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Old 03-17-2011, 09:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What to put in a CRX shell?

So I'm looking to purchase a car, and I've settled on a CRX. In my area (los angeles) there don't seem to be a lot of HF's in good condition, but I have located a shell that looks good. Right now I'm fairly mechanically inclined and looking to become more so, so my plan is to keep the car maintained myself, and I have about a month of free time right now that I could spend getting it into shape, after which repairs and maintenance will probably be restricted to the weekends. So since there seems to be a shell available, one of my options would be getting a transmission and engine and putting them in. Otherwise I can keep looking until a complete car shows up.

So my first question is whether I ought to only be considering the engine/transmission the car is designed for, or whether there are other good candidates out there. I know that I've heard about a number of CRX's with mid 90's civic engines swapped, but I don't know which engines in particular are good candidates (in terms of both efficiency and being easy to install, I don't want to be making things any trickier than they probably will already be on my first time), or whether or in what cases I should switch the transmission as well. I've been lurking here for a while, and I figured that this forum would probably have an idea of what would be appropriate here.

Second, I'm open to any and all advice on the project itself. I've done a fair amount of research online concerning swaps and spent a fair amount of time working on more minor projects on my last car, a corolla, so I figure that with a month to figure things out I ought to be able to do this, but any advice that simplifies it would be much appreciated.

Thanks, everyone.

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Old 03-17-2011, 10:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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CRX' are awesome basis for home-brewed fuel eco projects!!!

Non-Honda choices include Metro drivetrain install, small diesel, electric...

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Old 03-18-2011, 04:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
Non-Honda choices include Metro drivetrain install...
CRXFi Build Thread (Geo Metro XFi drivetrain in Honda CRX)

Honda choices include swapping in 1-gen Insight guts
e·co·mod·ding: the art of turning vehicles into what they should be

What matters is where you're going, not how fast.

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Piwoslaw's Peugeot 307sw modding thread

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Old 03-20-2011, 03:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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First question: 1st-gen (83=87) or 2nd-gen (88-91) CRX? They're quite different, and the differences have a significant effect on the "easy" swaps.

Most 1st-gen CRXes are carbureted. Only the Si models have fuel injection. This makes a big difference because the fuel supply is different on the carb'ed cars, and it is more complex to make them compatible with fuel injection.

The "DX" (or "standard") 2nd-gen CRX had DPFI, Dual-Point Fuel Injection. It had two injectors pretty much at the throttle body. The wiring is pretty different from the MPFI (Multi-Point Fuel Injection) that the HF and Si models had. (An MPFI swap is a popular mod for DX cars, by the way.) Pretty much every engine you might want to swap in will be MPFI, as well.

Assuming you have a 2nd-gen CRX: The transmission you want is the HF version. It has the tallest gears and also the tallest ring and pinion ratio. So the engine will be turning fairly low revs on the freeway. However, this transmission will only work with D-series engines. If you're looking to swap in a B-series mill, you'll need a B-series transmission.

The regular HF motor would be the easiest one that gets excellent MPG. It should be a bolt-in operation, except for the possible MPFI conversion. Other D-series possibilities are... Well, just about anything frankly. Most D-series engines are 1.5 or 1.6 liters. Some, such as the D16A6 (88-91 Si) and the DOHC ZC (a Japan-only motor that is a popular import for swaps) are designed more with top-end power in mind, so they aren't as good on economy, but none of them should be awful.

There are later D-series VTEC equipped motors. A few, like the one from the Civic VX, are optimized for economy. Some are optimized for power. Many are somewhere in the middle.

A reasonable forum for CRXes in particular can be found at CRX Community Forum • Index page . It's less active than honda-tech, but you'll find less locker-room language and less overt stupidity there as well. (Though H-T can be worth sifting through the crap because there are some really knowledgeable people over there too!)

Check into your smog laws. I know that, in theory, a swapped car must meet the smog requirements of the later of the engine or chassis. So if you put a 1996+ engine in, it has to have all of the OBD-2 equipment on it. And theoretically, non-US engines cannot be used, nor can truck engines be used in cars. Practice may be different than theory, though.

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Old 03-20-2011, 11:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Depending on where you live, diesel swaps may be exempt from emissions testing altogether. For about $1000, you can buy a used engine and trans from a mk2 Jetta TD. (TD, not TDi), which is a 80hp turbo diesel 1600cc and 5 gear transmission.

This combo will mount backwards from the civic's original drive equipment, but everything in both cars mounts to the sub members, except one mount in each car.

No reason you couldn't see 65 mpg with that, since the Jetta is rated something around 50, and the CRx is lighter and more aerodynamic.
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Last edited by Christ; 03-20-2011 at 11:25 AM..
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What about an converting it to an electric car.
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Angmaar View Post
What about an converting it to an electric car.
It's been done but the car handles like crap when you add all that weight and you end up with a 3,000 pound CRX unless you have the money for lithium batteries, the entire car is built to be light weight so you would be stressing every part of the unibody.
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm sure you could get a lean burn engine out of a late 90's Civic HX

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Old 03-21-2011, 05:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Transfer a Honda 1.3 IMA unit into it ?

Import the Toyota 3 cyl 998 / Nissan 3 cyl 996 cc engines and install those ? Both are sold in Japan which has harder emissions tests (I think) than cal.

[I]So long and thanks for all the fish.[/I]
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