Posted by Editorial on 03 26th, 2012
This post is a part of the “Your Story” series on our blog. Want to be featured? Email us at community(at)carid(dot)com.
Despite a young age, Nick Campos is a great example to look up to when it comes to grit and passion for the hobby. If you’re just in the beginning of your own car build project, be sure to read Nick’s story and learn from it. If you’re a seasoned car junkie, check out what a sleek Civic this guy has built by himself and leave your kudos in the comments!
Please tell how did you get started with cars. How did you end up a fan of Honda?
I’ve always been into Hondas since I was a kid, then when I turned 18 I got my very first car (and first Honda), and it was just like a dream come true. It was MY car, that I could do whatever I wanted to with! At that age I was inspired by a lot of movies like Fast and Furious, but never went with the ‘ricer phase’, as some cars do. I always wanted to keep my car clean and simple, something elegant and yet very appealing to the eyes. Being I was in high school when I got the car, and had an average high school job, funds were limited. My main priority was to pay the car off and start off with simplistic mods. So, first came the basics: taillights, headlights, intake, and wheels. Eventually when I entered college I had put a header and exhaust on, followed by a 75 shot of Zex nitrous.
It’s going on the 5th year i’ve had my car, and it has came a long way. Now it has almost everything done, turbo, cam, head work, all that jazz (except a built bottom end). A lot of people always doubted my abilities and said I could “Never do it” and always tried to bring me down, but I never gave up, I let the haters provoke my fuel for my fire. So eventually I picked up a few books and learned all I could, then eventually summer of 2010 I sourced turbo parts for my car and began to turbocharge my little beloved Honda Civic. The car has a lot of value and meaning to me, not a lot of people understand the passion some people share with their car. For me, I always struggled with a lot of relationship problems, drama, and your typical stuff. My car would always be my ‘escape’, or ‘hiding place’, I always found comfort in working on my car, or even just driving it. Those rough days I was having a hard time, I would go pick up a wrench and simply forget it all and get lost in my car. Until this day i’m still sticking with my car, even though i’ve ran into quite of bit of issues when going through the modding process, but I always stuck with it and never gave up. I had a passion in my heart, a wrench in my hand, and determination to follow.
But for the most part, my car was always the only thing I could call my own. It may sound silly, but it was like having a child to me. I’d like to think it shared the same value to me; I’m sure fellow car enthusiasts can relate to that. Nothing gave me more satisfaction than going to car shows, events, or even the drag strip and having everyone admire your ride, look at it, and ask questions! One time I went to the grocery store, and as I was parking my car I heard this little boy say to his mother “Ooh! Look at that pretty car mommy!” and it just made me smile. Things like that give me the utmost satisfaction, and it makes me feel very proud.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Not giving up. Everyone has always been so against me during my build process. “Don’t waste your money on the D17 engine.”, truth be told, the engine our 7th gen Civic’s are equipped with just aren’t the greatest platform to work with, but me and a few others on the 7thgenhonda forum are proving that they in fact can make decent power, with the right turbo setup and modifications.
I’ve had a lot of negativity against me. But I never let anyone’s thoughts steer me away from my goal. My own family was against me, and thought it was all pointless and stupid. But, that’s to be expected from parents. A lot of people don’t understand the true passion of it all. It’s a hobby just like anything else, it brings me happiness, and I enjoy making something ‘my own’, and to modify it to my own specification. I really am proud to have made it through all the negativity, and to basically say “Screw you. I did it.” And prove everyone wrong.
Also, sourcing parts for my platform wasn’t the easiest thing in the world either… There used to be a readily available turbo kit for our generation of civics, but they eventually died off because there really wasn’t much market for the D17 turbo kits. I think the only readily available turbo kit for our cars is made by “Godspeed”. Piecing my own together was a lot cheaper but of course there was a lot of fabrication to make everything work, since I didn’t buy a full plug n play kit.
But for the books, did you use any other resources while building your Civic’s bottom end?
I haven’t built my bottom end yet, I’m still undecided if I want to or not. I’m kind of satisfied with the power, all I wanted was a fast daily driver, and I’m pretty sure I’ve accomplished just that.
I have about 4 books that I own that has taught me a lot about forced induction while I was in the post process of turbocharging my car. “Street Turbocharging” by Mike Warner is a great book, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn all they can about forced induction, it has taught me a lot. Two others that have taught me a lot about Honda engines in general, and car modding are “High Performance Honda Builders Handbook” by Joe Pettitt, and “Honda/Acura Engine Performance” by Mike Kojima.
Skunk2 has a good YouTube video about bottom ends, one called “What’s in your bottom end” which they go through ripping apart a block and showing you what’s inside, it’s definitely a good watch for people wanting to learn what makes an engine tick.
Do any TV shows, YouTube channels, or blogs provide any value for DIY enthusiasts like you?
A few, I’m an active user on 7thgenhonda.com, a forum specifically aimed for the 7th generation civics. They have quite a bit of DIY’s and other things, and a lot of the old school members have helped me quite a bit. I subscribe to this YouTube channel called “Mightycarmods”, which takes place in Australia. They post good information for DIYers, and good tips for stuff like “How to get the most out of your turbo’d car” by showing you what to upgrade to really bring out the most of your setup, whether it be a bigger intercooler, more boost, or ecu tuning. They just really post some great informational videos for car enthusiasts.
Now that your Civic has reached the level you wanted, what’s next? Any plans on starting a new project car?
A few thoughts have gone through my head. Whether I want to fully build my block and aim for more power, or just sell or part it out and start something else. Honestly, at this point in my car’s life, I really just want to wrap things up and enjoy what I have created. But, I have a sweet spot for s2000’s, so one of those might be in the near future… I’ve also debated on a 92-95 hatchback, and swapping a k24a2 engine in it, and trying the all motor route and aim for a 300whp goal. But, like I said, those are just ideas floating around. At this point I’m going to enjoy my ride, not being broke for once (haha), and start to focus on getting my life on track and things settled before I really decide what I want to do.
Like I said, I am just going to enjoy my car, but now that I have money readily available and I’m not broke constantly, there are a lot of things I’d love to do since my car is out of the way, quite a few things I haven’t been able to do because my car was always my main priority. Since now I have a steady girlfriend, I’ve actually been considering getting married, settling down, and starting my life with my significant other. I haven’t really ever traveled either, so that’s definitely on my list. It’s quite amazing how much more wealthy you can become when you don’t spend every dime you have on your car! Bwaha. It’s definitely been a fun journey, and to be honest I may do some minor mods here and there to my car(you can never truly get out of the modding game).
Having a decent experience in modding your own car, have you ever thought of starting a career in auto tuning/aftermarket area?
I honestly have. But, it’s more of a hobby for me than anything. I had gotten to the point with my car where I was just tired of working on it, and I just wanted to be ‘finished’ as much as I could and just enjoy what I had built and just drive it. I’ve worked on a few friends cars, helping them out and such, giving back a little, because I know what it’s like starting out and how important it is to have a little guidance when your first starting to mod your vehicle. I do like to give back as much as I can, and help people out and share my knowledge.
Do you take it to an open track or racing events?
I’ve taken my car to the track a few times. I haven’t since it’s been turbo’d. I just haven’t found the time really, apart from working out the kinks I’ve had over the year. I ran the car near stock and it ran a 16.7 in the 1/4th mile 3 years ago, then when I was on a 75 shot of nitrous, I ran a 14.8. I’m aiming for low 13’s with slicks on my current setup for this year. I can’t wait when the track opens up this year, since my car is running near flawlessly! I’m anxious to see if all my hard work has paid off and finally see what my car can do!
What’s the most beautiful Honda Civic you have ever seen?
That’s a hard decision for me, I appreciate and love all Honda’s. But I do have a soft spot for s2000’s. I did see this black s2000 at this King Motorsports Dyno Day last year with polished volk TE37’s that really grabbed my attention, and it was really stanced out nicely, just a simple car with a nice drop and flush wheels. I really enjoy simple and elegant cars that just flow nicely.
What would be your tip for those who are just getting started with their car tuning and customizing?
I’d have to say, to follow your dream and never give up. It really is hard sticking to something you feel passionate about; I don’t know how many times I almost gave up on my car. If you want a fast, sleek, and awesome car, do everything you can to make it just that. Research all you can, ask questions on forums, and don’t be afraid to learn new things. It’s a slow process, it all takes time. It has taken me 5 years just to get my car where it is today, and I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience along the way. Many thanks to forums, friendly people with good advice, and just not being afraid to get my hands dirty and taking risks, even if you doubt yourself that you ‘can’t do it’, you never know if you don’t try! Mistakes are meant to be learned from, if you don’t get it right the first time, try again. We all started out as ‘noobs’ in the beginning. Everyone has their starting point.
- D17a1 block with D17a2 headswap
- Port and polished Vtec head
- Stage 1 Exedy clutch
- Precision 6031 59mm turbo(.63ar hot side)
- OBX Race Manifold
- Godspeed Wastegate(10 psi)
- Greddy RS Blow-off Valve
- Blox Vacuum Manifold
- NRG Oil Catch Can
- Glowshift Oil Sandwich Plate Adapter
- Stage 1 SRT-4 577cc Injectors
- JDM Sport Intercooler
- 2.5″ Turbo downpipe
- Crower Stage 2 Camshaft
- Isky titanium valve springs
- ARP Headstuds
- “Big 3″ Grounding Kit
- Ingalls engine torque dampener
- Hondata kpro
- Oil pressure/temperate gauges
- NXS Boost Controller
- Hondata 4bar map sensor
- Silver turbo blanket
- Polyurethane motor mount inserts
- AEM UEGO Wideband Gauge
- Autometer Boost Gauge
- Pioneer AHV-P3100 in-dash radio
- Infinity Kappa 6x9s
- Infinity Reference 6.5″ door speakers
- Revo short throw shifter
- Skunk2 billet weighted shift knob
- Oil pressure and temperature gauges
- Blacked out taillights
- OEM retrofitted
- DDMTuning 5k 55w HIDs
- Type R grill
- HFP Aero front lip kit
- 5% Tint all around
- 17″ Exel GTS Black rims /w polished lip
- 215/45/17 Toyo Proxes tires(rear)
- 225/45/17 Nitto Neogen ZRs(fronts)
- Tokico HP Blues Struts
- Ground Control Coilover Sleeves
- SPC Camber Kit
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