TOV Dealer Network Affiliate Baranco Acura contributed to our project car effort by donating the services of one of their Master Techs for installation of the TSX A-Spec kit.
This gesture was greatly appreciated -- my job for the day was to sit back and observe (and of course, shoot photos and video). For the dedicated do-it-yourselfer looking to save some money on labor, there's nothing magic about the installation, but unless you have access to a lift I wouldn't recommend trying it. It is a time consuming effort, and you'd still need to pay to have it aligned somewhere. Also, the only way you'll retain the full warranty (which matches the terms and duration of the full vehicle warranty if you have the A-Spec kit installed when the car is purchased) is if you have your Acura dealer perform the installation.
Drew (the Master Tech) barely broke a sweat. That's how it goes when you've done it many times before and have all the proper tools at your disposal. Not surprisingly, everything went very smoothly and fit perfectly. All told, it took a shade under six hours, including a number of pauses for photography. I should note that time doesn't include wheel/tire installation, since we were waiting on a mythical set of tires to arrive.
A few things I noticed during the install:
- The front chin spoiler and rear underspoiler rely upon a combination of adhesive tape and bolts to attach to the factory bumper covers. According to Drew, the adhesive generally performs well but there have been a few minor adhesion problems on other models in the past.
- The side skirts are complete replacements for the factory sills and use the factory attachment points. This may have been a glitch, but we noticed that the bolts securing the sills to the underside of the vehicle don't seem to be properly sized to snugly secure the mounting bracket to the vehicle. I only noticed it once I had the car over 80mph and heard a slight rattling from the right underbody. A quick check of the side skirts revealed that there was a little play between one of the metal brackets and vehicle. The bolts were properly torqued, but due to the stepped design of the bolt, they didn't snug up fully against the bracket. I remedied the problem myself with some plastic washers used as spacers. Not a huge deal, but something to watch for.
- The 17"x7.5" A-Spec wheels (manufactured by Enkei) are slightly lighter than the stock wheels (which are pretty damned heavy), but they still creaked the scales to the tune of around 22.3-22.5lbs. That's disappointingly hefty, but it's a consequence of Acura's strict wheel strength and impact survival requirements. To be fair, they are 1/2" wider than the stock 17x7.0 wheels, so that adds weight, but we were hoping for a sub-20lb result. By comparison, there are plenty of aftermarket 17x7.5" wheels available in the 17-18 lb range.
Following the installation, Drew took the car for a quick spin to make sure everything was working properly and then drove it onto the alignment rack. Front and rear toe settings were centered within range of the the factory specifications, which works out to 0.00°up front and 0.15° in the rear. Camber is not adjustable on a stock TSX suspension, but up front it was within spec (-0.8° min, +0.8° max), coming in at +0.3° on the left side and +0.1° on the right side. In the rear, however, it was slightly out of spec, showing -1.7° on the left and -1.9° on the right. The factory spec range is -1.5° to -0.5°, so it's not way out of whack, but you can't bring it back into spec without using an aftermarket camber kit. This is something we may consider for a future upgrade to our project car.
Now it's time to drive the car for the first time.