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LT 2003 CL-S total restoral and improvement pictures

 
Old 10-27-2015, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Lance10 View Post
Thanks much. Lessons learned after getting the car back.

Lights - will be swapping the harnesses, it appears that the lights do not turn on consistently after replacing with JDM bulbs. I have 5 pairs of bulbs, all do the same thing. After replacing the harness if the problem exists we will have to try replacing or upgrading them.

Suspension - All new suspension makes the ride much stiffer than I like. It gives it a "sporty" feeling, but the car doesn't have the refinement of newer cars that stiffen based upon active intelligence (IE: MB, Bentley). The car turns corners a bit better but slips a bit on a nice banked 45mph curve at ~100mph, compared to a heavier MB coupe that can take it easily at 130mph. The front still squeaks a bit after hard driving, not sure if it's the larger links/bushings or the Eibach spring fitment. I am thinking I will rip Eibach out and put stock back in, I also liked the higher/softer ride.

Radio - Does anything have opinions about the Pioneer AVIC-8100NEX or other good quality double DIN radios?
As for the bulbs you're referring to, I'm not so sure what "JDM" branded bulbs are. JDM is a term that means Japanese Domestic Market and many companies try to hop onto the gravy train and capitalize on that weight that such labeling carries by calling anything they want "JDM". The best brands for bulbs are going to be Philips and Osram. They're what the higher-end OEM companies use. You've no doubt owned amny of them without knowing it. Here's a page from The Retrofit Source's site showing their bulb offerings. These guys offer great advice and are DIY friendly. Not that you would be doing anything yourself, but they're used to answering questions all day long. You may even want to discuss a projector retrofit with them as they offer it as a service. The work they do is top-notch.

The Retrofit Source | Innovative Headlight Upgrades


Your suspension issues are to be expected with an upgraded suspension. I chose to go with the Koni sport shocks at all four corners because of the adjustability they offer. I can turn the shock dampening down to a level softer than factory, or I can turn it up to a point that my molars will start chipping when I go over bumps.
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Old 10-27-2015, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Lance10 View Post
Suspension - The front still squeaks a bit after hard driving, not sure if it's the larger links/bushings or the Eibach spring fitment. I am thinking I will rip Eibach out and put stock back in, I also liked the higher/softer ride.
Not sure if the dealer installed spring silencer tubes (52442-S0X-A01) when they installed your Eibach system. When my OEM's rotted away, years ago, on my CT springs I started to get all kinds of suspension noise. Cleaned off the old silencer tubes and replaced with the part number above and it cured the squeaks.

Post #4 on the thread link below gives a PDF visual:
https://acurazine.com/forums/tires-w...encers-883500/

Furthermore, in regard to squeaks, since these cars are heavy up front, it is real IMPORTANT to clamp down hard, in the front and rear, on BOTH bolt/nut hardware used with the MOOG endlinks at the sway bar and lower control arm. That may be something for your people at the dealership to revisit as well.

I did not observe in your previous posts as to whether or not you had headers installed during your restoral. Installing a set would give you a 'quick and easy' bump in HP that makes a difference on these cars, believe it or not. There are, IIRC'ly, a couple of CT knock-offs that other members have installed with decent fitment.

LOL, on the email from CT. I emailed them a few months ago in regards to an opinion on when one should have their S/C'er and jack shaft rebuilt since mine has over 105K with no noise. They stated 100K was a reasonable time interval, lol. Just for giggles, I think I'll push it a little longer.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by zeta; 10-27-2015 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 10-27-2015, 06:15 PM
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Jarrett and Zeta, GREAT advice! I wasn't aware of the option for lights and suspension. I ordered the JDM and Kensun on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0045VNLQU?keywords=JDM%20D2R&qid=1445987123&ref_=sr_1_8&sr=8-8 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0045VNLQU?keywords=JDM%20D2R&qid=1445987123&ref_=sr_1_8&sr=8-8

Amazon.com: Premium HID Xenon Low Beam Headlight Replacement Bulbs - by Kensun - (Pack of two bulbs) - D2R - 8000K: Automotive Amazon.com: Premium HID Xenon Low Beam Headlight Replacement Bulbs - by Kensun - (Pack of two bulbs) - D2R - 8000K: Automotive

Jarrett,
While they look great when they do work, the headache of wondering if they're on isn't worth it. I will dig into this and so very appreciate the advice and website reference. I will look into the Koni, but I was told that they're much too aggressive and low for me. Do you think this is sales just trying to sell Eibach instead?

Zeta,
I will purchase that silencer and have dealer put on, it appears to be a Honda part number, does that seem right? I have not done exhaust YET but I have already paid for the stock parts, I was going to try that first. But since you mentioned and headers and have experience with them, is there a choice for headers other than DC since CT is no longer selling them? I definitely want the quietest exhaust and not looking for the lawnmower effect when I step on the gas. Deeper growl is somewhat acceptable, but I have noticed the 260HP is a bit light in response until I get to 4k RPM. I'm open to suggestions on brand.
Sounds like you were much smarter than I am and purchased CT when it was available for our cars. I waited too long.

Last edited by Lance10; 10-27-2015 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 10-27-2015, 06:43 PM
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EDIT: Just ordered (2) of D2R: Morimoto XB HID and (1) 9005: Morimoto Elite HID System w/Anti-Flicker Capcitor Link (optional) and Carbon Fiber # Brackets (upgrade) for 50w ballast. We'll see how that works out.
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Old 10-27-2015, 06:50 PM
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Lance,
The Konis are adjustable so they can be as harsh or as soft as you'd like. Bilstens are considered to be marginally better, but none of that matters if they don't accomplish your goals.
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Old 10-27-2015, 07:21 PM
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Thanks Jarrett.

Does anyone know about A/C seat options? Is anyone familiar with these? It looks promising and be done once I start the seat replacement (last thing on the project list)

Universal Heating and Cooling System (3 Stage - 2 Seats) | Heaters and Massagers
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Old 10-27-2015, 07:36 PM
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Another wild hair... While I just replaced my steering wheel, both switches and airbag, the 2012 MDX steering wheel is attractive but has anyone had success in getting the buttons to work as they should? IE: Radio and Cruise
Might not keep the radio, still up the air for removing OE radio.
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Old 10-27-2015, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Lance10 View Post
Zeta,
I will purchase that silencer and have dealer put on, it appears to be a Honda part number, does that seem right?
Correct, it is a Honda PN and should be readily available at your dealership for purchase/order.

Originally Posted by Lance10 View Post
I have not done exhaust YET but I have already paid for the stock parts, I was going to try that first. But since you mentioned and headers and have experience with them, is there a choice for headers other than DC since CT is no longer selling them?
Unless a set of used CT's become available in the blackmarket section of the forum, it appears that DC, Manzo, and OBX are the only current retail choices.

AQuick search on ebay:
headers Acura CL 2003 Type-S 3.2L | eBay

Do your due diligence with the search function here when time permits in regards to header fitment and slight modification needed to fit these things.

Originally Posted by Lance10 View Post
I definitely want the quietest exhaust and not looking for the lawnmower effect when I step on the gas. Deeper growl is somewhat acceptable, but I have noticed the 260HP is a bit light in response until I get to 4k RPM. I'm open to suggestions on brand.
Personally, I used the stock cans for the longest time. Even before the S/C'er install, the headers worked well with the stock cat/b-pipe/mufflers. The in-cabin sound was very reasonable and outside sound was not raspy at all. Then when I upgraded to a high-flow cat and CT b-pipe in cabin drone increased slightly. Headers/stock cat/b-pipe/mufflers will most likey give you a satisfactory in-cabin environment so that you can entertain/transport clients without obvious aural discomfort. Or, later on, you can experiment with differant combinations if you choose to open up & flow more exhaust.

Originally Posted by Lance10 View Post
Sounds like you were much smarter than I am and purchased CT when it was available for our cars. I waited too long.
lol, yeah, it's been a work in progress over the years. I have the car to where I like it now with the exception of a proper tune, facilitated by a stand alone unit, to enable full exploitation of the S/C'er and supporting mods. Brian found a unit that can be employed with the 6 speed; but, somehow life events keep getting in my way, hehe.

Last edited by zeta; 10-27-2015 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:05 PM
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What is your thoughts about the DC headers that I've seen others post? I'm worried about that raspy noise you're aware of.
I was thinking of sending the ECU out to be reprogrammed after potentially doing 300cc injector upgrade to give a little more on the incoming but without a better exhaust, it might be pointless or too much backpressure causing more problems than its worth.

EDIT: (Brian, you seem to be the guru about these things, any advice?)


While I'm not a mechanic, I've made mistakes on other cars. In my much more volatile years, I spent way too much time/money/energy taking a perfectly good Nissan 300ZXTT and trying to get a safe 700HP to the rear wheels. After 3 crate engines and probably 5 different clutch repairs/upgrades, I'm leery to doing too much to a V6 designed for sub 300hp.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:28 PM
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For the headers... I recently installed XSPower headers as did Stephen00TL. There were no issues with fitment. As for the rest of the exhaust, I don't think you will improve on stock as far as sound. The stock exhaust has a large resonator/midmuffler that I think may be the key to the quietness of the stock exhaust. I also read somewhere that the stock mufflers were made by a well known performance exhaust company that fell out of favor. Bosal maybe? Right now I have a 2.5" high flow cat attached to the stock exhaust. I have the piping for a full 2.5" exhaust. I'm waiting on shipment of large 2.5" resonator and mufflers and then I'll finish the installation. I'm not expecting much. I've listened to a lot of exhaust clips on youtube and found very few that didn't have the infamous Honda sound. I found one 3.2 swapped Legend with a good sounding exhaust but it was loud and there wasn't much info in the description other than OBX and an X pipe. I don't know how you would use an x pipe on the 3.2 unless you converted to rear wheel drive and custom headers.
Bottom line is knowing what I know now I'd stay stock except for the headers (and I'd even reconsider the headers at this point but it's early days) unless you plan to get more serious in search of power.
One thing I know for sure is I will miss the stealth of the stock exhaust.

Last edited by mike88se; 10-27-2015 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mike88se View Post
For the headers... I recently installed XSPower headers as did Stephen00TL. There were no issues with fitment. As for the rest of the exhaust, I don't think you will improve on stock as far as sound.

Bottom line is knowing what I know now I'd stay stock except for the headers (and I'd even reconsider the headers at this point but it's early days) unless you plan to get more serious in search of power.
One thing I know for sure is I will miss the stealth of the stock exhaust.
Thanks much Mike, I was looking for feedback of those who had gone through the pains and have experience with other types. The custom exhaust shop locally said the same thing, to stay stock since Acura did a decent job from the beginning for quietness vs flow.

Ironically my exhaust is perfectly fine as with every other part on the car I've replaced. Parts that are 13 years old still are perfectly fine. Impressive vehicle for a decent price back in 2003.
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Old 10-27-2015, 09:43 PM
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It is impressive. My CL spent most of its life in NYC but there are only minor rust issues and even those are on replaceable maintenance parts. All electronics work as they should except for the CD player and that amazes me. With MP3 players available, a CD player isn't something that will be missed much.
I noticed you mentioned having a z32TT at one time. I know a few people with 400hp reliability and since there are some forged internals even 500hp can be reliable but expensive to achieve. At 700hp I'm sure a lot of problems crop up outside the engine. I still think they are great cars but big power doesn't have the appeal it once had and working on a VG30DETT in that engine bay has no appeal whatsoever
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Old 10-27-2015, 10:50 PM
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Nismo!





Italia!


I'm guessing it was garage kept or babied for as long as you've owned it.

Here's the Z I blew up because of my need to achieve more power than the engine could handle. Many times she left me stranded with puffs of black smoke...
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Old 11-01-2015, 08:20 PM
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Great news, Comptech is willing to do a one off. I will follow up with them on Monday for details about what is included in the price.

Does anyone know what a fair price to install the CT Engineering supercharger would be?

4th rebuild of Transmission:
On driving the car, the engine, exclamation and VSA light came on. Looks like the 4th time the transmission is going to cause a problem with less than 1000 miles since the last rebuild. Last rebuild I found out was also an Odyssey but it appears not to be reliable (maybe bad luck for me). I was thinking of suggesting an 05-08 TL tranny, assuming my luck will change with a different tranny.
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Old 11-01-2015, 09:02 PM
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Try the accord trans. 06-07 I believe. There's a thread on the 2nd gen TL side with all the info.
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Old 11-01-2015, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by gnuts View Post
Try the accord trans. 06-07 I believe. There's a thread on the 2nd gen TL side with all the info.
I see a huge consensus on that model via many threads and Q/A, I will suggest it for the next tranny. Thanks gnuts!
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:22 PM
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+1 on accord trans. do it once and be done.
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Old 11-01-2015, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Lance10 View Post
Great news, Comptech is willing to do a one off. I will follow up with them on Monday for details about what is included in the price.

Does anyone know what a fair price to install the CT Engineering supercharger would be?

4th rebuild of Transmission:
On driving the car, the engine, exclamation and VSA light came on. Looks like the 4th time the transmission is going to cause a problem with less than 1000 miles since the last rebuild. Last rebuild I found out was also an Odyssey but it appears not to be reliable (maybe bad luck for me). I was thinking of suggesting an 05-08 TL tranny, assuming my luck will change with a different tranny.
Will they be willing to make another set? Id like some headers too
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Old 11-02-2015, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Lance10 View Post
Great news, Comptech is willing to do a one off. I will follow up with them on Monday for details about what is included in the price.

Does anyone know what a fair price to install the CT Engineering supercharger would be?
Congratulations on your persistence/success with CT. You must have made them an offer they could not refuse. The Kit with the 3psi low boost pulley will give you, in combination with headers, a nice bump in noticeable HP, indeed.

In 2005 I paid $800 to have mine installed including the HBP, ESM unit, & LW crank pulley.

Sorry to hear about your transmission.

Auto checklist:
http://www.ct-engineering.com/Portal...0Checklist.pdf

Install with be similar to this 6-speed procedure:
http://www.ct-engineering.com/Portal...ed_SC_2008.pdf

Last edited by zeta; 11-02-2015 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by zeta View Post
Congratulations on your persistence/success with CT. You must have made them an offer they could not refuse. The Kit with the 3psi low boost pulley will give you, in combination with headers, a nice bump in noticeable HP, indeed.

In 2005 I paid $800 to have mine installed including the HBP, ESM unit, & LW crank pulley.

Sorry to hear about your transmission.

Auto checklist:
http://www.ct-engineering.com/Portal...0Checklist.pdf

Install with be similar to this 6-speed procedure:
http://www.ct-engineering.com/Portal...ed_SC_2008.pdf
That's a great price, the one off is $5,500. Thanks so much for letting me the installation price portion of it. 3PSI I think is plenty enough for my taste, assuming it gives about 20% upgrade and looks stock. Assuming a basic math of 250HP x 20% would be about 50HP gain, which is plenty. Adding in the headers that Brian, Jarret, mike and yourself have recommended, I can safely assume the headers and this SC will allow for 60HP upgrade.

Is there any need to upgrade the 275CC stock injectors to 300C?
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:58 AM
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Does anyone know what the HP loss would be for the MP62 supercharger with the 3PSI pulley? I was thinking that the 50HP gain does come at a loss, but I'm ignorant to what that might be.
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Old 11-02-2015, 10:21 AM
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The comptech site says the auto CL will gain about 40 horse power at the wheels, the 6speeds will gain 55-60whp.
The "loss" is mostly due to the engine and trans. The autos have more parasitic loss from the transmission. There might be some old dyno graphs in the dyno section from some autos with the s/c.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Lance10 View Post
That's a great price, the one off is $5,500.
Well done!
LOL, now that you are hooked and have managed to procure the kit, you may want to consider a few gauges to keep you informed.

Back in the day, the gauges that were recommended were at least a fuel pressure gauge (in-cabin or under the hood) and a boost gauge. Of course, this is based on individual taste and is completely DISCRETIONARY; however, prudent none the less.

The links below, for example, depict the gauge set-up I invested in as part of MY S/C'er installation:

Gauge pod for the CL:
www.gaugepods.com // Lotek Inc.

Fuel Pressure Gauge:
Auto Meter 5763 Phantom 2 1 16'' Fuel Press 0 100 PSI Elec | eBay

Boost Gauge:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/391295586645?ul_noapp=true&chn=ps&lpid=82
There are better digital type gauges available and worth consideration IF you go this route. Those listed above are just for example.

Originally Posted by Lance10 View Post
Thanks so much for letting me the installation price portion of it.
No problem. Installation may range between $800 to $1200 depending on all the 'stuff' you have done at that time.

In addition, initially, if you have the ESM unit installed, to get it up and running, before you go 'stand-alone' make sure that all of the wire connections to the ECU are SOLDERED. This is very important for the connective interaction of the ESM with the ECU. It should say as much on the actual ESM install directions provided with the kit.

Originally Posted by Lance10 View Post
3PSI I think is plenty enough for my taste, assuming it gives about 20% upgrade and looks stock.
IMHO, you should not have to 'upgrade' your injectors with the low boost pulley. Depending on who you talk to on HERE or ELSEWHERE the opinions are CERTAINLY going to vary.

Please keep us informed with your impressions when the S/C'er unit install is complete and good luck.
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Old 11-02-2015, 01:21 PM
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ESM install instructions attached.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
esm-new2009.pdf (105.5 KB, 163 views)
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Old 11-02-2015, 01:34 PM
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I'd also suggest a wideband air/fuel gauge. I think it's more important than a boost gauge. If you stick with the regular pulley then you'll get 3-3.5 psi. There's no variation and not really a need for a boost gauge.
When you get the headers installed, have the shop weld on an O2 bung for a wideband. It should be placed after the merge on the headers. For a wideband, get a AEM.
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Old 11-03-2015, 12:59 AM
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Good read, but I don't know if it's just me, but paying $5500 + install for only 50hp does not seem worth it to me. I would think for that much you could get a custom turbo set up done properly and reliably. I know money is not an issue for you, but that bang for your buck is more than $1000 per 10hp. If turbo is not your thing, maybe blueprint and balance the motor, port everything, stand alone, custom intake + exhaust, and stand alone ecu? Just throwing out ideas
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Old 11-03-2015, 06:59 AM
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"Blueprint and balance" is such a video game term. That's just another way of saying "build an engine within specific tolerances". Honda has already done that of you. It's not needed again unless you change some component in the system, such as swapping the pistons for forged units that have a different weight.
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Old 11-03-2015, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by hitek9 View Post
Good read, but I don't know if it's just me, but paying $5500 + install for only 50hp does not seem worth it to me. I would think for that much you could get a custom turbo set up done properly and reliably. I know money is not an issue for you, but that bang for your buck is more than $1000 per 10hp. If turbo is not your thing, maybe blueprint and balance the motor, port everything, stand alone, custom intake + exhaust, and stand alone ecu? Just throwing out ideas
From what I have read on the forum and some advice from local techs, the turbo work would be custom and would not be able to keep that clean stock look that I am wanting to maintain. The MP62 supercharger almost looks as though it was made for our cars. I'm looking to just achieve a little more steady HP that our cars lack before VTEC band (over 5k RPM).
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Old 11-03-2015, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by JarrettLauderdale View Post
"Blueprint and balance" is such a video game term. That's just another way of saying "build an engine within specific tolerances". Honda has already done that of you. It's not needed again unless you change some component in the system, such as swapping the pistons for forged units that have a different weight.
I think Jarrette has a good point. From the consensus, the engine is extremely reliable and should not be messed with unless I'm looking to turn the car from a reliable daily driver to something the car wasn't meant to be from factory. I think Brian is the only one that has really done it right for total overhaul of our cars to a proper track level car, with his knowledge, perhaps he would be able to modify the engine at this level, but with my novice at best skill level of understanding and just local Acura dealership to rely upon, it's not something I want to delve into.

I have done this process of overhauling engines (boring, etc) on a 300ZXTT and it was a total nightmare and never worked out right after spending a large amount of money to do so. While it looked great on the dyno sheet, it never was reliable enough to drive more than a month after full workup.
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:02 PM
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With the intent on keeping the car looking stock, are these boost or ESM or AEM gauges/units needed to be showing or can we hide them or build them into a video screen input? Apologies if those are stupid questions, I guess I need to research more about these aftermarket units.
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:35 PM
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You won't see the ESM unit as it is under the carpet on passenger side, attached to the ecu to prevent from detecting boost... you're good there.

At 3 lbs, you really don't need a boost gauge, but it's recommended along with an A/F gauge. You mentioned you're in FL? As you know, it's usually hot & humid out here with occasional dips in climate causing slight boost spikes. Again, 3 lbs, not a big deal... but if you're as anal as I was, you'd get them both to see what the heck is going on at all times... :two cents:

I too didn't want gauge pods on the pillar; looks too ricey...

You do have location options:

Diddy's old setup; steering column (best setup IMO)



Ashtray area
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Old 11-03-2015, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcelechka View Post
At 3 lbs, you really don't need a boost gauge, but it's recommended along with an A/F gauge. You mentioned you're in FL? As you know, it's usually hot & humid out here with occasional dips in climate causing slight boost spikes. Again, 3 lbs, not a big deal... but if you're as anal as I was, you'd get them both to see what the heck is going on at all times... :two cents:
Well stated. Living down here is not like the great white north were a car may end up in storage many months out of the year due to ice/snow. Therefore, it is likely the daily driven use will be year round and with the heat some sort of gauge choice is recommended. Not sure if they can be incorporated into 'video screen input' as Lance10 inquired, though.

Originally Posted by Marcelechka View Post
I too didn't want gauge pods on the pillar; looks too ricey...
That's what I like about this place. You get many varied personal opinion choices.

Some people like their gauge choices elevated/off to the side enabling a clear view of the windscreen in a millisecond flick of the eye. With the pillar gauge pod painted parchment, and windows tinted, the eye does not tend to be drawn to it from a front view; however, that is my biased opinion. Boost gauge=FUN!

Some people like their gauge choices right in front of them, like on the steering column. Not my personal preference because I like an unobstructed view of the OEM meter components.

Some people like their gauge choices down even lower tilted/buried at the shifter. That just seems awful dangerous, but hey, if it works for others.

Thanks Marcelechka for those visuals.

Lance10, whatever your choice is, if any, it will be interesting to see going forward with this project.

P.S.: If you really want to know whether an A/F meter is warranted with a 3psi pulley, exploit the rapport you have with the CT Engineering peeps who designed the kit. They would certainly know the operational parameters the kit presents when added to the 3.2 V6.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by zeta View Post

Lance10, whatever your choice is, if any, it will be interesting to see going forward with this project.

P.S.: If you really want to know whether an A/F meter is warranted with a 3psi pulley, exploit the rapport you have with the CT Engineering peeps who designed the kit. They would certainly know the operational parameters the kit presents when added to the 3.2 V6.
That's a great idea. I'm sure they've had to deal with these types of things before. Personally I would prefer no extra gauges at all or to be completely hidden. I've had cars in the past with lots of gauges, in the end I didn't care about any of them other than when I had a nitrous setup where I was required to watch the gauges, but that was probably 20+ years ago when things were probably a lot more volatile.

We might have issues with putting more under the carpet. After double dynamat material was placed under the new carpet, it's nice and soft, but definitely puffier than stock.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Lance10 View Post
We might have issues with putting more under the carpet.
Running the blower without it is not an option... the ecu will detect boost & pull timing quicker than you can blink lol

It's tiny; you'd never know it's there.

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Old 11-08-2015, 12:41 PM
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This thread is awesome and actually kinda humbling lol. While I've moved on from my CL to a 3rd gen TL, the CL still has a place in my heart. Looking forward to seeing the progress of the car
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Old 11-15-2015, 12:50 AM
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The CL is a fun car to drive and i have enjoyed the ride. My friend Audi A4 and a random Hyndai Genesis smoking my CL has changed my feelings about my type s, plus when sat in the RLX i realized i need that kind of space, 2016 will welcome a new dd for me and moms will take the CL for her getting around car. Honda will lose out on my next purchase, hopefully they will build some more attractive cars and allow me to come back.
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Old 11-23-2015, 08:18 PM
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If you are dead set on s/c I'd convert to standard transmisson. Best of luck pal. Nice job on all the work.
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Old 11-28-2015, 07:19 AM
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Nice car. Now I don't feel so bad about the 15-20K I'll have in mine when its done.
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Old 02-15-2016, 12:15 AM
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Best 2 page owners thread I've ever read!

Lance! Thanks for all the information! And thanks to all the guys who responded & dig the ride! I was a service manager for BMW and the parts manager for Honda before I went to grad school & law school. I had the pleasure of owning over 46 cars I repaired & resold during my college years!
While working on a Carbon Fiber Ducati in the mid 90's for Carl Fogerty, my boss would have me drive his Acura NSX to his house or garage. I never forgot the feeing of that distinctive gear box. Cut to a week ago when I found a 2003 CL 6 Speed S-type, one owner gem I purchased. It gave me & still does give me the feeing of driving that NSX for the first time...
It's a rarity to take such enormous pleasure just driving to work or the gym. So I don't think it's out of bounds to take delight in rebuilding a beautiful car to make it your own. Congrats Lance & all the guys who still dig turning a wrench or looking to squeeze a little extra horsepower out of that engine. I know this sounds a little touchy feely but its great to know you're out there. Also, that 3.2 engine has a good life span comparable to the old Lexus LS400's. Here in Nashville, we have a CL with 648k on it. No mods.
Hope you're keeping warm in South Florida!
Miss BCC! Keep warm y'all!




Originally Posted by Lance10 View Post
Good Day fellow CL owners.

I figured I would post some pictures of a total CL-S overhaul (so far, about 60k at dealer, 13k at stereo and 10k at acuraautomotiveparts.org). We've pretty much replaced every piece on the car, most looked new when we took it off but I wanted to replace it anyway. I've learned some lessons along the way with the help of the Acura dealer here in Clearwater, FL.

2003 CL-S stock lessons.
1. If you have the spoiler, then your 3rd brake light inside the car does not light and is missing a wire for ground. My technician ran wires and put a bulb in so that both light up during braking.

2. Foglights, didn't exist. If you order a fog light switch from a 2003 TL, it fits perfectly in the vacant slot, use the TL wiring harness clip and then you can wire it to your existing harness for a pure stock look. Do not attempt to use the 7th gen Accord headlights or large aftermarket lights, they do not fit well in the slots for our cars, they will appear aftermarket and not attractive. I went with some other recommendations in this forum for the "4X JDM Black Hyper White 8 Leds Daytime Drl Bumper Lights". I put only one in on each side. To get the most conformed and stock look, mount them a good 1/2 inch deeper, this can be achieved by cutting a square hole on the inside portion (middle to the car) to fit the back part of the LED. The LED lights will still be exposed. The technician and I spent 16 hours of labor redoing this and wasted 4 inserts before I was happy with a pure stock look. Save yourself time and cut on the side opposite from the screw/outer side enough that the light is recessed about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. When you put in the black inserts in the bumper, it ironically still sticks out too much if it looks flush with the black piece. My technician brought the wiring into the harness below the battery tray and into the car harness for the 03 TL fog light switch.

3. Trunk lid keeps coming down? Check the metal piece that connects to the bottom of the trunk lid in between the speakers. The two spot welds from factory do not hold very well and come loose. We actually drilled through and bolted it on. This is a more permanent solution

4. Ash Tray light. 2003 CL-S didn't come with the ground wire to complete the circuit, yet has the socket. Have your technician make a ground wire and wire it into the socket harness.

5. Inside lighting for your car, the T3 bulbs. Buy at least 60 of them, because there's a TON. I suggest buying equal amounts of white/blue (they're cheap) so that you can choose immediately when you have the console/dash/middle/instrument panel out. LED bulbs only go in one way, they now have resistors so they don't short out if you put them in wrong, but they won't light. If your LED bulb
doesn't illuminate, turn it around it's a polarity thing.

6. Transmission. Probably has been talked about for extensive threads. If you don't do any other mods to extend the life and reliability of your car, do a transmission cooler. They're not terribly expensive, but our cars are fatally flawed in that area and are the most expensive to replace. If you do replace the transmission, do not let the shop put an Odyssey transmission in your car. Yes, it fits perfectly and you will get better gas mileage, but the car will never be as smooth as the OE Acura CL-S one. This change over cost me an additional $7,000 because the reputable transmission shop with great referrals didn't tell me about the Honda transmission until I kept bringing it back there every week complaining about the loss of power, the jerky shifting compared to Acura. While some of it might be related to workmanship, the OE Acura transmission does not jerk and is much quicker in shifting.

7. Road noise. While our cars are great vehicles, the road noise even with Michelin or Bridgestone Potenza tires are too much, add in the wind noise and vibration of a thin skin car and it can be a bit much. Adding in a layer of dynamat (stinger is more cost effective) to the outside skin and adding another layer to the inside skin of the vehicle will vastly improve the noise. It's now as quite as my Bentley and quieter than both my E350 coupes. The doors will be heavier but will "thud" closed and give a nice quiet cabin. Approximate cost would be 1k for trunk 1k for doors, 1k for floor and 500 for roof. Add 50% if you were to double it as I did.

8. Speakers. Our Bose system is wonderful, especially for a 32k car back in 2003. Leave it alone or replace with similar speakers. To venture down the road to achieve a better sound will cost you significantly. I kept the stock radio to keep the OE look of the car, but ended up spending significant money redoing the stereo 4 times until I was sure it was better than OE. I ended up putting a JL 10' sub stealth mounted to get the better sound, giving up 5 inches of my trunk after the panel to hide it.

9. Engine. To adequately improve the engine, if you are not a competent car mechanic will cost you 10k minimum to do a quality boring of small measure, I stress quality boring because from the factory the car is already bored significantly better than if you skimped on the machining process. the engine will actually be worse off. The OE engine internals are of good quality, to improve upon those would cost about 50% more and while they will improve the reliability of a higher output engine, you get back to the failure of the transmission and front drive components.

10. Suspension. There is a PERFECT write up for using Moog/Ingall parts with Eibach pro suspension. Keep in mind that you will definitely notice that your car has been lowered, in my opinion too low (I might rip out and go back to new OE). The guy for Ingall in Denver is very helpful and if you get confused on ordering, he will help you out. This comes at a premium though, as almost all the parts are on Amazon for 1/2 the price. I ordered through Ingall and Moog as I was more interested in customer service at the time, but for the normal consumer, save your money and order from the Eibach write up. The technician did have to shave off a few of the extra rubber that came on the top part of the bushings, as it squeaked when first installed. Make SURE if you lower the car to get the right camber adjustment, if you follow the instructions and the thread, you'll be fine.

11. Tint. Check out Solarguard tint, that stuff's amazing. I've ripped off all my stock tint and put this stuff on. There's an "Ultra 70" which appears to be clear, but blocks heat and UV rays. Great for front windshields, on the way from the stereo shop back to the dealer I actually turned down the A/C to nearly off in the middle of a sunny Florida day.

12. Seats. Unless you're willing to drop $5,500 for the drivers seat and $6,500 for the passengers seat, just redo the leather only at a local shop. The OE leather is discontinued and buying the foam/leather pieces from the dealer will cost you $15,000 installed if you replace every part including seat belts, sensors, heater pads, etc, etc, etc.

13. Lights - I've purchased about 10 different bulbs for the front, trying to find that are congruent with my LED fog lights and the low beams and the high beams. Typically the low beams are a bit yellow in nature. To get a nice bright white high beam, check out Amazon for a JDM 7th generation 9005 bulb for around 90 dollars. As I've learned for bulbs, JDM is a great company for our cars, good quality products.

14. Back up camera and Bluetooth. Rydeen makes a phenomenal backup camera that can be paired with a rearview mirror that has a built in 3 inch screen. The unit has ambient temp, Bluetooth phone, GPS and as soon as you put it into reverse, turns the back up camera on. Good stuff, just BE AWARE that the Rydeen rear view mirror does not come with the right window attachment for our cars, my installer shop had the right one but if you DIY, you'll need to order the one made for the Rydeen model as it doesn't come with one and you can't reuse the stock one. Which leads me to stock radio inputs. There is now a Bluetooth and all bells/whistle direct plug in attachment to our non navigational head units. It's made by GTA and the Bluetooth works very well, decent price for $140 and $100 in labor from dealer.

15. Dash lights. Almost every dash light can be changed to any LED color except the ones in the radio, unless you're willing to take it apart and spent 4 hours of labor, save yourself the heartache. While I went with mostly blue, I did notice when you change them all to LED, the dimmer does not get very dim on the lights. I'm not sure if this is related to the LED replacement or the color I chose. But it's noticeably brighter and I think can be annoying at night driving.

16. Brakes. After spending way too much on brakes, you'll find the OE brakes with the cheap metal pads are more than adequate for our cars. While there is shuddering and brake fade, it is not worth spending $4,000 to replace all the parts. If you put in Brembo, they will actually feel spongy because they have more give than the metal OE. I called Brembo and complained about this, and they said to give the car about 1000 miles or so then bleed the system again and there should be marked improvement. Honestly, if I were to do it again, I would have gone straight OE or left what was on there.

Cooling. If you're going to want to "pimp" out your cooling system with a nice Koyo radiator, check the dimensions prior. I purchased the nicest radiator I could find without custom and it was too wide to fit the attached fans. While there are better electric fans, the sizes are so different and not uniform that you'll spend more time trying to get them on than the potential benefit. The fan sizes even though they say are the exact same dimensions at stock, they do not fit on the same way, which means you're either fabricating a way to get them on or your calling the manufacturer as they try to best guess a way to get it on over the phone. Neither made me feel comfortable so I scrapped the whole thing and went with a nicer than OE radiator that fit exactly the same and did OE fans/shroud/etc. Everything hooked right up and took less time than we were on hold in the first place.

Hope this helps others. Lots of expensive lessons and time wasted but still more fun than other things.
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Old 02-15-2016, 11:24 AM
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lol, Lance10 has been a bit of a ghost lately.

I wonder what his status is?
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