Is this too wild a honda build for you?

This is a discussion on Is this too wild a honda build for you? within the Project and Build-Up Section forums, part of the TunedTech's Features category; I know you Yanks are into motorkhanas thanks to Mr. Block's vids on You Tube. But have any of you seen a purpose built motorkhana special made to run on ...




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Old 04-22-2011, 02:57 AM   #1
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Default Is this too wild a honda build for you?


I know you Yanks are into motorkhanas thanks to Mr. Block's vids on You Tube. But have any of you seen a purpose built motorkhana special made to run on both dirt and tar - let alone one built from Honda parts?

Well let me excite your imagination with a look at mine:

Built 2006 and raced by Bill Pearson of the MG Car Club Newcastle
Outright Club Motorkhana Champion 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006.

What is a motorkhana? (As opposed to what Ken does)
A series of six to eight low speed tests around flags, designed to test the acceleration, braking and general manoeuvrability of vehicles and driver skill. They are conducted on tar or dirt, with event layouts drawn from a set range of designs. Most are run in forward direction, but some include reversing and others drifting. Driving errors like hitting flags, going the wrong way or not finishing properly incur time penalties.

This Special:
was made from a damaged 1991 Honda Civic manual ED sedan bought for $150. The donor car was chosen because it had FWD, fully independent suspension, carburettors rather than fuel injection (easier wiring), and a small front sub-frame which located the power steering rack and lower suspension mounting points. Anyone who's worked on Civics will recognise the componentry.

The stock engine, gearbox, drive-train, plus front and rear suspension were stripped from the car and assembled on the garage floor. A steel tube frame was then fabricated to join all the components together. This car gets very dirty at times, so the frame was powder coated and the floor drops out for easy cleaning. I sculpted and made the fibreglass bonnet and special seat myself, the latter being designed to hold you really firmly, yet allow you to swivel around so you can look backwards when reversing. Total cost: around $700.

Mechanical Features:
The rear frame was made to narrow the back track by around 40cm from the stock front track. This makes 180 and 360 degree turns effortless, and prevents hitting a flag with a rear wheel once the front one is past it. There are four foot pedals. The extra one operates just the rear brakes. The clutch is dumped as soon as the car begins to roll and the left foot placed over the extra pedal. Being Civic based the car has independent suspension with double wishbones front and rear, but frame design allows for a huge amount of adjustment. Minimum ground clearance provides low centre of gravity and anti-roll. Wheels are designed to run at four degrees negative camber to overcome tyre distortion in extremely tight cornering.

Driving Techniques:
180 and 360 degree turns can almost be made in the car’s own length, with one foot on the accelerator and one on the rear brake pedal. The wheel is given a quarter turn without backing off the throttle. A soon as the car starts to turn the fourth pedal is applied, locking the rear wheels, whilst at the same time more power is applied to the front wheels to pull the car out of the turn.

Driving experience: Like being in a go-kart on steroids. Everything happens so FAST you've really gotta concentrate to not overdrive it.

Soon after I built this contraption I bought an '94 Civic hatch with a blown motor to use as a backup rally car, swapping out the engine and gearbox from "Ninja" into the EG, but leaving my special under a sheet for three years. But I've just bought a new donor car to rebirth thid baby with a bigger motor and an automatic gearbox. Standby for more pics and building shortly.

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Old 04-22-2011, 03:02 AM   #2
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DefaultRe: Is this too wild a honda build for you?

I think fwd is quicker than rwd in m/ks because when you keep the power on it pulls you round the course, rather than pushes you as with rwd. This translates into less sliding when you're trying to accelerate. FWD cars also snap faster 180 degree turns in reverse because you can keep the power on to flick the nose right round where you want it to point, which is why I just LOVE front end throws.
Here are some pics of what inspired me to build "Ninja". This red piece of crap was built (I use the term loosely) by a friend of mine from a Honda Shuttle. I donated a mk1 VW Golf rear end which he narrowed. It was even rougher to drive than it looked - but despite this I had so much fun in it at two meetings I decided to build a well designed one myself.


Here are some pics of me running my B20 Frankenstein V-Tec in a tar motorkhana. I laid so much rubber in the Knights stadium carpark the neighbours complained and we lost the venue. I was not just smokey but won my class too. Trouble was we got two runs at each event and once I'd got a clean run.... well I don't need to join the dots do I!




---------- Post added at 01:17 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:21 PM ----------

Ok - so back to the main feature - rejuvenating Ninja. When we left my beast it was under a sheet for 4 years with no motor & gearbox. I bought a cheap 1988 Prelude with a 2 litre SOHC auto for a transplant, deciding a slushbox would better handle the extreme torque to weight ratio of this "car", plus give me one less pedal to operate. The Prelude has a front cross member that holds the front lower suspension tie rod bars, and it just unbolts from the car. This - together with the many differences in the new engine - meant I had to cut the chassis right off at the firewall and build a new front frame to accomodate it. I'd kept the entire loom and ECU for this Efi engine, and even found a wiring loom online to download. However despite all this my two friends (who are Honda trained mechanics), couldn't work out the wiring. They'd chopped the loom to pieces, so things just sat still for another year.
The boys unsuccessfully trying to wire up the Efi:

Then another statutory write-off Prelude came up at the salvage auctions.

I'd dismmissed it because it had carbies, but the next morning the penny dropped and I realised life without Efi would mean I could get Ninja's heart beating by myself. It cost me $200, and I on-sold the mint 1984 baby for $200 (with just 187,000kms on it), to another mate who runs an old Prelude ex-racer of mine in the Juniors class. So I had a free engine & gearbox!


Several Australian Championship winning motorkhana specials in Oz are auto... the most notable being based on some old Renault. He has a tiny electric switch on top of his gear lever and can change from first to reverse literally in a "click". The Prelude box I'm using doesn't have "1" on the auto shift stick. This (and a quick blocky thrash) reveals the car starts in second gear. It only goes down to first when put in 4th and given a big right foot. But I've talked to my local Honda ace mechanic pro and he says it'll be easy to adjust things so it'll only go into first (and stay in 1st) and reverse. Having run an automatic Civic in motorkhanas I can say they are usually FASTER than a manual because you get very little wheel spin out of the start garage, especially if you have the brakes on and half throttle before you launch into the event.

Back to the rebuild. Having ripped the heart out of the 1984 Prelude and sent it on it's way to be turned into a race car by someone else (why would you bother), my next job was to remove the 2 litre A20 Efi motor & box out of Ninja. I did this by undoing all the mounts, shafts, plus the Prelude subframe lower cross members - and then lifted the frame up off it - as I'd designed it to do.


Then I rolled the chassis back out of the way

Next I lifted the unwanted Efi motor & box up out of the Prelude crossmembers.

Morning tea time - after which I dropped the 1.8 carby motor & box from the 1984 Prelude onto the crossmembers.
The only difference in the mounts between the two engines were the angle of the bolt holes on the mount bracket at the cam belt end and the mounts were different too. So I just swapped the bracket over from the A20A so I could use it's mount with no welding,etc. Too easy, and the carby JUST cleared the top cross tube by around 2mm!

---------- Post added at 10:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:26 PM ----------

Time for some cosmetic work. I hit the dull crinkle finish black rocker cover with 2 coats of paint stripper.
Now for some colour. I use aerosol engine enamel on every build. Comes in stacks of bright colours, is heat resistant, and needs no primer.

2 minutes with a buffer disc on my 4 inch angle grinder and


When I first built this special I used no engine mounts, bolting the engine and box directly to the chassis. This resulted in vibration at idle and no real advantages, so when I built the new front end for the Prelude motor I incorporated the factory mounts. However I always fill Honda original ones with Sikaflex - an industrial tubed rubber used to seal concrete pre-fab walls. It sets mega tough and turns OEM into solid rubber ones. I've even used it to put torn mounts back together and then raced on them. You just gotta give it a week to set out of the car b4 you put any weight on them.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:05 AM   #3
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DefaultRe: Is this too wild a honda build for you?

that's slick yo...
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:12 PM   #4
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DefaultRe: Is this too wild a honda build for you?

that is sick! i want to build one of these now! and drop a del sol shell ontop of it :p
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:01 PM   #5
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DefaultRe: Is this too wild a honda build for you?

Yeah I thought about making a complete fibreglass MkI Mini Cooper S body and dropping that on myself. Other idea (which I still might just do), was to drop on a timber dog kennel with a flying Snoopy on top. Reckon the kids at our annual hillclimb in Newcastle City would luv that! Plus a smoke flare as I run up the hill too?

Here's what the back end looks like. You can see it's all EG Civic, except for the motorbike coilovers. I first mounted these leaning over, but testing proved they needed to be more upright to keep the back end on the deck.



Here's a before & after. Something arrived that made me break out the paint spray cans:






You gotta luv E-bay!
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Old 04-25-2011, 08:17 AM   #6
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DefaultRe: Is this too wild a honda build for you?

Some say he's the love child of Elle McPherson and Darth Vader. Others reckon he flosses with fine copper wire. All we know is he's called MIG Man, and he can weld brackets for a new rear brake reservoir - and I can't

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Old 04-27-2011, 10:12 PM   #7
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DefaultRe: Is this too wild a honda build for you?

A face came from Canada for Ninja today. You gotta love E-bay and a high Aussie $$$$. $15 to my door and I could choose the size I wanted. Please note that Ninjas are typically bald... so just because I have insufficient hair to keep my hat on backwards when driving doesn't mean you should laugh at me.

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Old 04-28-2011, 06:19 PM   #8
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DefaultRe: Is this too wild a honda build for you?

hahaha Ebay ftw... just bought some gear for my new Rebel T2i camera there! LOL
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:33 AM   #9
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DefaultRe: Is this too wild a honda build for you?

Over the last coupla days I've finished the wiring, just drawing up my own circuit and making it from scratch. Well not quite from scratch - given all the spare Honda looms I've scavenged wire and plugs off to do the job. Because Ninja is an open framed car and will run on the dirt I've enclosed every wire in factory split plastic protection tubing.

I couldn't get any fluid through to the rear brakes on the weekend when I tried to bleed the seperate back system. When I pulled apart the clutch master cylinder I'd fitted to the extra brake pedalI found the problem. To cram the cylinder inside the driving compartment without going through the firewall (caused by having the petrol tank on the engine bay side), I'd had to make up a super short threaded plunger shaft. When the shaft was off the cylinder it pumped fluid, but when I re-clipped it back in place it stopped working. I'd made the shaft out of a short Honda bolt, but I hadn't ground down the head of the bolt enough when I'd rounded it off to fit the hydraulic piston head. This was preventing the piston being able to return out enough to gather fluid - a problem soon fixed with five minutes on the bench grinder. Now I have great back brakes.

The steering column is held in place and rotates on two large industrial bearings in half cirle frames which are bolted to a plate. I remade this plate to position the steering wheel slightly off centre to get the column away from where it'd been lightly scraping the framework of the factory throttle pedal - plus made a new sttarter switch panel.

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Old 02-04-2012, 12:24 AM   #10
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DefaultRe: Is this too wild a honda build for you?

Here at last is the build & video of the "car" in action.

Crank it up! Block Testing a Gymkhana Special - YouTube
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:48 AM   #11
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DefaultRe: Is this too wild a honda build for you?

Here's video of Ninja racing in the dirt

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