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gasnmyveins 09-04-2008 01:53 AM

New guy with a 1990 crx hf.
Hi, all. I've found quite a bit of info here. One thing I haven't found, however, is anybody else driving the hf model of a crx, and only a couple of any model of crx. I wonder how close the civic is to the crx, in terms of which tricks work best. The crx is a lot lighter, and probably a little more aerodynamic as well.
Here's a little rundown on my car and it's tortured existence. It gets driven 9.9 miles to work, and then home, so it's driven 1/3 to 1/2 of it's miles before it even gets warmed up. Good for mileage, that (insert sarcastic smiley here). It's been overheated many times due to a ghost water leak. The oil never used to get changed as often as it should have been. It even saw duty as a pizza delivery car for a while. I've beaten it pretty regularly, making sure I'm not late for work. (Not much of a morning person. Never really understood that crew.:) ) It's got nearly 148,000 miles with the original O2 sensor(s) and cat. The vacuum lines need to be replaced. I think either the IAC needs to be replaced (not gonna happen) or the throttle body needs to be cleaned, because it surges at low rpm sometimes. It also is a little hard to start in the morning. (It also hates mornings. Takes after it's owner, I guess.) It also makes a loud sound from the rear that sounds like a bearing going bad. I'll have to check that, soon. the bumper is missing the bottom half, due to a dog crossing in front of me at night on I-95. I was pretty unhappy about that.
With all this, I'm averaging about 48mpg. I do use a few hypermiling tricks, such as driving more gently, coasting and turning the engine off when I don't need it. I needed new tires, so I put on 155/80/13s @ 40 psi, but haven't had them on long enough to check the mileage. I haven't made any changes to the alignment, either, other than having it set to factory spec a few months ago.
So what do you think? What is the potential of this model car with all the faults I mentioned repaired? I'm sure it can do very well if I'm already getting 48 with no experience and all those things that are wrong.

mrmad 09-04-2008 12:13 PM

You're doing pretty well if you're getting 48mpg on short trips and it running a little rough. I'm only getting ~43pg on my 90 HF, probably from driving too fast. I would start a gas log here to track your mileage, install an mpguino to help your driving techniques, and maybe look into a block heater to get the car warmed up faster.

I would get a block tester to determine if you HG could be blown. If it has overheated multiple times and is running like you say, I'd say it is a possibility for your issues. You could also pull the plugs and see what they look like. When my HF had a blown HG, one of the plugs was getting wet and it would have trouble starting and surge a little until it dried the plug out.

If you do change the HG, IM me and I can send you a Honda Tech bullitin to get the part number for a metal headgasket and new headbolts. Honda must have realized there was an issue and recommeded these new parts on D series engines that have blown their HGs.

gasnmyveins 09-04-2008 10:03 PM

Thanks for the advice. You've mentioned a thing or two I've been thinking about. The block heater is one. I'm thinking of getting the one that replaces the freeze plug. It seems that it would be the most effective one, since it would heat the water which is able to spread the heat throughout the block. I could plug it in when I come home and have the cord connected to a timer so it would turn on an hour or so before I need to leave.
I need to check to see how to start a mileage log here. Is that something offered as part of the forum, or do you just start keeping track in the signature?
Will the MPGuino work with a car as old as mine? Do you have one? I'd love to get at all the info one of those could give me.
How do I test to see if the head has been warped? I've never noticed the plugs looking bad, but then again I haven't looked at them for a while. I'll have to check them this weekend. If I do have to replace the HG, I'll definitely let you know. Right after I get done throwing things and crying, that is.
On the other hand, if it got bad enough to need that level of work, I'd seriously consider going fully electric. I'd hate to give up the range of a gas engine, but maybe I could set up a generator system like the chevy volt has.
Truth be known, I wouldn't mind going partially electric right now. I just don't want to spend the cash on it yet. Maybe if I could find the things I would need used and cheap, it would be worth it. I could start on it, without taking it off the road if I used a transaxle from a front wheel drive in place of the rear axle. I could weld the steering straight and drive it as I added the electric drive parts. I don't know whether it would work or not, but it sounds interesting to me. If I integrated the controller for the motor into the gas pedal, I could run either the gas engine, the electric motor, or both together, depending on what I had powered up and in gear. The most time consuming part would be finding a transaxle of the correct width, and actually getting it welded in.

mrmad 09-04-2008 10:57 PM

Go to the EM Garage and you'll see a link to add an new vehicle, it's pretty easy.

Yes the mpguino will work on your car, it just needs a vss and injector signals you can tap into from the wiring harness by the ECU on the passenger floor. I don't have one yet, but intend to get one soon.

Changing a HG on a CRX really isn't that big of a job. I ended up doing mine twice since I wasn;t aware of the Honda bullitin the first time. The 2nd time I had the car running in about 10 hours of work, the 1st time was probably closer 15 hours. I just did a Nissan Sentra which in comparison was a complete nightmare, always running into bolts that you can;t get wrenches on, having to take off a bunch of crap just to get to the parts you have to take off, etc. Other then the crank pulley bolt (which is easy once you have the right tools) the Honda is not like that at all, I don't even remember cussing which is very unusual when I'm working on a car. I kicked a dent into the Nissan I was so ticked at it.

You can by a precision straight edge (18" in length is fine) off Ebay for about $25 to measure how flat the head is. Or take it to a machine shop and have them do it. The local shop around here charged about $80 to measure and resurface the head and they hot tanked off the IM gasket crap and what was left of the fiber HG. I had them do a valve job at the same time.

I would check a Napa parts store for a block tester, it is a kit ($50 unfortunately) that measures hydrocarbons coming out of the radiator cap which would confirm if your HG os blown or not. The other way to check is to start the car (cold) with the rad cap off, let it warm up and then blip the throttle, if you see bubbles in the coolant, your HG is probably blown. With my CRX, blipping the throttle would blow bubbles and coolant out of the radiator when the rad cap was off.

gasnmyveins 09-05-2008 01:03 AM

Thanks for the info. I'll go to the EM Garage soon. I think I'll also be hoping and praying I don't need a HG. 10 to 15 hours sounds like a major pain. I'd almost rather swap another engine into it. There goes all my fun hypermiling, though, because I guarantee that if I swap engines it would be almost impossible to find anything else as efficient as this engine. I don't really think I need one, though. Don't ask me why I wouldn't, other than "It's a Honda."
I've been thinking of all the things I need to do to the car to get it running right, but I think the MPGuino will be first in line. That should make it a lot easier to document the difference made by other changes and repairs.
Here's an idea. Maybe we could get our MPGuinos at the same time and work together to figure them out. From reading about them, it looks like they take some calibrating and some programming. You know what they say, "Two heads are better than one." If you're not up for it yet, that's cool. There are a lot of people on the forum who are willing to provide advice. I just think we'd both probably get it done much sooner, much more easily, if we made a deal to do it at the same time and help each other out. And we'd start getting the kind of numbers we want a lot sooner, as well. Not to mention keeping our money instead of giving it to the gas stations.

Daox 09-05-2008 09:50 AM

Nice car. Sounds like it needs a little love though. :) Give it some and with a few tips I'm sure you'll be able to hit mid 50s and even 60s if you are willing to push for it.

gasnmyveins 09-06-2008 02:21 AM

Yeah, it definitely does need a little TLC. Since it seems like the hurricane is going to miss us, maybe I can give it some of that love this weekend. If I can get enough of the other things I need to do out of the way first, that is.
I can't wait to see what it'll do with just repairs bringing it back to stock spec, like the O2 sensor and whatever is making that $##%^% noise out back.

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