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Old 03-11-2010, 09:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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New Civic VX Owner from the West Coast. Hi!

First off, my name is Nathan Maas.

Second off, as of posting this greeting, I am not a VX owner yet. I am looking at a used one very soon, though. If anyone reads this who is familiar with the VX model, please let me know if there is anything special I should be looking at when I view / test-drive the car. Are there any known problem areas I should pay special attention to, etc.?

Thank you (in advance) for you help!

More about me: I'm a 26 year old film-making, song-writing, creative artist type. I feel like that description has an almost derogatory nature to it, but I'm a just a nice, honest person who loves learning. Hi.

- Nate

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Old 03-11-2010, 09:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the site Nathan.

Well, besides the usual car stuff, I'd be checking for obvious signs of past ricers (air filter, header, stick-on fake accessories). Generally ricers can barely change their own oil, which means the wiring has been hacked, bolts are stripped or broken off, parts are missing, and the car has probably been flogged to death. If it looks like it was riced, you're better off walking away.

For the test drive, see if you can feel the car go to lean-burn mode. Cruising around 55 once it warms up (a few miles), you should feel a slight "stumble", then a significant loss of power provided you don't romp on the gas. If that's not happening you won't get the VX mpg's, and who knows whats wrong. My car had a couple bad motor mounts, take a look under the hood at both driver's side mounts to check for rips in the rubber. Anyone else have ideas?
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Since the last one made was 15 years ago, you need to be very meticulous in your inspection.

If you know a reputable mechanic who you trust, I would consider getting a professional inspection and a list of things that need attention, with cost estimates.

Mileage is critical. While they will run a long time, there is always a point where the cumulative effects of age and mileage require a restoration instead of a few repairs.

Do you do your own work? If so how competent are you at fixing everything.

If not and you have no trustworthy repair options, then you are looking for a needle in a haystack, which is a fairly low mileage unmodified example with meticulous repair history. You would be a lot better off to pay twice the money up front for the best example you can find, versus one that needs thousands in repairs and maintenance to get it working properly.

Your location is the west coast. I am assuming you would prefer a Federal emissions model, because they get significantly better mileage.

I can go on and on (mechanic here with 60k hours-now retired) but you might also consider an early Toyota Echo without any options like power steering. A manual base model Echo can be had cheap and it is a much lower maintenance car than a VX, and gets close to the mileage.

regards
Mech
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm on my 2nd VX and have driven a hand full of others.
I've never had lean burn create a stumble, I've had a bad o2 sensor create a bad stumble and that is a $200 part, they tend to last 10-15 years but when they wear out they make the car annoying to drive, almost like the engine is sputtering to keep going.
Rust is the biggest killer of these cars, if you are on the west coast that should not be an issue, the next biggest killer is teenagers, before you go shopping take a look at some under hood photos of what a stock engine compartment should look like, exhaust manifold that has the o2 sensor coming out of the middle/top, black square air cleaner box with black air intake duct, I would not buy a car from 95% of teenagers or collage students.
Both of my vx's have had over 200,000 miles, the engines turn slow enough that they tend to last 300,000+ miles from what I've seen.

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