Josh’s Project EK9

Here’s something you won’t see every day.

A tatty looking, albeit largely original EK9 parked under the Torque GT sign. This spot is usually reserved for some of the nicest JDM cars available. Cars that we’ve meticulously searched for, inspected and prepared to ensure they’re the absolute best available. So what is an old neglected EK9 doing here?

Well, it’s now mine! Let me explain.

My name is Josh and for the last few years I’ve been running Torque GT’s parts store. I love older performance Japanese cars, in particularly the older 90’s Honda’s. I briefly owned an EK9 many years ago before swapping it for a ‘96 JDM DC2 Integra, which I still maintain to this day is the best car I’ve ever owned. The raw, high revving and unrefined nature of the older B-series engine, coupled with the agile and lightweight chassis makes them an absolute joy to drive, totally unlike anything else on the market.

The EK9 you see before you originally arrived to us in 2017 after the previous owner decided it was time to move into something turbo charged and traded it in. It was obvious when it arrived that it needed some love, but it’s been sat here ever since, largely forgotten in the corner and looking a bit sad for itself.

Just before Christmas, possibly in a moment of weakness I may yet live to regret when my girlfriend reads this and finds out what I’ve done (Sorry!) I decided the car needed saving and took the plunge.

So; what’s wrong with it?

We decided to put the EK9 through a full appraisal, akin to the sort of checks that any fresh import gets on arrival. It was immediately obvious that the rocker cover gasket was weeping. The fine film of oil all throughout the engine bay made that pretty obvious. A quick check of the dipstick showed the car was on the minimum. Off to a good start!

After just over an hour of poking and prodding, we came up with a list of parts we had identified as being in need of replacement, which included (but almost certainly isn’t limited to) a pair of engine mounts, a rack arm, CV boot, battery, track rod end and the front brake pads. Not great, but not exactly a mountain to climb. The engine bay in particular is visually unpleasant, thanks to it’s especially flaky, oil soaked rocker cover. Something we commonly see on Honda’s as they slowly age, replacing this is a straightforward job and one we can tackle when we replace the rocker cover gasket.

Despite all its flaws, the car is fundamentally good. The interior is in REALLY good condition for its age, and the car is largely unmodified, with the exception of a carbon intake and some Spoon HT leads. Even the exhaust is original… for now.

Next up, road test.

I pull out of Torque GT and hit the road. Things begin to improve. It’s been a while since I was behind the wheel of an EK9. I’d forgotten just how much being in one was like driving a go-kart.

All of a sudden the car starts hesitating under acceleration. I ease off and it seems to sort itself out.

A minute later, the hesitation is back and now getting worse. Another few minutes pass and the check engine light is on. In under 5 minutes, I’ve gone from enjoying a modern classic to being sat at the side of the road awaiting recovery.

What have I gotten myself into.

At this point I should probably tell you my long term goals for this project, although if I’m being entirely honest, I’m really not sure what they are! The purist in me just wants to fix what’s wrong with it, put some fresh badges and decals on it, and rectify its numerous mechanical problems. But then, where is the fun in that? Whatever I decide to do, I’ll be aiming to keep these posts regular so you can keep up to date on the progress we make.


6 thoughts on “Josh’s Project EK9

  1. Hey josh
    Sorry to hear of all the problems you have with the EK9 at the moment. I’m sure with some love it’ll be a cracking little car again. Almost a year ago I bought a EK9 from from Torque GT and it’s a fantastic car. The most fun I’ve owned yet. Had a Subaru before had but couldn’t use it 100% like my civic.
    Hope you manage to sort your EK9

  2. A great right up. You’re doing the one thing that so many of us think about doing – but always stop short.

    The fears of money-pits. Undiagnosed problems, tin-worm, virtually impossible to locate parts – the list goes on.

    Well done for you meeting the challenge head on though. In these days of emerging EV and autonomous cars – such an era that the EK9 belonged to, will never be repeated.

    Bringing back such cars as these from the brink of the scrappers is a worthwhile endeavour in itself!

    1. Thanks Darren, I’ve been tinkering away on the EK9 and should have another post up in the next few weeks, loving the project so far! Josh

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