My "new" Civic DX Coupe

Discussion in 'My Ride' started by jcp123, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    The replacement for the Echo: it wasn't the most exciting car I looked at, but it was certainly the cleanest, with a fair price. 168,920 miles when I signed the papers, and a lifelong Dallas car. It drives nice and tight, and although I've never cared for Hondas, actually driving this makes me understand how these cars helped create the loyalty to the brand which they did. Everything feels light, tight, and responsive, yet refined enough to reveal smart engineering. It's that sprinkle of old Honda magic I've heard about. It has manual steering, which will be a neat little bonus, and only one option: AC.








    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
  2. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Okay, this answers the question I left for you in the Daily Grind. Good luck with that, James. A Civic with a manual trans is a wonderful thing.
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  3. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Obviously, I like this. :D Nice find, and it looks to be in decent shape for the age.
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  4. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Since you have no tach, I looked up my old numbers.

    Good P&G ranges are
    25-40 mph in 4th gear (1300 - 2100 rpm)
    30-50 mph in 5th gear (1200-2100)

    Or to look at it another way, to start the next gear at 1500 rpm, shift
    1st-2nd 13 mph
    2nd-3rd 20 mph
    3rd-4th 26 mph
    4th-5th 33 mph

    The most I ever got in it was 13.8 gallons of gas, from sputtering empty to topped off.
    You've got about a gallon left when the empty light is on (it fades in and out with hills, so I mean "on more than 50% of the time).
    Mine would let me know it's getting low by being hard to start. If you get there, turn the key on, wait 5 seconds, turn it off and on again, wait 5, off and on again. This primes the fuel pump better so you get fuel pressure and it starts better.
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  5. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    Thanks all!

    Edwin, yup although I'm betting this will have the edge over the Echo, though only slightly since literally 90% of my driving is freeway now.

    Andrew, I thought of you when I bought this car. I love the info you gave me. At some point I'll put my feelers out and see how easy it is to swap in an IP with tach, because the data is is so slow that my UG isn't great as a tach. But it sure is clean. Still has the dealer emblem on the trunk, so looks like it's been a Dallas car its whole life, and that the owner actually took pretty good care of it. There's a few things not quite perfect (how does the hood prop rod literally get broken clean off?) but overall it's cleaner than I'd have a right to expect. And the fuel info is interesting; I noticed that when the fuel gauge was maybe a needle width over the E line, it held only 8 gallons, so I guess it's pretty conservative.

    I'll have to study P&G as that's not something I've attempted before. Once I nail driving this stick I'll give it a whirl.
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  6. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    So, after some shakedowns, I'm starting to see some flaws in the car. The major components and the cabin are all tight and delightful. But...

    Number one are the tires. Four different brands and one which is undersized. All have good tread but show exterior cracking, which was enough to put the tires on my radar. But even worse, none will take air though two are below 20psi. Guessing the PO gummed everything up with Slime.

    The battery is two years old but basically toast. Blah.

    The clutch has a weird action - basically needs to be pushed nearly to the floor for a clean shift, but re-engages further up its travel.

    The centering springs are uneven - soft on the 1-2 side and stiff on the 5-R side.

    The trunk light is altogether missing. I need that when I check my load out in the wee hours of the morning before heading to work.

    The drivers' side headlight assembly is accumulating moisture.

    Has a sticky throttle action, though as I've driven the car more it has started to free up a little bit.

    Less irksome is the sheared hood prop rod and clapped-out wiper switch.

    Ac works but is weak. After three straight Japanese cars with meh ac, I'm wondering if it's just a Japanese thing.

    Basically, though, I find the car solid. Brakes are in good shape, it has fresh fluids all around, the manual steering is still tight and light. Fuel trims are bonkers good, and I see a fresh front O2 sensor. All the seals are solid with no water getting in or oil getting out.

    Once I address the tire and battery issues, it'll be a fun ride with a lot of mpg potential. The fact that it surpasses my Echo's FE while favoring learning its manual over FE, carrying ~300 extra pounds, and craptacular tire air pressures beckons me for more. Plus it's far more stable at speed than the Echo and feels BMW-like in its confidence and handling feedback.
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  7. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    In my experience , the hydraulic clutch in the Civic will cause problems. I NEVER had any issue with the cable-operated clutch in my 89 Si , even when the rest of the car turned to rust at 229K miles. But all the later Civics I owned ( or my daughters ) had issues with clutch master cylinders. This make it very hard to disengage completely , which makes shifting tricky. Andrew might have had the same problem wit his Civic. You can easily check the level of (brake) fluid in the clutch master reservoir. Maybe just a refill and bleed ? And the A/C in a 1.6L car will never be like the A/C in a V-8 car. But it worked pretty well in my 89 and 08 Civics (bought new) , and "okay" in the 97 Civics we bought used.
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  8. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    I did have to replace the clutch hydraulics at somewhere around 150k. The telling symptom was the engagement point moving lower and lower toward the floor.

    My AC was completely dead the last 5 years I had that car. :/ Then again, the Suburban I had before that had a failed AC as well. Any make can have that issue.
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  9. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    I suspect that's probably normal by design; my '81 Mazda was like that from new.

    Hydraulic clutch actuation was a giant leap backward in technology. I never had the slightest problem with the linkage or cables that operated the clutches in >900K in my previous cars.
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  10. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    That's a shame about the clutch. My family seems to have bad luck with three-pedal cars...after my Pa put a 5-speed in his Mach 1, we could neve get the cable to stop binding. My SVT was an ordeal thanks to Tremec's poor design (early Minis shared this transmission and clutch issues). I checked out a vid by EricTheCarGuy inspecting and then replacing clutch hydraulics on a same-gen Civic, so I'll take a look when I get home. It's honestly not a terrible looking job, and might be an excuse to grab a vacuum bleeder :D

    Idk, Edwin. Good and poor AC has been more correlated with Japanese makes in my experience than engine size. Even my Mom's Sienna had fairly weak AC, although it had a leaky hose replaced and the refrigerant charged literally days after she got it, so who knows if the techs were any good. The Echo's was weak too and I even cleaned the condenser and checked pressures with a manifold, so it was functioning properly, it was just...weak.

    Re: centering springs, if it's normal for the car then it's still new to me. I don't remember lopsided centering springs in any other stick I have driven. I'll get used to it I suppose, but I might toss in a set of aftermarket ones I found when I get around to upgrading my shifter bushings.
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  11. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    I got to do a little work on the car, finally. I was unable to air up the tires at all, so I replaced all four valve cores. It was getting dangerous, the rears were 15 and 17psi (!) and the fronts weren't much better but at least in the 20s. Aired up to only 38 all around, as the tires are pretty old. She rides pretty stiffly now, and I thus may not choose to go any higher even with fresh meats on the wheels. The steering (manual, remember?) is now much lighter and far easier to be precise with. It clutches out from a stop far easier and rolls much further on a glide.

    Also cleaned the headlight lenses a bit more, they didn't shine even with the Sylvania Xtravisions I swapped over from my Echo. Plus I got my license plates and inspection tag on, and got a windshield sun shade.

    Bad news? Clutch master cylinder is indeed leaking. Kinda sucks but it's not that expensive or hard to do, bleeding is just tedious. Also, I was going to firm up the alternator belt tension, as the battery light illuminates north of 3000rpm. I don't go that high very often at all, but I'd like it to be right. However the bolt head on the adjusting arm is rounded and filled with bite marks, presumably from vice grips or the like. I want to do that once and right, so I'll pick up a new bolt from Honda next time I'm in town.
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  12. Dorean Clarke

    Dorean Clarke Member

    Sweet ride! Looks ready for a long ride. :)
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  13. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    Hope so!

    I have the alternator bolt from Honda. May or may not get a chance to do it next time I'm home, depending on which of my vacation requests they decide to grant.

    The more I look at it, the more those faded wheel covers are bothering me. I don't want to scrub the 6363738474 holes in them, but I'd like to give 'em a fresh spray. Would go a long way toward sprucing up the exterior, even though it's far from perfect (two dents, hail damage, a scrape on the rear bumper, and the mandatory Honda paint fade). That might be my next little project.

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