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Old 04-19-2009, 01:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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just got my 96 civic HX.. got it just because of ecomodder!

Hey guys!
I waited long enough but was so tired of paying for gas! well I own a wheel repair shop and we do tons of pick ups and deliveries. So I finally analyzed our gas bills and WOA! Decided we needed 2 cars.. one for dropping off drivers to pick up cars and one for actually picking up wheels. been browsing this site and came up with the decision for a civic HX. Just got one yesterday for $2200 from a desperate seller. 160K on the clock. Timing belt at 130K. just needed front brake pads. I'm new to this site so anything you guys tell me to do to my car, i most probably will do it. i have my own game plan already which i will do in steps. i'm basically going by the smartgas.net tips and my own logical or illogical thinking.. hehe.. but hey! i want this car to represent ecomodder so give me all your ideas! please dont flame at me! i'm only a rookie!
Here's my plan / list so far.
1. buy the 50 state..non-ca only computer. ( got on ebay $75)
2. Hot air intake (ebay $28.00)
3. clean engine using auto-rx and having both a oil filter magnet made by magnaforce and have an oil drain plug magnet. It's going to be conventional oil for the first 6000 miles to clean and rinse vehilcle. then going to torco 15 40 with a top off of their additive.. (auto Rx $25 , magnaforce $40, drain plug $10, Torco oil and additive.. bought already $55)
4. fitch fuel catalyst in tank drop in (ebay $90) heard it works best with EFIE? i'm skeptical.. will see.. but i had to try it and see for myself
5. Pulstar plugs (got em for FREE,, long story, heard good and bad, I will be drilling the hold in the electrodes as per smartgas.net)
6. hotter thermosat (kragen $20 and will be doing the pure coolant thing.. i'm curious who done this as I don't hear a lot about it.. any thoughts?)
7. oil filter? what do you guys suggest? Baldwin? Fram X2? mobil1? Canton mecca? I've used cantom mecca on my race BMW's before with good results. only thing is they cost $100 but the replacement element is $8.
8. Fuel Magnet ($15) heard it only really works with EFIE / computer mods.
9. Fuel heater ( dunno if I should go with the water for gas design?.. or do I try to contact lou laponte of brightgreen see if he still has some left over? or should I create my own?
10. EFIE.. ($75.. eagle research) I heard it won't work on the 5 wire 02 sensor and that i would be best with custom engine tuning .. but i heard no one tunes V-tech-e cuz it's a pain in the ass.

11. one last thing.. i was wondering if bolt on performance mods really help with mileage? Do bigger throttle bodies, vortex throttle body spacers, high flow intake manifolds, headers, high flow cats, and performance exhaust.... .. do these help with MPG if I don't increase fuel deliver?. yeah the car may sound faster.. but i'm a cheap ass.. i don't wanna pay for gas.. the reason I ask is that I may a have a local sponsor providing me with all those things for free.... but i'm not going to put them on if they hurt MPG.

any other thoughts on the whole acetone.. PCV filter, hydrogen thing would be appreciated.. but what i'm aiming for is easy no maintenance mods.. so I don't want to be adding water.. adding acetone .. etc.. all the time.. I want the car to be as if you just add gas and that's it

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Old 04-19-2009, 02:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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1. Don't forget the 5-wire o2 sensor!
2. I didn't know they sold HAIs on Ebay now
4. Sounds like BS
5. BS, I got some for free too, meh
6. Make sure to monitor temps closely
7. Doubt it matters.
8. BS
9. Most likely BS
10. I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot clown pole.
11. I wouldn't assume any performance mods will increase mileage, especially on the HX, it's a finely tuned machines.

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Old 04-19-2009, 03:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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yeah.. I hate the BS stuff but I gotta test it so I know for sure. hmm as for the intake.. I got a $28 cold air intake.. cut the tube in half.. routed a pipe by the exhaust so the hot air is directed to the high flow filter.. I will be grill blocking soon. which of your mods gave you the biggest MPG gains?
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Old 04-19-2009, 03:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Engine swap was the biggest gain, .

I haven't gone all out on the aerodynamics yet though.
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Old 04-19-2009, 03:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome to EM. I'm jelous you found an HX that cheap!!! I agree with all of what SVOboy said. Add learning to drive the car to keep it in learn burn as often as possible and you should be in great shape.
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Old 04-19-2009, 03:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Really testing these supposed improvements is not easy. Given the importance of driving technique, perhaps the most important mod would be adding a MPG meter, to both vehicles. It would give you a chance to evaluate changes within a reasonable time, without burning gas on special runs. Can you remove the back seat and do some wheel pickups with the car? Aero mods get attention - you might add advertising value that way. Maybe you can feature LRR tires, too. An aero trailer could radically improve both mileage and carrying capacity.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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1996CivicHX -

Welcome to EM! If it's 1996, why not install a ScanGauge. Even though it's pricey for some, it does pay for itself (you can use it to troubleshoot error codes in other 1996+ cars).


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Old 04-20-2009, 10:30 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Good to see you here!

I got my '97 HX in late Sept. '08. Hopefully I've learned a few things since then.

I'm basically with SVOboy with regard to his notes on #s 1-11.

OK, here are a few notes from my experiences.

1) Dipstick is only 1/2 quart between the two marks. So don't be fooled into overfilling. I add 8 oz. when it gets down near the bottom mark; that brings it up to about the 2/3 level.

2) My engine had blocked (sludged??) drain passages so that it took 1/2 hour for any oil I added to show up properly on the stick. So watch for that in case yours has that ailment.

3) I started the Auto RX treatment cycle on mine just over 3K miles ago. It was burning about 1 qt per 1000 miles, plus the sludge issue. Auto RX is very thick so I recommend using the thinnest dino oil that Honda recommends (5W/30) with the Auto RX.

3a) In general, use thinner oil for better FE. You mentioned Torco 15/40 with an additive; unless the additive brings it back to 5/30 I'd avoid it. 15W/40 was great in our '80s Volvos but that engine was designed in the '70s, if not earlier. Honda's recommend is 5/30; I wouldn't go thicker unless it was leaking past the seals quickly.

3b) I resolved most of the sludge issue (oil draining down slowly) by using GUNK engine cleaner, in the oil. I figured I'd clean up what I could quickly at low cost first, then do Auto RX. I you go that route, be sure to double-rinse with plain oil to clean out the GUNK before putting it back on the road. I didn't want ANY gunk cleaner left in my engine, long-term.

3c) My oil still darkens noticeably after about 1000 miles. It goes grayish/blackish, not deeper and deeper gold and then brown. I figure it must be fine carbon particles. I've found that just changing the filter (early, before an oil change is due) cleans up the oil nicely. Now while finishing up the Auto RX treatment cycles I plan to change the filter when the oil shows signs of this. My main concern is that the filter becomes clogged and goes into bypass mode, circulating abrasive junk through the engine. So I'll keep refreshing the filter as needed while finishing up the Auto RX treatment.

4) I definitely recommend a ScanGauge. I use it mostly to monitor when I'm in/out of Lean Burn mode, and to help get there and stay there. I also monitor the engine temp on ScanGauge; with grill block in place I don't want to take a chance on overheating. I'd spend the money on that rather than get any of the fly-by-night bogus enhancements. BTW, ScanGauge will enable you to read any CEL codes and clear the CEL in seconds, even while driving.

5) The radiator fan comes on at ECT 204║F. Sometimes 206. Pulls the temp down to about 192-196║F. Normally ECT is 179║F if heater is running and 182/184/186 if not. My t'stat is stock, from the Honda dealer, changed just after I bought the car.

5a) From the above, you can see that getting a t'stat that's hotter by 10║F should bring normal top temp of 186 up to 196. I wouldn't go with more of an increase than that as normal temp fluctuations would likely bring the fan on. Even so I'm personally staying with the stock t'stat. Head gasket replacement etc. is something I prefer to avoid.

6) The 5-wire Oxy sensor is very expensive but rarely fails. I doubt you'll easily read it with an aftermarket fuel/ignition management system. Unless you are retired from the Honda team that designed the VX/HX system I'd recommend you use ScanGauge + MPGuino to monitor things and keep the stock engine management.

7) WAI definitely helps it to stay in Lean Burn when ambient goes below about 50F or so. However I've limited my WAI to about 100-110║F because I haven't completely sorted out whether I'm getting knock due to running the intake too hot. My system generally runs about 30║F above ambient when using the WAI.

8) Blocking the cat side of the grill also helps a LOT. Keeps the cat hot. If it cools off the computer takes it right out of LB.

Rumors that I'm paid by the word are entirely untrue.

Coast long and prosper.
Driving '00 Honda Insight, acquired Feb 2016.

Last edited by brucepick; 04-20-2009 at 11:14 AM..
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