View Single Post
Old 05-16-2008, 05:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
EcoModding Apprentice
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ventura, Ca
Posts: 112

Whoop's Wheels - '89 Honda Civic Wagovan
90 day: 39.09 mpg (US)
Thanks: 1
Thanked 9 Times in 7 Posts
Well, either of them would be Ok, I suspect.

On the 85, their are two down sides. First, it's carburated, which is very pricey if it has a problem. Second, if it has a blown head gasket, it is reasonably likely that just replacing the head gasket will fix it. However, it is possible that the head is warped, the valves are burned, the rings are bad and your primary solution would require a used replacement engine, at best. That is probably $700 for a used engine and parts, plus a $1000 for labor, if you don't do it yourself.

On the 91 hatchback, although it's got 200,000 miles, it is running and it's a Honda. It is fuel injected. If the 91 has a 5 speed, it will probably be good for 35 or so, in mileage.

If you can swing $3500 or $4000, I would look for a 92-95 VX or CX. The CX is good for 40 or so and the VX can get 50's.

I would take a spark plug wrench and look at the spark plugs. If the spark plugs are more whiteish/dry rather than black/oily looking, then the engine is probably in pretty good shape.

Their are a couple of the challenges with Honda engines with 200,000 or so. First, the seals start to get hard and leak, which is annoying, but not life threatening. Second, the Honda head gaskets seem to reach a stage where any increase beyond about 1/2 on the temperature gauge and the gaskets seem to have a tendency to start leaking engine coolant through the cylinder on piston 2 or 3. This causes a very rapid deterioration of the head gasket and water loss, further compounding the heating problems. The problem is however only fixable by removing the head and replacing the gasket. It's just a risk.

All things considered I'd go for the 90.
  Reply With Quote