The S2000 is without a doubt one of the most iconic sports cars that Honda has ever created since the company was created back in 1948. With its striking design, high revving inline 4 motor, and incredible ability to go around corners quickly, the S2K stole the hearts and minds of many American sports car enthusiasts when it landed on US shores in 2000.
Fast forward to today, and the enthusiasm for the S2000 is still just as strong as it has ever been amongst S2K enthusiasts. Many owners choose to keep their Honda’s stock and enjoy what Honda created all those years ago, while other S2K owners choose to improve the platform and make it even faster than Honda engineers could imagine.
If you are reading this guide you’re probably a part of the latter and we want to help you make your S2K even better than it was from the factory.
Whether you're looking to purchase a set of coilovers to lower your S2000, or need a list of parts to start a full-on-track build, we hope that our comprehensive tuning guide helps you find the S2000 mods you are searching for and makes purchasing parts a whole lot easier!
Let's get started.
If I were to ask you what’s your favorite characteristic of the Honda S2000, what do you think you answer might be?
While everyone may answer differently, one thing that we can all agree on is the fact that the S2000 is one of the best driver’s cars that has ever been produced.
The 50:50 weight distribution, razor-sharp handling, and FR layout translate into one of the best sports cars from Japan in the last 25 years, bar none!
But as you know there’s always room for improvement.
Let’s dive into some of the most cost-effective ways to improve your Honda S2000’s cornering ability.
While most enthusiasts may say skip over the lowering springs and go straight for coilovers, we think that lowering springs can be a great suspension addition for those on a budget or that don’t need the adjustability of a full coilover suspension setup.
A set of quality lowering springs and performance struts can often provide a better suspension setup than a set of low-quality entry-level coilovers and shouldn’t be dismissed because of the popularity of coilover kits.
So if you're looking for a way to improve one of the most significant parts of your S2K’s suspension and don’t want to break the bank, consider purchasing a set of performance lowering springs for your Honda S2000.
Here’s our list of recommended Lowering Springs for the Honda S2000
If your looking for one of the best ways to improve your Honda S2000’s handling while being able to dial in the exact ride height you’d like, then a set of coilovers is your best bet.
One of the most popular upgrades for modern sports cars is fitting a set of coilovers to improve the car’s handling and the S2000 is no different!
In addition to replacing a set of old, worn OEM struts, coilovers provide several other notable features that aren’t available when you simply install a spring and strut combo such as perfectly a valve body perfectly matched to the spring rate, a wide range of adjustment, and easy installation.
Luckily for Honda S2000 enthusiasts, the number of options to choose from when it comes to coilovers is plentiful. Whether you're looking to build a track-prepped S2K or just want to daily drive a modified S2000, there are dozens of companies that have created quality coilovers for all types of driving styles.
Here’s our list of recommended Lowering Springs for the Honda S2000
As you may know or have read, the Honda S2000 in its factory form can be a bit much when it comes to driving the car at its limit.
Snap-oversteer on the S2K in stock form is a real issue when it comes to the AP1 model especially, with Honda engineers ironing out the kinks when the AP2 was released halfway through the S2000’s full production run.
Whether you have an AP1 or AP2, if you're driving your S2K hard on the street or the track, looking into upgrading the factory sway bars to thicker anti-roll bars may be worth the investment.
S2000 enthusiasts that do upgrade their sway bars note that the car feels significantly more planted through corners and lets you push the car harder without having to worry about the rear end stepping out unexpectedly.
We recommend doing some research on your type of driving style and whether your S2000 will stay a street car or see some time on track.
Here’s our list of recommended Coilovers for the Honda S2000
While most S2K enthusiasts are obsessed with improving the performance of their Honda for the next track day, some owners would prefer to build a show car with the S2000 platform.
When it comes to the S2000 the best way to lower your car without having to worry about damaging expensive parts is by installing an air suspension setup so that you can at a low ride height and park even lower.
Installing a quality air suspension setup may be the best option for your build if you're looking for both function and form when it comes to building a stanced S2000.
Here’s our list of recommended Coilovers for the Honda S2000
Strut bars, also known as strut tower brace, is a fairly common upgrade for a lot of Honda S2000 owners that want to stiffen up the chassis and add a bit of bling to their engine bay.
While many will argue to benefits of a strut tower brace for the average street car, if your looking for another way to add some rigidity to your S2K chassis a strut tower brace is worth investing in.
Here’s our list of recommended Strut Bars for the Honda S2000
Adding a roll bar to your S2000 is one of the best chassis stiffening components that you can add to your Honda and may help save your life if you end up in a rollover accident.
The additional rigidity that a roll bar or full cage provides is a significant improvement when it comes to helping your roadster stay planted and this type of chassis reinforcement will be most noticeable on the track.
Another notable thing is that many track-day organizations require roll bars for convertible vehicles so if you plan on tracking your S2K regularly it's definitely worth investing in a roll bar unless you want to purchase an aftermarket hardtop for your roadster.
Here’s our list of recommended Roll Bars and Cages for the Honda S2000
The S2000 is equipped with a Torsen Limited Slip Differential from the factory and is well suited for most owners.
However, while it’s not a common mod for most S owners, some have chosen to upgrade from the Torsen-type LSD to a Clutch-type LSD for performance-related reasons.
We generally recommend sticking with the Torsen type LSD that comes stock in your S2K for ease of maintenance and the fact that most owners aren’t pushing their cars hard enough to benefit from switching.
If you are inclined to switch to a clutch-type LSD be warned that they have a tendency to chatter at low speeds but the performance that they offer can definitely complement those that frequently track their S2Ks.
Here’s our list of recommended Limited Slip Differentials for the Honda S2000
The S2000 comes from the factory with a set of 16s for the AP1 and got a slightly bigger set of 17s for the AP2 with the second generation of the coupe.
While you can definitely track your S2K on a set of stock wheels, we recommend upgrading to a set of aftermarket wheels for added grip and to make your S more unique to you.
Now let's talk wheel specs!
Stock S2000 wheel specs are as follows -
Front: 16" x 6.5", +55 offset
Rear: 16" x 7.5", +65 offset
Front: 17" x 7.0", +55 offset
Rear: 17" x 8.5", +65 offset
Daily Driver Wheel Setup
If you're looking for a simple daily setup, most S2000 owners run something like the following -
Squared Setup (F/R) : 17x8.5 +35 offset
Squared Setup (F/R) - 18x9.5 +30 offset
Track Day Wheel Setup
If you need a more aggressive track setup you should consider the following specs -
Squared Setup (F/R) : 17x9 +45 offset
Squared Setup (F/R) : 18x9 +45 offset
Stanced Wheel Setup
For those that are looking to stance their S2K, we recommend the following sizes depending on how much camber and bodywork you are willing to endure to make the wheels and tires fit -
Staggered Setup - (Front) 18x9.5 +7 offset (Rear) 18x10.5 +5 offset
Squared Setup (F/R) - 18x10.5 +15 offset
Now that we’ve covered the suspension upgrades on your Honda S2K, it's time to talk about upgrading your stock brake system.
Honda engineers went above and beyond when they were designing the S2000 back in the late ‘90s and one component that shines to this day is the S2K’s stock brake setup.
Both the front and rear brakes on the Honda are more than capable of handling aggressive street driving with the occasional track day thrown into the mix.
However, the S2000 has some brake components that are definitely worth upgrading to higher quality parts so let's take a look at how to improve your S even more!
While Honda owners will tell you how awesome the stock brakes are, it's worth noting that no one has ever said that the stock brake pads are.
Upgrading to a performance S200 brake pad will make a night and day difference compared to what you’d get from the factory and are able to easily cool themselves off under heavy braking with ease.
Trust us on this one - If there’s one thing that you do to your S2000 please let it be swapping out the crappy stock pads for something with a lot more bite!
Here’s our list of recommended Brake Pads for the Honda S2000
Another part of a stock S2000’s brake system is the OEM brake rotors.
For street-driven S2Ks, a set of quality brake pads with stock rotors in good shape should suit your driving and will last a long time.
If your looking to upgrade to a set of quality drilled and slotted brake rotors it may be worth it for you to add a bit more bling behind your wheels as well!
If you plan on taking your S to the track on a consistent basis, then we highly recommend looking into a set of aftermarket rotors for regular track day activities.
The issue that a lot of track driven S2000 enthusiasts run into is the fact that depending on the layout of the track and your driving style, stock rotors are prone to cracking after a handful of track days.
The best way to alleviate this issue is by running a set of brake ducts to keep your rotors cooler on track and to upgrade to a set of quality rotors that can keep themselves cooler than the average OEM-style pad.
Here’s our list of recommended Brake Rotors for the Honda S2000
When upgrading your brake system, it's also worth taking a look at your stock S2000 brake lines and asking yourself if it’s time to upgrade.
Upgrading to stainless steel brake likes offers several benefits over the stock rubberized lines, both of which will come into play for S2000s that are driven hard on a regular basis.
The biggest reason any car enthusiast upgrades to SS brake lines is because of the fact that they provide an improvement in pedal feel over OEM lines that have a tendency to expand over time.
This improvement in pedal feel can be felt in both street and track cars and upgrading your brake lines is one of the best brake-related upgrades you can do to most vehicles.
Second to the improved brake feel that stainless steel brake lines provide is the fact that SS brake likes offer increased resistance to abrasions that may lead to brake failure on and off track.
Most SS brake likes coated in a Teflon jacket, ensuring that they will stand up to impacts on and off the track with ease.
Here’s our list of recommended Brake Lines for the Honda S2000
As you have read already, the S2000’s factory brake system is fantastic and generally doesn’t need much in terms of upgrades unless you track your car heavily.
But as with all cars, keeping up on regular maintenance is key to ensuring that everything is kept in working order.
One of the best ways to make sure that your brake system is performing at its best is to regularly change the brake fluid and to use high quality brake fluid.
If you drive your Honda hard on the street or plan to take it to the track, getting a couple of bottles of high-temperature brake fluid should definitely be on your track prep list.
Flushing your system and refilling it with racing brake fluid (RBF) helps to prevent brake fade and is an easy way to make sure your system is containment free!
Here’s our list of recommended Brake Fluid for the Honda S2000
Now that we’ve covered the basic upgrades for the S2000’s brake system, let's talk about big brake kits and whether this upgrade is worth it for your Honda.
As previously mentioned, the stock S2000 brake setup is more than adequate for daily driving and can endure track days but stock rotors are prone to cracking under the duress of track day conditions.
If you are going to be tracking your S2000 regularly and or already experiencing cracked rotors during track days, it might be time to splurge on a BBK for your S2000.
Now you might be asking, why would I get a big brake kit when I can keep on buying cheap rotors and replacing them as needed?
The answer to that question is as simple as taking a look at your return on investment!
For example, let's say that you track your Honda 10-15 times per year, and every track day you end up having to replace a set of cracked rotors. While it may not seem like much, those cheap brake rotors add up!
Not only should you take into consideration the accumulating cost of cracked rotors but wouldn’t you rather be turning more laps at the track than having to swap out yet another set of rotors?
S2000 owners who have taken the plunge and upgraded to a quality big brake kit notice significantly less downtime due to repairs, significantly more life out of both pads and rotors, and a whole lot less brake fade compared to the stock S2000 brake setup that they were running before.
So what are you waiting for? If you track your S2000 regularly and are sick of buying rotors as part of your track day prep, pick up a BBK today and thank yourself later!
Here’s our list of recommended Big Brake Kits for the Honda S2000
When Honda set out to make the S2000 back in the late 90s, engineers focused on making the roadster lightweight and as nimble as possible through corners. Offering the F20C in the AP1 S2000, the newest Honda sports car made history by producing 240 horsepower out of the naturally aspirated 2.0L engine.
Fast forward to today and while 240 horsepower isn’t anything to sneeze at from a naturally aspirated 2.0L production engine, it has left many S2000 enthusiasts yearning for more power to keep up with modern rear wheel drive sports cars.
If you’re looking to increase the power in your S2K, keep reading to learn about the best ways to make big power in this iconic car.
I’m going, to be honest, here - installing an aftermarket cold air intake on your Honda S2K won’t net you big horsepower gains as you might see on other cars.
With that being said, we still recommend purchasing an aftermarket intake for your F20C or F22C1.
Why you might ask if it doesn’t increase power significantly?
One of the main reasons that S2K owners buy a cold air intake is because the S2000 suffers from dreaded heat soak if you live in a hot area. If you already own an S2K I bet you’ve noticed it bogging down slightly in stop-and-go traffic as the intake struggles to pull in cold air.
Now we can’t say that adding a cold air intake will ultimately resolve the heat soak issue, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.
Plus when you add a hi-quality performance cold air intake to your S2000 you’ll definitely notice a deeper intake noise when VTEC is engaged and while an intake only adds 2-5 horsepower in most cases, it’s definitely a part worth installing on your S!
Here’s our list of recommended Air Intake Kits for the Honda S2000
Installing an aftermarket exhaust system on your S is without a doubt one of the most significant S2000 mods that you’ll probably do to your coupe.
Not only will it be one of the best ways to increase power gains from your engine, but adding an aftermarket exhaust system will give your Honda a distinct sound that will make it a lot more unique than the average Japanese sports car, especially when you wring it out to the 9000 rpm redline.
Exhaust systems for the S2000 are available from renowned manufacturers from across the world and it may be a bit tricky to find the exact exhaust system that suits your taste.
Whether it be a full header back exhaust system, a standard performance catback, or a simple axle-back exhaust, we highly recommend trying to find a local S2K meet and talking to other owners about their exhausts and hearing them in person before pulling the trigger.
If you aren’t able to find a local group of S2000 owners, your next best bet may be listening to sound clips on YouTube.
Either way, adding exhaust to your S2K is one of the best mods for your Honda and we hope you are able to find an exhaust that checks all your boxes!
Here’s our list of recommended Exhaust Systems for the Honda S2000
Now that you’ve decided on what exhaust system you’d like to purchase, it's time to talk about running a high-flow cat or a test pipe.
In the case of the S2000, finding a high-flow cat that bolts on might be a bit of a challenge due to the fact that one of the best ways to increase power on both the F20C and the F22C1 is by running a test pipe.
But fear not, because we have a few options that will help you pick up some mid-range torque and make the powerband of both F-Series motors feel a lot better!
Here’s our list of recommended Hi-Flow Catalytic Converters for the Honda S2000
If you're looking to increase mid-range torque on your S, then definitely consider buying an aftermarket test pipe for your S2000.
S2000 enthusiasts largely swear that this is one of the best ways to add some power gains to the torque curve, with an intake and a tune netting you an increase of up to 40-foot lbs of torque and up to 20 whp!
As previously mentioned, if you live in an area where you can’t legally run a test pipe, opting for a high-flow cat on your S will give you similar power gains and keep you legal.
Here’s our list of recommended Test Pipes for the Honda S2000
There’s nothing quite like hearing a Honda F20C or F22C1 at full song as you accelerate through the powerband at your favorite course or on your scenic route home going into the weekend.
But wait…what if I told you you could make your S2K’s motor sound even better with a simple bolt-on performance part?
Welcome to the world of race headers for the S2000.
Adding a header is generally the last part of the equation for most owners as they already have an intake and exhaust installed on their car but don’t want to go down the forced induction rabbit hole.
As with all performance bolt-ons, you will see the most significant power gains when it comes to adding a race header to the F20C or F22C1 when you get your S dyno tuned to help extract all the power from your setup!
Here’s our list of recommended Race Headers for the Honda S2000
As you collect and install more and more performance parts on your S2000, it's important to think about how all these parts are working together in tandem.
Adding an air intake here, and bolting on a full exhaust there can definitely add a bit more power to your S2K with each new mod.
But is your engine taking full advantage of all of these parts?
That’s where getting a programable tuner comes into play.
Just like all Japanese sports cars, the S2000 has a few tried and true tuning platforms that can help you extract the most power from your setup.
Here are our recommend engine management options for the Honda S2000
The S2000’s F20 and F22C1 are definitely some of the best engines that Honda has ever created, with the horsepower to liter ratio standing for a decade before being knocked off by the Ferrari 458 Italia in 2010.
But what do you do if you have an S2000 and want more power?
You add a turbo!
The aftermarket has served S2000 owners well and there is a number of respected shops that produce quality S2000 turbo kits to help you add reliable power gains to your S.
Some of these kits are definitely DIY in nature but if you’ve never installed a forced-induction kit before we recommend getting in touch with a local performance shop to help with the installation.
Here’s our list of recommended Turbo Kits for the Honda S2000
If you are not down with slapping a big turbo on your F-Series or want to keep the S2K’s unique power delivery more in line with how it came from the factory but still want more horsepower, you should definitely consider purchasing a supercharger kit.
One of the biggest reasons that a lot of S2000 owners prefer superchargers versus turbos is because it reinforces the natural characteristics of the F20C and F22C1 with its linear powerband.
Another reason many S owners add a supercharger kit to their 2.0 and 2.2 liter engines is because of the ease of installation, increased reliability, and low maintenance cost of a supercharger versus a turbo.
Without a doubt, if your looking for a way to add a nice boost of power to your naturally aspirated S2K without the headache that a turbo kit can potentially lead to, then we highly suggest doing some research on supercharging your S2K and adding more power!
Here’s our list of recommended Supercharger Kits for the Honda S2000
Now for those of you that need more power than the average naturally aspirated Honda S2000 mods are capable of supplying, don’t want to pay for a rebuild, or are just looking for something different, you're in luck.
Because of the S2000’s FR layout and relatively large engine bay, enthusiasts from across the world have swapped in a range of different motors to suit their power needs.
Above all else, the most popular swap for the S2K at the moment has to be replacing your stock motor with a K-Series out of a late model Honda.
The swap itself is relatively simple and there is enough aftermarket support and guides now that if you are ambitious and have garage space, doing a K20/K24 swap yourself isn’t out of the question.
If putting another Honda 4 banger in the engine bay doesn’t float your boat people have also swapped J32 V6s, 2JZs, LS V8s, and even Viper V10s into the S2000 chassis.
The sky is the limit, as they say, all it takes is time and money to accomplish whatever you set out to do!
If you are interested in swapping a K-Series into your S, check out this in-depth video above about swapping a K-Series.
As you may have guessed, the next set of Honda S2000 mods is going to be addressing the 6-speed transmission and its components.
The S2K is unique for a number of reasons, with one of the most notable features being that its transmission is one of its best characteristics.
But as perfect as it may be from the factory, there are definite areas for improvement when it comes to modifying your S2000’s transmission.
Keep reading for the best parts when it comes to upgrading your clutch and flywheel in your Honda!
As with all power upgrades on the S2K, sooner or later you’re going to have to start thinking about replacing the stock clutch.
While the OEM clutch from Honda is relatively stout and can last for miles and miles, upgrading to a heavy-duty aftermarket clutch is your best bet if your consistently driving your S hard on the street or at track days.
This recommendation turns into a requirement if you're looking at adding any sort of forced induction to the mix, whether it be supercharging or turboing your Honda too!
Adding an uprated clutch will not only help hold more power being transferred into the drivetrain, but it will also help when it comes to applying that power to the ground and making the most of it!
Here’s our list of recommended Clutch Kits for the Honda S2000
Another driveline component that is worth addressing whether you are adding power or not is the stock flywheel.
When it comes to upgrading the OEM flywheel on your S2000, the biggest thing to take into consideration when getting ready to purchase is where do you drive your Honda the most.
Are you using your S2K as a daily driver, weekend toy, or full-blown track-focused monster?
If you are driving mainly on the street and have an AP2, you may very well be happy with just a simple AP1 flywheel swap due to the fact that the AP1’s flywheel is a lot lighter.
For AP1 owners and or those that are looking for increased performance, we suggest buying a lightened flywheel and enjoying just how quickly the engine revs with a decent amount of rotational mass shaved off!
Here’s our list of recommended Flywheel Kits for the Honda S2000
As with all project cars, the first thing that needs to be addressed before you start modifying your S2000 is the basic maintenance schedule.
Whether your just bought your S2K or have had it for years and are finally ready to start modifying it, compiling a list of overdue maintenance work is a good place to start.
Once you’ve addressed any outstanding issues with your Honda, then it’s time to start tuning!
For those that aren’t unfortunate enough to have an unlimited amount of funds to pay for their Honda S2000 mods, we recommend by planning on what your goals are with your car.
Do you want to just have a clean street car with a bit more power?
Maybe you’ve thought about taking your S to the track but aren’t sure about where to start for track prep.
Or perhaps you want to build your S2000 into a well-known show car and snap necks while winning awards for best Honda at StanceWars or WekFest.
No matter what your intentions are with your S2000, having a general idea of your overall build from the get-go can help you prioritize which parts to buy first and helps you budget for them too!
If your looking for a quick guide on how we would recommend that you build a simple street/track S2000 keep on reading!
If you’ve made it this far into our guide you know that we love a well-sorted street S2000 that’s more than capable of holding its own at the track.
This type of build follows the general ethos that Honda designed the car with back in the late 90s, with a focus on creating a fast, fun roadster with the famed Honda reliability under the hood.
Building upon that vision set forth by Honda, when it comes to the first Honda S2000 mods that you should consider, we recommend addressing the overall handling ability of your S.
In a nutshell, this means upgrading your suspension with lowering springs (and struts) or coilovers, adding a set of bigger sway bars, installing a roll bar for chassis rigidity and safety, and sorting out your brake system.
Once those parts have been installed, the S2000 may just be the perfect sports car for you without the additional power needed!
Once you’ve upgraded and improved the stock suspension and brake components on your S2K, we recommend that you start thinking about adding some more power to the mix.
While the F20C and F22C1 are legendary engines, by today's standard the 240 horsepower is definitely respectable but sometimes you just want more.
As we outlined in our adding power section of the guide, neither engine can make big power gains in naturally aspirated form, and with bolt ons your only looking at a modest increase in power with a good tune.
If you want to stick with the F-series motors and add more power, your best bet is going to be adding forced induction via a turbo or supercharger kit.
For those that are shooting for the moon and want to increase horsepower significantly, swapping in a K20 or K24 is a relatively easy task and can make great power without opening the engine.
Now that you’ve addressed both handling and power mods, have you thought about improving yourself as a driver?
For those of you that are interested in improving your driving ability, there is no better way to do that than by tracking your car.
Whether it be at a local auto-x event, hiring a driving coach, or attending a HPDE track event near you.
Whether your Honda S2000 is stock or heavily modified, continuing to learn and grow as a driver will not only help you be faster on the track but safer on the street because you’ll have the experience to react to just about any driving situation!
Well, that wraps up our guide on modifying your Honda S2000. Performance upgrades, while increasing wear and tear, bring undeniable joy to car modification enthusiasts like us. Because, let's face it, there's no thrill quite like upgrading and modifying your cherished ride!
Remember, the journey doesn't stop here. There's a lot more to explore in our other content, loaded with helpful tips and advice. We appreciate you reading along. Here's to making your S2000 even better and enjoying every moment behind the wheel!