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TDFbound 11-18-2018 04:45 PM

New Member in Western NC (bought a Civic VX)
 
Hello guys, just joined up after reading through several awesome build threads. I had never thought much of what mileage my car got except to calculate gas costs for any long trips. After reading about guys getting 50+ mpg out of some relatively cheap cars, I started floating the idea of buying one myself to drive to and from work. A quick Excel spreadsheet showed a 50 mpg car could have a potential minimum savings of $25 a week compared to our family van, and $48 a week compared to my truck (I really only drive it if absolutely necessary). I live deep in the Appalachian mountains (not toooooo deep, I know of a couple places even more remote than I am), so most of my driving is on winding roads and usually with a lots of hills. One of my local roads gains 1000 feet in a mile, which is quite fun coming down on a bicycle. I'm sure I won't see gas numbers as good as people in flat areas, but surely I can beat my Astro van!.

The hunt for a car was on, and I have finally found one, though it's not home yet- won't have it for another couple weeks. I ended up finding a 1992 Honda Civic VX in decent condition. I live in NC, and the car is in CA, so I'll be flying out there in a couple weeks to drive it home. Sort of a gamble, but no red flags popped up and at $1700 I was tempted enough to bite. No pics of the car right now, as the ad has been taken down, but the outside looks pretty good- one small rust bubble under the paint on a rear fender and some faded red paint, and the interior looks great save for one tear in the driver seat. I'll definitely post a ton of pics once the car is home. Big reason for him selling it is when he towed the car there from Ohio, it wouldn't pass CA emissions tests without a big headache, so he's just been driving it around the neighborhood to keep it running, so I guess it's just time for it to go.

I don't plan on getting too crazy with hypermiling or anything, but would love to average 50+ mpg. I will definitely do some work on the car, mainly removing all rust and preventing future rust, replacing any worn or faded trim pieces with new ones, and giving the car a good mechanical makeover in terms of bushings, bearings, etc. I want the car to look mostly stock and like it just came off the showroom floor. Main concern is he said the motor uses almost a quart of oil every 3000 miles, so I may need to have the cylinders honed or whatever for new rings. I'm not a car guy (yet) so I don't really know what all goes into these things, but I'm hoping to learn! Hoping the lower cost of driving this car will make it easier for us to take longer weekend trips, and for me to drive to far-away running events and things (just recently got into ultra running).

I'm currently taking classes in 3D modeling, and will later take classes in machining and CNC milling, so I'm hoping I can build a workshop where I can fab up basically anything I would need for whichever project I've dreamed up for the moment. I work as a welder, but I only learned how to weld a few months ago for this job and I basically only weld thin steel sheet metal with a MIG welder. I'd love to learn other welding types as well. Not sure what else to say at the moment, but I'd love to hear from any members in my area. There is so much to learn, it's almost hard to grasp it all, but I'll do my best. Stay safe out there, folks!

redneck 11-18-2018 06:30 PM

.

Welcome aboard.

Love the enthusiasm.

The VX you choose is a good car. It’s capable of 50 plus mpg with very little hypermilling. And is capable of much, much more.

Look for posts by https://ecomodder.com/forum/member-the+donkey+crx.html

Get a aftermarket mpg gauge as soon as possible “Ultragauge or a Scanguage”.

Also, I got my best mileage in the mountains, not on flat ground.


Read.

https://ecomodder.com/forum/EM-hyper...ecodriving.php

And

https://ecomodder.com/forum/fuel-eco...ifications.php


Warning...

This can get addictive... ;)


:turtle:

>

fusion210 11-19-2018 06:20 PM

Cool! The VX was on my watch list but I went full on and grabbed an insight.

It does get really addictive with 90s econoboxes as there is so much low hanging fruit (without making it look bad). Aside from the unicorn thread, it all works!

TDFbound 11-19-2018 07:43 PM

Fingers crossed the car is not impossible to get working correctly. Just heard back from one of the well-known local import mechanics and he quoted “several thousand dollars” to rebuild the engine with new rings to stop using oil. I’m guessing rust repair and a paint job won’t be cheap, but “several thousand dollars” to work on an old and fairly simple engine just seemed a bit shocking. How much does it usually cost for something like that?

tervic 11-19-2018 09:49 PM

Welcome to the forum.

I wouldn't worry about an oil burn rate of one qt in three thousand miles!

There are a LOT of cars out there that burn more than that and will run for a long time with no issue. Honestly, I wouldn't even think about an engine rebuild until the consumption went over 1qt/1,000 miles.

You will need to make checking the oil part of your routine, especially when it is new to you. Keep on eye on the burn rate, establish what is "normal" for your engine.

19bonestock88 11-20-2018 05:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TDFbound (Post 584201)
Fingers crossed the car is not impossible to get working correctly. Just heard back from one of the well-known local import mechanics and he quoted “several thousand dollars” to rebuild the engine with new rings to stop using oil. I’m guessing rust repair and a paint job won’t be cheap, but “several thousand dollars” to work on an old and fairly simple engine just seemed a bit shocking. How much does it usually cost for something like that?

I agree with the above, a quart per oil change (3K mi)isn’t too bad...

That being said if you wanted to rebuild it *shouldnt* cost several thousand, unless you’re building it to make some serious power... if you could get by without having it bored over (and thus having to replace pistons) it would likely only be a few hundred in parts to make *everything else* new or good as new...

Either the shop charges a lot per hour for labor or they’re gouging you just because it’s an import... I hear lots of “ them little import cars” talk in rural communities, just because it’s not a Ford, Chevy, or Dodge/Chrysler... they shut up when I tell them my was assembled in Tennessee...

TDFbound 11-20-2018 06:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 19bonestock88 (Post 584323)
I agree with the above, a quart per oil change (3K mi)isn’t too bad...

That being said if you wanted to rebuild it *shouldnt* cost several thousand, unless you’re building it to make some serious power... if you could get by without having it bored over (and thus having to replace pistons) it would likely only be a few hundred in parts to make *everything else* new or good as new...

Either the shop charges a lot per hour for labor or they’re gouging you just because it’s an import... I hear lots of “ them little import cars” talk in rural communities, just because it’s not a Ford, Chevy, or Dodge/Chrysler... they shut up when I tell them my was assembled in Tennessee...

Yeah, it's not terrible but I'm way too OCD to just leave things alone. I definitely don't plan on building a racing motor, I really just want it to be as close to stock (and hopefully retain stock reliability and longevity) and 'like new' as possible. I was guessing a few hundred in parts, maybe a bit more in labor. I may try to do some of it myself, but I've never worked on cars before and I don't want to have it out of action longer than necessary.

Oh well, it's all speculation at this point since I don't have the car in my possession yet. I'd love to be able to end up with a new-looking and driving car for 1/4 the price of an actual new car these days. I have a few plans for creature-comfort mods such as a better seats, decent stereo and some sound dampening for long drives, maybe some upgraded suspension for aerodynamics and/or better handling on my curvy mountain roads.

I'd love to build another one as a track car and go nuts with performance parts and whatnot, but right now I just need a reliable and efficient commuter that I can actually look forward to driving every day. Can't wait to bring it home and start posting pictures and whatnot. Good chance it will remain untouched for a number of months while I save up money to tackle projects in batches to save labor costs, but I'm sure there will be at least some updates in the mean time. :snail:

19bonestock88 11-20-2018 06:44 PM

My advice is to find a spare engine to build as you get money/time... I did that with the LSJ in my other Saturn and it made the swap something that took a week versus spending six months with nothing in the engine bay... surely a D15 wouldn’t be too hard to come by?

I had planned the same for the Saturn I’m driving... so far it’s about 10hp over stock, has a non stock stereo and Recaro seats from my Redline, with Redline suspension for the corners... if I drive it conservatively in the summer I can average over 50mpg and it isn’t half bad to drive...

You can do it!!

TDFbound 11-20-2018 06:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 19bonestock88 (Post 584333)
My advice is to find a spare engine to build as you get money/time... I did that with the LSJ in my other Saturn and it made the swap something that took a week versus spending six months with nothing in the engine bay... surely a D15 wouldn’t be too hard to come by?

I had planned the same for the Saturn I’m driving... so far it’s about 10hp over stock, has a non stock stereo and Recaro seats from my Redline, with Redline suspension for the corners... if I drive it conservatively in the summer I can average over 50mpg and it isn’t half bad to drive...

You can do it!!

Not a bad idea! I'll see if I can find another motor for a decent price. Last one I saw they were asking $1500, which I don't think I could justify given the $1700 price of the entire car. If I can find one for a few hundred bucks, I've got a barn that I could use to store and work on it- it would at least be a good learning experience without having to rush and risk making a mistake. After it was done, I'd still have a spare motor as well! I've considered buying a second complete car and doing the same thing- just drive one while building my "ultimate daily driver" then driving it while building the first into a gnarly canyon carver. I'm a speed freak, and living right in the heart of some of the best roads in the country doesn't help curb the habit...

19bonestock88 11-20-2018 07:48 PM

You’re probably somewhat near Deals gap, right?

TDFbound 11-20-2018 07:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 19bonestock88 (Post 584338)
You’re probably somewhat near Deals gap, right?

Not too far. I live near at least half a dozen roads with 'cool' names and photographers set up every weekend to catch the bikers and car clubs coming through. It's somewhat of a motorsports destination, for sure.

19bonestock88 11-20-2018 07:53 PM

I’ve been wanting to drive down there at some point soon to experience it with a nice handling car... just haven’t had the time/cash to do it

TDFbound 11-20-2018 07:57 PM

If you ever do plan to come down this way, let me know and I can recommend some other super awesome roads that are way less trafficked- sometimes the Dragon turns into just one long traffic jam, it's horrible. Best time to go is on a weekday morning at least a couple weeks away from any major holiday. Found it totally empty a number of times that way, and don't have to deal with hordes of people too scared to drive fast or too dumb to know they shouldn't.

19bonestock88 11-20-2018 08:06 PM

That would be really cool, I heard US16 is pretty good near there, but all I have here is US33 and US50 up here that are decent

Gasoline Fumes 11-21-2018 01:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redneck (Post 584110)
Get a aftermarket mpg gauge as soon as possible “Ultragauge or a Scanguage”.

Won't work on a '92 Civic. MPGuino or UTCOMP are options.

redneck 11-21-2018 10:27 AM

.

My bad...

You are correct..

:o

>

TDFbound 11-21-2018 07:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gasoline Fumes (Post 584357)
Won't work on a '92 Civic. MPGuino or UTCOMP are options.

I will definitely be adding a MPGuino and a vacuum gauge once I get the mechanical bits overhauled. I’ll find a way to flush mount them in the dash or console, just have other things that will take priority. Can’t lie, I’m super excited about this car- I’ve never had a car simply because I wanted it- I’ve owned tons of vehicles but all of them were purely a result of what was available and my budget, utilitarian to the max and no element of pleasure or fun and no emotional investment at all. So I’m 32 years old and this will finally be “my” first car that is mine purely because I want it. Better late than never!

whaemmel 11-25-2018 06:03 PM

Welcome, Former Asheville resident, ase tech just getting back on here. West coast resident now in OR. I am currently finishing a 1993 ex civic with d16/d15
rebuild and vx transmission swap. I learned to wrench in Asheville. Just picked up a vx drive train in Portland 6 weeks ago. D15 is one of the easiest engines to work on.

TDFbound 11-25-2018 09:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whaemmel (Post 584606)
Welcome, Former Asheville resident, ase tech just getting back on here. West coast resident now in OR. I am currently finishing a 1993 ex civic with d16/d15
rebuild and vx transmission swap. I learned to wrench in Asheville. Just picked up a vx drive train in Portland 6 weeks ago. D15 is one of the easiest engines to work on.

Thank you! I'll be learning as I go with this project, but I have high expectations (hopefully not unrealistic) for myself and the end result. I'm hoping that if I make an attempt to not rush it that I can enjoy it, learn something, and end up with a cool end product. Good luck out there on the West Coast!

whaemmel 11-25-2018 10:38 PM

There are 2 more stock vxs on CL Eugene OR right now. $1800-$2500. There are a lot in Pacific NW. I think due to ports. Good luck!

TDFbound 12-06-2018 12:13 PM

So, went and picked up the car last weekend! What a crazy trip! I'm the proud new owner of a 1992 Honda Civic VX. A buddy and I drove from the mountains of North Carolina down to Columbia, SC to fly to Palm Springs, CA to buy this car and drive it back to Western NC in time for work on Monday. Whole trip took 53.5 hours. What a blast, and for a almost 27 year old car with 246,780 miles on the clock, it handled the 2200 mile drive back home with ease, including a random snowstorm in the high deserts of New Mexico while we crossed 300 miles of NOTHING in the middle of the night with no cell reception and no spare tire or any tools other than a $10 socket/screwdriver set from Walmart. The car has a few quirks for sure but, for the $1700 asking price, $160 plane ticket and $120 of gas to drive back, I'm all in under $2000 and pretty stoked about the whole thing. I do have plans for the car, but nothing crazy. I want it to retain a mostly stock look, and to just be a super clean example of a vehicle. I plan on keeping the D15Z1 engine, maybe buying a second one to rebuild and swap in so there's as little down time as possible since I'll be daily driving this car. I have ZERO knowledge of cars or how to work on them, so this will be a learning experience for sure. I'll start a build thread once I begin doing things, but it will be a slow going thread for sure as I get money to fix it up. I look forward to learning from all of you and maybe eventually being able to help out somebody else too!

FYI, I totally lost track of miles per gallon of gas, but it only cost me $120 to drive like 2200 miles at a highway speed of about 80 mph the whole way, plus several hours of slow stop/go traffic due to snow. Maybe averaged out to 40-ish mpg. This car does NOT like to drive a normal speed. 50 mph is great, 80 mph is great, but trying to hold like 65-70 on rolling highways is right in between 4th and 5th gears. Thankfully most of my daily driving is in the 45 mph range, great for 4th gear.

https://i725.photobucket.com/albums/...psfg652oat.jpg

https://i725.photobucket.com/albums/...psnok1cubj.jpg

https://i725.photobucket.com/albums/...psmz1rwrx2.jpg

https://i725.photobucket.com/albums/...psl69hq8qu.jpg

https://i725.photobucket.com/albums/...psaepxwj8p.jpg

https://i725.photobucket.com/albums/...psgrrqecqh.jpg

https://i725.photobucket.com/albums/...pskfm8bguo.jpg

https://i725.photobucket.com/albums/...psm9fsk5yp.jpg

https://i725.photobucket.com/albums/...psdcgda3mo.jpg

https://i725.photobucket.com/albums/...ps9jysvsbu.jpg

whaemmel 12-06-2018 01:41 PM

Good job!. Sometimes you just have to go for it. Learning to drive in WNC snow and curves pays off. Sounds like you hit the I-40 from I-10. W

TDFbound 12-06-2018 01:49 PM

Yep, hit I-40 after getting lost and heading through various wilderness areas and national forest lands. I recorded the whole trip with my GPS watch I use for running and hiking- here's a link to the trip: https://www.strava.com/activities/2001794293

whaemmel 12-06-2018 02:53 PM

Almost forgot, I would recommend putting a ground kill switch and maybe a steering wheel club to prevent theft. Honda hatches are extremely popular and putting a hidden toggle in can stop a thief. A $10 kill switch can dissuade thieves.W

TDFbound 12-06-2018 03:31 PM

I don’t think I could get over the grief of having my new baby taken from me. Hopefully living in the middle of nowhere helps- most people here like their lifted diesel and think people who drive little imports are fags. Lol gotta love the country.

whaemmel 12-06-2018 04:08 PM

Sounds a lot like here, lots of diesels, even mechanics can't tell an echo from a Matrix.LOL. Middle of nowhere as well. Somebody took care of that one, should last a long while. That's a great car to learn to wrench on.W

MetroMPG 12-10-2018 04:01 PM

Belated welcome to EcoModder, TDFbound!

Glad the VX acquisition and retrieval adventure went smoothly.

Here's one thought I had, maybe a bit too late for your purposes: the MPG magic in the VX lies mainly its ability to go into lean burn mode, which it really only does under lighter engine loads.

So, if you're mostly driving on hilly/mountainous roads, you're not going to be seeing the benefit of lean burn. It's more useful to a flatlander. The car's unusually tall gearing might be counterproductive, too. A vanilla DX or CX (though they're geared pretty high too) might have been easier to find, and do practically as well under your particular circumstances.


PS: mountain driving can be more fuel efficient than flat land driving. The key is not using any fuel at all on the descents! Same reason as "pulse and glide".

TDFbound 12-11-2018 01:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MetroMPG (Post 585604)
Belated welcome to EcoModder, TDFbound!

Glad the VX acquisition and retrieval adventure went smoothly.

Here's one thought I had, maybe a bit too late for your purposes: the MPG magic in the VX lies mainly its ability to go into lean burn mode, which it really only does under lighter engine loads.

So, if you're mostly driving on hilly/mountainous roads, you're not going to be seeing the benefit of lean burn. It's more useful to a flatlander. The car's unusually tall gearing might be counterproductive, too. A vanilla DX or CX (though they're geared pretty high too) might have been easier to find, and do practically as well under your particular circumstances.


PS: mountain driving can be more fuel efficient than flat land driving. The key is not using any fuel at all on the descents! Same reason as "pulse and glide".

For sure, the mountains are not it's strong suit. I don't usually go up or down the big hills- thankfully my commute follows a river all the way into town, so elevation change is pretty subtle, though still several hundred feet of gain/loss in a round trip, but a fairly windy road where 40-45 is about as fast as I go, so mainly fourth gear easy cruising with third gear going into tight curves or up steeper sections.

To be honest, part of the reason I bought it was simply because it is an odd car. There are probably less than 10k of these left on the road, which is a shame considering how well it's held up over the years. I will probably get the same year CX model later to do a motor swap into it and make it a fun car for spirited mountain driving- I think about 250 hp to the wheels should be super easy and super reliable, and pretty dang fun in a car that weights 2000 lbs. But, this VX is going to remain a VX through and through for the rest of it's life, and that's probably a good thing.

Mrtony5 12-19-2018 10:22 PM

Welcome to the site man! Looks of great info here. Speaking from experience you have a great car. I once owned a 1992 civic cx it is the only car I miss as I put well over 150000 miles on it. The cx and vx have the same transmission gearing. Dx and lx are same. My cx motor blew up so I got a d16z6 and swapped it into it that's out of an ex. Then I discovered the vx and its wonderful mpg. I actually rebuilt the vx motor in my bedroom while I was at college because I bought it with bad rings. I think I spend about 200 on everything needed. First one I rebuild(have done 3 other motors more since) it was by far the easiest. Once I got it done I swapped the vx in my cx and paired it with my original cx tranny. It was a dog compared to the ex engine and tranny. But I couldn't complain went from 35mpg to 55 to 60 it was amazing.

Something to check for. Right behind your driver rear wheel there is a "gap filler" molded plastic box thing...hard to explain but it was only on the vx hopefully yours is still there. It will help with keeping air from getting into the rear of the bumper which will cause drag.

Your new car also has the wrong wheels in it. The vx ones where designed for areo and low weight at I believe 8 lbs each. I never found a full set for mine 😢

Congrats on the new purchase. There is plenty of info on honda-tech.com and YouTube on how to rebuild and what not for that car. Enjoy !

RedDevil 01-28-2019 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stargrit (Post 589713)
It's more useful to a flatlander. The car's unusually tall gearing might be counterproductive, too.

Quote:

Originally Posted by MetroMPG (Post 585604)
... So, if you're mostly driving on hilly/mountainous roads, you're not going to be seeing the benefit of lean burn. It's more useful to a flatlander. The car's unusually tall gearing might be counterproductive, too. A vanilla DX or CX (though they're geared pretty high too) might have been easier to find, and do practically as well under your particular circumstances.

Bin da bot!

MetroMPG 03-05-2019 01:42 PM

update?
 
How's your VX running? Any MPG results?


Make a garage entry / fuel log!


Your Garage: Add new vehicle


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