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Frame Lock Review

Discussion in 'Wheels / Suspension / Tires / Brakes' started by Prowler, Sep 20, 2004.

  1. Prowler

    Prowler Super Moderator

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    I was recently in contact with people from Korbach about testing their newly released frame locks. There's been quite a bit of debate on this new product as to whether it lives up to the claims posted from other testers on Honda-Tech and ClubSi. So I decided to test the frame locks for myself.

    If you're not sure what frame locks are, pick up the September Honda Tuning article. There is a 6 page review and description on them. Also, check out KorbackPerformance.com for details.

    First off, here's a picture of the product.

    [​IMG]

    They come in a very nice foam case, each piece fitted in its own precut slot. Presentation gets an A+.

    The instruction manual is also very high grade. Pictures of what to do, and also what to avoid doing duing the install, make this install the most straight forward I have ever done on a car. I only found one step that was vague (which holes to drill to which size), but the pictures helped enough. Otherwise, the only benefit I could see to adding to the manual would be having it in color.

    I'm not going into how to install the product, as that is what the instruction manual is for. Also, plenty of other reviews walk this through in great detail. Why be redundant?

    I will share some pictures to show the finished product.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Install was ~1 hour. It took me longer since I had to purchase a longer extension for my socket wrench. This also would have been a nice note to add to the manual before starting.

    The forethought for the shadetree mechanic being able to install this item is excelling. Breakaway pieces where the bolts go have pilot holes so you will get everything centered just right. No room for someone to claim they weren't sure if the frame locks were installed correctly or not. It's idiot-proof. On places where you can't hold a nut in place to tighten the bolts, Korbach supplies the nuts on a stick so you can reach the nut where it needs to go. And everything lines up perfectly.
    For example, where you see the black square and the hole:

    [​IMG]

    You drill this hole to fish the nut on a stick behind the frame to the middle of the frame lock. Otherwise there's no way to get the nut behind the frame. It's works out perfect.

    So the install is easy and straightforward. All you need is a drill (if cordless, make sure to have two charged batteries as you'll go through them drilling), a basic socket wrench set, and torque wrench.

    Now to the testing. I have heard many varied claims from Korbach and other reviewers. For example, Korbach claims:

    I've bolded what I noticed as a difference. The main advantage is the tighter steering. On my test drives, one road I took was called Spiral Highway. Imagine the highways people drift on in Japan. It's very similar. I did a run a few days before the frame lock install and then immediately after the install. I could take the wider corners quite a bit quicker without feeling like I would lose control. And to put in perspective how I pushed my car, I did lose control once. It was a hairpin recommended at 20mph (according to the highway sign) and I couldn't hold it at 60mph. Otherwise the whole trip of switchbacks could be taken at ~55mph during 20-25mph recommend corners without grip loss, whereas before I would start to lose control 45-50mph. That may not look like much of a difference, but losing grip at 50 and being very solid still at 55 is a good change.

    Steering goes where you point the car. No more little adjustments I was used to in taking wide, fast corners. Where the car was pointed, it would go.

    The framelocks also reduce harshness while driving. A few reviewers said they saw day and night differences immediately driving in town. That is quite an exaggeration. Hitting potholes and railroad tracks doesn't shake nearly as much, but daily driving still is going to be unaffected. You still feel bumps in the road. Another review said wheel hop was eliminated in burnouts. That is also false.

    Unfortunately, the framelocks did not remove any wheel shake at 70mph.

    Other claims I've seen is the 50/50 weight distribution feel. This was much more noticeable adding a rear tie bar into the equation. My first two rides on Spiral Highway with and without the framelocks did not include a rear tie bar. The third trip did, and it helped keep the rear end from swinging out as much. Now if the frame locks multiplied the effect of a cheap eBay tie bar is yet to be deteremined.
    So in conclusion. the frame locks work fairly close as to how they're described. I believe a ride quality difference would be seen much more so on a stock suspension.
    The current selling price for the frame locks is $195 until October. Normal retail through Korbach is $250. I paid $70 and believe it is worth every penny now having driven on the frame locks for 5 days. Would I pay $200 for the frame locks? Yes. They've given me more noticeable improvement than $150 strut bars have. Is it worth the normal asking price of $250? Yes, if you can afford it. It may look like some simple pieces of metal, but until you see the engineering into these pieces you cannot appreicate them fully.

    For reference and to answer other random questions I think will be asked:

    What is my car setup?

    1998 Honda Civic Ex 4dr 5 speed D16Y8
    KYB AGX adjustable struts
    Neuspeed Sport springs 1.75" F 1.5" R
    Neuspeed front strut bar
    eBay rear tie bar
    Speedy Lite 6 17x7 wheels (16lbs)
    Hankook Ventus H405 205/40/17 tires
    1 degree F 2.7 degrees R camber

    Are framelocks available for my car?

    They're only available for 96-00 Civics, but I know other models are under developement.

    Am I paid off for this review?

    No. The guys at Korbach were really stressing to be as critical as possible in the review. And I was. Plus, you can trust one of your critical HondaSwap.com moderators to not feed you any bs.

    How do the framelocks work?

    Here is a quote from David Lawson, an engineer for Korbach Performance:



    If you have any questions, please post them and I'll try to answer to the best of my ability.
     
  2. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    :thumbsup:
     
  3. NotUrAverage_Si

    NotUrAverage_Si Senior Member

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    Sweet, I gotta get me some of those. :)
     
  4. spectacle

    spectacle Senior Member

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    good review...

    if your wheel is shaking @ 70mph, thats either bad alighnment or a fucked up wheel...nothing the frame locks can do about either situation
     
  5. Prowler

    Prowler Super Moderator

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    i've had two alignments and wheels are brand new and were just balanced. don't know why it vibrates so much =(
     
  6. handlebarsfsr

    handlebarsfsr Senior Member

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    i have the same problem, ive traced it to a bad wheel bearing.. if it makes a hollow clunk around corners or after a sharp bump like mine, its almost certainly the wheel bearing.
     
  7. word

    word Senior Member

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    just ordered me a set..... :thumbsup: 195+15 shipping.....wish i could get it for $70 like you did......lucky moderators.

    in your opinion, which upgrade is better....traction bars or the frame locks?
     
  8. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    No, just one of the moderators. :(
     
  9. Prowler

    Prowler Super Moderator

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    let me konw if you find similar results
     
  10. Prowler

    Prowler Super Moderator

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    doesn't do that. no other steering or handling problems.
     
  11. pissedoffsol

    pissedoffsol RETIRED

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    they do two totally different things. traction bars prevent lateral (read: front to back push) that happens when you give the car power.
     
  12. StyleTEG

    StyleTEG Senior Member

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    Actually some have noticed simimlar results as a byproduct of installing traction bars, since most traction bars include a large bar that attaches to the lower radiator support (which is the load bearing section of the front chassis).

    The large bar braces the same relative area as the frame locks, just with more weight and its more of a side effect than an intentional result.
     
  13. 5speed4life

    5speed4life Senior Member

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    u guys think i could use this on my 93 hatch with a 99-00 front end? Im building the car up over the winter, and i dont want any down time in the spring/summer so i want to do the whole thing at once. my main goal is handling, and this looks like an awesome product. And since it attaches to the core support (or appears to) that im replacing on my eg, do you believe it will work? Thanks.
     
  14. jamesA

    jamesA Well known pissed off telephone guy VIP

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    They're trying to line up a test car for EGs, so they'll be out soon for 92-95s.
     
  15. 5speed4life

    5speed4life Senior Member

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    yeah, i saw that, but if i do a front end conversion, would i need to use the kit for the front end im using, or the car that i have?
     
  16. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    If you swap the main front end unibody structure, you use the kit for the unibody type that's up front. If you're not swapping out the main rails going through the front end of the car (you usually don't) then just use the kit for your car.
     
  17. confusatron

    confusatron Senior Member

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    I just installed my frame locks this afternoon on my 93 hatch. All I really notice is that the steering is a little bit more precise. Nothing else really changed much. Maybe the car feels slightly tighter all around, but it's too small of a change to tell if it's just my imagination.

    "* Lateral stiffness is increased"

    Maybe, but without sway bars it's probably not noticeable.

    " * Understeer is virtually eliminated; you’ll feel as if you’ve achieved a 50/50 balance between your car’s front and back end

    Absolute bullshit. The back end still sucks in turns.

    " * Turning is responsive and precise"

    Maybe slightly better than before.

    " * Onramp cornering is improved"

    Test that out later tonite

    " * A more unified structure will eliminate excess front-end vibration"

    Absolutely not. My car still vibrates during hard acceleration, and motor jerk/vibration is still there like before. I've got some Prothane urethane motor mount inserts coming next week, we'll see if that helps at all.

    " * A sturdier structure will reduce the effects of engine shake"

    Reduced is a subjective thing. Maybe.

    " * High speed driving feels smoother and more in-control"

    Slightly if at all. I took it to 80 mph on the twisty road that goes thru the forest preserve over here, if there was any difference it was slight. See my car doesn't have any sway bars yet, and I imagine sway bars and maybe tie bars are the only thing that will make high speed handling any better.

    " * Potholes will lose their unexpected jolt"

    Bullshit claim.

    " * The harsh ride you get from lowering your car and stiffening your springs will disappear"

    Not true. It's still pretty bumpy even now after installing the H&Rs and the KYB AGXs. (10/21/05)

    Also, an important note: The brackets for the 96-00 civic in the pictures above are COMPLETELY different in their structure than the ones for the 92-95 civics. The ones for the EG civic look a hell of a lot less sturdy than these.
     
  18. Celerity

    Celerity Well-Known Member

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    Did you slap the H&R Springs on yet ?
     
  19. confusatron

    confusatron Senior Member

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    not yet. The KYB AGXs came today, hopefully the springs will be here in the next day or two, along with the Prothane motor mount inserts. I got my eye on a complete set of urethane bushings from Prothane, and some Suspension Tech swaybars 3/4" front and rear from NOPI. That should kill the lean in hard turns, or so I hope.

    After having driven the civic for a few days now with the frame locks on, I have a better opinion on them. They definitely did make a significant improvement in steering response and in the firmness of the front of the car. It feels a lot less sloppy now than it did.
     
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