Civic Type R Buying Guide – Civic Type-R Buying Advice
Civic Type-R Buying Guide (EP3) – Background
Arguably the first true hot hatch since the Peugeot 205GTI the Civic Type-R came with amazing handling and a super high tec engine which made and still does, make most European hot hatch engines look stupid. The Civic Type-R came with a K20 series motor which makes 197bhp from 1998cc allowing the Civic to go 0-100km/h in 6.8seconds and 0-160km/h in 16.9seconds.
The EP3 came with a seam welded shell, something usually reserved for motorsport to increase chassis stiffness.
Civic Type-R Buying Guide (EP3) – Body
Rust isn’t an issue on the Type-R. If there is rust on the car your looking at, it suggests badly repaired accident damage. Civic Type-Rs can crash either end so check the front and the rear of the car for any signs of damage.
Side skirts are very expensive so check for damage on these parts, bumpers are much cheaper.
Enkei wheels comes as standard. These wheels were not lacquered on the inside which means corrosion can creep under the lacquer on the face making them look tatty.
Civic Type-R Buying Guide (EP3) – Transmission
Guy Chamberlin at CPL is confident that the standard gearbox and drive shafts can take up to 500bhp. He should know, CPL Racing operate Europe’s fastest Type-R with a 10.68second run for the 1/4 mile.
Second hand gearboxes are available from CPL for 450GBP. A rebuild kit from Honda is 300GBP.
JDM cars have a limited slip diff as standard, for UK cars the most common LSD is the Quaife unit which can be sourced from CPL Racing in the UK and Street & Circuit in Greece. Fitting for the Quaife diff comes in at around 450GBP. Uprated clutches are widely available. Again CPL Racing work closely with Clutch Masters in the UK which means they have a clutch to suit all power outputs.
Civic Type-R Buying Guide (EP3) – Suspension
Bad handling is usually down to bad geometry. Hondas tolerances are far too wide to be of any use. Its possible for one front wheel to have positive front camber and the other negative and for Honda to say everything is honkey dorey. The reason for this is that the Civic Type-R can only be adjusted for toe. For camber adjustment eccentric bushes need to be used along with adjustable top mounts. ABP Motorsport can carry out a complete geometry set up for 150GBP.
A quick fire way to check for bad geometry is to look at tyre wear. It should be even across the tyre and from tyre to tyre.
There was a problem with early cars due to the steering racks failing to self centre, a new rack is a grand.
Many coil over suspension kits are available for those drivers wanting a customisable set up.
Civic Type-R Buying Guide (EP3) – Tyres
As standard the Type-R comes with 205/45-17. This is an unusual size and is therefore pricey. 215/40-17 is cheaper and reduces the rolling diameter by 2% giving a boot in acceleration by reducing the gear ratio in all gears.
Civic Type-R Buying Guide (EP3) – Brakes
Brakes are good on the Civic. As with most cars upgrading the standard pads to EBC Redstuff will give noticeably longer service life as well as better performance when you are pushing on. Check for vibration when your on the test drive. Vibration through the pedal and/or steering wheel under braking shows that the discs need replacing.
Check the rear calipers are working, they can seize. New calipers are a 150GBP per side.
Civic Type-R Buying Guide (EP3) – Engine
The bit that really sets the Type-R apart from its competition. Honda’s VTEC gives good low down grunt while the second cam profile makes sure the engine pulls to the redline with enthusiasm.
JDM cars came with a more radical cam profile and make 225bhp. UK cars make 197bhp. The engine has a 11.5:1 compression ratio and a redline of 8600rpm.
Engines are pretty much indestructible but check they have had regular oil changes. Over revving on down shifts can cause problems, like on any car. There are many Type-Rs around so make sure the one you are going for has a full service history. There is no point in taking the gamble on one that hasn’t.
Early cars have a 9,000mile service interval, later cars 12,500miles. Tappets need adjustment every 24,000miles. A major service is required every 75,000 miles which comes in at 600GBP but a specialist such as ABP can do it for a much more reasonable 340GBP.
If a car has been looked after 100K+ mileage is no problem. No need to worry about changing the cam belt as the engine uses a chain which lasts for the life of the engine.
The front lower engine mount can fail leading to excessive movement of the engine. This causes knocking under acceleration and under engine braking. Energy Suspension make a polyurethane insert which solves this problem.
Radiators are vulnerable because they are not protected by anything. Check for leaks. A new rad form Honda is 250GBP although pattern parts are cheaper and there are alloy versions available from performance part manufacturers.
Civic Type-R Buying Guide (EP3) – Engine Tuning
300bhp is achievable with the standard internals with a Jackson Racing Eaton supercharger kit. These supercharger kits come in at around 3000GBP
Turbo kits are also available for engines with uprated internals.
Civic Type-R Buying Guide (EP3) – Interior
Solidly built and reliable. Everything should be in top condition with minimal squeaks and knocks and ALL electrics should work. Gearlever is located in a nearly perfect position next to the steering wheel making gear changes a joy.
JDM 30th Anniversary models come with a red interior. All models come with Recaro front seats.
Civic Type-R Buying Guide (EP3) – External Links