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Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/19/12 8:11 p.m.

1988 Honda CRX Si

I've posted a few photos of this car elsewhere, but I decided that I should probably put it all together in a project thread, so here it goes.

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I found this car about two miles from my house, parked in a retirement community with a For Sale sign in the window. The first thing that grabbed my eye was the fact that it still had it's original wheels on it. And, while not completely rust free, there was less rust than I have seen on a CRX in years. A closer look revealed that it had 179,000 miles and absolutely no modifications. A day later, I bought the car from the original owner and he drove it to my house. He also gave me a folder with every receipt from the day that the car was new. He was a very good service customer. It's worth noting that the clutch, flywheel, timing belt, alternator, and radiator have been replaced within the past 25k miles. The tires are also in excellent condition. And, as an added bonus, it came with 3/4 of a tank of fuel.

The interior is nearly perfect. In fact, I didn't even have to vacuum it. I did, however, toss the awful steering wheel cover into the trash.

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The first order of business was to get rid of the horrible window tinting. The driver's window and the rear glass were in especially poor condition. According to the receipt, it's been on there since August of 1988. Following some GRM advice, I bought a laundry steamer to help remove the film. Between that and a razor blade, it wasn't too bad getting it off of the door windows.

A word of caution if you're trying this yourself:

Remember, by definition, steam is hotter than boiling water, so be careful.

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With the film removed, I still had a thin layer of glue on the glass. I used the steamer again to soften it up, ran a razor blade across it a bunch of times, added more steam and then wiped most of it off with a shop rag. After that, just glass cleaner and paper towels.

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The rear glass was much more difficult, primarily because it sits nearly horizontal to the sun and covers the rear defroster grid. Here it is with the easy half done, just to give you an idea of what I started with. Bottom line: the back window was a slow, uncomfortable nightmare.

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Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't do another rear window unless the film was as bad as this one was.

Next up was cleaning under the hood. It was pretty filthy, which was due to a combination of age, miles and a leaky valve cover gasket.

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I put the car up on ramps and, with the engine warm, soaked it down with Gunk Foamy Engine Brite. After letting it soak for a bit, I hooked up the hot water to my pressure washer and blasted the grime away.

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Looks like I'll be painting the valve cover when I take it off to adjust the valves.

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According to the receipts, the brakes don't have a lot of miles on them, but they were squeaky so I planned take them apart for a clean and lube. Once I removed the wheel, I discovered they were a lot crustier than I had expected. Fortunately, brake parts are so cheap for these cars that I picked up new pads, shoes and drums, and had the front rotors turned.

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Tomorrow, I'll tackle the rear brakes and then I'll turn my attention to the oxidized paint. Hopefully, that'll buff out...

mazdeuce
mazdeuce HalfDork
12/19/12 8:45 p.m.

Holy crap. Plans?

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/19/12 9:03 p.m.

I should also mention that back in 1989, I bought a brand new Civic Si. At the time, I couldn't afford a CRX, which cost $1000 more and would have been more expensive to insure.

I drove that car for twelve years and 300,000 miles until it finally rusted out. If Honda was still making them, I'd still be buying them.

By comparison, this CRX is just getting broken in.

jimbob_racing
jimbob_racing Dork
12/19/12 9:04 p.m.

Is that an extra horn by the airbox?

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/19/12 9:12 p.m.
jimbob_racing wrote: Is that an extra horn by the airbox?

Good eye! I forgot about that. I guess there is a modification.

The seller told me that the original horn was located behind the bumper and it failed at some point. He felt that it went bad due to its location, so he had a replacement mounted up out of the elements. I have the receipt for that, too.

sethmeister4
sethmeister4 Reader
12/19/12 11:05 p.m.

Very cool...can't beat those awesome 80's seats! They are gorgeous!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/20/12 12:07 a.m.

Pro tip: get a can of black BBQ paint. Shoot your brake rotors with it, then use a rag with a bit of brake cleaner on it to wipe down the swept areas. The paint dries in about 5 minutes. Voila, a much nicer looking rotor without crust. Works on calipers too. Heck, most of my first race car is painted in BBQ. Including, if memory serves, the hood.

SilverFleet
SilverFleet Dork
12/20/12 9:47 a.m.

Glad to see you are fixing this one up. Very cool car, and you don't see them in that kind of shape in the Northeast anymore. Keep it up!

tuna55
tuna55 UberDork
12/20/12 10:24 a.m.

Nicely done Woody...

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
12/20/12 11:30 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: Pro tip: get a can of black BBQ paint. Shoot your brake rotors with it, then use a rag with a bit of brake cleaner on it to wipe down the swept areas. The paint dries in about 5 minutes. Voila, a much nicer looking rotor without crust. Works on calipers too. Heck, most of my first race car is painted in BBQ. Including, if memory serves, the hood.

Could look good on that valve cover.

oldsaw
oldsaw PowerDork
12/20/12 11:56 a.m.
Jerry From LA wrote:
Keith Tanner wrote: Pro tip: get a can of black BBQ paint. Shoot your brake rotors with it, then use a rag with a bit of brake cleaner on it to wipe down the swept areas. The paint dries in about 5 minutes. Voila, a much nicer looking rotor without crust. Works on calipers too. Heck, most of my first race car is painted in BBQ. Including, if memory serves, the hood.
Could look good on that valve cover.

Yep, I'm liking that idea - big time.

<=== Who has two vintage Honda's with weathered valve covers, one of which has already been re-painted and is in a progressive state of flake.

e_pie
e_pie HalfDork
12/20/12 12:27 p.m.

Those floormats are probably worth more than the car.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/20/12 12:33 p.m.
Jerry From LA wrote:
Keith Tanner wrote: Pro tip: get a can of black BBQ paint. Shoot your brake rotors with it, then use a rag with a bit of brake cleaner on it to wipe down the swept areas. The paint dries in about 5 minutes. Voila, a much nicer looking rotor without crust. Works on calipers too. Heck, most of my first race car is painted in BBQ. Including, if memory serves, the hood.
Could look good on that valve cover.

Already thought of that! I'll let you know how it turns out.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey SuperDork
12/20/12 7:27 p.m.

I don't think I've ever seen one with an intact driver's seat....

Makes me miss mine badly

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/20/12 7:33 p.m.

That looks like it's in great shape. Reminds me of the one I had in the UK for a little while, that one was a lot crustier around the wheelarches but still a ton of fun to drive.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/20/12 8:53 p.m.

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike drum brakes? As far as I'm concerned, drum brakes should only be used to stop Satan's own Hyundai.

According to the receipts, the rear brakes didn't have many miles on them, but they were making a little noise and the parking brake didn't seem to be doing much, so I pulled off the wheels to take a look. Yuck.

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When I bought the front pads, I also picked up a set of drums and shoes for the rear just in case. I figured that I could just return them if I decided not to use them. After removing the rusty drums, I found that the shoes still had a lot of material left on them.

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I briefly considered just taking them apart to clean and lube everything, but then I started to think about sandblasting the drums and having them turned. After realizing that it would become an all day project, I decided to just replace everything, since I already had all the parts. This turns out to have been a good move. When I took them apart, I discovered that the automatic adjuster was frozen in the fully closed position. I had to put it in the vise and use pliers to free it up. Then I polished it up with the wire wheel on the bench grinder and lubed it with Honda M77 Assembly Paste.

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I didn't get too crazy, but I did clean up all the sliding surfaces with the Dremel.

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I put the new shoes and drums on (no BBQ paint this time; 24 degrees outside) and used a pressure bleeder to flush out all the old fluid.

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I haven't added it all up yet, but the total for all four corners was less than a hundred bucks.

JohnyHachi6
JohnyHachi6 HalfDork
12/20/12 9:23 p.m.
Woody wrote: I haven't added it all up yet, but the total for all four corners was less than a hundred bucks.

Oh man, yeah I miss that. CRX brakes are SO cheap.

tpwalsh
tpwalsh Reader
12/21/12 7:02 a.m.
Woody said: Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike drum brakes? As far as I'm concerned, drum brakes should only be used to stop Satan's own Hyundai.

And that's precisely why I bought a 91 Si. :)

pinchvalve
pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
12/21/12 7:53 a.m.

A swap to rear disks is not that hard, just grab the entire rear arm assemblies off an Si on Integra from the junkyard.

I notice that you cannot see the ground from the driver's seat. That means it has less rust than any Civic I have ever worked on.

red5_02
red5_02 Reader
12/21/12 12:17 p.m.

Looks neat! What are you plans?

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/21/12 12:59 p.m.

No real plan at this point.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UberDork
12/21/12 1:30 p.m.
Woody wrote: No real plan at this point.

that's a plan.......

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/22/12 7:09 p.m.

That'll buff out...(I hope).

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Not perfect, but approximately a million times better than it was.

chandlerGTi
chandlerGTi Dork
12/22/12 8:43 p.m.

Night and day difference!

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/22/12 9:15 p.m.

That's looking pretty good.

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