Top 10 Things You Should Know Before You Start to Modify Your 10th Gen Civic

The 10th generation of the Honda Civic has been out for a few years now and the aftermarket industry has learned a good deal about these stout and strong performing cars. Today we will hit you with some simple facts you probably don’t know but should!

Perhaps you are looking to purchase a new civic or looking at getting one used. Or maybe you want to get into modifying your own 2016+ Honda Civic. Whatever the case may be,

Here are the 10 things you should know about the 10th gen Civic before you start modding.

1. All Civics are now GDI. The 10th generation of the Honda Civic marks the full vehicle lineup switch from port fuel injection to gasoline direct injection. Unlike traditional fuel system where an electric in-tank fuel pump feeds a common rail which then feeds a set of injectors mounted to the intake manifold, a gasoline direct injection engine, or GDI for short, is different in that it utilizes an additional camshaft driven mechanical pump on top of the in-tank pump that feeds the injectors which are mounted directly into the cylinder head. Instead of fuel getting sprayed on the back of the intake valves it is sprayed directly into the cylinder head. This means once you hit the limit of the factory fuel system it gets a bit more complicated to add fuel. You can’t just upgrade injectors like the old days. But don’t worry you can get around 350 horsepower on an ethanol mix and W1 before this happens.

The fuel rail and injectors on an L15B7 engine

The fuel rail and injectors on an L15B7 engine

2. GDI Injectors are loud. On the topic of fuel injectors, your Civics GDI fuel injectors are loud. Like ticky-ticky-ticky loud. We have seen countless videos like this one (Facebook video) where people have asked if this loud tick from the engine is normal. The short answer is yes. Due to the location of the injectors, the amount of pressure they operate under, and various other design factors these puppies are loud. This sound is completely normal and you would be hard pressed to find any modern GDI engine that does not make a similar sound. Take a close look under your engine bay and you will find precisely shaped pieces of foam like this one that are designed to fit around various fuel components to muffle the sound.

Example of a piece of foam used to help minimize sound coming from your fuel system

Example of a piece of foam used to help minimize sound coming from your fuel system

3. Can I get headers? “Are you guys going to make aftermarket headers for the 10th gen? I had a really nice set on my B, K, H series engine and would like something similar for performance.”

No. Headers are a thing of the past and no longer make sense for your CivicX. The new line-up of L and K series engines powering your Honda Civic utilize what we call the “headafold”. There is no longer a separate cylinder head and exhaust manifold on your car but rather those two items have been combined into one. The traditional exhaust exiting path of a header is now an integral part of your cylinder head.

The single exit exhaust port on an L15 engine, The turbocharger mounts directly to the cylinder head here

The single exit exhaust port on an L15 engine, The turbocharger mounts directly to the cylinder head here

4. Catback exhaust does not mean the same thing it used to. Your new Honda Civic Type R, SI, EX-T, or whatever trim now has three unique pieces that make up your exhaust system. They are a 

  • Down pipe

  • Front pipe

  • Front pipe back exhaust

Unlike cars of the past where the catalytic converter (cat) use to lie somewhere underneath the middle of the chassis the push for tighter emissions has forced them closer and closer to the cylinder head. Like how close? Try in the down-pipe itself. You’ll find both the primary and secondary catalysts there. Because the cat is in the downpipe the term “cat-back” would technically imply any system that replaces both the front pipe and the front pipe back system. 

This is the reason you will see words like “FP-back” to identify a part of your car's exhaust. We will have a tech video breaking this down even further in the future so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch that.

5. Civics have electronic wastegates. Throw out those click type manual boost controllers and the box of colored wastegate springs because you won’t be using them anymore. Today's modern turbochargers like the one on the L15B7 or K20C1 Civics fully control boost by means of an electronically actuated solenoid. With this type of tech we can more precisely control boost pressure better than ever before. Reverting to a turbo kit that requires you to ditch the EWG for a mechanical wastegate arm or boost controller is like turning your 2017 into a 2007. Gross!!!

The black piece on top with the lever attached to it is your electronic wastegate

The black piece on top with the lever attached to it is your electronic wastegate

6. All the GRIP!!!! These new Civics have a ton of mechanical grip. We are fans and love the way a good EG hatch or DC Integra ride but we were blown away with how well these new cars hug the corners. Anyone who enjoys road racing or carving up the twisties will find this is a great platform to start from. Upgraded rear sways bars and stiffer springs do wonders to help these cars rotate.

7. PPPPHHHhhhhhsshhhhhhh no more. If you are looking to make cool turbo noises, a blow-off valve is NOT the way to do it. 10th gens and every modern turbo car from the factory uses a fully recirculating bypass valve. When you vent to atmosphere the woosh you are hearing would dump out metered air and screw up the PCM. This will result in erratic fuel trims and tuning/performance issues. A cold air intake or bigger turbo kit are great ways to add some sound without the drama.

You can make some cool noises and look good doing it with this guy

You can make some cool noises and look good doing it with this guy

8. Knock Knock. Knock Count and Knock Control. Same but different and important that you know the difference. These will be terms you will likely hear a lot being thrown around but more than likely they are being used wrong. Check out this post we made on civicx.com and get the definitions if you don’t know them yet

"Knock Count" = This parameter is a reflection of the ECU's misfire monitor.
"Knock Control" = This parameter is the ECU's determination of fuel quality.

Remember knowledge is power.

9. My VTEC goes bwahhhhh!!!!. The new SI or any model with the 1.5l Earth Dreams turbo engine said goodbye to VTEC. With the advancement in variable cam timing directly on the gears and valves VTEC is not as dominant as it used to be. If you want the iconic VTEC magic you will have to pick up a Type R and even then it is only located on the exhaust camshaft. Various other models like the Ridgeline and Passport still use a version of I-VTEC.

The architecture of the very popular L15 Earth Dreams engine

The architecture of the very popular L15 Earth Dreams engine

10. Boost = power, as much as we love this new 10th gen the little turbo engine actually does not flow that well from the factory. It’s small and compact size while great to fit under the hood leave a lot be desired. You will find that one of the ways these cars make lots of power is through lots of boost. It is very typical to find bolt on cars pushing 22-24 psi on the daily. Will be doing our best to make these cars as efficient as possible.

Bonus: The last thing to know about your 10th gen is that we got you covered when it comes to performance and taking it to the next level. Whatever goals or dreams you have for your 2016+ Honda Civic 27WON can help turn them into reality. So what do you say?

Let’s build together.

-Vincent @27WON