false

Stories

Filter Stories By:

Build

Jon’s 1991 Honda Civic Wagon RT4WD, Pt 2

Editor’s note: We’ve seen a lot of lifted Crosstreks of late, but here’s something a little different that might qualify as the spiritual ancestor of those unibody off-road crossovers. Here, Jon Seaton gives us a build breakdown for his off-road Civic Wagon.

 


 

There are only a few people in the world with a lifted Civic as modified as mine. It would be easier to say what hasn't been modified! I'll start with my lift kit/suspension set up. 

My current lift is an HRG Engineering 6" long-arm kit. Besides the lift kit itself, I'm running a completely new set of ‘98-‘01 Honda CRV springs/struts on all four corners. With the newest lift, I'm looking to go up in tire size so I've been eyeballing a set of BFGoodrich® Mud Terrain T/A KM3s in 30x9.5x15, but I would need to test fit all my clearances since I just finished my lift kit.

a description of the image

As far as engine/transmission modifications, I swapped my motor from the stock D16A6 that was rated for 106hp to the Japanese-only D16A9 (130hp) or the "ZC DOHC," as most Honda people may know it. The "ZC" motor is the only dual overhead cam motor that will bolt to the Civic Wagon RT4WD transmission. That motor was always a dream setup for my off-road wagon build because it was a non-VTEC and moderately torquey motor from an early ‘90s Honda. This motor, combined with the great gearing from the RT4WD, makes for a very competent setup.

a description of the image

The RT4WD transmission actually has an "SL" or Super Low gear that is made for pulling out of deep snow or mud. I use the SL gear quite often in my off-roading as it provides a great gearing for getting short bursts of torque and wheel speed to bounce the Civic Wagon over obstacles. 

The body is pretty stock for the most part. I installed a custom snorkel last year and have had to use it several times due since the Civic’s low nose profile likes to shovel mud. I built a custom skid plate out of 1/8" steel to give myself a touch more insurance off road. With my previous lift, I had to cut the front fenders to fit my current tire set up, so I used a set of universal fender flares to cover my wheel arches. 

a description of the image

Currently, I run BFGoodrich® Mud Terrain T/A KM2s in 215/75/R15 on 15x6.5 Sparco Terra wheels. My tire choice was very easy once I saw that KM2s came in a 215/75/R15. I've always been a huge believer of "You get what you paid for," and in the tire department, that is especially true. If I'm going to build an off-road rig, I want a proven tire that won't leave me stranded. I need something that I don't even have to think about; something that will work when I need it to. When I bought my first set of KM2s for my Civic Wagon, people's jaws hit the floor. I was asked a hundred times what my tire setup was. I had a few other Honda guys go out immediately and purchase KM2s for themselves.

a description of the image

I know that when people see an off-road rig, most of the true enthusiasts will look at the tire selection first. I know this, because I am one of those guys. You can tell a lot about a rig by the type of tires you decide to trust, so when people see my Civic Wagon sitting on a beautiful set of KM2s, they know that I must have done my homework and that I'm not here to sit in a mall parking lot. 

a description of the image

I have been in constant awe of how well these tires perform. The main question I get about them are, "Well, are they loud?" And the answer is, “Not even the least bit.” Cheap tires are loud. These BFGs have incredible road manners, even in a light Honda Civic! The next question I'm always asked is, "Did they affect gearing? Can you go over 50mph in that thing?" Of course, the MPH reading isn't matched to my stock speedometer, but I can cruise on the interstate at a GPS-verified 75mph and still accelerate up to 80 and beyond. These tires are not insanely heavy, and my 30-year-old four-cylinder motor has no issue cruising down the interstate on them.

a description of the image

Probably the best experience I had with them was on a trip from Arkansas to North Carolina and back. I was dreading the trip, as it would be the furthest trip I’d taken in my Civic Wagon by far. However, I ade it there AND back without a single hiccup in the middle of summer. The KM2s don't show an ounce of wear from the trip, and they were excellent in the rain. Honestly, if there's any mud terrain tire to trust in that situation, it’s BFGoodrich® Tires.

 


 

Learn more about Jon’s Civic Hatch and follow his build evolution on Instagram and Youtube

 

Read More...  1     2
Build

Jon’s 1991 Honda Civic Wagon RT4WD, Pt 1

Editor’s note: We’ve seen a lot of lifted Crosstreks of late, but here’s something a little different that might qualify as the spiritual ancestor of those unibody off-road crossovers. Here, Jon Seaton tells us how he decided to do an off-road build based on a Civic Wagon. For details on the build, check out Pt 2 of this story.

 


 

All my life I’ve been around cars. My mom was always into beautiful cars that caught the eye, and my dad was always into something loud and ugly, but ran like a bat out of hell. I think I embody both of those traits. I love the design and intent that goes into every car ever made, but at the same time, my own cars are purpose built and oftentimes pretty rowdy. I went to school to become an engineer basically to fund my car habit. I'm always looking into new and crazy builds, much like my Civic Wagon.

a description of the image

The origin of my Civic Wagon come from playing in the mud as a kid. Even when I could barely walk, I was waist deep in a mud puddle with my Tonka trucks. By the time I had a GoKart I was buried neck deep in mud holes until the mud dried on me like a mummy. When I was around 8 years old, my dad started getting into rock crawling with his ‘79 CJ7, and we spent nearly every summer on the side of a mountain going up some insane incline. A few years later, my dad and a few investors went in and established the Hot Springs Off-Road Vehicle Park, the first park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I spent many of my teenage years help setting the place up and working to clear trails. We would always be out on the mountains with a group of Jeeps and trucks until the early morning hours.

a description of the image

I could have easily picked up a 4x4 Jeep, truck, or SUV to make into an off-road rig, but I've always been one to stray away from the normal, and in my heart, I'm an old Honda nut. I love anything Honda because of the amount of time that Honda focuses on making a reliable, cheap-to-own vehicle. For the last decade, I've had some sort of Civic Wagon as they always had a soft spot in my heart, the Civic Wagon community is absolutely great.

The Civic Wagon platform is so incredibly diverse. We have people who drag race them, rallycross them, autocross them, slam them on the ground, and lift them to the sky. I decided to do the latter with my recent Civic Wagon as my roots are deep in the off-road community.

a description of the image

The Civic Wagon is fairly uncommon in the off-road scene for a few reasons. One reason is the absolute rarity of the Civic Wagon RT4WD in the wild. Over the past decade, they’ve come in and out of the mainstream, and scavengers love to get the rare Honda AWD parts from them to sell at an inflated rate.

This has caused prices of parts to skyrocket, and there’s an increased scarcity of components. The knowledge for how to set up a proper off-road vehicle is also not prevalent in the Civic Wagon world. My good friends at HRG Engineering and I are working on making the Civic Wagon platform a much more capable off-road rig. Being an engineer, I've been deep into research over the past year in making the Civic Wagon an even better off-road rig.

a description of the image

The Civic Wagon doesn't use a center differential or a traditional transfer case. Instead, the Civic Wagon uses a viscous coupler to engage the rear wheels when the front loses traction. This is not favorable for slow approach off-roading or crawling, so within the next few months I will have developed an improved swappable viscous coupler from a much more hearty off-road rig. A few more trips to the junkyard and I'll have my proof of concept complete and ready to mount to my Civic Wagon. One great off-road aspect of the Civic Wagon is it's light weight. Paired with super grippy BFGoodrich® Mud Terrain T/A KM2 tires, I can just cruise over obstacles that many Jeeps cannot navigate.

Like previously mentioned, I love being the odd ball when it comes to my builds. You see a million Jeeps out there in the trails, but when you see a Civic Wagon out and about, you really see something incredible. The reactions I get at Hot Springs ORV Park are priceless. Everyone loves it, and I get asked a million questions about it.

a description of the image

It's an absolute neck-breaker here in the South. I cannot go to a gas station without someone running over to take pictures or talk with me. It’s such a joy and pleasure to see people curious about the Civic Wagons. Possibly my favorite type of person to stop me is the older gentlemen who had Civic Wagons back in the day. They always truly appreciate that we take care of ours and that we still drive them today.

a description of the image

 


 

Learn more about Jon’s Civic Hatch and follow his build evolution on Instagram and Youtube

 

Read More...  5     2
Build

Marcus’ 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Editor’s note: Unlike many of the folks who picked up their love for off-roading from parents and family, Marcus found his way off the beaten path on his own. Along the way, he came to discover what a capable off-road vehicle could do.

 




I was never super into vehicles when growing up. I was more interested in music and sports. My folks didn't come from North America and truly lived with challenges most of us could not relate to. Camping outdoors or going off-road wasn't very appealing to them.

a description of the image

On the other hand, I caught the bug. My interest in camping and exploring has grown exponentially. It didn't take long for standard campsites to lose their luster. I wanted to be able to truly explore North America away from pavilions and tourist crowded boardwalks. When I started going on regular camping trips and traveling more remotely, vehicles started coming into the forefront of my interests. Once I realized where you can go in a capable 4WD vehicle, it changed everything for me and really opened a whole new world to discover. 

a description of the image

My FJ Cruiser has been the key. I love its ability to reliably get us places most people can't. Admittedly, it's not the best vehicle to build out for 4WD touring and overlanding due to its lack of interior cargo space. But as a person who is very camping focused, I also see that as a positive. It really makes us slow down and ask, Is this a want or a need? Is this going to be useful and add to our experience, or just take up space?

a description of the image
a description of the image

The build is very much focused on backcountry travel and exploration. Much of my home province is rarely seen by the average person. You actually can't even drive from Southern Manitoba to Northern Manitoba. How many places can say the same?!

All the mods serve this vision. We run a full aluminum skid plate setup from Ricochet, rock sliders, and airbags in the rear springs to help when we are loaded up on gear. We also run a TRD Supercharger with a URD pulley, an added 7th fuel injector, TRD cold air intake, Doug Thorley long-tube headers, and a high flow exhaust system. All this gives us a nice power boost when making miles on pavement and traversing terrain.

a description of the image
a description of the image

We’re also happy to run BFGoodrich® Tires because they are a name I trust. We have BFGOODRICH® All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires (217/70R16) wrapped around TRD bronze beadlock wheels. It's amazing how tough these tires are. It's easy to say that BFGoodrich is a proven company with years of tech put into the product. All that technology shows when you stress your tires as we do. We often run low air pressures through some really nasty terrain — everything from incredibly dense Canadian forests to ice and snow covered rocks.  

a description of the image

In the future, I want to expand on the FJ Cruiser’s off-road ability with a full suspension overhaul, 35” tires for added clearance, and a much-needed winch.  

I really only started getting my first taste of camping in my late teens and got into 4WD vehicles in my mid-twenties. Looking where I stand now, it's quite funny. If you don't pay attention, some interests can really grip you and become a large driving force for your life's ambitions.

a description of the image

 


 

See more of Marcus’ FJ Cruiser on Instagram at @marcusisleite

Read More...  0     0

Search

Looking for something?
Try the search bar below.

Please enter valid search term.

Forgot Password

Don't have an account yet? Sign up here.

Forgot Your
Password

Please enter the email address associated with your account and we will help you recover your password.

Forgot Password

Don't have an account yet? Sign up here.

Forgot Your
Password

Please enter the email address associated with your account and we will help you recover your password.

Forgot Password

Don't have an account yet? Sign up here.

Forgot Your
Password

Please enter the email address associated with your account and we will help you recover your password.

Forgot Password

Don't have an account yet? Sign up here.

Forgot Your
Password

Please enter the email address associated with your account and we will help you recover your password.

Forgot Password

Don't have an account yet? Sign up here.

Forgot Your
Password

Please enter the email address associated with your account and we will help you recover your password.

Forgot Password

Don't have an account yet? Sign up here.

Forgot Your
Password

Please enter the email address associated with your account and we will help you recover your password.

Forgot Password

Don't have an account yet? Sign up here.

Forgot Your
Password

Please enter the email address associated with your account and we will help you recover your password.

Forgot Password

Don't have an account yet? Sign up here.

Forgot Your
Password

Please enter the email address associated with your account and we will help you recover your password.

Forgot Password

Don't have an account yet? Sign up here.

Forgot Your
Password

Please enter the email address associated with your account and we will help you recover your password.

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Already have an account? Sign in here.