Towing with a B18b EK

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bfraley

Active Member
With fuel prices increasing the Civic has become even more popular. A lot of people are getting rid of big trucks/SUVs in favor of the more economical Civic, however there is still a need to haul] stuff around. I am starting this thread because I'm one of those people. I have a 97 Civic hatch that I use as a commuter car. I drive 120 miles a day for my work commute. I also have a teardrop camper and a Thule 4x7 trailer. The question is not whether I can tow. I've been doing it for four years and it is very safe with my setup. Here is some data I pulled from an online source:

"I have been looking at Honda web sites in New Zealand, Germany, United Kingdom and Italy. All rate the tow capacity for the Honda civic at around 1200 kg, that is about 2500 lbs. UK caravan clubs(campers) say it's a great tow car. Only in the United States the civic is not rated for towing. Same car, same frame, same construction. Also, U-haul rates it for 2000 lbs with a class one hitch." Here is data to back up the claim:

Note: specs listed below are in Kilograms, multiply by 2.2 to get pounds.

Germany
Honda | Automobile | Home
Anhängelast gebremst, kg 1.200

United Kingdom
Honda Civic Type S | Book Test Drive | Specification, Finance & Information
Maximum towing weight with brakes (kg) 1200
Maximum towing weight without brakes (kg) 500

Italy
http://www.honda.it/car/media/pdf/In...ypeS_TypeR.pdf
Massa a secco/ Massa in ordine di marcia (kg) 1227/1317 1272/1366

New Zealand
Welcome to Honda New Zealand
Maximum warrantable towing weight (kg) 1200 (Man)
1000 (Auto)

And if you are worried about your brakes, think of this, at 65 mph it takes the same force to stop your civic as it does at 50 MPH with a 2000 lb trailer. Simple physics Force = 1/2Mass x Velocity squared.

"Just use common sense, secure your trailer properly, drive safely and give yourself plenty of room."


Four years ago I swapped a JDM B18b drivetrain into my Civic so I could tow my trailers and still have good fueleconomy and reliability. I put 140,000 miles on my swap in 4 years and have been towing the teardrop(1500/230) and Thule 4x7 trailer (1300/150 max load) as needed. I'm getting ready to drop in another JDM B18b motor and I would like to freshen the suspension as well. I currently have H&R OE springs and KYB GR2 shocks installed. I noticed the last year of towing was taking a toll on the rear springs. Everything is good with no load, but when the teardrop is hooked up the rear sits a bit lower than I would like. I am looking to install Airlift airsprings on the rear only and Bilstien HD struts on the front. I would like to get heavier springs to keep the rear level with a load but haven't been able to find any that do not lower the car. Lowering is not an option when towing. So, throwing this info out there to see if anyone has any input. I see more and more Civics with tow hitches on the road so I know others are doing it as well. If you tow with your Civic, please post your setups and details. Thanks!
 
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FLounder

power hungry
VIP
My next door neighbor tows a small trailer with his 99 Si. Im not sure what suspension he has, but the car is slightly lowered and even with a trailer that must be less than 1000lbs the rear sags. I am not aware of any stiffer springs that maintain stock ride height. Maybe some airbags in the rear. They are nice because you can adjust them as you like.
 

Briansol

Admins
Admin
VIP
If you're going to copy a post from another website, please do so from the 'edit' pane, not the viewing pane, as you inadvertantly put in a ton of bad links to intellitext, and the link to the IT pdf is broken. I fixed the former, the later is on you to locate the real url.
 

eg6sir

Supa Mod
VIP
you could go w/ a full coilover w/ some really stiff rear springs
 

bfraley

Active Member
If you're going to copy a post from another website, please do so from the 'edit' pane, not the viewing pane, as you inadvertantly put in a ton of bad links to intellitext, and the link to the IT pdf is broken. I fixed the former, the later is on you to locate the real url.

I apologize. My bad. I put the entry together very quickly not paying attention.
 

bfraley

Active Member
you could go w/ a full coilover w/ some really stiff rear springs

This is exactly what I did. I finally ran across a post that sent me to Ground Control Suspension Systems. They have a sale on coilovers for the 92-00 Civic through the end of the month. Best part is I can choose the lb/in rated springs and they can be adjusted to change vehicle height. I'll be running 315lb/in in the front and 250lb/in in the rear. The owner at Ground Control took time to discuss my suspension needs with towing in mind. Everything comes together as one unit so installation will be a breeze. Shipping this week and hoping to have the new suspension in by mid-April.
 

bfraley

Active Member
My next door neighbor tows a small trailer with his 99 Si. Im not sure what suspension he has, but the car is slightly lowered and even with a trailer that must be less than 1000lbs the rear sags. I am not aware of any stiffer springs that maintain stock ride height. Maybe some airbags in the rear. They are nice because you can adjust them as you like.

I was going to go with airsprings but the reliability doesn't compare to a traditional spring/strut setup. Thanks for the feedback.
 

bfraley

Active Member
New ground control suspension is in and works great. Took the teardrop camper around the block with the new suspension and no problems. The rear does sag a little but nothing like it was. I still have a little room to crank the springs up higher. Best part is the handling on the Civic is much improved. A win win for me.
 

mikesanto70

New Member
Hi bfraley, I have a few questions if you dont mind, 1. What fuel mileage are you getting with your EK w/ the B18b1 in normal driving and then what mileage do you get when your towing and the weight your towing? 2. Which tow hitch are you using? 3. Do you have any pics of your EK with the hitch on it and also with it hooked up to your trailer?
Thanks,
Mike S.
96' DX Hatch
 

bfraley

Active Member
Hi bfraley, I have a few questions if you dont mind, 1. What fuel mileage are you getting with your EK w/ the B18b1 in normal driving and then what mileage do you get when your towing and the weight your towing? 2. Which tow hitch are you using? 3. Do you have any pics of your EK with the hitch on it and also with it hooked up to your trailer?
Thanks,
Mike S.
96' DX Hatch

Mike,

I'm getting 31-32 mpg on the highway with a civic si 5speed. LS 5th gear installed. Towing fuel economy varies according to load. The teardrop camper(1500lbs) drops it to 20-21 mpg. My smaller Thule half ton trailer(300lbs+500lb load) gets me 24 mpg. I'm using the hitch for a 97 civic hatch from etrailer.com. I replaced the rear steel bumper as the original bumper was rusted. I'll take some pics and post. I installed an electric brake controller for the teardrop.
 

bfraley

Active Member
Mike,

I'm getting 31-32 mpg on the highway with a civic si 5speed. LS 5th gear installed. Towing fuel economy varies according to load. The teardrop camper(1500lbs) drops it to 20-21 mpg. My smaller Thule half ton trailer(300lbs+500lb load) gets me 24 mpg. I'm using the hitch for a 97 civic hatch from etrailer.com. I replaced the rear steel bumper as the original bumper was rusted. I'll take some pics and post. I installed an electric brake controller for the teardrop.

I have a B18b1 drivetrain swap thread as well. I have a picture in that thread that shows the hitch installed. https://hondaswap.com/hybrid-eg-ek-dc/obdii-97-ek-swap-b18b1-non-vtec-117703/8.html Hope it helps.
 

Briansol

Admins
Admin
VIP
what is the hitch hooked on to? there's no frame back there. 1500 lbs sounds scary to me, just tied on the unibody?
 

bfraley

Active Member
what is the hitch hooked on to? there's no frame back there. 1500 lbs sounds scary to me, just tied on the unibody?


You should be able find the hitch install instructions online. The hitch is connected directly to the bottom of the steel bumper channel and is anchored via a hardened u-bolt to the rear anchor point. The hitch has a 2000lb limit and the car is rated for at least 2k in overseas markets. I've been towing for almost 5 years but I also made drivetrain, brake and suspension changes because I tow so much. Bottom line is that you need to be comfortable towing and understand the power and brake limitations of your car. I would not tow with an automatic Civic.
 
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