Hello there, what I am trying to determine is what my best approach should be in regards to purchasing a new to me 92 to 95 civic hatchback to serve as my daily driver to work (60 miles round trip).
Given the current rise in gas prices, there is alot more interest in people searching for great mileaged honda civics. I would absolutely love to get my hands on a VX HB, however, it seems to be a long shot with the demand for these.
My question is what should be a realistic approach to getting into a vehicle which gets over 40 mpg and at the same time limiting the funds needed to around 3.5k to 4k dollars?
I am really leaning towards, as stated above, a 92 to 95 civic hatchback. My understanding is that the VX is preferred but that the CX has the same tranny. Because of this, I am thinking about including the CX in my searches and once/if I find one, replace the CX engine with a D15Z1. Does this make sense?
Or what else would be a good plan of attack with what is generally available out on the market right now?
It's an easy engine swap and a cheap engine ($500). I think you'd end up with a cleaner shell and get it for much cheaper if you start with a CX and swap to a VX engine, ECU, and O2 sensor. Most VX's have over 200k miles, so you'd want to swap it out for a fresh low mileage JDM engine anyway. You'd need to run two wires for VTEC which is cake (1992 CX is prewired for VTEC). If the CX has EGR then you're all set in that department.
I recommend getting a clutch and flywheel for the CX trans. Exedy makes a good and cheap OEM replacement clutch. The Exedy lightweight flywheel is a very reasonable 12 lbs which wont give you any driveability issues. Remember, the VX comes with a lightweight flywheel.
CA P07's and O2 sensors aren't hard to find and aren't terribly expensive. The federal P07 and wideband O2 sensor will net you better mileage, but it may not be worth it.
If you really wanted to convert the chassis to VX you could get a front lip spoiler ($130 with hardware from the dealership) and a rear diffuser ($35). The VX also has a lightweight lower alternator mount and a lightweight front left lower engine mount. The alternator mount will probably come with the engine. The VX came with a tach cluster and a shift light on some models. Any 92-95 tach cluster ie from the EX or Si will plug right in.
You could even start with a DX (standard trans) if you wanted.
I would prefer to spend less but so far in my search prices tend to be elevated. Most have been modified with a different engine/tranny for performance. I seem to see quite a few DX models available, less CXs, and hardly any VXs.
From you guys standpoint, do VX originals come available often? Or does it take months to sort through craigslist, ebay, etc. to find them?
Lastly, what kind of mileage could I expect out of a '92 to '95 DX model?
It took me about 3 months of daily searching 2-3 hours a day. looking and found a 95 VX. I was able to get it for 2k with 146k miles. That will be impossible nowadays but you can probably fine one with the same or close numbers for the 3500-4000 range you talked about. It will take some time and lots of searching. My second was a CX and I passed on a few that were below 2k. One was only 1k in ohio, but it had body damage. I should have grabbed that one in addition to the one I got. A DX will only get you mid to high 30s, possibly low 40s but that would be pushing it. Literally. lol