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Old 09-07-2020, 11:17 AM   #261 (permalink)
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Quebec Qc Canada
Posts: 52

AcuraMatata - '99 Acura EL Base
90 day: 36.2 mpg (US)

Le Vehicle - '12 Dodge Gran Caravan SE
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1999 Acura EL aka Civic EX - Long due maintenance done

For 2-3 years the 4 original struts replacement was postponed on the 1999 Acura EL aka Honda Civic EX with more than 237 000 Km life now. The shocks (or dampers) were looking good and doing their job but the coil springs were fatigued. The car was lower at the front, on the driver side. It did not show much. The ride was OK but could have been better.

In the 2020 Spring, cheap coil spring spacers were added to the front left and to both rear struts. The spacers were of the 2 bolts adjustable type reputed for braking the springs. The spacers did not damage the small diameter springs spires but scratched the shocks tubes and caused annoying noises. But for the benefit of evening the front car heights, there was the “rake” improvement gotten from raising the back of the car. Improving the “rake” may also improve the aerodynamics performance.

So from May through August, the car rode with the coil spring spacers and some “funky” noises. The car wheels were balanced and aligned and the ride was OK. The cost of the fix was low. Then, wifey got tired of the noises and demanded a real “professional type” fix. Then, the adventure of struts replacement with new ones on a 21 year old car with many winters under the belts with eastern Canada harsh weather effect on suspension parts and bolts launched.

Youtube and Civic forums helped define the work to do and the various difficulties that were on the road to replacement.

The rear struts replacement was the highest challenge. The Lower Control Arm (LCA) bolts could be seized in the bushings requiring cutting the bolts to start. From there, the bolts, the link kits and LCA would have to be replaced plus the strut and spring assembly. Knowing all that, the LCA rear pair (Mevotech), the link kits (Mevotech) and the strut assemblies (Unity Automotive) were ordered online. The bolts were first looked for online and acquired locally cheaper as a kit of 6 bolts and nuts (Dorman 13508). The bolts are the same “grade 10” as the Honda bolts but the Dorman kit sells for little more than the price of one Honda LCA bolt. The Dorman bolts do not look the same as the Honda but I suppose they can still be trusted.

The work of cleaning the bolts end threads and putting penetrating oil daily started a week ahead of the parts delivery. Still, at first attempt of removal the first bolt head broke off. Then trying to turn the welded nut from the other side yielded no movement from the bolt shaft seized in the bushing and resulted in braking again. The impact driver turning both ways yielded no better results. Then the “sawsall” came as the best solution to limit time and useless suffering. The bolts and bushings were cut between the fork legs. Still some bolts shafts and heads remained “welded” solid and had to be worn down with a sharpening stone on a rotary tool (aka Dremel) to clear the bolts holes. The same operation was required for the link kits. One the bolts were removed and cleared. The rear strut installation was a breeze. The bolts under the car were installed covered of copper antiseize grease and tightened at the specified torque. Then “Rust Check – Coat and Protect” spray mixture was applied to all threads protruding from nuts and on nuts and heads in contact with any steel part.

The front struts replacement went much easier. All bolts were removed starting with penetrating oil 2 days ahead and the impact driver alternating tightening and unscrewing until the bolt gave sign of moving. Again, “Unity Automotive” strut and spring assemblies were used. The only difficulty arising was the “pointer index” needing to be rotated to fit in its place in the strut fork. Plumbers channelock pliers were used to twist the strut bottom in the fork as the top bolts in the engine compartment were tightened to avoid thread damage and the pinch bolt remained loose.

The car being more than 237,000 Km, big name struts with big price tag were out of consideration. On Carid.com “Unity” struts received a 4.8/5 satisfaction rating from 217 reviewers. So I thought, I could trust these China made struts. After all, big names struts are, as most now also made in China (Moog). The price tag has something to do with the longer the name is been in the market and the amount invested in publicity of the brand. Let see how long the “Unity Automotive” last on a car driven about 10,000 Km a year.

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See many mods in detail with results on my modification thread for my 1999 Acura EL, similar to US Civic EX

Facts, please, give me the facts! Theoretical knowledge is verified by empirical knowledge! Check Einstein's General Relativity Theory E=MC^2! Every few years some new astrophysics observation and data prove some of Einstein's theory predictions more than a century old.
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Old 09-10-2020, 08:50 AM   #262 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 21,640

Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
Team Metro
Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 53.78 mpg (US)

Winter beater Metro - '00 Chevrolet Metro
90 day: 61.98 mpg (US)

Fancy Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

Even Fancier Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 66.29 mpg (US)
Thanks: 3,394
Thanked 6,199 Times in 3,210 Posts
tinkering time

Here's the "vehicle" I've been spending all my tinkering time on the last couple of weeks:




I've been modifying this trailer to fit a different sailboat model than it was originally built for: changing pad height/locations, lowering the suspension, raising the fenders, relocating the tongue jack, making a guide for the keel, adding a winch, adding an extendable tongue.

Generally having fun playing with a stick welder.
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Latest mods: 3-cylinder Mitsubishi Mirage. EcoMods now in progress...
Ecodriving test:
Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown



EcoModder
has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage
www.MetroMPG.com - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners
www.ForkenSwift.com - electric car conversion on a beer budget
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Old 09-16-2020, 08:21 PM   #263 (permalink)
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Coastal Southern California
Posts: 6,052

Black and Green - '98 Honda Civic DX Coupe
Team Honda
90 day: 66.42 mpg (US)

Black and Red - '00 Nashbar Custom built eBike
90 day: 3671.43 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2,282
Thanked 2,001 Times in 1,363 Posts
Very nice.
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See my car's mod & maintenance thread and my electric bicycle's thread for ongoing projects. I will rebuild Black and Green over decades as parts die, until it becomes a different car of roughly the same shape and color. My minimum fuel economy goal is 55 mpg while averaging posted speed limits. I generally top 60 mpg. See also my Honda manual transmission specs thread.



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Old 09-17-2020, 04:45 PM   #264 (permalink)
Batman Junior
 
MetroMPG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 21,640

Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
Team Metro
Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 53.78 mpg (US)

Winter beater Metro - '00 Chevrolet Metro
90 day: 61.98 mpg (US)

Fancy Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

Even Fancier Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 66.29 mpg (US)
Thanks: 3,394
Thanked 6,199 Times in 3,210 Posts
I was STILL working on it today... but I think the welding is done... for this year.


Boat has to come out within the next week or 2!
__________________
Latest mods: 3-cylinder Mitsubishi Mirage. EcoMods now in progress...
Ecodriving test:
Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown



EcoModder
has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage
www.MetroMPG.com - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners
www.ForkenSwift.com - electric car conversion on a beer budget
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:18 PM   #265 (permalink)
Cyborg ECU
 
California98Civic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Coastal Southern California
Posts: 6,052

Black and Green - '98 Honda Civic DX Coupe
Team Honda
90 day: 66.42 mpg (US)

Black and Red - '00 Nashbar Custom built eBike
90 day: 3671.43 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2,282
Thanked 2,001 Times in 1,363 Posts
Spent way too much time doing cosmetic repairs to the shifter, boot, and trim plate on my daughter's car this week. But it looks almost like new. Shifter knob had peeling silver paint, all the leather had gone pale with hand oils, and the black trim plate was peeling and permanently stained in three places. This look took multiple coats and sanding. Black plastidip, metalic silver paint, matte clear coat:

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See my car's mod & maintenance thread and my electric bicycle's thread for ongoing projects. I will rebuild Black and Green over decades as parts die, until it becomes a different car of roughly the same shape and color. My minimum fuel economy goal is 55 mpg while averaging posted speed limits. I generally top 60 mpg. See also my Honda manual transmission specs thread.



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Old Yesterday, 07:13 AM   #266 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 378
Thanks: 1,180
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Simple Job Today

I have three vehicles. All have "maintenance free" batteries. So I went out and checked the water level in each. Two had one almost dry cell. Why do they tell me they are "maintenance free" when they are obviously not?

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