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CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress New Reader
8/20/18 2:10 p.m.

AKA-the Crusty Red Express

After years of reading about the challenge from the sidelines, a friend and I decided that this was the year to jump in. The search began in late 2017 and we knew we had our huckleberry when we came across this ad for a 1991 CRX HF with rear quarter panel damage.

One long road trip, some ill-advised towing, and $450 later the CRX was in my friend's garage in Miami. The seller (@sambones) was great, and we promised that his CRX would see action at the Challenge this year.

Meet Crusty-

  • Ugly and Red, but complete
  • Damage to rear passenger panel that narrowly avoided the suspension hardpoints
  • New suspension bushings and shocks all the way around
  • 5 Speed transmission with tall gearing and 62 ponies coming from a d15b6 engine.

Meet Us-

  • We're shade tree mechanics at best, and have never raced
  • We live 2.5 hours away from each other, which makes logistics tough
  • Any/all advice is welcome!

Next up-Getting Crusty mobile, selling off some parts, and searching for power.

Stampie
Stampie UberDork
8/20/18 2:19 p.m.

Bring the stickiest tires you can get. That'll do more to make it competitive than anything. 

Kyngfish
Kyngfish
8/20/18 2:32 p.m.

In reply to Stampie : it came with some Falken Azenis 615k tires which are reasonably sticky,  we will make the call once it’s all up and running  

Pictures of block and piston work this weekend. 

Kyngfish
Kyngfish New Reader
8/20/18 2:34 p.m.

Stampie
Stampie UberDork
8/20/18 3:04 p.m.

If you're having to build an engine why not just junkyard swap it?

Kyngfish
Kyngfish New Reader
8/20/18 3:54 p.m.

Define "build". We're cleaning up, re-ringing and resealing. So the total investment even if don't sell the other engine is pretty low, but if I'm misunderstanding and you have a cool idea, I'm all ears.

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP Reader
8/20/18 5:38 p.m.

  I think the idea is a complete engine that works might be cheaper than some new parts to build a engine.  But if you don't need to many new parts to make this one work, then at least you will know the condition of it.   Doing a build on the cheap is tricky...

Stampie
Stampie UberDork
8/20/18 5:47 p.m.

In reply to Kyngfish :

RWD LS swap cool enough?  JK. I assumed you'd be putting money into a rebuild that might be better junkyard swap. 

Kyngfish
Kyngfish New Reader
8/20/18 7:11 p.m.

fair point on a cheap build going wrong, we are about to find out, but all the tolerances seem to be within spec and overall the engine wasn't in bad shape. Total investment on the engine so far is pretty low. Even lower if we sell the existing engine/tranny.

I guess we are going to find out fairly soon what our skill level is :)

Stampie
Stampie UberDork
8/20/18 8:42 p.m.

In reply to Kyngfish :

Looking forward to seeing this in 8 weeks. I'm hoping you'll convert Lil Stampie into a CRX lover. It's about the only car we disagree on. 

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress New Reader
8/24/18 4:53 a.m.
Stampie said:

If you're having to build an engine why not just junkyard swap it?

This would have been the easiest/most straightforward. We ended up refreshing it because we thought we could source stronger rods (no luck) and always wanted to rebuild an engine. This will be our first.

Next post-progress Feb-July.

759NRNG
759NRNG SuperDork
8/24/18 6:39 a.m.

Crusty, when your baby is up and running....a length of chain and a tree trunk might persuade the right rear quarter panel  to play pretty with a few strategic 'pulls' wink 

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress New Reader
8/24/18 7:48 a.m.

February-July

Pics of the rear quarter. I dunno about a tree, but i suspect some bondo and bracing of the bumper will do wonders. Hope we have time to make it "pretty."

Wrenching-

After we got the CRX to Miami we drained the old gas, shook some pebbles in the tank to knock the rust loose,replaced the fuel pump and it started right up. The steering wheel was tweaked pretty badly to the right, so we did a string alignment to set the toe. It tracks straight now but we did it with the car on jacks instead the ground, so we might give it another shot.

We're currently dealing with a starting issue. After troubleshooting using the factory service manual, it looks like there is a broken wire between the ignition switch and the starter, possibly some place in the dash.

Buying-

The CRX is an HF model, which means the engine/trans combo is optimized for effeciency-think restricted intake, 8 valve head, meager crankshaft and rods, and tall gearing. We need a turbo setup to hit our power goals so the hunt was on for a engine/trans combo with a better flowing head and shorter gears. We would have loved to go B-series but they are up to 2x the price of the D, require more fabrication, and are just much less common. In the end we ended up with a d16a6 and an Si transmission. This should be a drop in replacement that gives us 115 ponies instead of 62 in stock form, and lessens the chance of putting a rod through the block after we get the turbo on it. 

Other miscellaneous purchases include a front motor mount, battery, a rebuild kit (Seals and rings mostly) for the d16a6, a used ECU, a kit to chip it, as well as some hardware to connect it to a computer for street tuning. We'll probably end up using crome to tune (free, but old as hell and no longer supported!)

We also broke the piggy bank and spent money on a new turbo setup. This is an area that is completely new to us, and there didn't seem to be much of a premium on a new setup vs. a used one. 

Selling-

We also started stripping the interior of everything that could be sold. Speakers, head unit, rear panels from the trunk, HVAC controls, shift knob, spare tire. All of it went on local FB Honda groups, along with the spare tires and wheels that we got in the sale.

Next post-engine rebuild and budget thus far.

untchabl
untchabl Reader
8/24/18 11:57 a.m.

Glad to see a GRM'er got this car, I was wanting it badly but it was too far away for me to make it work. I'll be following the build.

ErikTheSwede
ErikTheSwede New Reader
8/26/18 4:17 p.m.

I would have recommended finding a complete 90-93 Integra and just swapping everything. Then you could swap the bigger brakes and recoup money with the body and interior parts. The good thing about the early nonvtec D16 is the rods are fairly strong. We had one running 10 psi through an eBay T28 turbo and a starion intercooler with a modified HF exhaust manifold on an 89 crx HF manifold and that little thing ran 13.2 with radials. My only recommendation at this point would be to ditch the current engine management equipment you have and just run a microsquirt. You can use the distributor for the sensors and run some GM LS coils for coil-on-plug  and run them in wasted spark and your tuning options will be endless

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress New Reader
8/26/18 6:05 p.m.
ErikTheSwede said:

I would have recommended finding a complete 90-93 Integra and just swapping everything.

We would have loved to do this, but it came down to logistics and price. All of this is being done in a suburban garage (no room to store a car while we're stripping it), and only one of us have a tow rig. We looked for about 3 months but the prices that we saw never really justified the extra costs associated with the b-series. Essentially, if we were going to turbo it anyhow, the D series was more cost effective. 

Two things that we don't have are extra space and deep ties to a local racing community. Both would be really helpful, but we're muddling along.

ErikTheSwede
ErikTheSwede New Reader
8/28/18 7:06 p.m.

I know they can take some time to find and that can be a problem in a time crunch. The D will be fun as long as you didn't go too big with the turbo. After this year's challenge I would recommend just watching clipart and buying an Integra when it pops up and swapping the turbo over to the B series next year. You definitely have a great chassis as far as weight is concerned. You really need to try to find a DX 5 speed trans. The HX trans isn't going to do you any favors. An SI trans has a shorter final drive and you will have severe traction troubles in boost

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress New Reader
9/24/18 9:32 a.m.

Engine Rebuild-August 2018

When we picked up the D16A6 long block the seller said that it only ran on 3 cylinders. This wasn't particularly worrisome because 

1. Issue could be in the ignition or fuel systems

2. We're going to rebuild it anyhow

3. At $150 (including the SI transmission and axles!) the price was right

So we crossed our fingers, crossed the tracks to the other side of town, and did the deal.

During the tear-down everything looked good; no significant wear on the bearings, no marks on the crank, and no deep scoring on the piston walls. We don't know how many miles this engine had on it, but there was definitely a lip at the top of the cylinders. According to the Harbour Freight telescoping gages the bores themselves were within spec, so we sprinkled it with holy water (beer, actually, I spilled some beer on it by accident) and declared it good 'nuff.

We used a ball hone on the cylinder walls and measured the bearing/crank clearances with plastigage. The head was sent off to a machine shop where we got it dipped, decked and had the valve seats lapped for only 90$.

 The rebuild kit contained new bearings and rubber seals which we used during reassembly. By the end of August, we had rebuilt our first engine and were ready to swap it along with the transmission into Crusty.

The Swap-Mid September 2018

Heroic. That's the only word to use when describing one brutally hot, muggy, mosquito-cursed Saturday in Miami when we did the engine swap. I left at 5 for the 2 hour drive to @Kyngfish's house, and found him already disconnecting wiring when I arrived. After some arm twisting he convinced me to drop the engine out the bottom instead of using a hoist, and by 12 we had the old engine and transmission out. 

Disaster struck as we were swapping out the clutch and flywheel from the old transmission-we had no clutch alignment tool! Google to the rescue...turns out you can wrap a deep-well 10mm socket with tape and use it in a pinch. By 3 in the afternoon we had the rebuilt d16a6 in the CRX, and were able to get the SI transmission into the car on the 3rd try, sometime around 5. I went back a few days later to bolt up the manifolds, reattach the wiring harness. As of today, the engine and transmission are attached, axles are in, wiring harness and intake is 75% of the way, timing is done, and valve adjustment is mostly done. 

So what's left? Everything...everything is left to do, and the clock is ticking down.

Next Up: Budget? Who said anything about a Budget?

 

Stampie
Stampie UberDork
9/24/18 9:35 a.m.

Cool glad to see this coming along. 

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP Reader
9/24/18 10:00 a.m.

  Needs a $60 E-bay header....   Noise is power, or at least it will sound like more power!

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress New Reader
9/26/18 9:14 a.m.

Questions for the hive-mind:

Tires: Crusty currently has Falken Azenis RT615K+ tires (https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Falken&tireModel=Azenis%20RT615K%2B). Are we going to get better performance by upgrading the tires, and if so, what should we be looking for? Car is challenge-only, and will probably run next year as well.

Heating System: Do need to keep the heater core for any reason, or can we remove it from the dash and cap the heater hoses at the engine? What about the HVAC blower and motor?

Windshield Wiper motor and blades: Same question. Car is challenge only, and will be trailered to and from the event.

 

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
9/26/18 9:35 a.m.

In reply to CrustyRedXpress :

IIRC four tires are budget-exempt -- but not wallet-exempt LOL.   if your pockets allow it, don't show up without four Hoosier A7s.

Stampie
Stampie UberDork
9/26/18 9:53 a.m.

In reply to CrustyRedXpress :

We left our wiper motor in but took off the blades.  Honestly I'm thinking I'll just take out our windshield if it rains.

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress New Reader
10/9/18 11:17 a.m.

Final wrap up and the Agony of Defeat. 

It's with a heavy heart that I say we won't be bringing Crusty to the race this year. She's up and running, but we threw in the towel last weekend after an unsuccessful effort at troubleshooting some driveability issues that we THINK are coming from the ECU.

With another ECU hundreds of miles away, no safety gear yet installed, and the turbo still in it's fedex box we decided this year just wasn't happening. Heartbreaking.

BUT!

We're still headed up to Gainesville regardless, both to cheer everybody on and hopefully learn a lot.

Video of first start, just to prove that the damn thing ran after the rebuild! 

http://youtu.be/8H1D8RzB1e0

EDIT-How the hell do you get video to embed on this thing?

 

 

 

Stampie
Stampie UberDork
10/9/18 11:33 a.m.

That sucks!  Guess Lil Stampie will remain a CRX hater for another year. Sounds like there'll be several teams needing help in the parking lot this year so feel free to jump in.  The embed thingy is broken right now. 

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