and silver and black nuts (signifying right- or left-hand threads).

On 38720 kits for 1999-03 TL, 2001-03 CL, and 1998-02 Accord, the arms are the same length but there are different size bushings to pay attention to. Read the included instructions or compare to the stock arms to assemble correctly. On a 38725 kit (for the 2004-08 Acura TSX, 2004-08 TL, and 2003-07 Accord models) I remember this phrase when assembling: “Short and fat; tall and skinny.” This helps me remember that the wider bushings go on the short arm, and the narrow ones go on the long arm.

Screwing the bushings into the tubes is usually easy, but the threads can get hung up a but. A little extra turning force can be had using gloves instead of bare hands, but if that is not enough, you will want to inspect the threads.

We have seen threads come out of the box with pieces of slag that will prevent assembly. These bits are easily removed with a small pick.

If the kits are mishandled in shipping, a thread can become damaged. It will look like it is flattened or folded over a bit. A small file will reshape the thread and allow assembly.

If the threads on the bushings look fine, check inside the tubes for debris. You typically won’t see the damage here, but slag can be a problem. Again, pick out any visible obstructions.

Some people have cited corrosion causes the bushings to seize in the arms over time. We recommend a high-quality anti-seize lubricant to stave of rust.

When assembling the kit, we suggest putting the bar length to exactly the same length as the stock arms with the same amount of threads on each side of the bar. To do this, we suggest these steps:

  1. Install the threaded bushings all the way against the tubes.
  2. Put a bolt through both the stock arm and corresponding Ingalls arm on one side.
  3. Spin the Ingalls tube while holding the opposite bushing steady. This expands both bushings out at the same rate.
  4. Expand the tube until you can put another bolt through the opposing end.

Don’t tighten the jamb nuts before the arms are installed in the car. Also, we recommend doing one arm at a time. Remove and replace one, then another, then move to the other side of the car. If you remove both arms it can allow extra movement that makes it more difficult to install the Ingalls arms.

The short arm with wide bushings goes directly under the shock mounting, and the long arm with narrow bushings is the “Toe” arm that mounts on the hub-carrier’s rearward stud. If you’ve installed the bushings on the arms correctly, you can’t mix them up. Here are torque specs if you need them.

Once installed, make sure all are tight and head off to get an alignment!

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Heeltoe Explains Universal Fit Blogging You Can Do It! DIYs

8 tips to get you going on that FWD Honda Transmission removal/rebuild

Based on the recent and disheartening news that the transaxle in our HTSpecTSX needed to be removed and rebuilt, we decided to put together this post to show some handy tips that might arm you with some knowledge you need to get the transmission out of your FWD Honda with that much smaller of a headache.

Factoid: A transaxle is a combination of the differential and the transmission in one unit. Front-wheel-drive cars generally all have transaxles, not technically transmissions!

1. Safety is cool

First and foremost, please please please, wear safety glasses. They might be uncomfortable to wear at first but once you get into your job with tools in hand, you’ll forget they are even on your face. If you don’t put them on I promise you will regret it the very moment you are on your back in a compromised position working on a very difficult bold, and a piece of crud will fall in your eye. It sucks. This is the best-case scenario. Worst case you’ll be like an old coworker of mine who was hammering on a ball joint and a piece of shrapnel shot into his eye and blinded him on that side.

Safety is cool. In addition to the glasses, gloves are a great idea as well. Other important things to have are proper jack stands, and most of all, brains. This job involves some very simple but very real forces of physics. Look at the load system in front of you, and decide where your forces and counter forces are going to be. If this last comment flies over your head, consider leaving the job to a professional.

Now that we have the basics mentioned, let’s talk about some more specific topics.

2. Get the right manual

If you have a Honda or Acura, that means buying a real Helm service manual and read it a week or two in advance of doing the job at hand.  Honda sends a team of people to their production plants with these manuals and literally disassemble an entire car to make sure it reads and works correctly before selling the cars and publishing the books. It will tell you everything you need to know, and nearly every step to take, in order to properly perform any job on the car. If special tools are needed, they will tell you. Need to replace a bolt, or use a specific grease, or need torque specs? Buy the book. Get your very own copy at www.helminc.com or on eBay.

A Genuine Helm Manual is full of detail.

3. Tools are your key to success

The manual will tell you what special tools are needed and which are proprietary Honda ones. Now, before you go out and buy all these expensive and hard-to-get tools know that there are good aftermarket substitutions out there. Sears, Harbor Freight, Amazon…you can get good tools to work on the car other than the factory. And also know that you don’t need ALL the tools they are suggesting. Overall these manuals are written for dealers and dealers have a huge cache of tools that they get from the manufacturers. You won’t have access to these tools. And they are pricey! So look for good alternatives. The trick is knowing which ones REALLY need to be OEM ones…that might just be something you figure out in the trenches. For example, expensive seal and bearing drivers can often be substituted for pipes of various sizes or sockets. Be resourceful and get tools, but if you don’t need to buy them that is all the better.

Use a large socket as a bearing or seal driver.

Here you can see my solution for removing this sealing bolt for which I did not have a 14mm hex driver. Of course, I bought one on Amazon and it arrived, along with a new bolt from Acura, in time for me to reassemble properly. This technique has long been a favorite of mine for removing stripped brake rotor screws.

A hammer and chisel made quick work of this sealing bolt that I did not have a 12mm hex driver for.

4. Manage your time and be realistic

Now is an opportune time to mention time management. The prime thing to keep in mind is to be realistic. A professional can take a trans out and put it back in in a day. Maybe call it two days if there is a rebuild in there. You need to expect that this job may take you twice as long, or longer. The reason is not because of anything besides experience and the quality and variety of tools. Professional technicians (even the mediocre ones) spend more money on their personal tool collection than you’d believe (I’ve known guys to amass a tool collection of $100,000 or more). To techs, tools are time and time is money. The better the tools and experience using them, the shorter the time to do jobs. They have lots of shop equipment at their disposal (vehicle lifts, to say the least). You’ll save a lot of money doing jobs yourself, but look at your tool collection and understand that you CAN do the job, but it is going to take a lot of time if that collection is not extensive.

You could be hanging around for a while...mostly waiting for parts. Use time wisely.

5. Save the beer for the fat lady

So, you are following instructions in the service manual, using some handy tools, taking your time, listening to music. Things are going well! Don’t crack a beer!

Even if your intentions are not to get drunk, a casual beer makes for casual work which is both inefficient and unsafe. Save the beer for when you are done working for the day. Because once you start the beer, it is the start of the end. Trust me; beer is a great tool, for celebrating. Not for working.

I wanted to rotate this pic, but my photo editor was drunk.

6. Get an impact wrench

One of the tools that will come in handy is an impact wrench. Commonly, impact wrenches are powered by air thus requiring an air compressor. I’ll tell you that since getting my electric one, my life has changed. I use the air compressor mostly for filling tires these days. While things like an air hammer and air rachets can be handy, nothing beats the convenience of an electric impact wrench. I have a Bosch one and I highly recommend it. It is compact, lightweight, and powerful. There are cheaper ones but they are more bulky and heavy. But, it won’t make you superman: Some fasteners need to be removed by hand so have a breaker bar also.

Say hello to my little friend.

7. Special fasteners can throw you a curveball or ruin your day

Watch out for left-hand threads. Righty-tighty-lefty-loosey applies almost universally, but there may be left-hand threads inside the transmission. Actually, the TSX trans is held together by them! Special black-coated bolts designed to prevent galvanic corrosion against the Magnesium case cannot be substituted and are distinctively left-handed. Usually, these special fasteners have arrows on them telling you to turn the opposite way you are used to. Also, some fasteners require special sockets to remove. The flywheel and clutch are held on with 12-point fasteners. The important message here is that if you need to cut one off, or break it by doing the wrong procedure for removal, you won’t end up with a new one by doing an 11th-hour run to the hardware store. Most likely your dealer won’t stock these parts, either. Again, read the book!

Arrows mark the direction to tighten.

8. The aftermarket provides more unknowns

Are you installing aftermarket parts in your transmission? If so, realize that no matter how good they are they probably are not going to fit exactly the same as OEM parts. I found out the hard way that the differential in my TSX transmission needed a different shim than the OEM one did, and had to order new shims at the last minute. Even though I’d given myself plenty of time, this little curveball could have really ruined things for my deadline. Tools can be improvised but actual components inside the trans have to come from specific manufacturers and substitutions won’t do. All the research in the world can’t protect you against Murphy’s Law. You don’t want to get details like this wrong because it could mean taking that transmission back out again sooner than later.

That is a good list to get you going. Be prepared by getting a manual and doing as much shopping as you can ahead of time. Expect to have something like a transmission rebuild to take a full week; this is in addition to the time to remove and install the trans from the car. Don’t be afraid to call Heeltoe if you have any questions or need advice!

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Chassis You Can Do It! DIYs

DIY: Progress Rear Sway Bar Tutorial, 2009-14 Acura TSX / TL, and 2008-17 Honda Accord

Install Tech : 2009+ Acura TSX (2009+ Honda Accord) : Progress 22mm Sway Bar (also applies to 24mm sway bar)

62.0105 22mm bar: Link Here!

62.0107 24mm bar: Link Here!

Anti-sway bars go by many names. Sometimes they are referred to as anti-roll bars, roll bars, or sway bars…but they all do the same exact thing: tie the left and right suspension together so that the car corners flatter.

The sway bar is basically a spring that mounts to the left and right suspension somewhere, then is secured to a solid part of the chassis. It works like a torsion bar, by twisting. Naturally, a larger bar is going to be harder to twist so it is desirable to upgrade the sway bar from stock size to improve handling.

The rear sway bar is the most commonly upgraded suspension part in a front-wheel-drive car, following shocks and springs. The rear sway bar helps make up for FF cars’ tendency to push, or understeer, into corners. Upgrading the rear sway bar noticeably improves handling on most cars without compromising ride quality. This part is easily the most bang for the buck you are going to get out of your Acura/Honda suspension.

We have felt that the stock 2009 TSX suspension is indeed very well set up, and the chassis is noticeably more rigid than the outgoing model. And while it feels balanced through turns there is a distinct feeling that the rear end is just following what the front of the car is doing. With the addition of a larger rear sway bar, the car feels flatter and more confident than before in turns. The rear seems to help “steer” the car around turns better. This is not the same experience we’ve had in the past, where a rear sway bar will “fix” a front-wheel drive car’s tendencies. Instead, this bar helps make an already nimble and balanced chassis feel even better!

The drill bit you’ll need for the next step is a 13/32″, or 10mm. We figure a 7/16″ bit should work just fine as well!

Here’s the point at which some people say “oh, I have to drill? I don’t want to do that for [insert lame reason here]. Is there a bar that doesn’t require drilling?” Yes, there are some. They are either too small to make much difference or will cause the bracket to tear off.

Don’t puss out; buy the bar and drill the hole! I can always tell a poser when they don’t want to open a hole up 2mm for the fear of making a permanent, irreversible change to their car. The reward is in the improved function of the car. Enjoy running laps around lesser TSXs!

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Chassis You Can Do It! DIYs

How to tune your adjustable coilover damper kit for the street.

There are a lot of folks out there, bless their souls, who have bought into the craze of coilover suspensions without having full knowledge of what they are getting into.

This article is a shot-gun approach at dialing in your favorite coilover kit for the street. Aimed at our core market, front- & all-wheel drive Honda and Acura cars, primarily driven on the street. This is a really general methodology, but it works. People often get mixed up because the changes they make in the front or rear impact the other end of the car, and you keep chasing your tail. With this approach you get the front all dialed in on what is important there, and you can tackle how the rear reacts afterward.

Front

The first thing you would do is set the preload back to zero and then move the damper adjustment knob in the front at least midway in its range, if not more stiff or almost full stiff. This will give the input control and sharpness of steering and handling you probably want. Less “bounce” per-say or “float” in the front end is desired. Those feelings give a certain distrust in the handling of the car and your ability to control it. Moving this stiffer should not adversely affect the ride at all although there will be more harshness through the steering wheel, firewall, and floorboard. It may seem that the car is transmitting more from the road, and this is a good thing. Dial it back to give more NVH isolation if needed, but keep it firm. You should not need any more preload here, but if the front end seems to feel like it bottoms out at all you can add preload about 1/4″ at a time until it feels a little better.

Rear

The ride quality and ultimate balance of the car is largely dictated by the rear setup. Here I recommend people make the damping as stiff as they can without feeling too much discomfort. Start in the middle and move softer if you need more comfort over bumps (you won’t be able to make it perfect over all bumps, you are going to have to find a compromise) or firmer if the ride is not uncomfortable. The firmer you make it the better the car is going to feel in a corner but will ride worse and worse. Ultimately you want to find where you are unable to accept the ride and dial it back a bit. In general, you want as much stroke in the back as you can get because this will allow a good ride and add grip, but want body movement controlled enough that it doesn’t feel like it is wallowing about. Preloading too much here, or putting stiff springs, is great for swinging the tail around an auto-x course, but makes the ride like garbage. Don’t preload the rear if you can help it, but again if the suspension seems to cycle too much even on firmer settings, add preload incrementally.

Spring rates and preload.

The only real reason to change rates is if you are exceeding the cornering load limits the kit was designed around. Springs are spec’d to hold the car up and to resist forces in cornering. A car with lighter weight will need lighter springs, and heavier cars need heavier springs. Also, a car cornering at .8g will not need a firm a spring as a car cornering 1g. I think a lot of people think that works in reverse…take an .8g car and add heavier springs to make it corner like a 1g car. Maybe this is true to a certain extent, but more important are the tires, tire pressure, road surface, and other grip related factors. Those all add grip. Firmer springs without more grip will cause the car to slide easier.

Wider tires mean more grip meaning harder cornering loads requiring firmer springs. Increasing the rates will allow the car to cope with harder cornering loads, but will dramatically impact the ride. This is especially true if the dampers are not tuned to accommodate these changes. Many adjustable suspension kits are designed around a single spring rate and allow some latitude up and down in spring rates but don’t mistake this as truly stiffening or softening the suspension.

Then there is preload, which is largely misunderstood. Changing the spring preload does not change the spring rate, but can lead to the effect of a firmer feeling suspension. Really what it does is it increases the load needed to compress the spring initially. Once the spring starts compressing it will feel normal but a larger input is needed to do that. This is particularly helpful bu increasing the amount of force needed to bottom out the suspension.

We hope that gives you enough information to get started on dialing in your suspension! By all means reach on out to us if you need more specific advice!

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Chassis You Can Do It! DIYs

Our HTSpecTSX gets new Fastline Performance Compliance Bearings by PCI

In addition to the 4-piece bearing kit, we have added a 2-piece kit. Read more here: Fastline Compliance Bushing Update: New 2-piece kit supersedes 4-piece kit

The compliance bushings in later model Acura and Honda vehicles were part of an innovative design to handle suspension movement. Despite being unconventional, the system worked well at softening road inputs while effectively keeping the control arm attached to the car. unfortunately, the compliance bushings wear prematurely and crack, causing sloppy handling and excess vibration. The issue plagues TSX and TL divers alike, with many TL drivers reporting failures within 60,000 miles.

Pro Car Innovations has an awesome solution for replacing these bushings with a more durable spherical bearing. The bearing is a rigid mounting point rather than a flexy rubber one, which has the promise not only of longer life but also of greatly enhanced road feel. Fastline Performance was quick to adopt this part as one of their own, recognizing the great benefit for performance and longevity that is so direly needed, especially on the 04-08 TL chassis.

We took the opportunity to install a set of these bearings in our very own HTSpec TSX last weekend. Getting the arm out of the car is not as difficult as one might think. There is a 14mm nut holding the sway bar link on, then a ball joint where the steering upright attaches, and three other attachment points with conventional bolts. While it can be tricky to get the right tool to fit the locations and do the removal, nothing really special is required to remove the arm.

The bushings in our TSX were not in especially bad condition, but they are well worn after 120,000 miles and a couple of track days and spirited road trips.

The first step in changing the bushings is removing the arm from the car. This is actually a pretty simple task. With only 3-4 main fasteners to have to deal with, which are all straightforward except the ball joint. Rather than put it in words, check out this very fast and simple method for removing the ball joint painlessly!

Once the arm is out, the bushing/bearing swap needs to happen. For what has the initial impression of being a bit of a pain to do (the bushings must be pressed out and the bearings pressed in) it turned out to be quite a simple job. Part of the reason for this was using a special tool for pressing the parts in and out by hand. Coupled with a trusty electric impact gun, the job was a breeze.

The kit comes with two compliance bearings with mounting spacers, as well as two other bearings that fit in the rearward subframe mounting locations. We elected to only install the compliance bearings at this time for two reasons: 1) The stock bushings at the rearward lower control arm mounting location were still in good condition, and 2) while we had a great tool for the larger bushing we had no such arrangement for the other bushing. So, we will do this one later understanding that the compliance bearing was the most major part of the job here.

Some install notes that were brought up by some early responders to online discussions. With regard to binding, there is no such concern. We found that the arms reach a limit of travel from the chassis mounting well before the bearings find a travel limit. Bearings can be noisy, however, we have found these bearings to be of very high quality and are play- and noise-free, at least in their new state.

The largest concern seems to be about corrosion. These are in an area susceptible to corrosive elements, however, we do need to cite that 95% or more of the component is not ferrous and therefore will not rust. The one item where rust can happen is the bearing race itself which if ever needs to be replaced is fairly simple and inexpensive to accomplish. While acknowledging there could be a concern down the road, corrosion is bad for cars PERIOD and we anticipate there being a greater issue removing the rest of the suspension bolts to do such a job than the need for the job really coming up in the first place. Of course, the best defense is offense, so we recommend liberally lubing the bearing from time to time to create a protective layer against the elements.

With the bearing in the arms and the arms in the car, I set off on a test drive. I was unable to feel much of a difference at low speeds in the neighborhood. Partly because our roads are fairly smooth here but mostly for the reason that the Innovate Mounts holding the engine in place transmit much vibration of their own. Initially, the system feels pretty standard.

Down the road a bit, some bumps were encountered with did send a noticeable shock through the front end. Botts dots and possibly small animals will be felt more than before. I imagine if you live in an area with rougher roads, you will need to be understanding that there is a tradeoff of more road input. It depends largely on the quality of roads, your quality of experience. Then again if you make a sport of avoiding such road imperfections, your skills will be greatly enhanced with the bearings in place.

Off to higher speed turns! Traveling at speeds in excess of 50-60 mph can make turning a little nervous feeling. With the standard car, there is a certain amount of smoothness needed to confidently turn the car, since there is a little delay between when you turn the wheel and when the car turns. This is due to the compliance bushings flexing under load. With the FLP/PCI bearings installed there is no such flex. Nor is there a disconcerting wiggle the nose does when hitting a bump mid-corner. The control is greatly enhanced as you can almost feel the tread-blocks taking up the stress of hanging on for dear life.

I must say, this upgrade, if it is one you might be putting off for fear that it will be one that makes you unhappy for any reason, I think you are possibly cheating yourself out of a great experience. I shudder to think of those who will appreciate the benefits of the Fastline Performance Compliance Bearings yet will never realize them due to risk aversion. These parts are innovative, durable, functional, and fully backed by Heeltoe Automotive. What more could you ask for?

Update 11/12/12: After spending some more time driving with these bearings in, my love for them has only grown. There is a very direct feel from my fingers to the road. When you are on the verge of breaking traction you can almost feel the tires gripping the road, and you can modulate the power very finely. This, of course, is enhanced with the polyurethane Innovative Mounts. however, I am finding the negative feedback from bumps was really overstated in the original writing above. While there are bumps that come up and jolt the front end, I am starting to think this has more to do with my suspension than the bearings. I am considering changing my suspension out soon to experiment with this.

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Exterior & Lighting You Can Do It! DIYs

2004-05 TSX Wiper Blade Upgrade to Low Profile 2006-08 Wipers

You know, on the 2004-05 TSX, the wiper arms sure do get annoying to look at after a while. They are not horrible, but once you see them you can’t un-see them. I first really noticed them at the track where you are taking in so much information any bit of clutter or static really digs in and bugs you.

I decided to swap over to lower profile 2006-08 units.

Of course, the standard 2004-05 parts look perfectly normal, as just about every car has the same general design and layout.

Look how tall they are though…they come way up off the glass. Some people like to install some lower profile aftermarket blades that resemble 06-08 ones, but it is not a real solution because it keeps the standard arms in place.

Here you see a 2004-05 arm and blade against a 2006-08 assembly. The whole thing is so much lower profile.

Swapping them over is as simple as removing the cap at the end of the arm and getting a 17mm socket to remove the nut.

Behold the amazing disappearing wiper arms!!! I am sure it will wear off soon but the field of vision being uninterrupted really has me stoked to get behind the wheel. DEFINITELY a nice little mod to do.

These parts are available on Heeltoeauto.com for purchase!

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Exterior & Lighting You Can Do It! DIYs

How to properly install exterior car parts with 3M VHB double-sided foam tape

3M double-sided adhesive-backed foam tape–called VHB, or “very high bond” tape– is one of the greatest things to come along for car folks in a long time. It allows you to securely and permanently mount all manner of accessories to the outside of your car without making a permanent commitment.

However, amid reports of spoilers flying off, parts failing to stay put, and items being mounted crookedly, we felt the need to present some tips on how to best install items using this tape, as many items from Fastline Performance and ATLP use it for installation.

In this post, we are installing a Fastline Performance decklid spoiler on a TSX. You will use the same techniques involved with installing the spoiler in this post on any part that has double-sided tape; S2000 bumper caps, ATLP roof spoilers, A-Spec or OEM lip kits…anything that needs to mount in a specific location with double-sided tape.

Update March 22, 2020:

In recent years we have posted a video outlining the below process on YouTube! See it in living color here:

First, get all your materials ready:
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Blue Painter’s Tape
  • A clean rag (mine’s stained but clean)
  • Part with 3M tape pre-applied
Prepare the surface where the item will be mounted.

A clean, dry surface is required in order for parts to stick properly. Alcohol removes contaminants and evaporates quickly without damaging painted surfaces.

Prepare the tapes on the part for test-fit.

Here is where the special method comes in. Instead of pulling away all the backing and trying to stick the spoiler on, pull just an inch or two of backing away and attach it to the outer side of the part with the painter’s tape.

On many of the Fastline or ATLP parts, the strips terminate in the middle of the part as well as at the ends. I like to do a small section at either end of the tape strips.

Mockup the part on the car my lightly installing.

With just a small section of the backing pulled away, you can put the part where you want it to go, without having it stick in place so much that you can’t reposition it.

Thoroughly examine the positioning of your part, making sure it is centered and matches the curvature of the mounting surface.

On this spoiler we have gotten it to a good position. Now we can peel the rest of the backing away to stick it in place exactly where we have it.

Gently pull away the tape backing with the part in place.

Check out the technique here…the backing can be pulled out from under the spoiler from the side.

Here is a side view. Gently pull the backing out, putting light pressure on the part to keep it steady or in place as needed.

You can even do a double move. I am peeling from the middle here. Usually, I like peeling from the middle first, toward the edges.

Press the part in place.

Once all the backing is peeled form under the part, apply some really firm pressure for about 30 seconds in all mounting places. The 3M tape needs to bond with the mounting surface, and it needs pressure to do this. The part will seem like it is stuck on but keep pressing for at least 30 seconds.

Step back and admire.

And there you have it, mounted flat just where you want it! Now for some gratuitous shots of our Fastline Performance Decklid Spoiler for the 04-08 Acura TSX 🙂

This spoiler was modeled after the EDM Ducktail spoiler, which has a nice, low profile look but is fiendishly hard to get and is very expensive.

We are proud of this part. It is definitely a cut above eBay quality, for sure. Also available in carbon fiber.

Thanks for reading!