Wednesday, October 4, 2017

If it's broke, fix it! Repairs and maintenance for my S2000

As they say time flies when you are having fun so it has been with more than 9 years of ownership of my 2007 Laguna Blue Pearl Honda S2000 AP2. It has been my trusty steed for numerous drives and track days which have been years of what might be as close to motoring nirvana that I can practically experience. Obviously with all the hard driving the car has gone through, the inevitable wear and tear has eventually necessitated a refresh of some parts to keep the car running the way it should.

Based on a recommended service schedule available at Honda Owners Maintenance Minder , the items I would need to look at for the mileage I cover and age would probably be like:

Replace engine oil and filter.
Inspect front and rear brakes.
Check tire inflation and condition.
Inspect tie rod ends, steering gear box and boots.
Inspect suspension components.
Inspect driveshaft boots.
Replace air cleaner element.
Check parking brake adjustment.
Replace rear differential fluid.
Lubricate all hinges, locks, and latches with multi-purpose grease.
Inspect brake hoses and lines (including ABS).
Check all fluid levels, condition of fluids, and check for leaks.
Inspect exhaust system.
Inspect fuel lines and connections.
Check all lights.
Inspect the underbody

Admittedly this list falls way short of items that would need replacement based on the track usage of the car. The most startling change I noticed would be in the handling where a noticeable amount of sluggishness seemed to be felt getting the car round corners. Narrowing this down to the compliance bushes, I had them looked at and here is what two of them looked like.


In the end, I opted to have the full set of bushes replaced so that I could refresh the handling and hopefully back the lively and communicative handling feel that was the true draw of a driver's car like the S2000. The condition of the rubber bushes were pretty much an affirmation of the sloppy handling being due to the sagging and cracked bushings over a long time of abuse.
Here is what got swopped out, although some of the OEM bushes might have been lost along the way

During the end 2015 time attack event, the vibrations on full acceleration continued to persist after and after checking out a couple of references, I narrowed the issue down to possible CV cup pitting. This stems from a different wear spot formed from the motion of the axle joint on a lowered car and the CV joint begins to pop in and out of the wear spot causing a vibration. Although I don't typically like band aid solutions, I felt one that seemed to fix the issue for the meantime at an inexpensive was to get a Exedium Racing Axle Half Shaft Spacer in order to space out the wear spot and I was happy to be rid of the vibrations this simple fix.
Love getting parts by courier!
Here is the Blox Spacer fitted nice and snug
Unfortunately my power steering also started to throw an error code which caused my power steering to intermittently cut off and on. Sorting this with the help of Thian Seng Motors, my trusted OEM parts supplier, the problem was traced to a faulty power steering module which I replaced and is pictured below.
Check out the module circled in red

I had already noticed from the previous dyno day for fellow S2000s that my power seemed to be even lower than fairly stock condition S2000s even with a less restrictive exhaust system. This started to concern me as the top speeds I managed on the straight, which used to be fairly consistent among stock condition S2000s, were steadily dropping. The top speed records attached below show how the speeds no longer were able to be sustained above 190 kmh Vmax. On the long straight like Sepang Circuit, the main reason for a certain top speed would probably centre around using available horsepower to overcome the aerodynamic drag so if my speed kept dropping , it might signal some loss of power somewhere.
The clearly lower top speeds definitely pointed to a lack of grunt in the motor and this concerned me greatly since the top speed on the straight only tells part of the story. The F22C is a peaky motor and it develops most of its torque and horsepower high up in the upper ranges of the powerband. By clearly losing so much top speed, it basically means any of my full acceleration moments are probably way slower throughout the entire track. Being around 5 kmh slower than my fastest maximum front straight top speed leads me to the disappointing conclusion that my motor is getting visibly tired after these many years of hard track work. I guess this isn't surprising since back in 2013 I had already had some indication that compression numbers tended to hint to one of the cylinders generating less compression than the others by a significant margin. I guess time will tell what lies in store for the engine part of the equation.
One fault code that seems to pop up more than most, not that it is common to have a fault code pop up of course, would be the P2138 reading which has the note "TPS/PPS/D,E Volt Correlation". It's a problem with DBW models and you get the first warning signs when the throttle starts to give a non linear response then eventually the check engine light will flash leading to the car running in "limp" mode. With the help of folks on the S2KI forum, the problem was traced to a faulty Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor ( Honda Part Number 37971-PZX-003 ) which needed to be replaced.
Here is how the sensor looks like
There aren't all that many problems with the S2000 over the years based on what I can tell and different model years tended to have slightly different issues but nothing really major which says alot about the level of quality this car was built with. The AP1 has a plastic rear window which would blur out over time, a buzzy clutch, maybe a weak pressure plate that might not take heavy launching , a clutch slave that dies a premature death with track work, some higher oil consumption and a rattling timing chain tensioner. The AP2 has a rattly timing chain tensioner for higher mileage vehicles, once in a while you might get the sensor mentioned above acting up and the same clutch slave issue. Overall, it can be considered fuss free perhaps because it does away with many frivolous additions thus keeping maintenance issues to a minimum thus keeping the driver out of the workshop and on the road to enjoy the car the way it was made to be enjoyed, through the driving! 
It's coming to 10 years of ownership from the very first day I drove it out from the dealer's shop and I'm eagerly looking forward for many more years of enjoyment from this car! I hope this writeup proves useful for owners to address issues they face and maybe help those potential buyers to make that decision to buy one to keep just as I am doing.
Here's my sincere thanks to those who helped me maintain my ride over the years:
LTM Performance for the maintenance work on the car
Thian Seng Motors for the genuine OEM parts that I needed to keep the car running great
Stay tuned for more exciting updates coming really soon!
Since we are talking about the journey of a car that's coming to a fair bit of time with me, I thought it would be a good reference to have my readers get a sense of how my car has evolved over time and the various iterations of how the car looked through the years. I've compiled some pics of the cars and put them in a thread in the Singapore Honda Club so please go there and have a look at the string of photos that I have put in chronological order :)

Monday, June 20, 2016

What happens off the track? Check out the Singapore (and Malaysian!) car culture and scene through the eyes of an S2000 owner...

So its been sort of an "off season" period for me while my car gets a bit of odds and ends sorted after the last De Garage track day held at Sepang. I've never been to a wholly Malaysian run track event and this event turned out to be pretty crazy with literal door to door type racing even when I was simply trying to get a bit of seat time. Needless to say I definitely erred on the safe side and opted to let the more aggressive drivers by especially since the track was rather damp.

Check out some pics of the turnout below with rare cars like a Nissan Pulsar Gti-R showing up :)
Conditions weren't great as evidenced from the spray off the track...



My friend Neo turned up in his spanking new Toyota 86 stripped out track toy which was prepped by Kenny Lee

We can really see from the crazy variety and number of JDM rides, how the folks in Malaysia really love their Japanese rides despite the ever dwindling availability of new sport models from the manufacturers.

This brought a bit of flashback to the JDM Teh Tarik 3.0 session held in KL that 2 other drivers and I braved torrential rain to attend which gave me a hint as to the amazing fellowship and bonds that JDM rides were able to create among the Malaysian enthusiasts.

Sorry for the dark pictures but the lights had somehow gone out and it was raining throughout the time I was there so do forgive the poorer quality of pics. I hope this gives a feel of what a fun night it turned out to be thanks to the warm welcome by the Malaysian car owners!

The three merry Honda adventurers!

Here are the Malaysian rides, no idea what was the actual turnout but it seemed to us that it could well be roughly 300-400 cars :)
More Supra love! Bryan Chin has a widebody beast of a Supra :O
Spotting the older GTRs is always special
This FD RX7 got plenty of love from the crowd...

 Thanks Bee of for inviting me!
Getting back from that trip led me to wonder if our local scene could ever muster that kind of strength of turnout and as it turned out, the opportunity for the Singapore scene to step up and represent came just barely 6 months later in terms of the SIN Underground meet, an "underground" style meet that welcomed cars of every style and make to come forth and be showcased. The organiser was Three Angles Production helmed by Simon and Chris and when they came to me asking if I could invite a few friends, I knew it was time to make some calls and I set to work!
Here is the all important sticker that determined if each car could gain parking entry to the specified area of where the participant cars would be allowed in.
I lost count of the number of people I sent messages individually to invite to this event and I faced questions of every kind imaginable They included how this event was probably going to be killed by the authorities, how it would ever be able to attract all but a small crowd due to the dying scene and tons of others doubts that I just frankly tossed aside and soldiered on with sheer grit.
So what was the result you might ask? Get a load of these videos I took personally you needed any further convincing how insane the turnout was!
The estimates of turnout just blew my mind! I personally handed out 760 stickers and I couldn't get my hands on enough because the demand was constantly increasing with respective groups continually asking for 50 to 100 more stickers every other day. The support was mind blowing and it never even abated through the night with cars queuing up for more than 2 hours to get into the venue as seen in this video here...
Check out the slick shots done by the photographers showcasing their talent... (I'm unabashedly biased so I'll showcase the S2000s first haha!)
Need more JDM love in your life? Check out this wicked video on the JDM rides present here!
Here is my video on a walkaround of that absolutely massive crowd of people and rides...
There are way too many pics and videos to cover this entire event because the overall attendance was a mind blowing >1000 cars! Bikes and vans were in attendance but even excluding them the estimate was of about 1500 cars showing up. Here is a quick sample from my friend Dion and my newly found JDM pal all the way from Germany Ron Ronsen with the handle Fast Emotion Pictures both snapping the best of the crowd...
Click on their links to see more pics!


Here's a special shout out to my fellow S2000 brother Alib who came all the way past the checkpoint from Johor Bahru to bring his fellow R34 Skyline & Supra friends to attend... Loved having you guys join us!


There is no way this kind of massive turnout combined with the relative lack of disruption by rowdy individuals or authorities could be viewed as anything but a huge success. I'm utterly humbled by the trust shared by the enthusiast community that heeded my call when approached by the men from Three Angles (I knew it would be awesome from the start like I said it would!) and this will definitely build on better and bigger over the coming years. This heralds a new era and a breath of revival in the automotive enthusiast community that has be sorely lacking and I'm so amazed to be part of it...
I'll leave you with what I consider my favourite picture which to me totally captures the feels...
Here's my sincere thank you to the following for their trust and credits for their media work:
Three Angles Productions - for hosting such an epic event
JDM Life Singapore - superb effort to keep the JDM love alive
Dionysus Yeo - raw talent with the camera bro
Ron Ronsen - totally love your pics!
Perotography - official media for the De Garage trackday - for the invite to the JDM TT 3.0 meet, when is the next one???
Dice Photography - for braving the rain to take a shot in the dark of my ride
Zen & Alib - for the S2000 pics of our group