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Old 08-28-2013, 06:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How much rust is to much on a Civic VX?

About 8 years ago I bought a 1992 Civic VX with 200,000 miles on it, it had a little rust at the time, I ended up doing a bunch of work on it like replaced the transmission and o2 sensor, all of the suspension bushings and shocks, seats and who knows what else, then about 4 and a half years ago I found a Civic VX with no rust! so I sold my first one to a friend and I've helped her here and there with small repairs but all in all it's been very reliable, it's about to turn over 300,000 miles and it's looking rusty, the after market sun roof is leaking a little, in heavy rain it gets water in the drivers foot well and the rear wheel wells have a good 4" or more of rust in some spots not to mention the plastic running board/under panels are falling away.

The friend who has it doesn't want to put any money in to it, I checked it over and figure the tires will be bald in a year, CV joint boot is ripped but not making any sound, upper control arm ball joint needs to be replaced and I welded up a few cracks in the down pipe on the exhaust but that's going to fall apart more in the next year as well! so $100 in exhaust, $100 in axle and suspension parts and tires and it would still be a very rusty car!

So my big question is, where are the weak points that I should look at on this car as far as it being safe to drive and I offered to buy it from her if she just wants to outright replace it, so what's a reasonable amount to pay a friend for what could very well be a parts car? I figure I could use the alloy wheels and put snow tires on them, seats are still in great shape (mine have the drivers bolster ripped) and it had factory options like the clock that I wouldn't mind having but never wanted to pay much for.

Other option is buy it from her and fix it up for my parents who's Geo Metro is falling apart, but for them again it's the same question of how much rust makes a Civic VX unsafe???

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Old 08-28-2013, 07:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Being a unibody design, the exterior sheet metal rust really isn't a safety issue at the size you describe. I would, however, be concerned with potential rust in the foot well or any interior panels that would expose the driver to excess fumes, heat, etc. Structural components need to be checked. For example, where suspension parts connect to the body and the "frame rails" in the engine bay. I had a Del Sol (very similar platform to the 92-95 Civics) where a mounting location for the rear trailing arm was rusted away. Someone had attempted to repair it with welds. That sort of rust is the dangerous rust. You really need to be under the car to see for yourself, and post pictures if you have any doubts so we can all take a look.

If it's just exterior panel rust, let it rot until it's too embarrassing to be seen in. Since you have welding skills, you could potentially restore the car slowly. They make patch panels to fix the rust, and anyone can learn to do body work. If you wanted to buy it back I would probably offer $750. Being high mileage, rusty, and needing many expensive repairs, it's really not worth much to anyone but DIY mechanics. But since it's your friend you want to make the deal worthwhile. Honestly having a parts car would be a great addition. I can recount many times where I needed some little part that I couldn't buy locally that I had to order from Honda and pay shipping, etc. Having a parts car is like having your own parts store!

Plus, you aren't a true backyard mechanic without a rusty car sitting in your yard.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll double check the suspension points next time I'm under there, I sold her the car for $1,100 nearly 70,000 miles ago, so $750 seems a bit high! I was thinking closer to $200 if it was for parts and $300 if it could be driven... but I'm cheap!

I know that Geo Metro's rust out on the front suspension point and older civics would rust out at the rear pan hard bar mounting point, so I wasn't sure if this body style had it's own weak point that I could just keep an eye on.

As it is I told her that if she doesn't want to spend any money on this car that it has less then a year left then gave a brake down of cost of parts and how much time it would take to do the work, so we will see what happens.
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Scrap prices are down right now. That's a $125 car to the crusher here. We get that it's worth more as it's a VX, but a rotten car is a rotten car. Part it out for more, but don't be putting your parents into it, IMO. There is car-guy safe, and there is "my parents" safe. If you were going to drive it, then ya it's worth $300, take your chances and have fun. But man I wouldn't be putting anyone else into it. Maybe find a nice shell of a DX and put the VX drivetrain in it? My VX has 1/4 panels that a small dog could crawl out of the rust holes of, a new 02 sensor, new tires, and 338k KMs (210k miles), and the rest of it was solid, and I think it was $600? Rusty cars are a hard sell, and a liability to anyone selling one.
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Honestly you could part the thing out for $500 with very little work. Doors, seats, motor, wire harness, glass, hatch, wheels, interior pieces, etc. But like I said, it's a mechanics special. Very limited market to who is going to buy the entire car to fix it or part it. Any offer above free is a valid price to pay, but it all depends on the understanding you and your friend have about the car.

Does she care to make any money out of it, as in you are doing a favor getting it out of the driveway? In that case offer the lowest amount. $200 seems fair. If she bought it for $1100, $750 is a bit high. Regardless of the price you negotiate, the car is still worth way more than you will pay for it in parts.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbaber View Post
Honestly you could part the thing out for $500 with very little work. Doors, seats, motor, wire harness, glass, hatch, wheels, interior pieces, etc. But like I said, it's a mechanics special. Very limited market to who is going to buy the entire car to fix it or part it.
Doors are rusty, hatch is rusty, engine is starting to burn oil and has 300,000 miles, glass has scratched up 20 year old tint, so that leaves the wheels and seats as the best parts to sell used and I'd like to keep those if I do part it out and I'm leaving that to be a worst case, like suspension points rusted out, kind of option, thus my question of what the weak points on this body style are, because even if I buy it and keep it for my self, I'd be tempted to use it as a winter only car, maybe pull out the rear seat and coat the whole thing with truck bed liner or undercoating, but really I don't want a wheel falling off while I'm going down the road and if I can fix it for $200 and have it last 2-3 more years without a wheel falling off the friend that has it would most likely keep it and keep using it.
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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from what you described ryland, i think the car is well worth saving. like others have pointed out, superficial cosmetic rust is completely different from structural serious rust. i personally don't care how much cosmetic rust a car has if it runs well. i actually like my cars to be a little beat up so that i don't care when other people run into it with shopping carts or whatever. when i had a nice car, i cared about that kind of stuff and it was stressful. i also take a certain amount of pride in my rusty things running better and getting better mileage than most pretty new things i see people buying for ridiculous sums of money.

on top of that, the cost of the repairs you mentioned the car will need are outweighed by the savings in fuel expenses. those repairs are mostly easy DIY stuff (exhaust systems are about the only thing i can't do at home) and pretty cheap, especially when compared with buying a new used car, VX or otherwise, with an unknown history and various hidden problems that will appear over time. i prefer the devil i know rather than the devil i don't.

and on top of THAT, i just like preserving cars and keeping them on the road until they are actually unsafe to drive anymore. i think of all the resources that go into each car and what a waste it is to scrap them when so few minor repairs are all that are needed to keep a car in good serviceable condition. i fix old 4wd tercel wagons for friends all the time, they're my fave.

for a few problems you mentioned, i would do the following:

burning oil: do compression test. if compression is good, add 1/3 can seafoam to oil and run for one or two tanks. this has worked wonders for me for cleaning carbon'd up rings.

water in the footwell: remove all of the carpet, spray water on the car and see where the water is leaking in, and drill a hole there for it to drain out. spray the entire floor with undercoating or bedliner in a can. i've done this on a few work vehicles since the cost of repairing the leak was not worth it and it worked great. easy to clean out, too.

if you decide to buy it for parts, i agree that $200 is fair. beaters are cheap, parts cars are cheaper. good luck with whatever you choose to do with it.
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Old 04-16-2014, 05:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Looks like I'm buying it! said friend bought a newer Honda because over the past 5 years she spent less then $500 on upkeep!

My thought now is, do I replace the $50 axle that has gone bad and weld some more of the exhaust so I can drive it as a winter beater or do I use it for parts?

My brother, parents and I all have VX's now, my parents have a VX for parts too, mine is in the best shape by far, with just a hint of rust on the rear.

I'll most likely end up paying either $200 or $250 for it.

My current daily driver has a broken glove box and the drivers seat is in poor shape, this parts car also has the optional clock.
I'm tempted to install a new drive axle and drive it in the winter, maybe glue on metal patches over the rust and truck bed liner the whole thing?
My other vx is from 1993, so I could even get collector plates to help offset the cost of ownership.

Last edited by Ryland; 04-16-2014 at 06:07 PM..
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
Looks like I'm buying it! said friend bought a newer Honda because over the past 5 years she spent less then $500 on upkeep!

My thought now is, do I replace the $50 axle that has gone bad and weld some more of the exhaust so I can drive it as a winter beater or do I use it for parts?

My brother, parents and I all have VX's now, my parents have a VX for parts too, mine is in the best shape by far, with just a hint of rust on the rear.

I'll most likely end up paying either $200 or $250 for it.

My current daily driver has a broken glove box and the drivers seat is in poor shape, this parts car also has the optional clock.
I'm tempted to install a new drive axle and drive it in the winter, maybe glue on metal patches over the rust and truck bed liner the whole thing?
My other vx is from 1993, so I could even get collector plates to help offset the cost of ownership.
Cheap axle and exhaust repair, and then it's roadworthy? How can you beat that?
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Old 04-19-2014, 02:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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At todays standard the car was never safe. The issues you state are primarily cosmetic. My restored vx was in very poor cosmetic shape when purchased.

Decent.patch panels and sheet metal shouldnt cost much. If you need to weld in some steel im not that far away.

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