Since we last left off in our build, we upgraded our S2000 with a set of Tein Mono Flex coilovers, Suspension Techniques sway bars, Buddy Club bucket seats, a Kaaz 1.5-way limited-slip differential, Wilwood big-brake kit, and Spec clutch. After months of planning and weeks of installing parts, we have finally arrived near completion. At this point, you may be thinking that this build is overkill for the average street car. We would resoundingly agree, but excessive planning and building is what is going to take us to our promised land of sub-two-minute lap times at Buttonwillow Raceway. With much of our build geared towards suspension upgrades and aerodynamics to improve the vehicle’s handing, we haven’t forgotten about adding some much needed grunt to our beloved F22C engine. Follow along our buildup process as we upgrade our suspension and install Design Craft Fabrication’s infamous iVTEC system.
The S2000’s highly rigid body and X-frame chassis are major contributors to its excellent handling characteristics. What’s the S2000’s X-frame chassis, you ask? Simply stated, the front and rear portions of the chassis frame and the side sills tie into diagonal braces (X-braces) at the rear of the cockpit and at the front cowl. These X-members connect the front and rear suspension subframes to resist chassis twist, and also provide a strength that’s been proven by Honda to be greater than what many closed-top sports cars achieve.
We replaced the OEM soft top with an aftermarket Chaser Aerodynamics hardtop. With optional OEM hardtops selling for $2,000 the cost would have tipped us over our budget, not to mention finding one in such a short time would be nearly impossible. Luckily, a call to Chaser landed us their fiberglass hardtop. The Chaser hardtop, including brackets, weatherstripping, window seals, and a Lexan rear window, weighed in at 28 pounds—a weight savings over the OEM soft top of 31.8 pounds.
The Koyo R-Core radiator uses a 53mm core versus the factory 16mm core, which allows for better efficiency in dissipating heat with its larger coolant capacity. The Koyo radiator’s increased water capacity and improved cooling efficiency will prove beneficial when driving our S2000 during the hot summer months ahead. The Koyo R-Core aluminum radiators are Nocolok brazed for added strength and are designed as a direct bolt-in, retaining the stock mounting points for the shrouds and fans.
Suspension Heat Wrap
Knowing our S2000 was going to frequent the track, we wrapped the outer ends of the ball joints and tie-rod ends with heat-reflective cloth and secured them with wire ties. This simple modification has proven beneficial in protecting suspension components from high-heat stress and is a mod used by many popular Honda race teams, including J’s Racing of Japan.
Volk Wheels and Falken Tires
Here’s a close-up shot of one of our Volk Racing Generation 2 forged wheels, 17x9 inches with +40mm offset, wrapped in a Falken RT-615K 255/40-17 tire. Since our S2K is destined to be a street/track superstar, our wheel and tire combination will be playing a dual purpose for the months ahead.
This photo gives you an idea of how aggressive our wheel fitment is when using the factory fenders. Fortunately, the C-West 20mm widebody fenders should take care of our fitment issues. Evasive Motorsports will roll the rear fenders for additional clearance.
DME Roll Center Adjusters
When a car is lowered, the entire spindle and wheel move up in relation to the chassis compared to stock ride height, adding stress on the ball joints. DME roll center adjusters are manufactured physically taller than the stock pieces, allowing your vehicle to keep its original suspension geometry settings while maintaining the lowered ride height. Along with maintaining the stock suspension geometry, aftermarket roll center adjusters avoid unwanted bumpsteer
DME Solid Pillow-Ball Joints
Using solid pillow-ball joints in place of the OEM bushings improves a vehicle’s handling, but has the potential to translate into a rougher ride. We were willing to trade comfort for handling if it meant quicker lap times at Super Lap Battle.
DME Upper Control Arm Bushings
This close-up photo shows a comparison of the newly pressed DME Spherical bushing on the left vs. the OEM bushing on the right. DME uses rubber covers on their bushing kits to prevent dust and contaminants from entering.
DME Rear Toe Control Arms
The factory rear control arms can’t provide enough suspension travel on a lowered vehicle, leaving you stuck with as much as half an inch of toe-in, resulting in poor handling and rapid tire wear. DME rear control arms restore proper suspension geometry on a lowered car, while the spherical rod ends replace the compliant rubber factory bushings for improved suspension response and feedback, and also reduce toe changes during acceleration and deceleration.