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CrustyRedXpress New Reader
10/9/18 1:04 p.m.

In reply to Stampie :

It does! Whats the deal with helping other teams, and when does it happen? 

We may not be there till 10-11 on Thursday night, but can bring handtools, lights, compressor, generator, etc. 

Basically, we're looking to participate/learn as much as possible.

Stampie GRM+ Memberand UberDork
10/9/18 1:15 p.m.

In reply to CrustyRedXpress :

At that late I'm sure the parking lot build could still use some help.


There's also white_fly and his Radio Flyer


Generally though if you see people working on a car ask if they need help and jump in. I just wish I had left Andy's horn hooked up to his nitrous solenoid last year. 

Kyngfish New Reader
10/26/18 8:32 a.m.

Hey all - we did end up going to the 2018 challenge this year (sans car) and had a great time meeting you all. Everyone was welcoming and it was really impressive to see some of those builds. Congrats the the dudes working on the parking lot build this year - it was great to watch.

Just wanted to update the thread a bit here and see if we could get some perspective or advice. We did finally get a correct ECU for the D16 motor, unfortunately it did not fix the drivability issues. Aside from a bouncing idle again (which may just be an adjustment problem) - symptoms are exactly the same:

- Uneven idle when warm, bouncing idle when cold. Car seems to want to die, then bounces back up.

- Engine seems to rev fine in neutral - but in gear - it will stutter and bog down from 2k RPM to ~4K RPM, then come back to life in the higher rev range

- Hissing sound I mostly hear from the AEM style intake that came with the car. I don't remember the sound when the D15 was in, but I could be wrong. Some threads I've read suggest this is normal, but no idea.

- Car ran fine with the D15, and the harness, distributor, sensors (Except TPS and MAP), injectors, fuel system, spark plug wires come from the working D15. We have no idea of the condition of the D16 before rebuild.

As far as the things we're considering: 

- Mechanical and ignition timing are set and should be correct. We'll double check, but we are pretty sure it's on.

- TPS is from the D16 engine, not the D15 original, but it is adjusted correctly, we'll try to test this as well, and possibly swap for the D15 one.

- Injectors are from the D15 - it's possible that they are 190cc and the ECU is expecting 235cc, but supposedly the 91 HF came with 235cc injectors, we are double checking the codes

- I have an LM2 Wideband kit - is it worth throwing this on to test the fuel mix? I think it's pretty clear something is off, if using this will help me narrow down the issue somehow I'm all ears.

- Air intake is from a Z6, not the A6, and the throttle body might not be the right size or something may be off, we read this isn't a big problem, but again, not sure.

- IAC? I could see this causing the idle problems, but not sure about car under load

- We've bled the coolant, and plugs are new, we'll pull them again to check the gap

- Check for vac leak

Just wanted to put this out there to see if someone has had a similar experience and had pointers or suggestions.

Robbie GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
10/26/18 9:20 a.m.


I think i'd default to my early 90's import troubleshooting technique which is to keep pulling sensors until behavior changes.

As we proved with the parking lot build, you need very few sensors for the engine to idle. I'd start by pulling the sensor connectors, one at a time, and see if unplugging one happens to make the car run better. Don't forget coolant temp and possibly a transmission speed sensor or something.

I also THINK there is something with the distributors on those old hondas, like they wear out and get loose causing erratic spark or something. That's from pretty deep in the memory bank though so it could just be made up.


Kyngfish New Reader
10/26/18 12:46 p.m.

In reply to Robbie :

Sensor pulling is a great idea actually. And it also could be the dizzy, except it was running fine in the D15.

Kyngfish New Reader
11/5/18 9:50 a.m.

Just a quick update - in case someone gets into a similar issue with bogging under load.

Fiddled around with the car on Sunday, and after pulling some sensors and messing with vacuum lines, we decided recheck the ignition timing with a timing light. The annoying thing is that the way the three hashmarks align with the sights along  the plastic timing belt cover mean that when timing is ON, they are obscured by the sights, so basically, we had to pull it off-time and slowly inch back in, guessing we were on more or less when the hashes disappeared. If there's a better way to do this, let me know.

After getting the timing a bit better, we took it out for a spin and it was night and day, we got solid acceleration in gear and it felt pretty smooth all the way up the tach under medium and wide open throttle. We still got an occasional slight hesitation, under light throttle, but guessing the timing still isn't perfect and the big hiss we are hearing at the throttle body is a vac leak that probably needs to be taken care of. 

That said, the engine had been running for a fair amount of time by the time we took it out, so we'd like to take it out cold before claiming victory. Still some minor issues with idle and that slight hesitation under light throttle but progress is progress and we feel confident it's a step in the right direction. 

Thanks again for the pointers guys. Learning a lot.

Fladiver64 GRM+ Memberand New Reader
11/5/18 10:22 p.m.

In reply to Kyngfish :

It was great meeting you at the challenge, and glad to hear the milestone of getting it running has been met. I got my high school team starting on our mr2 this weekend, they think it will be running by Feb, I am hoping July.

Kyngfish New Reader
11/6/18 3:10 p.m.
Fladiver64 said:

In reply to Kyngfish :

It was great meeting you at the challenge, and glad to hear the milestone of getting it running has been met. I got my high school team starting on our mr2 this weekend, they think it will be running by Feb, I am hoping July.

Cool! Great meeting you as well - hope to see the thread on the MR2. When we were looking at cars that was always one that was in the back of my mind so it'll be great to see it in action.

As a quick update on the CRX, we were fiddling around with the timing again, and learned two important things we wanted to add, for any other poor fools struggling with their first build, but there was a second set of timing hash marks on the outer side of the pulley, making it easier to see, and also, we found that if we pointed the timing light from the front of the car more or less at the same height as the pulley, so the light crosses the top of the pulley instead of shining down on it, the hash-marks were much more clear due to the shadow. Makes a ton of sense in retrospect, and this probably should have been obvious. Unfortunately, not to us.

We also found that the idle adjust screw has a lot more play than we thought, and the hiss we were hearing seems to be due to the screw on the intake being a lot farther out than we thought, propping the throttle substantially further open than it probably should be. Adjusting it back down settled the idle a little, thought it's still a bit rough. Going to fine-tune timing and check TPS and set the base idle. Once we sort out the next issue, which is...

We took it out for a slightly longer drive and it was behaving OK, but unfortunately started overheating and we had to shut it off. Looks like the fan is not kicking on. We've tested the fan and it works ok, so now going to run through other possible fan issues to see what's up. Two steps forward, one step back....

Stampie GRM+ Memberand UberDork
11/6/18 3:20 p.m.

I'm glad you guys are sticking with it and hope to see you next year. 

CrustyRedXpress New Reader
1/31/19 9:06 a.m.

This thread has been quiet, but the devil's hands have been busy. I'm currently funemployed so we moved Crusty to my house on the west coast of Florida. It's been a productive couple of months. 

-Overheating issue has been sorted. An aftermarket radiator combined with the incorrect upper radiator hose created a kink that was easier to see in a well-lit garage after the hood had been removed. Lesson-whenever possible, get the hood off and get some light on the situation.


-Crusty starts with the key again. After hours of troubleshooting the starting system I realized when I was gutting the interior that there were actually two switches on the clutch pedal, not one. After replacing a rubber stopper that the switch presses against, the clutch interlock again works as it should and we don't have to use jumpers. As an added bons I removed all the HVAC stuff to add some lightness.

-The idle issue is solved for now. This one is still a mystery, but our best guess is that one of the sensors from the old engine doesn't like the ECU. The solution for now is to use a fuel map that we downloaded from the internet...it purrs like a kitten but we're getting some backfiring below 2k. We hope to have bi-directional tuning ability up and running soon so we can use a wideband and figure out what the issue is.

-I did some light bodywork on the rear bumper by installing some spacers. Not a permanent fix, but it makes Crusty look a little less like cop-bait. Also secured the radiator and began work on a shift knob.

CrustyRedXpress New Reader
2/20/19 10:23 a.m.

Late January/Mid February Update-

Tuning- In late January we installed new headers and downpipe that had an extra 02 bung and slapped in a wide band. After some serious internet sluthing we found tuning platform called Tuner Express that can handle OBD-0 Honda ECUs.

It's crazy to think about, but we have a ECU from 1988 feeding data into a computer from 2015 that is running an operating system from 2003 and it all seems to be playing pretty nicely.  The ECU was $45 and the chip was $15-so we're into our fuel management for about $60. Tuner Express was only $20 but since it's a tool, so doesn't count to the budget. Wideband is pricey but will be removed from the car during the competition as well, so no budget impact.

With the wideband and ECU feeding into Tuner Express we can drive around on the street for a bit while logging data like RPM, AFR, ICT. After that, we pull over, make modifications to the fuel table, and go out for more driving and logging. After that it's wash, rise, and repeat till your AFRs are close to what they need to be. 

Of course, we're still idiots when it comes to this stuff, so there's a lot to learn. We're not tuning for power yet, but right now we're no longer backfiring and we have enough fuel that we're not doing damage while we drive Crusty around. 

Quick hits from tuning-

-We have a larger intake manifold and a mystery throttle body that are really having in impact on the top end. Our fuel needs there are through the roof and the stock injectors are already at 80% of duty cycle in that part of the map

-Next step is probably DSM 450 injectors (stock is 240) and a fuel pump upgrade. We needed this for the eventual turbo, so no biggie

Body work-Crusty had some impact damage on the driver's side headlight and front bumper, and the passenger's rear quarter panel. I dropped the front bumper, adjusted some of the bumper supports with a hammer and epoxied the headlight bucket. Crusty now looks a little less like Forrest Whitaker, so I'm calling it a win

The rear passenger quarter panel is a different story. This weekend we're going to try to get it straightened out by drilling some steel plates into my cement driveway, attaching some chain and a Harbour freight hydraulic puller to Crusty and trying not to kill ourselves in the process. Stay tuned!


Some little adjustments to the engine. The TPS was 2-3% of of spec so it got adjusted along wth the throttle cable. After that I played with the idle a bit and verified the timing. She's running pretty smooth, but plugs and wires are original to the engine and may get replaced at some point as well.

Gear knob turned out great. We used a lucky 13 billiard ball then drilled and tapped it to accept the threads on the shifter. The interior is looking better all the time, but we have to do something with those seats. Maybe I can convince my wife to teach me how to sew...


Big Projects next up-

-Pull the rear quarter straight

-Make a tool for wheel alignment-Probably a copy of the SmartString design and a camber gage

-Get wheels algined

After that Crusty is going back to Miami to get some body work and paint...we're looking at Turbo work in May or June.




Robbie GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/20/19 1:00 p.m.


Fladiver64 GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/20/19 1:07 p.m.

Sounds great! Good idea to get familiar with the tuning now before the turbo. I always say I'm going to go one step at a time and then something gets in the way.

spacecadet GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/21/19 11:45 p.m.

couple things to know with this motor, it's a stroker and if you run above the 6800 redline there's a possibility you'll put a rod through the block. IT is a stroker motor and the piston velocities are high. I ran a 8k limiter in my STS EF and even on a built motor I was warned profusely by Dave Whitener that extended time above 6800 rpm was risky. A buddy of mine put a rod through the side of his D16 in mid 2017. 

If i was you, I'd go look and see what an autocrosser might give you for the motor because it sounds like it's a virgin undecked block and those are becoming harder to find and might be worth the trouble to find a D15 and make yourself a Mini-Me motor that could produce the same power and if you could get money out of the D16A6... be cheaper for your challenge budget. 


J1000 New Reader
2/22/19 4:40 p.m.

I'm totally in on this project. Looks awesome I love hot rodded HFs. Did you get a name brand turbo kit or just eBay special? 

Cheap and easy way to do alignment is to get one of those electronic levels and hold it up to the wheel, also camber bolts are cheap and will let you get 1.5 deg more negative front camber.

Im not familiar with the rules or your area but E85 should be on the list, more power and faster spool and more safety margin for knock and EGT.

Looking forward to more progress!

CrustyRedXpress New Reader
2/22/19 8:45 p.m.

In reply to spacecadet :

Thanks for the heads up-I'll modify the ECU tommorow to lower the RPM limit to 6800-it's currently at 7k. We know the rods are the weak point in the engine, and unless we upgrade to a h-beam and vitara setup they will be the limiting factor for the turbo. We only paid $150 for the d16a6 long block plus an si transmission...it's now rebuilt so it's a keeper for now.

In reply to J1000 :

Thanks! Turbo kit is an EMUSA...@kyngfish ordered it but i think it's a well-known ebay special. Yeah, the camber looks pretty easy to set, but I need to get the front and rear toe dialed in too...which I think requires the SmartString setup. Sell me on the E85...I'm aware of it's benefits in the turbo application, but this car sits for weeks/months on end and I believe that numerous rubber components (fuel lines/seals?) would have to be replaced. 

Fender Pulling-

@kyngfish and I spent part of today straightening out the rear passenger's quarterpanel on Crusty. We bought a hydraulic puller from Harbour Freight, some 3/16th chain, 1/4" steel plate, and some 4.5" concrete anchors from Home Depot. After fabricating the 1/4" steel into chain plates we drilled 1/2" holes in my driveway and secured the plates at the right front and right rear of the car.  One length of the chain held front town hitch to the front chain plate while we hooked up the hydraulic puller in between Crusty and the chain on the back. 

Behold! Suburban Auto Body at it's finest:

Here is one of your intrepid builders cowering behind Crusty and hoping the 3/16th chain doesn't cut loose. 

The results are pretty good! We think that the frame rail was only tweaked behind the suspension attach points, but we still wanted to do this repair because A.) We hadn't done anything like this before and B.) Pulling the rear quarter panel would let us even up the tail-light and bumper, while fixing the panel gap at the door and making the big dent in the rear quarter easier to bang out with a hammer and fill with Bondo.

On the one hand it was heartening to see how easily it pulled out, but on the other hand sobering to realize that a CRX has the structural integrity of a coke can.  

Next on the list:

>Lower ride height

>4 wheel alignment

>Try to rescue current Rio Red paint via. wet sanding

>Body work: Bondo on rear quarter and fix smaller dents on almost all panels

Hopefully we can save the existing paint and then do a simple livery on the back to cover up the Bondo job that we'll have to do on that quarter panel. Any ideas from the hivemind?





wheelsmithy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/23/19 7:34 a.m.

Excellent! I love the driveway frame machine.

For anyone else doing this sort of thing, if you need a straighter (more horizontal) pull, an old wheel works wonders as a pulley

CrustyRedXpress New Reader
2/23/19 2:32 p.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy :

Solid advice! We were using jack stands at different points as well. 

We were pretty nervous about the whole thing-lots of youtube videos of 4X4s snapping tow chains that end up killing people. In the end we tried to keep the chain as short as possible and it pulled with no issues. 

Still noodling on a paint scheme for the back.

Crackers Dork
2/23/19 3:18 p.m.

That's a disparagement to Coke cans. LOL 

A buddy had one with a CF front end and doors. Got some torque steer during some hard acceleration that put him into a parked car at about 50 mph and completely flayed the whole passenger side of the car open. 

sleepyhead Mod Squad
2/25/19 5:04 a.m.

FYI, thread has been moved to the $2000 Challenge Forum, at Crusty's request

continue about your challenging

CrustyRedXpress New Reader
2/25/19 9:42 a.m.

Suspension settings for Challenge?

I tried lowering Crusty yesterday and quickly ran into an area I have no experience with-suspension settings. 

The good news is that Crusty came with all new suspension bushings and adjustable Coilovers all the way around. Unfortunately the front upper A-arms are OEM, which means no camber control. After doing some Googling it looks like camber settings for CRXs that auto-X are anywhere from -2.5 to -3, with drag settings from -.5 to +1. 

The -2.5 is probably possible just from lowering the car, but the .5 to +1 for drag would mean the car would be back at stock ride height for the drag...which isn't what we want. Ergo, I started hunting around for adjustable camber arms and found a set of Chinese arms that got OK reviews from the forums and FB group.

This is the first time I've done anything with suspension and it's fascinating stuff. It looks like we'll be using two different settings (one for AutoX, and one for drag) so we've got to get good at setting up a string box at the track. I understand how to build a string box for Toe, and how to measure camber using a saw-blade gage and some angle iron, but I'm still not sure how to measure caster. Apparently the adjustment for caster is just putting washers under under the thrust arms, so that might be all there is to it.

CrustyRedXpress New Reader
3/9/19 8:05 p.m.

Adjustable upper arms went in without too much fuss. One side had to be ground down by a mm to clear part of the inner fender, but other than that everything looks good. After the install I lowered all corners by about 3/4 of an inch and set the camber and toe for all 4 wheels (forgot to hold the steering wheel centered for front toe...will have to re-do this). Car looks faster, but speed bumps may be an issue because of a low exhaust.

Current suspension setup: 

Front- Negative 2.5* camber each side, 0* Toe, 7 inch, 350lb springs

Rear- Negative 1* camber each side, 0* Toe, 7 inch, 250lb springs

There is an HF front swap bar and a traction bar in there as well. No idea yet how well all of this is gong to pay together. 


Suspension is probably the best looking part of the car right now...


Does -2.5 qualify as #stancelife?

DIY camber gage from angle iron and a saw blade level:


Next on the list is me trying to figure out my ECU's ignition timing map with a some rubber tubing, copper pipe, and a stethoscope... 

CrustyRedXpress New Reader
3/11/19 3:46 p.m.

Budget question!

A local shop rents their Dyno to tuners for an hourly rate. 

If I rent the dyno for an hour and tune the car myself, does this count against the budget? 

Here is the shop and the description-https://www.garageyourself.com/dyno-tuning


Stampie GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/11/19 7:32 p.m.

In reply to CrustyRedXpress :

I'm pretty sure the ruling is as long as they don't do the tuning and you do it your good.  That means no help/suggestions/standing over your shoulder telling you what to type. At that point the dyno becomes a tool rental.

CrustyRedXpress New Reader
3/11/19 7:51 p.m.

In reply to Stampie :

That's what I thought, but wanted to make sure.

No shoulder surfing would be tolerated. This software is so old/obscure that they wouldn't know what to press anyhow. 

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