Because You Grab This Stuff While You Can: Junkyard Integra Donates Brakes For My Civic
So I’ve still got an Integra GS-R engine sitting in my garage, waiting to be swapped into my hooptie ’92 Civic DX— because the fifth-gen Civic, with its ease of parts-swapping and galaxy of aftermarket stuff, is to the present day what the ’55 Chevy was to the 1970s— and when that happens I’ll need better brakes, right? Problem is, whenever a third-gen Acura Integra (which was a fifth-gen Civic with luxury and performance upgrades) shows up at a cheap self-service junkyard, it gets picked clean faster than just about anything this side of a Toyota Land Cruiser. It’s much like a ’55 Chevy owner in 1974, discovering an intact 396/4-speed Caprice 20 minutes after the car hit the yard at the U-Yank-It. When I found an intact ’94 Integra while on a Junkyard Find photo expedition at the Denver yard near my place, I knew I had to work fast.
So, I went back the next day with tools and Rich, team captain of the Rocket Surgery Racing mid-engined Renault 4CV LeMons team.
The junkyard had only been open for about three total hours between the last time I’d seen the Integra and our return to grab parts, but some Civic “tuners” had already torn the crap out of the front suspension and brakes in order to pull… well, I’m not sure what. Somehow, they missed this fart-can custom Magnaflow exhaust, though.
We had to remove the exhaust to get to the rear brake parts I needed. Here’s Rich huffing some well-aged hydrocarbon residue.
The reason the crew who destroyed the stuff on the front of the car hadn’t done the same to the rear was that the rear wheels were held on with those maddening security lug nuts.
Experienced junkyard crawlers know lots of ways to defeat those wheel locks. First, we tried Vise-Grips, which didn’t work.
Then Rich scrounged up a tire iron and pounded it into the lock. That worked, but it was a lot of work to turn the things.
Another approach is to clamp the Vise-Grips inside the hollow part of the lock…
…and then jam the tire iron through the pliers and twist. This worked well.
Swapping an Integra rear disc setup onto a drum-equipped Civic is a pure bolt-on, but you need the complete trailing arm assemblies from the Integra.
You also need the disc-specific parking-brake cable assemblies, so I volunteered to brave the biohazardous interior to begin that process.
Hondas of this era are very easy to dismantle; almost every component is made to be accessible and Honda used high-quality fasteners throughout their cars. A cordless impact made removal of the trailing arms, control arms, and everything else take a total of maybe 20 minutes.
I left the control arms attached to the trailing arms, even though they’re identical to the Civic units, because sometimes junkyards will just throw in all the attached stuff when you buy major suspension components. Such was not the case at this yard, so I saved a few bucks by removing the parts I didn’t need while at the counter.
Even though aftermarket sway bars are cheap and plentiful, I figured the factory stuff is worth having. My Civic doesn’t have a rear swaybar, so even this pencil-thin one should bring it up to Integra standards.
For $150 or so, I now have everything I need to Integra-ize (Integrate?) my Civic’s rear brakes. I still need to find Integra front brakes (the Civic has smaller rotors), which means I’ll need to pounce immediately when I see a suitable donor car. For now, more bulky Honda parts will be cluttering up my garage, right next to the Chrysler 318 TBI intake I keep stubbing my toes on. Ah, project backlogs!
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Ah yes, this brings back memories. I can remember when the only practical way to get rear disc on a first gen Mustang was to find a Lincoln Versailles at the bone yard. The rears on those tarted up Granada/Lincolns would go faster than Richard Petty can back out of his driveway.
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