How-To/DIY: Inspect/Replace spark plugs

Whenever you purchase a used vehicle, you never really know what the car has been through unless the seller kept records of maintenance and cared for the car. But in most cases, used cars are usually daily work cars, first time driver cars or just a “buckets” and usually have high mileage and lack in proper maintenance for it’s engine. Whenever when dealing with a old, used car, you often hear it needs a “tune-up.”

In a tune-up, there are a list of required actions that needs to be done to have the vehicle running efficient and smooth. Regular vehicle maintenance is one of the best ways to protect your investment and performing a tune up will extend the life of your vehicle. Some of the tune-up maintenance that should be done are:

  • Replace engine oil and oil filter
  • Replace engine coolant
  • Replace thermostat  – Thermostat Replacement
  • Replace fuel filter
  • Inspect/Replace spark plugs and/or spark plug wires
  • Replace air filter
  • Replace timing belt
  • Inspect/Replace water pump
  • Inspect/Replace drive belts or accessory belts (Air Conditioning belt or Power Steering belt)
  • Inspect Idle speed
  • Replace transmission fluid
  • Inspect/Replace front and/or rear brake pads
  • Replace brake fluid
  • Inspect/Adjust valve clearance – Valve Clearance Adjustment
  • Inspect/Replace tires

Do not let this list scare you because you can get away with not doing some right away. I highly advise to do the ones that will extend the engine’s longevity and overall health. So let’s break it down to the ones that will help keep your motor running okay and help in “buying time” to do the later helpful services.

  • Replace engine oil and oil filter
  • Replace transmission fluid
  • Replace engine coolant
  • Replace thermostat  – Thermostat Replacement
  • Replace air filter
  • Replace fuel filter
  • Inspect/Replace spark plugs and/or spark plug wires
  • Inspect/Replace front and/or rear brake pads
  • Inspect/Replace tires

Keep in mind, I am an Amazon affiliate and some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. Please understand I have had experience with this product and/or only recommend what I believe will be helpful and useful, not because of the small commission I make if you decide to buy something. Please be wise and do not spend money unless you feel you need them or that it will help you achieve your goals.

Here is a list of signs to figure out if the spark plugs need replacing:

Spark plugs with burned or worn electrodes may be caused by:
  • Advanced ignition  timing
  • Loose spark plug
  • Plug heat range too low
  • Insufficient cooling
Spark plugs that are fouled may be caused by:
  • Retarded ignition timing
  • Oil in combustion chamber
  • Incorrect spark plug gap
  • Plug heat range too high
  • Excessive idling/low speed running
  • Clogged air cleaner element
  • Deteriorated ignition coil or ignition wires

In this How-To/DIY tutorial, I will be showcasing the proper steps to replacing old worn  spark plugs inside the cylinder head. First you want to find the right part number for your specific engine and have the right tools to install them. If you have an Integra LS, GS, or RS trim levels, then the engine code is B18B1. If you have an Integra GSR, the engine code is B18C1. And if you have an Integra Type-R, then the engine code is B18C5.

Below are the part numbers and a link to purchase the necessary parts to replace the spark plugs in your specific Integra engine. The recommended brand for spark plugs from factory standards are from NGK and DENSO. I’ve personally used NGK for every Integra I’ve owned and has work with great reliability, good performance and longevity. The work I do on my car is always by the book and always by proper procedures.

For the LS, GS and RS trims with a B18B1:

NGK V-Power Spark Plugs ZFR5F-11

DENSO Standard Spark Plugs – KJ16CR-L11

For the GS-R trim level with a B18C1:

NGK Spark Plugs PFR6G-13

DENSO Double Platinum Spark Plug PK20PR-L13

For the Type-R trim level with a B18C5:

NGK Laser Platinum Spark Plug PFR6G-11

DENSO Double Platinum Spark Plug PK20PR-L11


Now that you have at least 4 new spark plugs for your trim level, let’s discuss the needed tools to do a good job. I recommend these products whenever you’re replacing old worn spark plugs. Each one are particularly selected due to solid structures,helpful capabilities & high volume of good reviews when replacing old spark plugs. These are the necessary tools needed to replace spark plugs:

  • spark plug socket

    • a socket that has a bending swivel neck and rubber holder piece inside to hold the spark plug

GearWrench 5/8-Inch x 6-Inch Swivel Spark Plug Socket

  • spark plug gap gauge

    • a tiny coin-like tool with measurements to gap and widen the clearance of the spark plug electrode

Performance Tool Spark Plug Gap Gauge

  • spark plug anti-seize lubricant

    • to avoid a spark plug ever seizing inside the cylinder head, a spark plug anti-seize lubricant needs to be added on before installation to allow easier removal in the future

Permatex 81343 Anti-Seize Lubricant

Now let’s get on to the How-To/DIY: Replacing spark plugs. Follow the steps in order and installation of new spark plugs will help in healthy engine longevity.

Step 1:

For engine B18B1 or B18C5, adjust the gap with the Spark Plug Gap Gauge tool to the Standard Electrode Gap: 1.1mm (0.034 in)  or replace the plug if the center electrode is rounded.

For engine B18C1, do not adjust the gap of a platinum tip plug. The plug needs to be replaced if the center electrode is rounded or if the gap is not within specifications.  Standard Electrode Gap: 1.3mm (0.051 in)

Step 2:

With the Permatex Anti-Seize Lubricant, apply a small quantity  of anti-seize compound to the plug threads before installing the plugs.

Step 3:

Screw the spark plugs into the cylinder head finger-tight, then torque them to 18 N∙m (1.8 kgf∙m, 13 lbf∙ft). Repeat this step til all spark plugs have been replaced with new ones.

 

How-To/DIY: TEIN SuperStreet Damper Coilovers

Hey HT/D-Integra Readers,

 

Today I will be doing something new: a How-To/DIY tutorial and review.

 

Keep in mind, I am an Amazon affiliate and some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. Please understand I have had experience with this product and/or only recommend what I believe will be helpful and useful, not because of the small commission I make if you decide to buy something. Please be wise and do not spend money unless you feel you need them or that it will help you achieve your goals.

 

This is going to be my first in-depth review on a car part in which I will show you how to remove the old parts and replace it with a whole new setup to improve car performance and handling. One of the first and, in my opinion, best modifications you can do on a car is lowering it to a satisfactory and desired ride height. For me, I love how a car looks when it is a lot lower than stock ride height which usually leaves about 3 inches of wheel gap from the wheel to fender. A stock look is too common and non-distinguishable when it comes to building your car for your own preference, showing it off at car meets, at shows in attempt to win awards or simply sharing with fellow car enthusiasts within the car community. The suspension is one of the main components to building a great car and I was very lucky to get my hands on a set of TEIN SuperStreet Damper Coilovers for my Acura Integra sedan.

Before I obtain my Tein Street Coilovers, I was previously riding on KYB Red Struts paired with Ground Control Coilovers. These were my budget coilover system which cost me about $300 from the local classifieds on a Acura Integra forum site. The TEIN SuperStreet Coilovers retail for about ~$800. At the time, this was completely out of my budget but I really desired a lowered ride height yet ride comfortably than the then bouncy riding from the KYB Red Struts and Ground Control Coilovers I was originally researching many different coilover systems for the Acura Integra from Skunk2, BuddyClub, PIC Coilover and other brands but saw TEIN as one I have trusted and used before in other car builds and experienced from friends who have had TEIN suspension installed on their import rides like a Mistubishi Lancer EVO VIII, Subaru Impreza STI, and Honda Civic. To get the “best for the buck” deal, I saw that any TEIN suspension setup would be a happy purchase. Either TEIN Basic Damper or SuperStreer Damper Coilovers were my best options and proceeded on working and saving up money for a new suspension setup. Of course of the two setups, Basic or SuperStreet, it was obviously the latter is more desired as it is a better suspension for both street and track use. As long as it is from TEIN, I feel my car’s suspension is taking care of well for street and/or track use.

But something very lucky happened for my build and I was able to get the coilovers for a big fraction off the retail price. My older brother had a 1995 Civic Hatchback as his daily driver with the suspension I wanted already installed on his car. From driving his car, I got first-hand experience on how it rides and feels with the coilovers installed. His ’95 Civic hatchback was not slammed but it was lowered enough to get rid of the stock wheel gap and every time I drove his car, each turn felt smooth and handled well on turns. Whenever on the freeway to work or just a quick errand, I didn’t feel much bouncy like I had before with the older suspension setup. The hatchback’s suspension just felt durable and reliable.

 

FYI/Fun fact: The suspension from a 1992-1995 Honda Civic coupes/sedans/hatchbacks are interchangeable with all 1994-2001 Acura Integra coupes/sedans.

 

Now the reason why it was lucky for my build but not so luck for my brother’s hatchback is because his car was hit by another car when he was on his way to work. The car was deemed a total loss by insurance and was gonna be auctioned off but before that, my brother was allowed to remove parts off the car because signing it to the junkyard. He removed his Recaro racing seats, Spoon carbon fiber Spoon rear spoiler, Mugen front lip and of course the TEIN SuperStreet coilovers. One day I get a call from my brother and he tells me, “If you do the work to remove the TEIN suspension off my car, then you can keep it and just give me whatever money from your old suspension.” Of course, I did the work and picked up the TEIN coilovers for $200! The KYB AGX Red Struts and Ground Control coilovers were worth about $200 on the local classifieds on a Acura Integra forum.

This story is a great example of how the mind can really manifest something into your reality if you really direct your focus on something you want. For that two months I was working and saving up, I got the random call from my brother telling me how his car got hit during traffic time and giving me the opportunity to get the Tein Street Coilovers I so longed for. Unfortunate his car got totaled and fortunately he did not receive any injuries too. This manifestation, along with many of the other modifications with this car, gave me a new kind of understanding and hope or faith in a manifesting source. A source of good intention and that if we choose to keep the mind on a good path and on what we want, we can co-create our realities to our liking and choosing.

Some of the nice perks of having the new TEIN SuperStreet Damper coilovers are:

  • Steel constructed assembly
  • Durable Twin Tube Internal construction
  • 16-way force adjustment for both front and rear coilovers
    • Compression and rebound simultaneously adjusted
    • Ease of adjustment thru an external Click Assembly
    • Internally built in needle valve that allows/restricts oil flow
    • Damping force can be tuned for either comfort or performance
    • Damping force can be adjusted to handling characteristics
  • Vehicle ride height adjust by a threaded Zinc-coated shock body and adjustable Aluminum spring seats
  • Can be rebuilt

With the new suspension installed, the first thing I did was lowered all the spring seats to its lowest levels for my desired look of being slammed! Now being slammed is not practical as the chassis is incredibly so low to the ground that you will scrape over a speed bump, a dip or anything over an inch high. But in my perspective, it was a different style of driving and almost an art in itself. The goal of driving slammed is basically to have a clean car on nice authentic JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) wheels and ride very low to the ground yet drive effectively to your destinations. Now you may think: Wouldn’t the driver do a lot of damages to the undercarriage, exterior lip kits and other areas of the car? Well of course but it’s part of the “game” if you’re choosing the drive slammed. Now you can avoid a lot of damages with an alternate yet more expensive suspension called “airbag suspension.” But that exceeds about ~$2000 for a good, reliable one and that was not in my budget at all.

I chose to drive my Integra slammed for a whole year just to gain the experience of driving slammed and what some call, living the “low lifestyle.” I have to admit, this lifestyle is definitely not for the impatient or fast drivers as driving over dips or bumps require a great deal of patience and skills. Patience is needed because if you’re going over a speed bump slowly because you’re trying to avoid or minimize damages to the car but you know other drivers are behind then you might stress or get anxiety because others are waiting on you to move. Skills is needed because driving slammed you are automatically more prone to scrapes and damages so it requires a skill set where a driver must strategically and carefully minimize or avoid bumps, dips, potholes, damaged streets, hills and many other things on the road. It is funny because my main obstacle was my driveway. It was a 3 lane front and 3 car garage with a low, steep driveway and straight to the street. Everyday I had to do a three point turn out my driveway just to minimize any major damages to my front JDM Integra Type-R lip but always scraping the bottom of the lip (No cares because I got that JDM ITR lip for free! More on that story another time when I write another How-To/DIY tutorial on how to customize a JDM ITR lip on the 1994-1997 bug-eyed front end).

My suspension felt durable, responsive and mostly comfortable during daily driving. For a year I rode on this suspension slammed and each hard turn on a corner off a freeway exit, I had a blast and joy because it stilled handled well! I loved on the car felt comfortable during long rides and only feeling somewhat bouncy when the roads were crappy. After a good year, I chose to raise up the car high enough to achieve a new low ride height but yet eliminate the stock wheel gap, only covering about half an inch of the top of the tire. Looking at the undercarriage, the only major scrapes were to the Carbing Lowering Tie bar which actually saved and protected the fragile oil pain and transmission casing. The only time I ever did major damages to my car while driving slammed was when I mistakenly drove the car into a front stopped ground parking post which damaged the front lip’s paint. :'(

 

The Tein Street Coilovers are definitely an awesome suspension choice and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this product to any car enthusiasts out there trying to find a good suspension for their car build. I definitely turned a lot of heads but then again could you blame them when you saw this rolling around the streets 🙂

WorksVS-KF (3)WorksVS-KF (4) WorksVS-KF (13)

Okay time for the How-To/DIY for the TEIN suspesion:

Step 1:

  • Jack up the front of the car, support it safely with jack stands and remove the front wheels
  • Locate the front wheel well

tein coilovers (3)

Step 2:

  • Remove 2 x 12mm brake hose mounting bolts from the strut
  • Remove 1 x 14mm bolt from the strut fork
  • Remove the 17mm flange bolt and self-locking nut on the bottom strut fork

tein coilovers (4)

Step 3:

  • Remove 2 x 14mm flange nuts on top
  • Remove the strut and fork out

tein coilovers (5)

 

Step 4:

Swap in the new Tein Street Coilovers and adjust ride height here. I spun the spring seats all the way down for my desired slammed right height.  Out with the old, in with the new! 😀

tein coilovers (6)

Step 5:

After you secured the front suspension, reinstall the front wheels and torque the lug nuts to 180 lbf∙ft. Now for the rear wheel well

  • Remove 2 x 14mm lock nuts on the top, located in the trunk
  • Remove the 14mm flange bolt and self-locking nut on the bottom strut fork
  • Swap in the new suspension

tein coilovers (2)

 

 

 

How-To/DIY guides for Honda Integra