CRX HF 49 States vs CA - Fuelly Forums

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Old 11-26-2007, 07:04 AM   #1
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CRX HF 49 States vs CA

I've heard some rumblings here and there about avoiding California models of the beloved CRX HF. I'm having trouble finding info to back this up, and was wondering what the difference is. I'm in California and about 48 hours away from buying a 1990 CRX HF and was hoping one of you could get me in the know. Thanks!

I'm new to these forums, here's a little bit on me...
Since about 1997 I've been a MPG nut. In 1997 I bought a 91 Geo Metro that I gutted to make as lightweight as possible (also helps to get all those interior rattles out!). I gave it to my Dad a few months ago and we're going to convert into an EV. I have a 91 convertible that I'm cutting in half to make a matching trailer for my 90 Geo Metro convertible (I swear, it is the most fun car ever made). My current daily driver is a 93 Honda Civic DX hatchback (all stock) - which I consider way too big and way too low on MPG. I average about 41 mpg, but want to get higher and figured I could give it to my wife and get myself a CRX HF or Civic VX that would pay for itself within a year (I drive a lot, but the savings of getting my wife's 19mpg Camry wagon off the road is factored into that, and is a favor to mankind as a whole).
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:28 AM   #2
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I think the CA model of the CRX HF different mainly in the transmission. If you check the EPA stats for the CA version and the non-CA version, the MPG figures are different.

One of the version also may have had an EGR valve... unsure...

It would be fairly easy to convert a CA CRX HF to a non-CA CRX HF if you are comfortable with swapping the transmission... maybe the ECU.
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:51 AM   #3
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I know for sure the CA HF had a different final ratio in the trans. It was a ratio that wasn't as FE orientated as the federal counterpart. The federal version has the EGR, but I also believe the CA version has the EGR as well.

Swapping out the trans will yield a federal version's FE if driven properly.

There might be one more difference but I can't recall off-hand.
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:48 AM   #4
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I know on the VX, that the 49 state version also used the wide band oxygen sensor and the ecu utilized that to do lean burn. I believe the 88-91 HF, 49 state version, also utilized the wide band sensor and a lean burn ecu.

The wide band oxygen sensor has 5 wires in it, where a regular narrow band oxygen sensor has anywhere from 1 to 4 wires. The narrow band sensors utilized similar technology, but the wiring varies according to how the manufacturer implemented it.
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:12 AM   #5
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I know on the VX, that the 49 state version also used the wide band oxygen sensor and the ecu utilized that to do lean burn. I believe the 88-91 HF, 49 state version, also utilized the wide band sensor and a lean burn ecu.

The wide band oxygen sensor has 5 wires in it, where a regular narrow band oxygen sensor has anywhere from 1 to 4 wires. The narrow band sensors utilized similar technology, but the wiring varies according to how the manufacturer implemented it.
no wide band on the CRX HF
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:44 AM   #6
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I appreciate the help guys. If I'm scouring a junkyard, is there a set of numbers/letters on the vin number or stamped to the engine/trans that will help me tell them apart?

If I try to make it to FED/49 specs, do I run a risk of not passing smog?
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Old 11-28-2007, 04:45 AM   #7
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I do believe that the Federal transmission is a little taller than the California transmission. But from the numbers that I have seen, the difference is negligible. I believe it is something like 2.95:1 vs 3.25:1 - not really worth the trouble of trying to find a Federal transmission and swapping. After all, even the California HF transmission is pretty damn tall. As for the engine, I don't know that there are ANY differences. But if there are, it is probably in the ECU, and maybe the cam. Honda seems to like to change cams and ECUs when makig minor tweaks to motors, and this is the main reason why a newer Honda engine might have 5=10 more HP than a slightly older version of basically the same engine.

As for passing smog, I doubt there would be much of a difference. But if all you are changing is the ECU, then you can just swap before smogging.
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Old 11-30-2007, 06:39 AM   #8
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Well I checked it out and was surprised to find that I'm too tall for a CRX. It's a shame, what a fun little car. Hopefully your answers will help another person looking for an HF. I appreciate the help guys, thanks. Now I'm on to looking for a VX. Already owning a 93 Civic DX, there's not much chance of the size thing being an issue. I'm sure I'll have questions on that as well. I look forward to bragging about 50mpg+ on the site some time soon.
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Old 11-30-2007, 10:40 AM   #9
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^^^You don't fit in a CRX??? how tall are you? I've had friends that were 6'4" that owned CRXs and fit fine in them.
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Old 11-30-2007, 10:45 AM   #10
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how tall are you? my 1985 crx hf is good for people up to 6' 4" tall, or taller, I didn't realize that the 2nd generation of them had that much more fluff, other then the SI, that has the electronic sun roof droping the head liner down another 2".
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