I just ordered new Eibach springs and shocks for Red Round from AutoAnything.com. I am having trouble finding a local shop that will install them, and am debating about trying to install them myself (although with my work and school schedules, I would have to wait until summer). I have installed a new front axle on a '99 Civic Si, and it was a pain in the neck. I'm thinking that the springs and shocks would be just as bad, if not worse. Does anyone have any experience in the matter?
I am trying to remember what all Honda's I have done. I actually just had the strut/springs out of my '93 Civic, but did not truly "swap" them (took them out to replace both axles).
I have worked on so many cars it is not funny and I no longer remember what all I have done. I can do it without a problem if that is why you are asking if I have done them on a Civic. I do know for a fact that I did a spring swap on my cousin's '91 Integra which I believe has a VERY similar suspension setup.
I actually used to be part owner of a performance company that specialized in Nissan/240sx's but worked on really just about anything. Got too big too fast and none of us wanted to quit our full-time jobs so we shut it down.
Getting the shocks and springs out shouldn't be too horrible. The most annoying part will likely be getting the front shocks out of their forks, and that's not generally too troublesome (remove the pinch-bolt on the fork with a 14mm socket, remove the bottom nut&bolt holding the fork to the control arm with a 17mm socket and box-end wrench, wiggle the fork down off of shock). The fork part on the rear shocks is much smaller and welded to the shock since there's no drive shaft going through the arch of the fork. Each of the shock/spring hats is held to the car by a pair of nuts. The front nuts are plainly accessible in the engine bay, but you may need to pop off an access panel or remove the rear interior side panels to get to the rear nuts.
Once the springs and shocks are out of the car, you need to disassemble them to reuse the hats and bump-stops, unless you order new parts, in which case you can skip this.
For starters, DO NOT JUST UNBOLT THE TOP HAT. There's a good bit of spring pressure involved, even with the shock fully extended. If you just unbolt it, the spring will launch the top hat and possibly itself with great force, damaging anything in it's path. If that anything happens to be your hand, arm or whatever, expect at least a month or two in a cast.
What you need is a decent strut spring compressor. This is just a tool that squeezes the middle portions of the spring, letting the ends relax until there's slack between the spring and shock/hat. Once you have slack, you can safely remove the nut holding the hat and shock shaft together. Harbor Freight sells a decent spring compressor for $50 ($40 if you catch it on sale) that I've so far used without complaint on a '92 Honda Accord and an '05 Subaru Outback. Avoid the hooks-on-a-pair-of-long-bolts type compressors... They're a waste of metal and even dangerous if you try to force them to do a job they're incapable of (that is, most of them).
Even if you order new shock hats and bump-stops, you may need the spring compressor to install the new springs, but it really depends on how much lowering they do.