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Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/23/14 9:37 p.m.

So, the first thing I do when I get a new car is to find a set of factory manuals. Everyone say "thank you eBay". These were considerably less expensive than Miata ones would have been!

And of course, it's been almost a week now, so it must be time to go to the track. Action shots to follow, hopefully. This picture makes the nose look really weird.

I was supposed to be giving the V8 Miata a shakedown before the big Laguna Seca event in a few weeks, but it was pouring rain so that was futile. I boogied on home and came back with the CRX. The first session was pretty awful, all it wanted to do was understeer, lock front wheels and wheelspin. Second session with a bit more pressure in the rear tires, much the same.

Then the track dried and the car transformed. All of a sudden it could brake and turn in. Cornering was pretty balanced. No oversteer, but I could get the car fairly neutral and adjust my line. I wasn't going fast - you can thank a set of 400 tread wear tires for that - but I was having a really good time. I was learning new things all the time and the car was a willing dance partner.

I'm trying to decide if a bit of front camber or a rear sway bar would be the best choice for waking up the rear. I did get a lot of comments about my spectacular roll angles, so maybe the latter. I'm also going to investigate a clunk from the right front that sounds like a bushing in need.

I have to say, being able to take a near-30-year-old car and push it this hard this soon is pretty refreshing. Janel's giving me a hard time about how much I'm enjoying this car, but it's fun because it's not needy. It's good right out of the box. Yay CRX!

beans Dork
8/24/14 8:03 a.m.

Do both the rear bar and add camber! Honda's need both!

Also, your fancy GE Nighthawk LED headlights will fit this, too.

kevlarcorolla HalfDork
8/24/14 8:14 a.m.

I had an '87 Si,built engine with ported,polished head/intake/TB,cam,header etc etc plus basic suspension upgrades and it was a ton of fun and the rear was VERY lively with bigger bars.

Enjoy your time with it,I still miss mine from time to time.

SkinnyG Dork
8/24/14 10:15 a.m.

I thought I heard that the Integra lower control arms were wider, which would gain more camber.

Grinding down the front strut stop gains more travel by sinking the strut further into the knuckle.

Rear sway bars are awesome.

wbjones UltimaDork
8/24/14 10:34 a.m.
beans wrote: Do both the rear bar and add camber! Honda's need both! Also, your fancy GE Nighthawk LED headlights will fit this, too.

what he said … my '91 has -3 1/2° front camber and the aforementioned 7/8" rear bar … it will understeer, but that's when I over drive it into the corners

phaze1todd HalfDork
8/24/14 11:35 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: I don't think any of my cars get through an oil change without something getting tweaked! So, what sort of condition are we talking about? The good: no rust, and no cracks. These things are notorious for cracking front plastic fenders and nose, which are no longer available. Mine has no cracks at all. It also has no rust. This is probably due to 1) replacement of some body parts in the past and 2) a car that's lived in GA its entire life. The interior is in similar shape. Unmolested with just a fairly subtle head unit that has Bluetooth and a USB input. Underneath, I've discovered Koni red rear shocks, KYB front shocks and a complete brake job. The front brakes are apparently off a later CRX, and they're pretty big. In fact, you could say they're about as big as will possibly fit. Mechanically and aesthetically, this car is showing the signs of a series of careful owners. The bad? Well, those new panels have a pretty poorly applied paint job. The rest of the car was given a good respray some time ago, you can only tell from the various bits of overspray. There's some detective work to be done here, but it certainly doesn't seem to be from an accident. The car appears straight. You can see some of the color variation here - badly painted nose and front fender, oxidized hood. Also, note the missing nose emblem. I lied. I did find one crack in the passenger's fender, along with evidence that it came off a red donor. I'll have to figure out how to stop this and reinforce it.

Plastic Welder

phaze1todd HalfDork
8/24/14 11:44 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: The second is the space. This is a small car, but you've got loads of room. Some of that is thin doors, some of it is a lack of airbags and infotainment screens and all the stuff that fills up a new car. Just check out that interior (again).

In regards to interior space, a bass player friend of mine (Brian Perry-Dirty Looks, Lizzy Borden, Jake E. Lee, Prong) claims it'll fit an Ampeg 8x10 (aka: "Roadie Revolt System). Hauled one in the back of a CRX from NEPA to LA back in the 80's.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/24/14 12:20 p.m.

I just looked at the times from yesterday. I was 0.05 seconds behind forum member Jim Pettengil in his original MR2 (the battle of the mid-80's icons!) and 1 second behind an Audi R8 that's still on the OE tires.

Apparently the fenders on these are ABS. Same as the front bumper on an E39 M5. I've got a cracked E39 bumper, I'll practice on it.

New headlights are indeed on the way if I didn't mention it - Hella E-codes. I couldn't quite make myself drop the coin on the Nighthawks. I'll spend the money on sway bars instead.

I'm looking into the Integra lower control arms. There's a lot of really questionable information out there about these cars, and there's the possibility that the aftermarket replacement parts are all the same. I might just make my own modified upper strut mounts.

wbjones UltimaDork
8/24/14 7:34 p.m.

Keith, I'd PM this to you, but it works so seldom … I'll just leave it here ….

temptation just for you


Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/24/14 10:20 p.m.

Thanks, I think.

loudes13 New Reader
8/24/14 11:33 p.m.

If you ever want to sell, please let me know.

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
8/25/14 8:15 a.m.
phaze1todd wrote:
Keith Tanner wrote: I lied. I did find one crack in the passenger's fender, along with evidence that it came off a red donor. I'll have to figure out how to stop this and reinforce it.

Plastic Welder

Eastwood also sells a number of plastic repair tools:


Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/26/14 8:00 p.m.

The first modifications. You knew this was coming.

First, I had to right a wrong.

I also finished off my first tank of gas. The result was 33 mpg, including the time on track. Not too shabby at all, really.

First real modification: a rear sway bar. No drilling, this is a bolt-on setup that makes creative use of muffler clamps. The initial test drive was promising, but took place during school migration so the roads were clogged with SUVs going around corners at 12.7 mph.

Next up, some Hella e-code headlights. The stock sealed beams suck, as sealed beams have always done. Why not the GE Nighthawk LEDs I love so much on the Miata? Because CRXs use tiny little 4x6 lights instead of the normal 5x7, so they don't make one that fit. Still, these aren't a terrible second choice.

The lights have an odd connector with one spade off at an angle. The lights came with an adapter, but it didn't have the angle. So I disassembled the adapter, wrapped the exposed parts of the terminals with F4 tape, then wrapped the whole deal in F4 tape to give it some protection. Here it is before the second layer.

I'll see how well this worked later. I'll aim them once it gets dark.

Woody MegaDork
8/26/14 9:42 p.m.

I have a feeling that you're going to strip the threads off the muffler clamps on the track.

SkinnyG Dork
8/26/14 9:54 p.m.

I doubt it. It will be perfectly fine. Many a 84-87 Civic/CRX was done this way, including mine.

Same muffler clamps on my old '88 Firebird - straight from GM.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/26/14 9:59 p.m.

It's a Suspension Techniques bar. I'm assuming they know a little bit. I know that muffler clamps are stronger than the brackets we built for our V8 exhausts at first, I cracked two brackets and never had a clamp problem

Woody MegaDork
8/27/14 8:01 a.m.

Well, that's good news then. I bought a rear bar for my WRX from IPD (who should know a bit about overbuilding things) and I was stripping threads at least once per year.

petegans New Reader
8/27/14 9:44 a.m.

I like where this thread is going, and am quite jealous of you for finding such a clean 85!

nhmercracer New Reader
8/27/14 10:48 a.m.

I'm jealous.

I had one of these. An '85 in white over blue. bought it used from my brother as he was a Honda wrench. He bought an SI to replace it. Sold it to buy an Integra. Was a great car, if a little "buzzy".

4cylndrfury MegaDork
8/27/14 12:15 p.m.

I wonder if bracing the rear strut towers would help that bar? Its basically the first suspension mod anyone should do in the also rear beamed 2nd Gen G20 to help improve understeer. Probably would help here too...just throwing an idea out there. These updates are a lot of fun! Love the entire idea of this thread

BoxheadTim UltimaDork
8/27/14 10:49 p.m.

Problem is, if you do that you'd have to weld the brace in and just lost the usefulness of the luggage area because you've got a bar going right across the middle...

gamby UltimaDork
8/27/14 11:54 p.m.

Great car. I'd love to spend an afternoon loving it tenderly with my buffer. Last time I detailed one was Sonic's entry in the $2003 Challenge, which eventually became a Hong Norr car.

I wouldn't mod it much, either. Too much of a survivor at this point to do anything that isn't easily reversible IMHO.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/28/14 9:50 a.m.

I do want to see if I can improve the brake feel. The PO told me he put in a larger master and maybe a different booster, but it's still got a surprisingly squishy pedal. It doesn't feel like air, just flexible calipers and not enough master size.

Headlight report: aaaah. So much better. Sealed beams are awful. Hella e-codes are awesome. Now the light is going where I need it to go. I aligned them last night and had a chance for a highway drive this morning in the dark.

Haven't had the chance to really run it hard at some corners with the rear sway yet, I had the hatch full of hub stands on the way to work. It's amazing how often I've found myself having to carry things around in this little car already.

Gamby, you are welcome to come buff the paint on this thing anytime Man, was it hard to write that and not come up with some sort of double entendre.

Woody MegaDork
8/28/14 9:56 a.m.

Motul fluid and braided lines made a huge difference on my Civic Si. Or, ask Oscar what he would do.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/28/14 10:02 a.m.

Braided lines, that's a good one. I'll see if our supplier makes some.

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