Ground Control Suspension Install
When the need came to lower our 10th gen SI in early 2018 the options where pretty slim. The car was less than a year old and that meant for most companies that their CivicX parts were still in development. Because of this we did not have many suspension choices.
In regards to lowering your Honda Civic, you have roughly 3 options to choose from. Going from leAST expensive to most those options are:
Coil Sleeve Kit
This is the most cost-effective means of lowering a car. Just like it sounds, this is a kit of 4 coil springs. These coil springs are made from wound up steel and are coated for durability. They provide a moderate to extreme drop depending on the brand and offer various spring rates to work with the OEM shocks. Generally you can expect a 15-30mm drop and an increase in spring rate from 5-25%. A good set is designed to work around the limitations of the OEM shocks. This allows better handling and grip without being too stiff (causing a rough ride) and accelerated wear on the OEM shocks/struts.
Coil Sleeve Kit:
A coil sleeve kit is a hybrid system of lowering springs and coilovers. The kit is generally comprised of a lowering spring, an adjustable spring seat, and a camber plate. The kit is supposed to be the middle ground where you get the benefits of adjustable ride height and adjustable camber while you still use the OEM shocks/struts. These kits are nice in that they allow a lot of flexibility in spring selection and can work with your cars factory electronic dampers (if equipped). The downside is that you get no dampener adjustment as you are still on the OEM body.
Last but not least is the full coilover kit. These kits replace everything. The spring, top hat, and the shock/strut. These are full suspension upgrades designed to work as a full unit. Coilover kits can range from mild to wild in regards to material selection and adjustment. You generally are going to get similar ride height and camber adjustment that you would with the coil sleeve kit but now you also get dampener adjustment via a performance strut/shock absorber. These kits offer the most flexibility in fine-tuning your suspension.
When looking what to equip the SI with we needed it Check a NUMBER OF BOXES.
It needed to have camber adjustment in the front because we road race this car. It needs more negative camber up front to decrease understeer and keep the tires more evenly planted in the corners.
It needed a more aggressive spring rate to handle the downforce of some of the aero pieces that we planned to add later.
It needed to be able to not illuminate the ADS light on the dash. We did not want to have that illuminated on our new car the whole time!
Given our shopping list, lowering springs where out of the question because they would not give us the camber adjustment or spring stiffness we needed. Coliovers got voted out because the selection at the time simply ignored the ADS completely and would leave us with a light on. This pretty much left us with the coil sleeve kit and only one vendor made this type of product; Ground Control.
Ground control has been in the suspension game for a long time and they already had a kit for the 10th gen Civic. The choice was pretty easy. We called them up, told them our goals, and they helped find we needed. We went with their standard kit color and opted for 400lb springs. This was a good starting point that we could learn from.
Manufacture: Ground Control
Part #: 4545 (full kit)
Components: Front and rear Eibach springs, front adjustable camber plates, front and rear sleeves with height adjustment
Custom Spring Rate Selection
Advertised Up to -5 deg Camber
Up To a 1.75” Drop
Works with OEM Dampers
The kit ARRIVED as advertised. Out of the box, the machined pieces looked very nice and worked well. However, the install was a bit tricky and we have a decent amount of gripes about it. The idea and function of the kit ARE there but the execution was poor. It’s like everything was done 70%. THEY left a lot on the table.
START GRIPE SESSION: You can skip this if you want! The sleeve over bodies did not quite fit over the OEM strut. They use an o-ring to keep things sealed but the o-ring just kept rolling over itself and tore. They must be aware of this issue because the kit came with 4 extra. 3 more subsequently broke. The camber plate used a very flimsy M8 bolt to attach to the shock tower. The OEM is larger and has a much bigger hole. It required we used large washer (not provided) so our bolt would not just fall through. Lastly, and what bothered us the most, was the fact that the kit was advertised to be able to get up -5 degrees of camber with just the use of the plate and no modding. That was far beyond the case. The OEM perch for the strut is very wide and once you start to slide the plate for more negative camber you run right into the body of the car. We couldn’t get more than 1 deg of negative camber with the OEM perch. We were forced to take cut off wheel to the OEM perch and that was not pleasant.
Once we got past the painful install the kit did its job. While noisy on the street (as we anticipated) it did its job on track. These along with our rear Whiteline Sway Bar TIGHTENED UP THE rear ENOUGH TO GET the car TO rotate. It kept our ADS light OFF and helped the car on track and that’s what we needed.
(6/6/19 UPDATE) After having this kit on for about 10 months now we can’t recommend it . We ended up running into issue with the rear perch. It has a cone that is held in with a 3D printed plastic piece. The plastic simply doesn’t work and broke on us about 4 times. We finally just gave up on it. I also think its fair to warn everyone that this kit is designed for racing only. For daily driving this kit is VERY loud - like super loud. This kit uses completely solid and separate bearings for the spring and strut to allow separate movement. All in all we would only recommend these to the auto-x and road racers. For the time we had it the kit did it’s job. We need dampers now and will be looking to upgrade before the end of the 2019 season)