SPECS
Horsepower
237 HP
Torque
185 LB-FT
Curb Weight
2830 LB
Drivetrain
Front Wheel Drive
Engine Size
2.4 L
Transmission Type
6 Speed Manual
MPG (City/Highway)
23 MPG
VEHICLE STORY

I always liked Honda reliability and wanted a CRX back in the day, but never liked the look of the newer designs.  In 2002, Honda unveiled the new DC5 Integra which takes some design elements from a Civic EP3 hatch and former DC2 Integra, but with a very attractive fastback and sportier head/tail light design.  After seeing this car at my local auto show,  I planned on buying one new.  Soon after, I purchased a  "nighthawk black" 2004 Acura RSX Type-S in 2004.  This was the first new car I ever purchased, having only driven used cars before.  Paid off the car in 2009 and have been upgrading "tuning" ever since.  The Acura badges were replaced with Honda "racing" red JDM badges.  Other fun facts about the parts:  Replaced headlights with JDM Honda Integra "black" ones.  The car also currently has an intake manifold and front sway bar from a Civic S.  The car was first "tracked" at Talledega Grand Prix in December of 2013.  Since then its been taken to 1 autocross, Road Atlanta, and Barber Motorsports Park.  Best lap @ Barber in 2015 was 1:59.12.  Road Atlanta 1:52:49 in 2016. You can see track videos of some of my sessions by searching "RSX at TGPR", "RSX at Road Atlanta", or "RSX at Barber Motorsports Park" on YouTube as DC5Brandon .  Recent modifications include a LSD, steel brake lines, lightweight Enkei racing wheels with Toyo R888 235/17 tires,  oil cooler, and baffled oil pan for the track.  In August 2016, a K24A2 short block from a 2006 TSX was installed with slightly larger bore and 11:0 pistons.  The extra HP the K24 produces is nice, but the extra torque gives this chassis exactly what it was lacking from the factory.  I also added 600 cc injectors to handle the extra power along with a custom ASP header and larger Invidia Q300 exhaust.  My installer had to make a few modifications to make it all work together and keep the air conditioning, power steering, and cruise control.   The bottleneck to getting more power is the stock throttle body, but no one is currently making a larger TB that  retains cruise control.  I could have increased compression, maybe gotten a bigger cam, 3 inch exhaust, but the goal is to use full throttle all day at the track and use it for my daily commute, while maintaining traditional Honda reliability.  Next upgrades may include a 4 piston big brake kit and new final drive/TSX 6th gear transmission.  Also looking into getting a deep red wrap instead of painting the body next time.  If the RSX has an Achilles heel, it would be the lack of low-end stock torque and the move to use Macpherson Strut suspension instead of the superior wishbone design of the DC2 predecessor.  Even though the RSX is under-powered compared to most modern sport cars on the road/track, it feels more connected to the road by using a hydraulic steering rack and a cable-based throttle control (compared to many manufacturers moving to drive-by-wire systems today).

Discuss this build

[]Brandon Marquis

Finally doing a post after so long...let's see, where to begin. My last post was for the Midpond autocross event. Well the engine just about had enough of the hard driving. I started seeing high engine and oil temps during that event. After taking to a a shop in Atlanta which did good work for me before, they performed a compression test and found a failing head gasket to be the culprit. They replaced the gasket, installed new head lights, driver's side control arm, brake pads, and other 100K maintenance items. Eventually, I got the car back after 3 months in the shop (long story) and it started smoking after driving it for 2 days. 4 weeks later (after a bad diagnostic from a local independent) - the smoke was not a bad gasket install, but instead a leaking power steering hose right behind the head exactly where the gasket was replaced. This sprayed PS fluid on the hot header which was the source of the smoke I was seeing. Strange that my hose ruptured now of all times and that it was damaged right at the place where my head was removed to install the gasket. When it comes to cars, I don't believe in coincidences - but how do I prove there was any negligence in the installation of the gasket? Well, when I got back the car after the 3 month gasket fix, the bumper was also missing 4 plugs from the front and there was also a scratch below the driver's door handle that was not there before. All being said, I'm glad the car is back in the stable so I can continue driving it to relieve the Porsche from it's daily duty. By the way, before the head gasket fiasco, I also replaced the two remaining old Michelin SS tires with new Michelin 4S. These tires should last me until 2021. Like the old ones, these are 235/45/17. You can see the how these look in the main pic. These were the only size Michelin carried in the 4S, which fit my wheels, but I think there's a little too much sidewall. The aspect really needs to be 35 or 40 instead of 45. This is great for driving on bad roads, but also too much sidewall to flex during hard cornering.
After these tires wear out, I'll probably choose a good alternative brand which gives me the aspect ratio I need for a low profile 17' inch summer tire. I'm also considering reducing my tire/wheel unsprung weight and downgrading my Enkei 8' RPF1 wheels and 235 tires to a 7 1/2 wheel and 225 tire. Along with adding tint to the Porsche this winter, I'll probably also replace the RSX driver's side window tint, which is starting to roll back at the bottom. Car projects seem to never end.

[]Brandon Marquis

ALSCCA TrackCross event at Midpond racetrack last week.

youtu.be/r-CzyRoXA_o

[]Brandon Marquis

ALSCCA Autocross Event 1. Goal was -35 sec. I did -33. Next time I want to get -32.

youtu.be/JA7z_yexwAg

[]Brandon Marquis

Doing autocross this year to save some $$$ over track driving. Captured a few vids. Didn't have time during the day to remount the camera inside the cabin. Links can be found here:

youtu.be/O5i-KXE6tT8
youtu.be/BUctTMdBZFM

[]Brandon Marquis

Highly recommend PrecisionLed online. They sell replacement LED lighting for lots of cars. They also have lots of tutorial videos, so you can see how easy it actually is to replace OEM bulbs with LEDs. Received the interior light kit for the RSX last week. They even included trim tools to do the job. Replaced the map, dome, glove-box, trunk, and license plate lights in about 30 minutes. The LEDs work great and completely change the car at night (compared to the old yellow, incandescent ones). I'd thought about changing the OEM headlight bulbs to more of a white color - just concerned the output would not be as good. I also considered getting the xenon HID conversion kit years ago. Maybe its time to revisit the idea. Just worried about mounting the ballasts and installing the electrical stuff.

[]Brandon Marquis

Maybe I ignored the problem for too long, but the car wouldn't start this past weekend. Crank, but not start. The service manual indicates it is either the fuel pump or a cylinder compression issue. I think it is the later from what the last shop told me. Glad I was able to get a full track day out of it, but it seems as the entire gasket seal is now compromised. I was planning on taking to the shop in a few months to get everything sorted. Now it seems as that timetable is accelerated.

[]Brandon Marquis

Towed to the dealership by roadside assistance, and the dealership reported the car started right away. They performed a compression and leak down test, but tests indicated everything was normal. Unfortunately, I removed the front bumper so the car would roll on the flat bed tow truck, but the dealership did not reinstall when they brought the car to me. I thought I could drive home, but my fender liners were too loose without the bumper installed, and the front tires shredded the liners. Sigh. So I will be installing new fender liners this weekend. Also replacing my interior lights with LEDs. Following the "no start" incident, the engine would not turn over later that week. Luckily, a portable jump start battery got me going and I fixed this problem by replacing the dead battery with a new one. Funny. I never considered a dying battery to be the cause of the car not starting. I assumed if the engine cranked, the battery would not be the culprit. Fuel, starter and low compression - all being likely causes, but not the battery.

[]Brandon Marquis

Protip: Checked acuraoemparts.com for left and right front fender liners. These were about $180 for the pair, but when I proceeded to checkout, the shipping added $200! I really needed these parts and assumed this was the best option. Right before I pulled the trigger, I called my local Acura dealership. They could get the parts next day from Atlanta for a total cost of only $200! Lesson learned. Don't assume the Internet has the best deals. Shop around before buying parts and check the dealership if you think you're paying too much online. I know how to change oil, rotate tires, add air, remove bumper to change the filter on cold air intake, light bulbs, check fuses etc., so swapping out these fender liners were really easy. I made sure I had the exact fender fasteners - which were slightly smaller than the bumper fasteners. Side note: Why do manufacturers do this? The bumper fasteners could have been used to do the same job. Why engineer this part of the car to use different ones? Anyway, I only needed Phillips and flat head screwdrivers to remove the front bumper and change the fender liners, but the jack/jack stands, lug wrench were needed to remove the front wheels as well. The whole job took 2 hours (cause I'm no expert) - but I saved some $$$ by doing it myself. It does give you a sense of pride when you're able to fix your own car. Wish I could take videos of me doing simple jobs on the RSX for new owners, but I don't know anyone who has the patience to help me film car stuff for a few hours :-)

[]Brandon Marquis

I started seeing high water temps (and later higher oil temps) from my gauges last month. Fortunately, the car never overheated completely. Connected to the KPro ECU and discovered the KPro was turning on the fans at 215 F because the stock radiator control switch was not (at 195 F). Took it in to an independent mechanic and they ran a leak test, even though I told them to test the fans and switch. They found low compression in 3 of the 4 cylinders which they told me is the result of a blown head gasket. I declined the resulting service and wanted another opinion, so I told my builder of their results. He advised I get a "block tester" from Autozone and test myself. Well, I tried the block tester and didn't find any proof of a blown head gasket (even though I was not 100% sure of my testing method). My builder also recommended I change the KPro overheating protection temp from 215 F to 180 F. After changing the temp setting, I monitored the car over the next few weeks during daily rush hour traffic. The overheating went away, so I decided to take the car to a track day earlier this month. It performed flawlessly without overheating - even though my oil temps got a little too high. If I had a blown head gasket, would I be able to go full throttle for 15 minutes on the track multiple times that day? I don't know, but I DO know that I love this K20/K24 engine.

[]Brandon Marquis

The new coilovers feel great, but while using other stock suspension pieces, it only allows -1 camber in the front. The Alignment tech (which also owns a RSX) recommended I change the stock tie rod ends for aftermarket ones. Ironically, the Porsche owner at the track said he had to switch to new control arms to add more negative camber. I wonder if the two are related. I don't know what each of these look like or how they work in the suspension for each car. I'll look into this after all the other problems have been addressed.

[]Brandon Marquis

The Clutch line (B Pipe that connects the reservoir to the slave cylinder) fittings started leaking fluid while driving the car on track day. This causes the clutch pedal to gradually loose pressure until you have no pressure to change gears. I had to go to O'Reilly's to get a substitute pipe and a track side mechanic - Corsa Crew, used a bend and flare tool to match the OEM part. Even that wasn't good enough, as it started leaking fluid again. I can add more fluid, but it leaks out after 1 trip. This ended my track event weekend prematurely, only having 2 decent sessions. Taking it to the shop today. They will order an OEM part to be installed next week.

[]Brandon Marquis

Came back from Atlanta Saturday with some shinny new D2 RS coilovers installed from Balanced Performance. Initial impressions are positive. I haven't played around with the stiffness/rebound settings completely, but the softest setting is definitely more 'bouncy' than the previous Teins. I'm currently trying it out without the sway/stabilizer bar connected, which is a weird sensation. There's much more lateral movement that I can feel through the steering. I don't really like it with the damper set at 0-50% stiff, but experts say a stiffer coilover setting will counteract the loss of a sway bar (no sway bar means less under-steer on the track, which is key for a FWD car). I'll try it at 75%-100% stiffness and report my findings. The new coilovers have pillow-ball mounts - which my previous Teins did not. Dialing in camber adjustments should be easy now. Balanced Performance said they didn't think my Tein damper was bad, even though the other shop in town said it was. I think I trust the performance shop more, but either way, I will be selling my Tein coilover set on Ebay at a reasonable price, so if anyone wants a good, solid set for their RSX, let me know.

[]Brandon Marquis

No place to note in the vehicle specs, but if anyone is curious, the power listed on this page is WHP (to the wheels).

[]Brandon Marquis

Just got power steering hoses replaced and PS fluid flushed and refilled - $400. The shop discovered nails in the two rear tires (left rear was so small, not even worth fixing). The right rear tire was patched, but because of the nail, I will need to replace that tire and get an extra new tire for any future track driving - $300. Also getting major exterior detail work performed this week: bumper curb rash, paint chips removed/repaired, buffed, headlight polishing - $270. Later in February, getting new Tein Flex-Z coilovers installed by a new shop for me, Balanced Performance in Atlanta - $1600. The new coilovers give me better camber adjustment for my track events because these are equipped with pillow-ball top mounts instead of my current coilover stock mounts. The current front left damper is bad, so the new suspension will fix that too. Currently planning on a track event at Barber in April. Fingers crossed.

[]Joseph Bastinelli

ur cer makes me wet

[]Brandon Marquis

Uh, gee thanks, I guess.

[]Tom Armstrong

Wow, nice build!

[]Brandon Marquis

Thanks. Power steering pump currently making noise and looking into getting new coilovers to make camber adjustments easier, but planning on making a simple "canyon" run videos of my two cars when the weather gets better and going back to Barber Motorsports track in April!

[]Ernie Szots

Love your car and what you've done to it.

[]Brandon Marquis

Thanks! I try to balance comfort, performance, and styling. It seems as comfort has taken a back-seat recently! I like (don't love) my new black wheels. I only got black, because RPF1's are one of the best wheels for performance, but looks, not so much. I like black better than the usual color.

[]Ernie Szots

I'm a sucker for black lol. I recently got black RPF1's. They were replacing another set of black wheels. I considered going silver for a moment, because I think the silver finish goes well with black too, but just couldn't go away from that black on black look. I personally like how yours looks with the new black wheels, but I understand the argument people make about the black color making it harder to see some of the wheel detail.

[]Brandon Marquis

I like the color change too, even if I don't love the wheels. It makes a benign car look really mean. With my race header and performance exhaust, by-standards probably mistake my car for one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse as I pass them at WOT.

[]Ernie Szots

Ha! Mission accomplished.

See whose at the top of the Wheelwell RSX Leaderboard