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Lowering a Fujimi Honda Civic (EK model)

When I was building the Fujimi Honda Civic Type-R (EK) from Fujimi, one of the jobs I needed to do was to plan how to lower it. A friend of mine asked me to take pictures of every step, so I decided to document the whole procedure and put together in a tutorial. There may be easier ways to lower this kit (especially if you make the wheels static), however I like to keep my wheels rotating, not just glued in place. So after planning out the whole attack plan, this is what I came up with!

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IMPORTANT: To begin with, I would like to stress out that I have replaced the standard kit rims and tires with a set of 16 inch Aoshima Buddy Club P.1 Racing wheels. Due to this, I also decided to use a set of Aoshima 86 disc brakes from my spares box. So the procedure below is explained using these new brakes and wheels, however if you plan on keeping the original items, the main work to be performed should be quite similar. Well, thinking about it, it should be quite easier infact!

This is the kit I am building and the one I shall be performing the below procedure onto. It's the Spoon Sports version of the EK Civic from Fujimi, however from what I've seen, the undercarriage parts are the same with any other EK Civic kit from Fujimi.

These are the wheels I shall be installing underneath the EK instead of the standard 15 inch SW388s. Although both wheel sets have the same female fitment on the back, the diameter and depth of their mounting points are completely different.

In fact, here's a comparison of both wheels. The top ones are the original 15" SW388s. As you can see, the middle part used to mount the wheels is actually narrower and longer than that of the Aoshima Buddy Clubs, seen below the 388s in white.

This all meant that to use the original disc brakes, I had to make the central hole wider so that the Buddy Clubs could slide in. Also, I had to fill the extra depth of the hole with styrene and finally drill a hole in the middle for the shaft! But a quick look at my spares box revealed an Aoshima set of disc brakes, left behind from the earlier 86 build! They have the right dimensions required to fit the new rims, I had their own HD photo-etch set and were the same diameter as the original brakes... perfect!!

The first thing I did was to mount the new brakes temporarily to the original hubs. Then I mounted the Buddy Clubs and to my surprise I found that the original ride height wasn't as bad, as seen above. However, being an EK9 Civic, it had to be lower!

Before starting to modify the suspensions, I always sand down the inner arches to make the plastic as thin as possible. The picture above shows the before & after. The arches on top show the standard width while the bottom ones are sanded down. To do this job, I use my rotary tool together with the sanding attachement as seen beneath the body. As for the speed, I always keep it to my lowest setting (5000 rpm) and after several seconds be sure to stop and check how much sanding is still necessary. When the plastic colour of the body is light, I draw the arches with a black marker as it's easier to see how much sanding you're doing. This whole step is necessary to avoid the tires from touching the inner arches once the lowering is done.

One other sanding job I do is to the wheel arches, where once again I sand these to make the plastic as thin as possible. Once again, for this job I use the rotary tool together with the attachement seen before at my lowest speed. Like the previous step, I perform this job to have more free space once I lower the car and avoid the tires from touching with the wheel arches.

With all the sanding done, it was time to start fitting the new disc brakes. I shall be mounting these directly glued to the hubs instead of the original items, with the shaft protruding from the hub and into the disc brake. One thing I had to do was to cut a small part off the front of the shaft to bring it in line with the disc brake. As you can see above, on the right you can see the shaft is actually longer than the brake. If you're keeping the original brakes & wheels, this step does not apply to you!

Now, the chopping begins! To lower the front, I cut the required drop height from the suspension. In my case, I needed a 2mm drop so I marked this lenght using a marker and cut it out using a modelling saw. Then to make a stronger bond between the 2 parts, I first drilled a 0.8 mm hole on both edges, inserted a 0.8 mm metal rod and finally glued both parts together.

Once both suspensions were chopped, I needed to compensate for their shorter lenght! To do this, I added two 2 mm spacers on the lower arm made from styrene. Finally, I drilled two holes in line with the original holes and in the same diameter too

All that remained was to put everything back together and check out the new front ride height, which turned out as planned!

And this is the final offset using the set-up above. If I had not sanded down the inner arches, the tire would have rubbed with it

Then it was time to start working on the rear set-up. Due to the disc brake change, the procedure was going to be a bit more complicated than the fronts, nothing out of the ordinary though! In the picture above, on the left you can see the original disc brakes. In the middle, you can see the new disc brake together with the shaft already cut to lenght. On the right, is the back side of the new disc brake and you can notice that the new brakes are narrower than the original items. This meant that I had to install spacers to make them the same width as the originals. For this, I took the original front disc brakes and cut out the cylinder-like shape on their back side (seen above in the middle and on the right). This will give me the required width.

Seen above is what I was talking about in the previous picture. On the right is the back side of the new rear disc brake with the spacer attached. The middle part is the shaft while next to it is the spacer glued directly to the brake. To get it to the correct size, this was first attached to the brake, then I tried it on the rear hub and noted how much the wheel was resting outside the wheel arch. Then, I began sanding the surface of the spacer to get it to the required width, checking the wheel in place every few seconds of sanding. On the left, you can see the brake with the shaft still needing to be cut and the spacer resting behind.

In the picture above I'm showing how the original rear hubs look. My plan is to glue the spacer directly to the hub at my desired height. If you're planning on keeping the stock disc brakes, then the previous two pictures can be skipped and you can simply glue them at a higher position. But before doing this, you would need to sand off or cut out the protruding part of the hubs.

Then it was time to make the spacer for the other rear wheel and once ready I noted that this was wider than the other. At first, I saw this as strange but once I looked at the undercarriage, I realized why this happened. In the picture above, you can see that the undercarriage doesn't attach exactly in the middle of the body. Have a look at the arrows and note the difference in the gaps. The undercarriage is fixed in place, you can't move it left or right. Watch out for this if you're keeping the original brakes.

And here's a look at how the spacers are due to this mis-alignement in the undercarriage. You can see that the spacer on the right is wider than that of the left and this is all to compensate for that extra gap. Now, both wheels have the same offset.

Finally, I decided to add a vertical piece of styrene in the middle of both rear hubs so that I'll have more area where to glue the disc brakes later on after airbrushing the required colours. On the rear, I calculated that I needed a drop of around 2.5 mm, so the brakes will be attached at a higher position. To make these, I first sanded down the middle part of the hub, then attached the styrene pieces in that sanded section. That will make it easier to attach the disc brakes at the desired height. 

All that remained was to temporarily attach the rear wheels at my desired height to be sure that they don't touch with the inner arches and still roll as originally planned. The two images above show the final ride height I'm going for with my EK Civic build!

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I tried to be as clear as possible about this tutorial, however if you still have any difficulties feel free to ask below or on our facebook page. As mentioned before, this is definitely not the easiest method to lower your EK Civic, especially if you just want to glue the wheels at a higher position and make them static. But on all of my builds, I always keep my wheels rotating and steerable so it's always a challenge and more work for me to lower cars! As always, thanks for watching and enjoy modelling! 

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