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Old 07-19-2013, 03:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The Dakota - '99 Dodge Dakota R/T
90 day: 16.4 mpg (US)

The Honda - '88 Honda CRX DX
90 day: 47.43 mpg (US)
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CRX DX: It Runs!

So, about a week ago, I decided to sell my pride and essentially hire my roommate to fix my broken '88 CRX. The thing had been trying to make due with 15.5 valves, and although it was always hopelessly slow, and was also burning through ignition coils like corn chips. With one of the cylinders doing nothing other than spewing raw gasoline out the back, I was impressed that it got ~32mpg. My plan had been to rebuild it as an HF, or perhaps even the mythical CRX VX, but reality intervened.

My roommate lost his regular job lately, and therefore my share of the rent spiked, and driving the Dakota 25mi each way each day was slowly depleting my account. Saving for a fancy build project doesn't happen when funds are depleting, so I had to get the thing on the road, and soon. So, the emergency build project was initiated, and with a used cylinder head (the old one had other issues besides the dead valve), some gaskets, and fluids, we put the thing together for less than $200 in parts. This saved the costs of intake, fuel system, computer, etc of an HF build.

The first test run, from Vancouver WA to Wishram WA and back, returned 41mpg. Pretty good, but when my roommate returned 43mpg in his '95 Saturn SC2 (he came along for rescue in case the Honda developed an issue (it didn't)), I thought the CRX had to do better. Saturns get good mileage, but this is a CRX! This means war!

I discovered slightly later that three of my tires were in the low-30s for pressure, but one of the others was chillin' at 18psi. I inflated all of them to ~45psi (max sidewall) for the next tank. I took one more road trip, this time just to the middle of nowhere and back. That took me to just under 200mi, and the remaining 230mi were handled by commuting to and from work. That's probably an 80-90% highway run. I filled it up today during my lunch break, and was impressed to have used less than 9 gallons. I knew just by mental math that I had done better than last time. I wasn't ready for the degree to which that was the case. 48.0mpg. Not bad considering the EPA says my three-cylinder mileage was par for the course.

Wow! If that's what's done with a DX, what must an HF be like? Or an Insight? I'm determined to get 50mpg out of this thing; that'll be a nice milestone, and I'm pretty sure it'll be easy to do.

EDIT:
Another interesting aspect to this story, is what the Dakota has been up to. Aside from a tire that was long-overdue for replacement, it's been stone-reliable as I've been using it for commuting back and forth. The moment the CRX's motor fired, the Dakota's front brakes went metal-on-metal from pad wear, it dumped about a gallon of coolant on the driveway, and it gained an appetite for oil. This is the kind of thing that makes you think the Dakota has a soul, you know? It's like it was saying "See? I've been holding myself together because I knew you were relying on me to get to work, and I knew that you couldn't afford to be late even once" (draw bridge on my commute, I've been late too much).

It's okay Dakota, I'll get you some good ceramic brake pads as a present. They should hold until I can get the $800 together for the Viper brake conversion!


Last edited by JETZcorp; 07-19-2013 at 07:05 AM..
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Old 07-20-2013, 10:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice job on the CRX! The 48 mpg will save the $200 in parts very quickly. Hope your roommate gets a job soon.

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Old 07-20-2013, 11:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Black and Green - '98 Honda Civic DX Coupe
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90 day: 66.42 mpg (US)

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90 day: 3671.43 mpg (US)
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Smart choices. Congrats. Every 10 gallons is an extra 160 miles over the pre-repair 32mpg, and an extra 320 miles over the Dakota. At say $3.50/gal you should save about $70 per 480 miles driven Civic/Dakota comparison. At your 50 miles/day commute, that's about $70/wk. By labor day the repair costs are paid and from then on it's money in the bank.

Seems like you're a good loyal friend too. Good luck to your roommate in the job hunt.

-james
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See my car's mod & maintenance thread and my electric bicycle's thread for ongoing projects. I will rebuild Black and Green over decades as parts die, until it becomes a different car of roughly the same shape and color. My minimum fuel economy goal is 55 mpg while averaging posted speed limits. I generally top 60 mpg. See also my Honda manual transmission specs thread.



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Old 07-22-2013, 04:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The Dakota - '99 Dodge Dakota R/T
90 day: 16.4 mpg (US)

The Honda - '88 Honda CRX DX
90 day: 47.43 mpg (US)
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Update:

I took my dad on a road trip to Mt St Helens today (awesome area.) He was originally opposed to the Honda because he was concerned about reliability compared to the world's mildest V8 I already had. At first this seemed like a wise stance, what with the yearlong furlough of the car. But, 278.9mi later, he's considering buying an EF Civic. He loved the two-strokish sound of my unmuffled (yeah I know) D15, and as he watched the fuel gauge, he got very impressed. At the end of our run, we refilled for the trip mileage.

Now, the region we were in was not the high prairie. It's extremely mountainous and with two fat blokes onboard, the car was foot-to-the-floor a lot. But the motor was also turned off a lot. Couple this to the fact that I've got a 180,000mi top end on a 240,000mi bottom end, and he was not expecting mid-40s. Sure enough, the car did NOT get mid-40s. The little monster burned only 5.378 gallons, for a trip total of 51.86mpg!!

Again, I ask the universe, if a tired stock DX does this, what kind of crazy is a freshened HF like? Incredible.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Josie - '87 Toyota Pickup
90 day: 33.51 mpg (US)

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That's the other kind of high performance. It isn't exciting like an rumbling throaty V8, but it has its moments.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Princess - '92 Mazda MX-3 GS
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90 day: 53.54 mpg (US)

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Is the CRX red by any chance?
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2016: 128.75L for 1875.00km => 6.87L/100km (34.3MPG US)
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The Dakota - '99 Dodge Dakota R/T
90 day: 16.4 mpg (US)

The Honda - '88 Honda CRX DX
90 day: 47.43 mpg (US)
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No, mine's in a lovely hue I call "Honda Beater Blue."
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Old 12-02-2013, 05:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The Dakota - '99 Dodge Dakota R/T
90 day: 16.4 mpg (US)

The Honda - '88 Honda CRX DX
90 day: 47.43 mpg (US)
Thanks: 0
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Sorry to dig up an old thread, but I have updates.

It turns out that the Honda's appetite for ignition coils was not related to the 3-cylinder issue; it's eaten two of them since rebuilding. It also gobbled a bunch of 60A fuses due to miles of bad aftermarket wiring. And now the starter is dead. As a result of all that, I turned my back on the miserable little thing and bought a 1994 Saturn SC2. Brst tank so far is just South of 41mpg
That's in the Winter with stock gearing, so I'm looking forward to progress. I miss 50mpg, and the CRX was fun to drive, but the SC is just a better car.

Oh, and if anyone in the Portland metro area wants a cheap CRX...
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Old 12-04-2013, 03:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Sounds like some bad grounds. Converting the car to OBD1 would solve 99% of that. Actually a cheap fix if you have the time.
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Old 12-04-2013, 03:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The Dakota - '99 Dodge Dakota R/T
90 day: 16.4 mpg (US)

The Honda - '88 Honda CRX DX
90 day: 47.43 mpg (US)
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
I'll keep that in mind. I posted the CRX for sale at $1,200 and I'm getting insane interest for it. I think I should be able to get pretty close to that. The car is good enough, when running, that I think I'll keep it unless I can get four digits out of it. I'm pretty confident I can flip the Saturn for more than I paid for it, if it comes to that. But, the CRX will never be as nice as the Saturn. Too much missing interior bits, and I really think it doesn't like me.

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