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Skunk 2 Camber Kit Install and Review

Technical Corner : Tech Check Last Updated: Aug 16th, 2006 - 11:01:00


Skunk 2 Camber Kit Install and Review
By M. Sanew - Dezoris
Jul 17, 2004, 14:19

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In the past 5 years the aftermarket industry has put out newer and more exciting suspension kits for cars and trucks alike. From, BWM to Ford, whether it be a coilover setup, race springs, sway bar, most customers will find what they need. With the introduction of parts that make suspensions more adjustable than what the end user is capable of tuning, we come upon a newer market of Camber kits/Alignment kits. In this article we will be going over an install of the Skunk2 upper control arm camber kit for certain Honda made vehicles.

The newer breed of  camber kits are using adjustable ball joints to get the job done. The first on the market with the concept was Kmac of Australia, their idea soon became a popular one and other companies quickly developed different techniques to employ adjustable balljoints into their components. After reading and listening to the buzz about this kit, we decided to pick it up and try it out, on a 1998 Honda Civic. I had installed and tested almost every type of kit available for this type of car. This left me with a good idea on what I needed and what I did not.

The beauty of waiting a while before ordering new parts is to have the abilty to do some research on what other tuners like and disliked about them. In the case of this part, there was a huge concern about two major failures with this kit, both which I was ready to address both during and after the install.

I started the process by ordering the parts through Matt M. (MatT3T4 on Hondavision.com) through his own company Speedupgrade.com. He was able to beat the lowest prices on the net for this kit. I recieved the kit within 7 days and no problems were noted.

I prepared the install by getting the proper tools together, which included 8-17mm wrenches and sockets with a 3/8" drive and a 3/8" Tq. Wrench. I also had some zip ties for supporting the knuckle once dislodged from the ball joint. For this install it was also required to buy a 5mm 3/8 socket allen key to lock down the allen nuts on the camber kit. See Image 1a. In addition I was prepared for the problems that seemed to plague many people's installs. I brought along a spray bottle of 303 Aerospace Protectant, as well as some industrial silicone grease made by ShinEtsu and some thread lock compound. I will explain their use later in the article. See Images 1b.

After the preparation was finished I headed to the garage with some portable jacks and jackstands, and began to support the vehicle. After removing the wheels, I began the process of removing the cotter pin from the castle nut and the castle nut from the upper ball joint.

In the case of this removal, the control arm being removed was a modified OEM arm with a Kmac camber plate with floating ball joint. The ball joints were worn out on that kit. After removing the castle nut we carefully separated the knuckle from the ball joint. Some peeople may need a ball joint separator which we did not need. After the knuckle dropped we zip tied the knuckle to the coil spring to avoid any possible damage to the lower suspension components.

Now that that the knuckle was separated we just needed to remove the existing upper control arm. The 1996-2000 Honda Civic arm is the only kit where the arm actually uses its own pressed in bushings.. This is because the bolts mount through the arms to the sides of the shock tower vs. the top on the Integra, Del sol and the 1992-1995 Civic. After opening the hood we located the bolts holding the arm on. We decided to remove the battery to get at one of the bolts which was not needed but helped. After removing the bolts we were able to dislodge the arm.

Before installing the Skunk2 arm I soaked a towel with 303 Aerospace Protectant and sprayed and wiped the protective boot. It already had a coating on it however this was just a bit of added protection during the install. If it is winter or if the temperature is in the 40 degree range or below apply ShinEtsu to the boot using gloves. In addition, we loosened all of the allen screws on the control arms so the ball joint was free to slide. We then mounted the control arm. We replaced the bolts holding the control arm to the sub frame but did not tighten them down to factory specs yet because the knuckle was not re-attached yet, nor was the car lowered back down onto the arms.

After we had things ready we cut the zip tie and pulled the knuckle up to the main bolt on the control arm, making sure the knuckle was as flush with the balljoint as possible. We installed the new castle nuts supplied as well as the cotter pin and tightened it down to factory specs. Now that we had that done, we preped the torque wrench and attached the 5mm allen key and set the ball joint in the middle of the grooves. This was just a temporary spot being that the car would need an alignment after this install. We went with 10lbs of torque since there was not a solid recommendation, however when we tightened it down to that spec the force crushed and pushed out the locking washer a bit so we decided to drop it down to 8lbs/ft.

We completed the same procedure on the other side, after everything was was set we reinstalled the wheels and lowered the car down, and tightened the control arm bolts under the hood down all the way to factory specs.

 

Since I was not satisfied with the way the kits allen screws tightened down I contacted Skunk asking them why they don't have some type of torque instructions for these kits. And related stories I had heard about the ball jount sliding out of place under race conditions, which would be a disaster.

The following email ensued.


Dezoris to Skunk2

The major problems we have seen, is the rubber boot cracking, as well as the allen nuts coming loose.

So I called your contact number which the gentleman on the phone gave me some general answers but not what I was looking for. I was told to email you.

So here they are.

1.)What type of material is the rubber boot made from, no one seems to know. There was some mention that it was EPDM rubber, while others thought it was Urethane. Regardless I am looking for a way to protect the boot from cracking, so knowing the material is half the battle.

2.)Allen wrench screws. What size tool do the screws take?

3.)Tq, How much to Tq, the nuts. I understand they are self-locking. But what is a reasonable Tq level.
This is a major concern for Autoxers.

I appreciate your time

Sincerely,

Mark Sanew


SKUNK2 to Dezoris

Hello Mark,
Thanks for your interest in our product. In response to your questions-
1.) The boot is made of rubber.
2.) 5mm Hex-Head The bolts are a tyical Honda size- M6x1.0x15mm
3.) The bolt comes with a washer and a lock washer, some people have used larger washers to increase clamping area. 12 Ft Lbs is an acceptable torque spec for these. Of course if people are seeing issues of bolts loosening they should use an acceptable thread locking compound for their situation.

I hope this helps you out.

Best regards,
Chris


Dezoris to Skunk2

I used a tq. wrench using 10lbs and I crushed and pushed out the locking washer below the bolt head.

So I went down to 8lbs on the rest and it seemed to be just right. 8lbs is not much thread lock would be smart, as well as the larger washers to spread out the pressure on the arm

I will forward you my review when I am done with the article. Is it ok if I use the information you provided in my article?


Skunk2 to Dezoris

Huh, that is weird. I lust torqued down all 4 screws on an arm and had no issues of upsetting the lock washer. I would suggest 8lbs WITH threadlock.
I would like to see the article when completed, and yes, you may use the info we discussed.
Thanks,
Chris


So that email took place partly before and after the install. I needed to get some thread lock on those bolts, so I called King Motorsports to schedule an alignment. On the phone I mentioned I needed to get an alignment and corner weighing due to my suspension and the gentleman on the phone was unable to accommodate me. Without going into the details of this annoying experience I have since worked it out with Clayton at King. He and I worked out my issues to see that I did not carry an bad opinion or have a bad image of King Motorsports, which I appreciate. But back when I needed their services I was turned away which took me to Big Bear Tire in Wisconsin. They were able to get me in for a full corner weighing and alignment within a week, which, my initial request was a month. Needless to say they applied the thread lock torqued the bolts to 8lbs/ft and really spend some time with my car and with me making sure that the alignment was best practice as well as the corner weighting. It was some of the best customer service I had ever had from a shop, that did race services.

Moving forward well over a year later taking the precautions to keep the kit in good shape has paid off, through rain snow and countless autocrosses and alignment the kit has stayed true, problem free. No problems with the ball joints, protective boots or slipping of the allen locks. Not bad for a daily driver weekend racer.

PREVENT THIS WITH TIPS BELOW

I like the kit, because I have not had to replace it for failure. I think this is largely because of the maintenance performed on it. Is maintenance on a camber kit a bad thing? Not in my opinion, for a few major reasons. Most people with the cars these kits are designed for are going to be daily driven, which will see a variety of harsh conditions. Other suspension components require similar care, such as bushings and threads on adjustable shocks. These parts need lubing namely if driven in the winter to avoid binding. If other parts need it, then it is completely acceptable to add another part to the list to care for.

I don't like the kit because of the locking washers and allen adjusters. They are not heavy duty enough, to be confidence inspiring, and requires special install to make sure they won't slip. Another downfall is that the kit cannot be adjusted under load. The car must be raised and lowered everytime an adjustment is made. Which may not seem like a big deal, but try asking your average alignment shop how they like that? This however is a lead in to another positive aspect. The kit is a no brainer to adjust, there is no room for error unless it is over or under tightened. The end user can take to it most alignment shops and not have to draw out a diagram on how the part works.

In conclusion this is a good product that could be great with slight changes in the manufacturing process.

TIPS!!!!

If the car is daily driven in a variety of climates:

Apply coat of 303 Aerospace Protectant to boots in Summer every month, if possible. Every 3 months at the max.

Apply ShinEtsu G-3W-0 Silicone Grease to boots before fall. Re-apply when applicable.

Apply Thread Lock to allen screws before each alignment to keep the plate on the kit from coming loose. Or use bigger washers to secure the allen screws to the arm.

Dezoris - M. Sanew

Thanks to:

303 Products - Big Bear Tire - ShinEtsu

http://www.speedupgrade.com
http://www.hondavision.com
http://www.skunk2.com

The Skunk2 Camber Kit Review and Install

PROS:

Good Design
Easy Install
No Clearance Issues
Large Range of Adjustment

CONS:

Small Allen Nuts
Inadequate Washers
No Adjustment Under Load
Premature Failure of Protective Boot

ONGOING MAINTENANCE::

In winter applying ShinEtsu Silicone to boots
In Summer applying 303 Aerospace to boots
Thread lock on allen screws every alignment

These kits are available for the
following models as of July 2004

Acura Integra 1994-2001
Honda Civic 1992-2000
Del Sol 1992-1995
   
RSX/Integra 2002+ To Be Decided
Honda Civic 2001+ To Be Decided

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