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Number1Gaza
Number1Gaza GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/3/21 11:23 p.m.

The car has been sitting in my driveway for the last couple weeks, rather than sitting at work.  My girls wanted to take it to watch fireworks tonight, rather than the far more comfortable van or work truck.  I think I've found my fan club.  
 



Still good at being a car.

Number1Gaza
Number1Gaza GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/7/21 10:35 p.m.

Today was a good car day.  
 

I started the day getting off work early and heading to the junkyard.  Back when I first swapped in the J32 engine, 2 of the rear bank injectors were bad.  I swapped in the stock J30 injectors from my original engine as a fix.  But, some internet sleuthing has recently shown that the J30 runs 240cc injectors, while the J32 runs 270cc.  Could be an issue, although so far it doesn't seem to have caused major problems with the stock ECU.    
 

I pulled a j32 fuel rail with injectors from the first TL I found.  I also pulled some sort of idle control valve from the intake manifold of the same motor.  Some forum reseach uncovered the fact that this valve can go bad and cause low power and hesitation, particularly at low RPM.  Sounds like what my car has been doing so I snagged the part.  
 

I then discovered a 2005 Accord hybrid, mostly picked clean but the rear brakes were intact, altho a collision on the driver side had actually snapped one of the knuckle/suspension arm connections on the knuckle side.  Aluminum isn't as strong as steel.  Anyway, I pulled the caliper brackets from both rear knuckles.  Now I can run 11.1" rotors on my car, in place of the stock 10.2".  
 

Then I went home and met Andrew Bense,  frequent commenter and contributor of this build thread and J series transmission guru.  He most generously offered his services for an ecu swap.  The goal was to get the recently purchased '06 TL ECU up and running in my car.  For some reason yet to be determined, his programmer could not communicate with the new ECU.  Bummer.  But, all was not lost.  
 

Bense owns the same car I do.  '06 Honda Accord 6 speed sedan, his has the black interior as the only difference.  As the transmission guru he's got a custom close ratio transmission installed as well as a front brake kit and some junkyard coilovers.  Otherwise his car is stock.  I was able to drive his car and mine back to back.  
 

I can't even describe how awesome it was to compare the 2 cars.  It gives me an idea of how far I've come with my build.  I haven't been able to compare my car to another like it since I started building it.  Sometimes I get in my own head:  'is the car really that much faster than stock?  Does it really handle that much better?  Have I mostly ruined it vs what it's like from the factory?'  Well I got all the answers driving the 2 cars back to back.  
 

My car is way faster in a straight line.  It's got probably 50 more hp and 400 less lbs than Bense's car so that's not a surprise but still validates all the work I've done to the engine.  (Bense, if you're reading this, my traction control was on when you test drove my car.  Would have been quite a bit faster and more wheel spin with that deactivated.  I need to figure out how to deactivate TC permanently)
 

The rest of the car is right about what I thought.  I've built a race car.  Bense's is a daily.  It shows.  My clutch and flywheel setup is much more touchy, my car is louder, more of a rattle trap, and just more raw overall.  But it's faster everywhere.  And that's not crapping on Bense's car at all, if I had to pick one of the two to daily, I'd pick Bense's car 10 out of 10 times.  It's far more comfortable.  But I also didn't build mine for comfort.  So I'm happy.  
 

After this awesome experience and some super interesting conversation, I ended the day by installing the new (junkyard) idle control valve.  Pic of the valve: 

It completely fixed the low rpm power loss and hesitation.  100% gone.  Amazing.
 

 

Bense
Bense New Reader
7/8/21 4:03 p.m.
Number1Gaza said:

For some reason yet to be determined, his programmer could not communicate with the new ECU.  Bummer.  But, all was not lost.  

I do not have a 2006 specific TL factory service manual. Only 2004, and 2007-2008. However, based off of what the Hondata instructions state in this PDF, it looks like you're going to need to either re-pin your ECU plugs or use a Hondata ECU adapter harness.

"The 06 TL wiring harness is pin for pin compatible with the 07/08, which means you can simply plug in your donor ECU"

Bense
Bense New Reader
7/8/21 4:13 p.m.
Number1Gaza said:

As the transmission guru he's got a custom close ratio transmission installed as well as a front brake kit and some junkyard coilovers.

The transmission setup on my car is not really beneficial from the stock gearing in the speeds that you drove it. Its not until you get into the higher RPMs and above ~85mph that the difference shows.

 

solfly
solfly Dork
7/8/21 7:47 p.m.

I dont know a lot about J series tuning and ecu stuff but I do remember when I looked into Hondata stuff for my 05 TL i would have needed to run an adapter harness and a 07+ version of the ecu. Or something like that anyway.

Number1Gaza
Number1Gaza GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/12/21 7:01 p.m.

In reply to Bense :

Yeah, I did some more checking out Acura ECU's, and I definitely bought the wrong year.  Actually the only year that is 100% completely useless for my purposes without an adaptor harness which costs more than a whole ECU.  And the one I bought isn't compatible with Hondata.  Oh well.  I'll just have to stay on the lookout for an '04-'05 TL ECU.  Word to the wise:  Honda forums are cesspools of disinformation.  

I noticed the difference in your transmission.  Super neat what you did.  I think slightly lower 2nd - 5th gears would be optimal for racing purposes.  Rarely are you going to use 6th on a track no matter how the trans is geared, and the stock 1st gear is fine.  
 

In reply to solfly :

That's correct, only '07-08 Acura TL ECU's are compatible with Hondata.  Need an adaptor harness to make it work with the Accord wiring harness.  
 

Reason:  Apparently the Accord ECU's and '04-06 TL's are effectively impossible to hack without bricking the ECU.  There were changes in later model TL ECUs that made them more easily hacked.  Clearly I'm not an expert on the programming side of things but that's the gist of it as I understand it.  

 

Number1Gaza
Number1Gaza GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/21/21 3:24 p.m.

Shortly after my last post, 5 months ago, I tried upgrading the rear brakes.  Passenger side caliper was seized anyway and the pads were quite worn.  

7th Gen Accords (the ones with rear disks) run 10.2" rear rotors.  7th Gen Accord hybrid's run 11.1" rear rotors, with the length of the caliber bracket being the only difference with my stock brakes.  I went to a junkyard and grabbed rear calipers, caliper brackets and pads from... an 8th Gen Accord.  I also ordered rotors for an 8th Gen.  I heard somewhere that the whole setup is the same as a 7th Gen Accord hybrid's.  
 

Long story short, it turns out they are not the same.  The E-brake attachment is different, the brake line attachment is different, and the caliber bracket is different; it won't bolt up.  Rotors are the same.  

I had caliber brackets from a 7th Gen Accord Hybrid from a previous junkyarding trip, and on a whim I tried those with the 8th Gen Accord calibers.  They work!  Caliber bolts right up and fits perfect around the rotor.  So 7th Gen Accord brake pads, accord hybrid caliber brackets, 8th gen Accord calibers with 8th gen brake lines and ebrake cable ends, that is a combo that will work.  
 

But, I didn't have 8th Gen brake lines or ebrake ends.  So I put the wheels back on and pushed the car to a corner of my driveway.  And there the car sat for 3 months.  As a friend once said, 'the hot makes me want to not.'  
 

I finally got around to completing the fix last month.  I just used 7th Gen parts this time with the 8th gen rotors and scrapped  the 8th gen everything else.  So I'm finally running 11.1" rear rotors, which is a nice little upgrade for heat management and to counterbalance my TL front Brembos.  
 

First drive to and from work with the new setup was fine, until I pulled in my driveway.  I got out of my car and smelled coolant.  I couldn't find any leaks but I did see some coolant below the radiator.  I turned the car on and told my 6 year old daughter to press the gas pedal when I told her to.  I stuck my head under the hood and said hit the gas! What I was expecting was a little 3000 rpm bump.  What I forgot was that I didn't explain to a 6 year old how sensitive gas pedals are.  So when I said hit it, she put her whole 45 lbs on that gas pedal and held it.  Commence the engine going vrooomm-niinng ning ning ning ning for about 10 seconds while I ran around to the drivers door and hauled her out of the car.  But not before noticing the fountain of coolant coming out the side of the radiator.  Pretty funny stuff all things considered.  But the car is sitting again until I can get a radiator.  

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/21/21 3:45 p.m.

In reply to Number1Gaza :

I'd say your daughter has some serious potential, now she just needs to learn to hit the horn while you're under there too.

Number1Gaza
Number1Gaza GRM+ Memberand Reader
1/24/22 9:38 p.m.

Consistent with the rest of my life at the moment, it took me 2 months to find time to install a radiator.  Finally knocked it out yesterday afternoon.  By that time the slowly leaking front tire was flat and the new battery was dead.  I trickle charged the battery all day today and pumped the tires when I got home from work, and then took the car on a 5mph crawl around the neighborhood while my boys (2 and 4) bounced around the back seat tickled to death at the prospect of being in a moving car with no car seats.  Like I said, 5mph.  Enough to bleed the new radiator and scrape a bit of rust off the rotors.  Car drove great.  
 

It's about time to E36 M3 or get off the pot with this build.  The rest of what the car needs is clearly established, I just need to do it.  My problem is that this is a tough stage of life for a car project.  My kids aren't going to be suddenly involved in fewer activities anytime soon (like, for the next 10 years) and my hobbies are still prioritized in the order of fishing, ice hockey and cars.  And a small budget for all 3.  
 

Right now all spare cash is being directed to a bass boat fund.  My plan is to buy that this spring and then divert back to finishing the car.  So we'll see.  If everything goes really well the new bass boat can be used to win tournaments which will fund the completion of the car project.  I'm a pretty decent bass fisherman. 

Number1Gaza
Number1Gaza GRM+ Memberand Reader
1/25/22 5:52 p.m.

Today was a junkyarding day, after finding a recently posted 2004 6 speed TL at a yard in the upstate.  The front brembos were gone when I got there, and the transmission didn't shift into 5th, 6th or reverse, so there went my hopes of an $800 profit junkyarding day.  But, I managed to snag the front and rear sway bars, passenger axle and intermediate shaft, and the ECU.
 

The ECU is for my car, and so is the intermediate shaft and axle; currently I have a TL driver side axle and an Accord passenger side intermediate shaft and axle.  The Accord's is a smaller diameter as I've documented earlier in this thread, and I'm wondering if the mismatch is causing excessive torque steer.   And the bearing is going on my intermediate shaft so the new one should help that.  I'll sell the sway bars to hopefully break even.  

Number1Gaza
Number1Gaza GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/5/22 6:19 p.m.

Good news and bad news with the car.  Bad news:  The new radiator has a small leak.  Not sure whether it happened during shipping or if it's just the result of being a fleabay special, but either way that's pretty annoying.  I might go with a full aluminum replacement.  
 

Good news:  I replaced the intermediate shaft and passenger axle and woah it made a world of difference.  Car accelerates smoothly for once with no vibration.  From the bit I was able to drive it, it also seems to have helped with the torque steer.   The bearing on the old intermediate shaft was completely gone; the grease was all pushed out of it.  

top one is old: bottom is new (for me).   The picture doesn't do a great job of showing how covered that intermediate shaft was with its own grease, but it legit looked like it had been sitting right below an oil leak.  
 

Also some interesting data collection:  I had previously confirmed that the Honda Accord intermediate shaft is 2mm smaller in diameter than the Acura TL intermediate shaft.  Today I compared the axles.  My caliper is at work so I used a vice grip for thickness comparison.  Here is the Accord axle: 

TL axle:

Clearly the TL is thicker, I assume by the same 2mm that the intermediate shaft is.  

Bense
Bense New Reader
2/5/22 6:58 p.m.
Number1Gaza said:

Today was a junkyarding day, after finding a recently posted 2004 6 speed TL at a yard in the upstate.  The front brembos were gone when I got there, and the transmission didn't shift into 5th, 6th or reverse, so there went my hopes of an $800 profit junkyarding day.  But, I managed to snag the front and rear sway bars, passenger axle and intermediate shaft, and the ECU.
 

The ECU is for my car, and so is the intermediate shaft and axle; currently I have a TL driver side axle and an Accord passenger side intermediate shaft and axle.  The Accord's is a smaller diameter as I've documented earlier in this thread, and I'm wondering if the mismatch is causing excessive torque steer.   And the bearing is going on my intermediate shaft so the new one should help that.  I'll sell the sway bars to hopefully break even.  

Lmao. You came to Bense land and got Bense'd.

Number1Gaza
Number1Gaza GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/5/22 8:24 p.m.

In reply to Bense :

Haha.  Dang you're quick.  I got there I think 1 day after it got posted online.  

 I lost your contact info somehow; what are the chances we can reconnect and see about programming this new year-appropriate ECU I picked up?

N7Prime
N7Prime Reader
2/5/22 11:17 p.m.

https://ultraracing-usa.com/products/honda/accord/accord-cm5-2002-2007/

Ultra racing makes a bunch of braces for your car. I've got these on my 135i and had them on my old Civic. 

Number1Gaza
Number1Gaza GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/6/22 3:50 p.m.

I've looked at those chassis braces before; not sure most of them do much except add weight.  The one exception would be a front subframe brace that more securely ties in the subframe to the frame rails.  I have plans to make one myself out of aluminum in the future, though it's pretty far down the priority list.  
 

I forgot to mention a purchase I made a couple weeks back:  Ebay knock-off ingalls style rear camber/toe kit.  Toe adjustment is needed a lot more than camber, but both are well out of spec. 
 

 

N7Prime
N7Prime Reader
2/6/22 7:28 p.m.

I'm a fan of the fender braces. 

Number1Gaza
Number1Gaza GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/6/22 7:59 p.m.

In reply to N7Prime :

What sort of difference do they make?  Those are small enough where it shouldn't be much weight added.  

N7Prime
N7Prime Reader
2/6/22 8:13 p.m.

In reply to Number1Gaza :

I don't know on an accord. But on my old civic and miata it made the front end more solid especially over uneven surfaces. On the miata it reduced cowel shake and interior noises. Braces really are great for cars that aren't going to be getting a full on roll bar or cage. Even great for areas where the cage won't reach. 

 

 

 

Bense
Bense New Reader
2/7/22 9:33 a.m.
Number1Gaza said:

In reply to Bense :

Haha.  Dang you're quick.  I got there I think 1 day after it got posted online.  

 I lost your contact info somehow; what are the chances we can reconnect and see about programming this new year-appropriate ECU I picked up?

I'll hit you up when I'm gonna be in town text

Number1Gaza
Number1Gaza GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/29/22 9:24 p.m.

I finally found time to take the car back to work.  It had been sitting in my driveway since early summer and working on a "fun" car instead of my honeydolist generally generated more frowns than was worth the trouble.  I tried enlisting my boys (2 and 4) to "help" on the car to justify a few projects, but the things either of them do to, ah, help, are:

1:  immediately remove all tools out of my toolbox and move them to random places in the driveway and garage.  
 

2.  Take screw drivers and either use them like a chisel on the car body or stick them in between the grill slats and try to puncture the radiator.  Needless to say father-son projects are still a few years out.  
 

I put the car up on cinder blocks today and started sniffing around to figure out why my suspension is acting so terrible lately.  I found the source of some issues: the drivers side tie rod end is completely gone.  So I have some hardrace tie rod ends on order.  Also going to purchase some harder lower control arm bushings (likely hardrace) because I think the existing eBay specials are causing my front end to wander at speed.  I also still have the rear camber/toe kit to install.   

Number1Gaza
Number1Gaza GRM+ Memberand Reader
4/9/22 11:39 p.m.

Slow progress.  Really all I've actually accomplished is that the front coilovers got raised an inch or so.  
 

Apparently '03-07 Accord tie rod ends have a smaller diameter ball joint bolt than '07/08 Acura TL Type S tie rod ends.  How do I know?  The hardrace tie rod ends I ordered came in, and here they are side by side (hardrace on bottom, TL-S top)

Bummer.  I can't find the hardrace tie rod ends in a different size so I ordered Moog rod ends instead; they supposedly fit my TL Type S steering rack and knuckles.  
 

I also checked out lower control arms from my Accord and the parts car TL-S that I saved.  They are the same dimensions but not the same OEM design.  Very similar to what I encountered with the TL vs Accord front knuckles.  
 

TL vs Accord lower control arm:  bottom arm is TL, top is Accord.  
 

The TL arm is significantly thicker vertically and slightly thinner horizontally.  Interesting.  Is that to prevent flex in the arm?  Deflect the ends of curbs or speed bumps since the middle part of the arm when mounted on the car hangs about even with the subframe which is the lowest part of the car?  But if that was the case why wouldn't they use that design on the Accord?   I'm a bit confused.  
 

I did weigh both LCA's.  No appreciable difference in weight, interestingly enough.  


 

also, I did experiment with drilling out the front lower control arm bushing, removing nearly all the rubber and then filling the whole thing with polyurethane. However, following some reflection, I think the idea is doomed to failure.  I don't think poly has enough flex for that application.  It's either going to crack, badly, or just pop right out of the bushing.
 

Final note:  a bass boat has finally been purchased.  I ended up with a 2001 G3 HP 180 powered by a Yamaha 115 2 stroke.  Pretty much the lightest possible combo with maximum fishability due to the pad hull design and the super wide 90" beam (for an aluminum boat anyway).  And the motor is pretty much as simple and reliable as outboards get.  Compression on the motor (4 cyl) is 125, 126, 126, 126.  Remarkable for an engine over 20 years old.  Not gonna lie, I haven't been this pumped about a purchase since the Accord.  

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