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Old 05-16-2008, 04:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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GeRide - '89 Geo Metro *XFi
90 day: 54.26 mpg (US)
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non-op '85 CRX, or '91 civic hatchback

so i'm looking to get something that gets better millage for my commute to work every day (30 miles each way roughly... mostly highway).

i was looking at metros, but they seem to be skyrocketing in price around here as of late.

that said, i'm now looking to civics. i've found two options and was hoping y'all could provide advice/feedback:

option 1: 1985 CRX hatchback. hasn't been run for the past two years due to blown head gasket. there's no title for it at the moment either (not sure how huge of a hassle that would be). anyway, it's clean otherwise (body and such). guy is asking $150 bucks for the thing.

option 2: 1991 civic hatchback (not sure the diff between crx and non-crx hatchback). has 200K plus miles on it but runs fine. needs a throw out bearing, new intake seal (leaking some water), and some brake work. otherwise it's very clean (body wise). guy's asking $1500 obo. (what's the base mpg on these anyway btw... can't seem to find online?)

if i wanted to spend around $2000-$3000, which would be the best option here. i could drop an engine and tranny in the CRX, but not sure if i could come in on budget after labor costs (i don't have tools needed to put in an engine or tranny). but i can make budget... seems this might be the way to go as i could get the HFI (d15z1 ???) engine and isn't there some tranny for these that's awesome for mpg too?? thinking this might be the cheapest way to get a super efficient commuter for the least $$$.

option 2, obviously, requires some, but much less work. however, doubt i could get as much mpg out of it.

thoughts??

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Old 05-16-2008, 05:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Whoop's Wheels - '89 Honda Civic Wagovan
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Well, either of them would be Ok, I suspect.

On the 85, their are two down sides. First, it's carburated, which is very pricey if it has a problem. Second, if it has a blown head gasket, it is reasonably likely that just replacing the head gasket will fix it. However, it is possible that the head is warped, the valves are burned, the rings are bad and your primary solution would require a used replacement engine, at best. That is probably $700 for a used engine and parts, plus a $1000 for labor, if you don't do it yourself.

On the 91 hatchback, although it's got 200,000 miles, it is running and it's a Honda. It is fuel injected. If the 91 has a 5 speed, it will probably be good for 35 or so, in mileage.

If you can swing $3500 or $4000, I would look for a 92-95 VX or CX. The CX is good for 40 or so and the VX can get 50's.

I would take a spark plug wrench and look at the spark plugs. If the spark plugs are more whiteish/dry rather than black/oily looking, then the engine is probably in pretty good shape.

Their are a couple of the challenges with Honda engines with 200,000 or so. First, the seals start to get hard and leak, which is annoying, but not life threatening. Second, the Honda head gaskets seem to reach a stage where any increase beyond about 1/2 on the temperature gauge and the gaskets seem to have a tendency to start leaking engine coolant through the cylinder on piston 2 or 3. This causes a very rapid deterioration of the head gasket and water loss, further compounding the heating problems. The problem is however only fixable by removing the head and replacing the gasket. It's just a risk.

All things considered I'd go for the 90.

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