Over the years I've only added modest bolt-ons to improve the power output on my 2002 Civic Si (EP3) hatchback. My collection of bolt-ons includes a Mugen airbox, Mugen Twin Loop, RBC intake manifold and K-Pro. After a quick call with Scott at King Motorsports, I settled on his recommendation to go with the Skunk2 Racing Alpha Series header.
Scott said they've seen respectable gains from the Skunk2 header and the build quality gets his thumbs up. From what I've read online, the Alpha is essentially the same design as Skunk2's top-shelf MegaPower line, but at a lower price point thanks to some advanced manufacturing technology (and probably concessions on materials used).
General feedback I've read from owners is that people love this header. Fitment on K20A3/A2 is good, so long as it is done by a professional. Folks with a K24 swap may have to do a bit of magic with their front sway bars -- a common issue that affects all aftermarket header choices.
This is the first race header I've ever purchased. I had a lot of questions about what would be included out of the box, so for you fellow newbies out there, this post is for you. Keep in mind this is for the DC5/EP3 (Skunk2 part #412-05-1910) -- so your results may vary for other fitments.
The box itself is fairly sturdy and red and black graphics scream performance. This is one delivery you don't want to leave on your front porch overnight. For you married folks, this is a car part delivery that will be hard to hide, ha ha.
The header was wrapped in bubble wrap which provides reasonable protection during shipment. The entire contents of the box:
- Alpha series header
- adapter pipe
- donut gasket
- oxygen sensor defouler
- 2 front sway bar brackets - allows for side-to-side repositioning of the sway bar thanks to elongated mount openings.
- owner's kit - a black envelope that includes a Skunk2 brochure and registration card with serial number.
- Skunk2 Racing decal
Here are the front sway bar brackets, defouler and donut gasket:
Here is the adapter pipe:
Here is one of the 2 oxygen sensor bungs. Remove this bolt to install the oxygen sensor.:
Here is the second oxygen sensor bung. Remove bolt to install oxygen sensor or defouler.:
The top has an ALPHA badge and holographic sticker with serial number:
The underside has two ALPHA stamps near the hanger:
There is one more badge that says "FOR OFF ROAD USE ONLY. NEVER TO BE USED ON POLLUTION CONTROLLED VEHICLES" just downstream of the hanger:
Next up -- installation and dyno tuning!
See more Skunk2 Racing products at the King Motorsports online store!
Recently a customer brought his Civic in for dyno tuning. On the first dyno run, the motor hits VTEC and goes dead rich -- but makes no horsepower.
We pulled off the aftermarket header. Here's a pic:
We look inside the header -- a generic one from eBay -- and examined it more closely. What we found was shockingly poor construction yielding almost total blockage. See for yourself:
We replaced the header with a quality Skunk2 Alpha Series header. Ran it on the dyno again, and saw a *dramatic* power and torque increase.
Here's the comparison chart:
If you've read Mike's interview, you know our philosophy about buying from eBay is to use extreme caution. We're not saying every auto part on eBay is badly made or a knockoff (and eBay is trying to fight that image too), but there are still dreadful products out there that can cost you power, money and sometimes even your safety. Ebay sellers know they will probably never meet you, so their motivation to simply move product overshadows *doing the right thing for the customer*. And even if the seller does care, customer feedback doesn't always make its way back to the seller.
We do the right thing for our customers. If it won't help your build, we won't sell it to you.
And we have the dyno charts (and decades of experience) to back it up!
It really is true: "When you buy cheap, you buy twice."