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Old 05-15-2008, 05:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Convert my '85 Civic Wagon???

Hey All,

I've long dreamed of making a tadpole out of a fwd car and now it's time to make it happen. I have a '85 four wheel drive Civic wagon that I can use, but I'm wondering if I should find something newer and more fuel efficient (Geo Metro) to start with. The benefit of using the Civic is that 1. I have it, and 2. it's solid. The drawback to using a Geo Metro is that 1. I have to find one in decent shape, and 2. the prices are getting high around here.

So, assuming that I get rid of the rear drive and strip it down, what kind of mileage can I expect out of the 1500cc carbed drive train? Am I starting out too far behind more modern cars like the Metro?

Your advice is appreciated.

Bruce

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Old 05-15-2008, 05:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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IMO, the goal of most on this site is to take what you own and make it as efficient as possible. Otherwise, go out and buy a new hybrid.

That being said, establish your baseline, learn to drive it efficiently, maximize your vehicles efficiency then if that isn't enough then save your money and buy a vehicle that has a more efficient baseline later on ...

I've seen our members ecomod everything from a a prius to a Jeep, so welcome and enjoy the experience ...
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Old 05-15-2008, 05:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Its four wheel drive eh, how much do you want for it? If you were close by I might take it!
I'd guess its actually all wheel drive and making that into 2wd is not too easy I believe. Does it have a lockable centre diff? then I guess it shouldn't be too hard.
Your car should be worth more than a geo metro many many years newer, atleast around my place it would be.
For ultimate mileage a 2wd car is better but yours should be quite good if you ever think you'll need 4wd in the future.
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Old 05-15-2008, 09:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice, guys. I'm not sure about the locking diff as I've never driven it. My teenaged son bought it a few years ago with the intention of fixing it up, but then other things caught his interest. I just wonder what kind of mileage this old carbed model is capable of.
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Old 05-15-2008, 10:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think if you removed all the excess rear drive weight and do some more weight reduction add in some tire pressure changes, driving habit changes, and a few other tweaks, you could get 40+ MPG out of that thing. The most important part of ecomodding a small, lightweight vehicle is weight reduction and rolling resistance in my opinion.

If that goes well for you, a few engine or exhaust upgrades will get you more. What kind of mileage does it get now?
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mullet View Post
If that goes well for you, a few engine or exhaust upgrades will get you more. What kind of mileage does it get now?
I haven't driven it yet. It needs a few things before putting it back on the road, so you could say that I'm in the research stage of the game right now. I'd really like to get into the 50+ mpg range so it sounds like this may not be the vehicle to start with.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What exactly do you mean by "making a tadpole" from it? A 3 wheeler? Or aeromodding a boat tail shape on the back end?
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Old 05-16-2008, 01:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Seems the highest MPG cars ever sold in the USA were carburetored.. The Honda CRX, like the one I just got, is carbed and is rated at 57mpg in the 1987 CRX sales brochures.

the 4wheel drive may be a slight drawback, but ive seen 4wd trucks modified to 2 wheel drive (front wheel drive), some even using the rear drive shaft as a Power Take Off unit..

I went the route of buying a different car, but then again I'm a experimenter at heart and wanter to start with the best I could get.. aka a CRX.. Also i dint have anything really decent 2 work with that i didnt mind chopping up to much, I have a decent car to ecomod with that has a 5 speed stick and is a 4 cylinder but I wasnt going to start chopping up my 06 chevy colorado pickup
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Old 05-16-2008, 03:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sorry I wasn't more specific. To me a tadpole is a three wheeler with two wheels in the front and one wheel in the rear. My short term plans are to use the front part of the car from the dash forward and then graft on a single wheeled, streamlined aft portion. Eventually I'd like to build an entire tube frame and streamlined body work.

ebacherville - Thanks for the info about your CRX. I need to do some research, but I'm wondering how similar my Civic engine/carb/tranny is to the CRX?
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Old 05-16-2008, 04:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebacherville View Post
Seems the highest MPG cars ever sold in the USA were carburetored.. The Honda CRX, like the one I just got, is carbed and is rated at 57mpg in the 1987 CRX sales brochures.
It is also lighter than any fuel-injected car made in/for the US market. BMC Minis, and any number of other honorable mentions, were known for 50+ mpg... welcome to weighing slightly more than a tin can and having a 30-50 hp engine.

The newer engines and drivetrains are amazingly efficient, we have been able to maintain relatively "the same" or sometimes better average FE despite vehicle weight increasing yearly due to airbags, extra side impact reinforcement, higher centers of gravity for crash resistance, ABS, ad nauseam. From the 84-87 era of Civics (comparing these since the CRX died in '91) the new Civics are over 1200 lbs heavier.

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