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Old 01-11-2010, 07:50 PM   #1
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new VX owner - somewhat regret

So I just bought a VX recently
I might have spent too much on it: $3100

Before and after buying I noticed a significant amount of problems:
-The rear hatch window does not automatically lift up. The hydraulic structs are not connected to the window and the ends of the struts are jammed into the window seal. I need to buy the nut and seal that connects the strut to the window.
-The rear shocks are bad and squeak alot. The car vibrates alot. Example: I was listening to the radio and the sound from the speakers was oscillating. When I finished driving home (about an hr), when I got out my lower back was hurting.
-One of the rear tail lights are out.
-There is a hole in the car's body near the spare wheel that opens to the outside behind the rear bumper. You can tell someone bondo'ed the hole before. Tapping on the edges of the hole sounds different than tapping on metal. Its not a big hole, like 2 inches wide, so I probably just have to rebondo it.
-The bottom part of the rear seats seems very spongy. Like it got wet before and dried. Also the rear seats don't hook into the fold down part.
-The seals on the rear hatch and driver window may be leaky. Looking from inside the car, I can see a tiny space between the seal to the outside. When it rains, water might run down the gutters and into this leaky seal. Anyway to fix temporarily? I suspect water might have leaked into the car making the rear seats spongy, and into the spare wheel well making that hole in the body.
-The latch to fold down the rear seat is missing on one of the seats. I had to unscrew the knob on the other one and screw the knob on the other seat to fold it down.
-The previous owner put in Bosch platinum spark plugs. I have read this is bad.
-There are numerous rust spots on the hood (maybe the biggest is 3 inches long)
-When I push accelerator in neutral, whitish smoke comes from exhaust indicating a coolant leak.
-The driver side door is sagging a bit. When I close it, it hits the car and goes a little up then in.
-The driver side mirror is held in place with a zip tie.
-It has almost 190k on it.
-There is a huge crack on the front window, but it doesn't affect visibility at all. I barely noticed it driving the car home.
-The catalytic filter is stock and has never been changed (and probably doesn't filter anything anymore). This part confuses me. The previous owner said the car never needed to be smogged anymore. He got certificate to exempt him from smogging it; the reason being Honda stopped making the catalytic filter for the car. He said the smog place had to verify that Honda stopped making the filter. He showed me the certificate and said in 2 yrs time, i can just call up the smog place and show them it. And hopefully not have to smog it. The certificate showed the car failed to pass the hydrocarbon test.
I'm not sure if this is thing about exempt from smog is true. Can anyone with VX's chime in about this? I live in California by the way.
-The fuel gauge was changing alot when I drove it. Sometimes it would be at half tank and sometimes 1/4th, but it changed gradually. Is this normal?
-The car idles somewhat high, like 1300 rpm. I read its supposed to be like 450 rpm.
-The driver side door is somewhat hard to lock. You gotta wiggle the key around.

Next week im giong to take it to mechanic to check out head gasket. I checked the engine oil cap and there was no foam or crust on it. Hopefully its not a coolant leak and im just a crappy driver. This is my first car and I just learned stick last month, so I have been stalling alot and revving alot. But I guess worst case I'm going to have to shell out 1000 clams to fix the leak, and prob another 500 for the rear shocks. The other stuff I'll just fix myself.

Since its a Cali car, it has the 4 wire O2 sensor right?

The car does have a helluva nice sound system. But when I start driving, the wind and road noise just ruins the sound.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:28 PM   #2
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OK...$3100, according to KBB.com, is about 3 times what they say the car in the condition you described is worth from a private party (about $3000 from a dealer if in perfect condition) but value is in the eye of the beholder, and those who lust after VXs tend to value them somewhat more than the guys who try to figure out what they are worth on the used car market. Fix the problems with this car, drive it a lot, then compare what you've spent for gas compared to your buddies with their Silverados and F-150s and you'll find that you will probably save $3100 in gas compared to them.

Most of the problems you mention are relatively minor, usual old car problems, except the possible head gasket problem, and the windshield. Rear shocks from Rock Auto, $47.79 each. Get a book and put 'em on your own self. It's fun!

Never heard that any '90s car was exempt from being smogged...I wouldn't trust the previous owner, I'd check with the smog place myself. Worst case, you'll need a new cat. I'm sure someone out there in the great wide world makes a universal one that will fit your car (I could be wrong about this, but I doubt it).
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:17 PM   #3
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working on them to me is what its all about. especially with sights like this one, others are always willing to give out good info. post some pics.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:59 AM   #4
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It is true about the eye of the beholder.
I have seen other VX's sold around here but they need repairs and are in $2500 range. The car I bought also needs repairs but some repairs were made. I estimated the work the previous owner did to be about $700. $200 for 2 new front axles, $300 for the stereo, and $200 for cold air intake. So subtracting those repairs, the car would have been around what goes for market value where I live.
So I guess I reasoned out the car is not a complete rip off.

I definitely think I will save money on gas. I used to drive my girlfriend's Ford Escape which I was a gas hog. Even tho with current gas prices(about $3/gal here) I would only save about $500 a year compared to the Ford, I'm sure in coming years the price of gas will increase making the savings more.

BUT I first have to verify it is getting around 40-45 mpg.

I am somewhat hesitant to work on the car myself. I have no tools and live in an apartment I rent (I'm a college student). So I'd be working on the car in the parking lot. I have downloaded the service manual so I'll check that out but I heard you need a pretty massive torque wrench to install the shocks. I saw a picture of someone standing on their wrench to have the proper torque.

But if there is a walkthrough for this please let me know!

About the smog, I saw the certificate saying it was exempt and he said he had to take his car to a referee to inspect his car. And he smogged it recently so I should be able to complete registration without doing it again.

As for calculating mpg how do you do it with a scangauge? Do you fill up and then drive and record miles and fill up again?

And it was strange when I opened my gas cap today, I heard the sound of air escaping. Like there was pressure inside the gas. Is that normal? It doesn't happen with my girlfriend's Ford.
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:01 AM   #5
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Wow, seems like you got a lot of work ahead of you here. Didn't you check the car out first? Did you have someone go with you when you initially looked at the car? With all that work that you're gonna do the price, IMO, was a little high. I was in a similar case where i just bought a 96 civic dx. Not much of a gas saver yet because it has an si motor in it. Anyhow the clutch went out after i got it, then the aftermarket headers cracked, which caused the straight pipe to be super loud, cv jt went out. To top it off the car was super low and winter driving (Wisconsin) sucks with that. Well, keep us updated on your progress.
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunv View Post
It is true about the eye of the beholder.
I have seen other VX's sold around here but they need repairs and are in $2500 range. The car I bought also needs repairs but some repairs were made. I estimated the work the previous owner did to be about $700. $200 for 2 new front axles, $300 for the stereo, and $200 for cold air intake. So subtracting those repairs, the car would have been around what goes for market value where I live.
So I guess I reasoned out the car is not a complete rip off.
No offense, but you over estimated those "repairs"... Most "mods" to cars (like a CAI) do not even bring half of the value that was paid for them when being resold. You can get CAI's (if not a name brand) for ~$50 on ebay. If a name brand (Injun, Greddy, Fujita Air, etc) then you could probably get it for around $150, but even then, that does not add $150 "value" to your car. As for the axles, they cost around $40 each (I just replaced some in a Civic) and I cannot really comment on the stereo because that could mean MANY things to different people (from just the radio, to speakers, to subs and amps and crossovers, etc) but you can get a decent radio/cd player for $50 and that is a name brand if you shop around (I bought a Kenwood for that price off Walmart.com brand new).

With that said, nothing that you listed really seems too major/uncommon for a car of that age. I too agree that half of the fun of owning a car is doing the work yourself and making it your own and enjoying the improvements you made. The other good part is that parts for Civic's are cheap. Enjoy the car and post some pics! You should enjoy the great fuel economy of the VX. Depending on what vehicle you are coming from, you could possibly be cutting your fuel bill in half.
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:36 AM   #7
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Hearing pressure when you open the tank is ok. This usually happens if you run the tank very close to empty. There is a pressure/vacuum valve in the cap to prevent vapors from leaving the tank. Its an emissions thing, and if its not functioning right they will make you replace it in a smog test. I also would think they would make you put a universal aftermarket converter in if Honda is no longer making the original.

Good luck with the car, and keep us posted on your progress.

-Jay
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:21 PM   #8
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My gas gauge moves around more than any of the other Honda's I have or have had!

My rear seal leaks too! I'll have to check for where mine is. I think you wrote that it's your first car. Great choice, you bought a rare VX. Learn how to do the fixes yourself & plan on keeping the car a long time. Ca. car? Lucky you, you should see my rear quarters on my NE Ohio car. I'm going to replace them. Never did it but I have several body guys I can ask questions to & borrow a panel adhesive gun from. :-)

With care Honda's run a long time & VX is a very wonderful design. Oh, one other thing, getting use to the clutch can be a little tricky because 1st gear is a little higher than most cars but the extra low torque should help compensate.

Remember, it's at least a 15 year old car, even Honda's wear out eventually.

Have fun,
Dave
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:53 PM   #9
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Hondas never die...they just smell like it on the inside.

You have your work cut out for you, SunV. don't hesitate to ask around and search around the website for VX related things.
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
No offense, but you over estimated those "repairs"... Most "mods" to cars (like a CAI) do not even bring half of the value that was paid for them when being resold. You can get CAI's (if not a name brand) for ~$50 on ebay. If a name brand (Injun, Greddy, Fujita Air, etc) then you could probably get it for around $150, but even then, that does not add $150 "value" to your car. As for the axles, they cost around $40 each (I just replaced some in a Civic) and I cannot really comment on the stereo because that could mean MANY things to different people (from just the radio, to speakers, to subs and amps and crossovers, etc) but you can get a decent radio/cd player for $50 and that is a name brand if you shop around (I bought a Kenwood for that price off Walmart.com brand new).
Ok I agree I overestimated the CAI. It prob was $100. But he showed me you could pass smog with it on.
The stereo I looked up prices for the speakers and reciever. It is a Pioneer Preimer system. And indeed it comes out to be $300.
The front axles I also looked online for prices and they are about 70-100 each.

So I might have overestimated by about $150-$200.

Pictures will come soon! (Maybe this weekend)
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