By Mikey Jencks
I'll start this post by stating a fun fact: I'm really good at taking reliable things and ruining them. I work in the bike industry and have a knack for switching out all of my Shimano parts for Sram (shots fired) because I love when my shift levers fall off while I'm riding. I also built my computer without setting up my bios correctly, so it will randomly spike my processor to 100 degrees celsius and crash every once in a while. Soooooo obviously I love ruining my cars too.
Before diving into this, I just want to make it clear that I only enjoy ruining my own things and will also suggest what fits someone else's best needs. My own preferences never cloud my assistance with others and I would probably never recommend doing anything I do to a car or bike.
I used to own an Outback XT, which was awesome! It was rumbly, had tons of torque, and shot flames out the back when I got bored on the highway and feathered the throttle too much. It's also how I met Cassidy; we are both members of Legacy Owners Worldwide. But, of course, I ruined it. I threw on a Cobb air intake without an air box, threw on Nameless Performance muffler deletes, and gouged up my mid pipe to get rid of resonators. I also did some playing around with a blow off valve. I never tuned it after this, which resulted in weird engine problems. Luckily, that isn't why it blew up! It died in the most non-STI way: my transmission randomly lost 3 gears one night. I also had WRX wheels on it that had too high an offset, so I threw on H&R spacers that I may have not had long enough extended studs for, but let's not talk about that...
Anyways... fast forward to the future a little. I sold the car for parts to a local shop (cough cough All Pro Subaru) for about $2500: a solid 85% loss in value from when I bought it. I had saved up some money anyways, so I added that what was left of my Subaru money to put down on a new car. Soooooo obviously I financed a 15 year old car that was old enough for only one finance company to approve at about an 8% interest rate. BOOM! AP1 S2000 time. My mom had gotten rid of a convertible Saab 9.3 recently and after waiting until the month she got rid of it to drive it for the first time, I decided that I love convertibles. The S2K was tons of fun even though the dealership scammed me and sold me a car with a broken master cylinder that they topped off right before selling.
Anyways anyways, being very irresponsible, like always, I started to mod the hell out of it immediately. First came the K&N intake, then the HKS Hi Power exhaust, then the HKS Hipermax coilvers, then the high flow cat, then the RPF1s that had too low an offset and rubbed like crazy, then a bunch of other stuff, then a new clutch with an 8 lb flywheel that made it so my AC started to studder the car, then really stiff diff mounts that made it so I could feel the flywheel rattling even more, then a huge Mishimoto radiator that I couldn't bleed all the way and would start to overheat the engine at stop lights, etc. etc. I dumped way too much money into this car and also put a giant dent in the side when I spun at a track day. In the end, I had stripped out one of my coiloveradjusters while in a rush, which left the suspension always imperfect, I had made my drive train feel like my car was rattling to pieces, and somehow managed to overheat my car even more after installing the heaviest duty radiator out there.
I couldn't kill that car though. After every mod that I should have researched more and hastily installed, the car somehow worked itself out and ended up faster. Also, I never once threw a code, which was a first for me. Somehow, my 15 year old car kept running strong after pretty much doing everything in a weird, incorrect way. I could rail on VTEC all the time and it would be fine, or I could forget VTEC existed for 5 months, which results in black smoke coming out of the exhaust from all the carbon build up... and it would still run fine. I just couldn't break it.
Eventually, I decided to be the slightly bit reasonable and I got rid of the car while it still held value and bought my current 9th gen Civic Si. I love this car! It feels faster and more responsive than the S2000 (truth hurty) and is way quieter and more refined. But, we learned quickly that the previous owner had neglected this thing like crazy. The red flags should have been the $200 tires or the no name everything. We went to change the rear rotors and pads and had to hit the wheels with 2 mallets at the same time for about 10 minutes to break both sides free. They had somehow seized to the hubs. The rotor was so warped that you couldn't turn the rear wheels by hand while the car was jacked up. Luckily, Jesse and I picked a time when it was 30 degrees out and pitch black to do the work. In the end, we agreed that these were probably the stock pads and rotors that were still on the car at about 75000 miles. Also, the trans/diff fluid (weird FWD stuff going on here) had pretty much never been changed along with the air filter. Basically, some person owned this car for about 4 or 5 years and never did any maintenance to it. But, it still runs perfectly. I've since then have done full Motul fluids and have caught up on all the maintenance. The car never has any issues and as much shade as I get for owning a Civic, it's still my perfect car.
In the end, I've found that you just can't kill Hondas. I'll probably buy an STI when I never become rich and blow it up with a weird tune, but until then, I'll keep owning Hondas for the rest of time.