Please Tighten Your Lug Nuts Before Dynoing Your 600 Horsepower Civic

Photo: Thong Pham
Photo: Thong Pham

If you just hotted up your Civic with a giant turbo and intercooler, you’re going to be tempted to take the little VTEC monster to the dyno to see what you’ve gained. Before you do that, though, for god’s sake: don’t forget to tighten your damn lug nuts.

Thong Pham, who owns ASP Tuning Dynamics—a shop near Fresno California—dyno tested his friend’s modded 1993 Civic last night, but things didn’t go so hot. Of all the recent bolt-ons (including the forward-facing turbo, intercooler and headers you see in the picture above), the simplest bolt-on of them all, a wheel, fell off during the dyno pull:

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It’s not a great video, but you can barely see the wheel fly by at the top left of the screen. Here’s another angle:

Pham told me he looked to the left just as the wheel came off, and saw it just sitting there doing a burnout before it finally rolled away. There wasn’t much damage to his shop or his dyno, and the Civic actually came out relatively unscathed as well, thanks to its stiff suspension. The lug studs needed a bit of straightening, but that was it:

Photo: Thong Pham
Photo: Thong Pham

Considering that, according to Pham, the Civic made over 600 horses at the wheels during that pull (clearly, the engine’s internals have also been beefed up) at 28 psi of boost, and that he was planning to go up to 35 psi, this turned out about as well as anyone could have hoped.

Lug nuts man, just tighten them.

Sr. Tech Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from engineers—email me. Cars: Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94), Chrysler Voyager Diesel ('94)

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DISCUSSION

I feel for the guy. I was a moron and lost a wheel myself after some upgrades.

Swapped out the rear end in my firebird for some shorter gears and Posi. Friend tightend the lug nuts, but I thought I saw the lug wrench splitting as he tighted everything down. I made a mental note to double check that side.

That mental note got erased. I heard my new exhaust, and saw how the car looked, and all I could think about was burnouts. Did some slides, amd then went home.

My driver side rear tire passed me up about 10 minutes later. Thankfully both me and the car were okay. The car has a caved fender now, but still runs and drives.

I wanted to feel angry at my friend, but couldnt. I didnt say anything when I saw the wrench splitting. I didnt double check everything before hooning. Totally my fault.