Sticky: Getting started with your CRX

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Sticky: Getting started with your CRX

Post  CRX on Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:07 pm

This article is for people who are new to the CRX, and are interested in doing some of their own work on their car.

Getting started with your CRX.
The CRX came in two versions, the 84-87 which is referred to as the 1st Generation and the 88-91 which is referred to as the 2nd Generation. Within these two groups, the CRX came in three different models: HF, DX, and Si.

HF is the high fuel efficiency model. In peak form you can get near 55MPG. This model is the lightest of the three, and also has the least HP (hey, that mileage came from somewhere!). The 1st gen HF was carbed and 1.3 liters in 84 (1.5 in 85-87), while the 2nd gen was 1.5 liters and MPFI. A unique feature of the HF is it’s 8 valve engine vs. 12 or 16 valves in the other models.

Note: MPFI stands for Multi Point Fuel Injection. This means there is one injector for every cylinder. DPFI stands for Duel Point Fuel Injection, used only on the DX.

DX is the standard or base model. Though you are unlikely to find a DX badge on a CRX, Honda started referring to the base models in their model lineups as DX sometime around the 2nd gen. The nickname was retroactively applied to the prior years as well. It is good in many ways, but never great. It is the only CRX model that had the option of an Automatic transmission. Some were dealer equipped with a pop-up glass sunroof. The 1st gen DX (or 1.5 in 84) is carbed, and the 2nd gen is DPFI – which is actually very similar to a fuel injected carburetor. If you are interested in making more HP in either of these, be warned that extra work needs to be done to the fuel and electrical system on the 1st gen DX, and to just the electrical system on the 2nd gen DX.

Si is the performance model. It is equipped with MPFI tuned for performance and has a powered retracting Moonroof. If you have a choice, you will probably want to get an Si. 1st gen Si are 91 HP and have very few aftermarket performance options. As there was a major change in engine design after 87, engine swaps area little more complex and expensive (except for the D16a1 from the 86-87 Acura Integra). 2nd gen Si came with 108HP (except for the 88 which had some minor variations). Aftermarket support is still good, and engine swap choices are plenty.

Note: Engine swaps are a relatively cheap and easy way to boost HP in the CRX. Generally, Honda puts it’s cars together like LEGOs, and it usually isn’t too hard to “swap” an engine from one Honda to another. The engines that fit into the CRX easily include the ZC, D16z6, D16y8, B16, B18, B17, and B20. Usually engine mounts, axles, shift linkage, as well as the electrical system need to be modified when doing an engine swap. Check your local laws to make sure you won’t have trouble passing emissions test before you consider a swap.

What to look for when buying a CRX

Rust – This is especially important on 1st gens in areas where the roads get salted. Bad cases can actually affect structural integrity. 2nd gens don’t seem to get rust in structurally important places, but in very visible places like the gas cap and doors. Body repair shops do not attempt to repair rust anymore. They will replace the panel with a new one, but a new rear quarter panel from Honda runs around $400+ per side. You can patch it yourself, and make it look good if you are willing to learn some body work skills.

Moonroof rust is also a common problem, new unpainted metal shells can be had from Honda for $176.

Oil in the coolant – If you open up the radiator cap and it looks like chocolate milk froth inside, the head gasket is blown. This is a very labor intensive operation to repair, and it may just be better to swap in a new engine.

High Mileage – HA! Got ya! “Honda is an engine builder who also happens to make great cars”. A Honda engine isn’t truly broken in before 70,000 miles, and there are a number of CRX owners out there with over 200,000 miles. I have a friend with a 330,000 mile 89 Hf. I have a neighbor with a 550,000 mile 87 Accord. They are still driving them daily too! Do not let the miles on a CRX dissuade you from buying, any other factor should rank higher when you buy.

Tools for Basic Maintenance

The youngest CRX is over 17 years old as of this writing, so things will inevitable wear down and break. If you would like to save A TON of money by doing the work yourself, here are some of the basic items you will need to work on your CRX.

Wrenches and sockets:
· 10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19 (all mm) are the main sizes you will work with. 8, 32 (or 1 1/4") are also needed, but less frequently.
· Get a basic ¼ and 3/8 socket sets that include both shallow and deep well sockets in these sizes. It is VERY important to have at least one socket in each size be 6 sided instead of the easier to use 12 sided (you need 12 sided too, BTW). The 6 sided sockets provide better grip on old frozen bolts and are less likely to strip them.
· Get a variety of extensions for the ¼ and 3/8 socket (get a 12” extension for the 3/8, and one 3” to 8” ½” extension for the larger sockets (17, 19, 32).
· Get GOOD ratcheting socket wrenches for the 1/4 and 3/8 sockets (you will use it all the time). I personally like the 3/8 to have a pivoting head – you can then easily spin it like a speed wrench once the bolt gets loose.
· Get a cheap ½” breaker bar, and a 2’-3’ length of steel pipe to go over the handle and give you extra leverage.
· Get a GOOD set of professional grade hand wrenches - 8, 10, 12, 14, and 17 are all you need. Pro grade wrenches are generally smooth polished, and have a thin walled box end to get nearly everywhere you need.
· If you want to splurge, get a set of those same wrenches in the newer ratcheting style – I loved them after I tried them!
· You will need a 3/8” and ½” torque wrench. The clicker types are great, but the cheaper bar and needle style have gotten me by for years. Be sure to read the directions on how to use the wrench correctly!


Other tools:
· Various size pry bars.
· Mechanics gloves and latex or nitrile gloves, good eye protection (get a face shield AND goggles)
· PB Blaster (similar to WD40, but better at digging into stuck bolts. Works great at getting stickers off too!)
· Never-Seize or Anti-Seize (apply the to EVERY nut and bolt when you reassemble, it makes your job much easier if you ever have to do it again.)
· Simple Green spay cleaner (they make a great waterless hand cleaner too).
· Rolls of paper towels.
· New #2 Philips head screwdrivers (your old ones may be rounded and will strip rather than loosen screws).
· Telescoping magnet to pick up errant tools and bolts in the engine bay.
· Zip lock baggies in the sandwich and gallon sizes to keep bolts and parts in.
· Good jack -I like the 3.5 ton Sears jack, the complete jack set periodically goes on sale for less than $90.
· 2-3 ton or 6 ton jackstands.
· Digital Multimeter.
· Helm Manual, as well as Haynes or Chilton.

First things first! What to do after you buy a CRX.

Usually the CRX you buy has not been maintained perfectly, so you should replace the following items. Honda actually is the best source for these items: Water Pump, Timing Belt and Tensioner Pulley, Air Filter, Fuel Filter(s), Cap, Rotor, Spark Plugs and Wires.

The Timing Belt and Water Pump are critical components – if they go out serious damage may result. They can be done by a first timer as long as you follow the manuals instructions – and read up on the dreaded Crankshaft Pulley Bolt. Replacing these components is a great way to learn about your new CRX too!

Common problems.
There a few spare parts you should get a hold of if your CRX is your primary vehicle or your are making a long road trip. These items are easily replaceable, but take at least a day to acquire because no one keeps them in stock:

Distributor – Most of these cars are still on their first distributor, and from my experience they are dropping like flies due to age and wear. A used one should cost between $25-$50. Test it to be sure it works, then pack it away for when you need it (or keep it in a box in the car during a road trip – wrap it well!). This will only be used until you can get a new or rebuilt distributor ($200-$400) – then put back into storage. A bad distributor can drive you nuts, as it frequently masks itself as being a problem somewhere else in the car.

Main Relay – Problems with this part seem to happen only on the 2nd gens. When this part goes bad, your fuel pump won’t pump and your ECU doesn’t work either. To test, turn your ignition to the “Run” position – you should hear a faint hum from your fuel pump charging up the fuel system. If you don’t hear that, your main relay is probably toast. What happens is that over time, the soldered connections break loose from the wires within the relay. A new main relay costs about $60, and your old one can be repaired if you are handy with a soldering iron.

Starter – This is mandatory if you have an Automatic. If you have a stick shift, you can always push start your car by turning the key to “Run” putting it in neutral, pushing it as fast as you can, jumping in and shifting it to 1st and suddenly dropping the clutch – it will shake and jerk to life. Try it once, just to make sure you physically can do this. If not – keep a spare starter! A starter that has gone bad will either not do anything when you turn the ignition to “Start”, or will sometime work/ sometimes not. If it is not working, try tapping the side of the starter with a stick or screwdriver; this will sometimes free temporarily a stuck part inside. Rebuilt starters run about $70 - $90.

Surprisingly easy things you can fix:

Brakes - Ever been quoted $400 total for brake work? I have – on two different cars. If I only knew then how cheap and easy these actually are to fix yourself! Here is a quick rundown on new parts for a complete brake job on a 2nd gen DX: Front Pads = $20
Brake Disk = $20 x 2
Rear Shoes = $20
Rear Drums = $20 x 2
Rear hardware kit = $6

For $126, I could have been riding on a brand new brake system. The brake job is one of the easiest in the world to do too.

Torn Axle Boot - Here is an interesting case of cheap vs. easy. An axle boot replacement kit only cost me $11. However, after reading how much effort I would have to expend to completely disassemble and reassemble the axle to do this, I (and many others) opted for just buying the $60 rebuilt axle instead. Keep in mind, if one boot has torn, the other will too in a month or two. It’s best to replace them in pairs. When you replace an axle, always replace the axle seal on the transmission as well.

The Axle Nut is the hardest part of this job. Basically you have to use the breaker bar with pipe extension, then jump up and down on it to get it loose the first time.

Alternator - 3 Bolts and it's off! (he he) OK, it is a little more tricky than that. On the 2nd gens the instructions dictate removing the brake master cylinder to get the alternator out, but there is a trick you can do to avoid that. The hardest part of this job is getting out that bolt that the alternator pivots on.

Addiction Warning : The Resource General has determined that CRX's can become addicting, and even second hand experience can cause side effects. If you are not yet addicted to the CRX, consider heroin instead. It is easier to kick, cheaper in the long run, and considered slightly more respectable by your friends and family. No one will never question you on why you are addicted to heroin - but EVERYONE will ask you why you have a pathological love for a decade old "grocery getter" with 150,000 miles on the odometer.

Thanks to xxpaulcpxx, crxresource.org, for this comprehensive article.

Editor's Note: Articles submitted for publication at CRX Resource may occasionally contain minor technical omissions. This article does not distinguish 1984 models from 1985-1987 models. (1.3 and 1.5 for 1984, CRX, CRX HF and CRX Si for 1985-1987) This article also presents information on a DX model nomenclature. While Honda has never referred to the mid-line CRX as the CRX DX, Honda enthusiasts find it convenient to refer to the mid-line CRX as a DX.
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CRX

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Re: Sticky: Getting started with your CRX

Post  MugenWhore on Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:47 pm

1st gen > 2nd gen Razz
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Re: Sticky: Getting started with your CRX

Post  Mits3kGT on Tue Feb 05, 2008 4:04 am

great job
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Mits3kGT

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Re: Sticky: Getting started with your CRX

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