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My 300,000-Mile Honda S2000 Is Finally Ready for Its First Track Day

Road & Track logo Road & Track 2021-04-13 Brian Silvestro
a motorcycle parked on top of a car: An overhauled braking system for my 300,000-mile Honda S2000 project mean it actually has some stopping power now. © Brian Silvestro An overhauled braking system for my 300,000-mile Honda S2000 project mean it actually has some stopping power now.

If you’re a regular here at Road & Track, you’ll know my latest project car is a Honda S2000 with over 300,000 miles on the clock. While it runs and drives, it still needs a lot of work. One of the biggest weak points was the braking system, and with a track day at Lime Rock Park coming up, that was the first thing I needed to address.

Just How Bad Were The Brakes?

Pretty bad. Every pad was worn down nearly to the backing plate. The right front was making a terrible screeching noise any time I touched the pedal. Combine this with fluid that hadn’t been changed in who knows how many years, and I wasn’t getting very much stopping power.

I’m sure that setup could’ve lasted an hour or two on track. But I want to get the most out of my time, so I ordered new fluid, pads, and rotors. Seeing as I intend to bring this car to several track days this year, I wanted material that could handle aggressive use. I ended up going for Hawk HPS pads, Centric rotors, and high-temp fluid, perfectly fine equipment for a car as light as the S2K.

Did You Have Any Trouble Getting the Old Stuff Off?

Of course! Don’t expect anything to be easy on a car with this many miles. While the calipers and pads didn’t give me too much trouble, the rotors managed to make my life hell for an entire Saturday evening.

Here’s one of the screws. As you can see, I had a tough time breaking it loose. © Brian Silvestro Here’s one of the screws. As you can see, I had a tough time breaking it loose.

Despite living most of its life in the South, the retaining screws for the discs were all rusted into place. And to make matters worse, they were Phillips head screws. After many minutes of trying to break them free from the hubs using a Phillps-head screwdriver, I managed to strip all eight of them. I resorted to hammering in Torx sockets to see if I could get a good grip on the metal. This worked maybe half the time. Eventually, after many hours, I got all eight screws out. Why, Honda? Why would you use Phillips screws here? It made this straightforward job 23 times more difficult.


Gallery: Toyota Supra On Bronze Vossen Wheels (motor1.com)

How’s the New Stuff?

Great! I’ve only put about 50 miles on the new hardware, but I can already report it’s a massive improvement. Stopping power has increased dramatically and all the crazy noises are gone.

The front left caliper is sticking a bit, but I predict it’s because I incorrectly reinstalled the caliper. I’ll be addressing that before I head out onto the track.

What Else Have You Done to the Car?

I’ve also taken the time to adjust the front suspension height to better align it with the rear. It’s no longer slammed to the ground; there’s some actual clearance between the wheels and the fenders now. It may not look as cool, but at least I can clear speed bumps now.

I also made sure to buy a bunch of extra oil. I’m expecting to burn a lot on track while repeatedly accelerating to redline, so I figured I may as well be safe and have some on hand.

So What Else Does the Car Need?

As I mentioned last time, the VTEC system still doesn’t work. If I have time, I’ll pull the solenoid and check for any blockage in the filter. While I’ll certainly miss it on the front straight, it’s not like the car is undrivable without it.

The car also feels like it needs an alignment, which isn’t too surprising considering how much I’ve messed with the suspension. It’s a bit twitchy at times, but nothing I can’t handle until after the track day. It might not be great for tire wear, but I’m not too concerned about the health of the no-name all-seasons currently mounted on the wheels.

a car parked on a city street: s2000 © Brian Silvestro s2000

What will bother me most on track, I fear, are the seats. The driver’s seat is absolutely trashed, with the leather in tatters and most of the bolstering collapsed. There’s no way I’ll be able to source and install a replacement in time, so I predict I’ll be holding on to the steering wheel and bracing myself against the door through turns. Oh well!

The next time you read about this car will be after its first track excursion. Who knows how many things will break? Stay tuned to find out.

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