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Old 04-19-2007, 03:59 PM   #1
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Home with VX, Some Q's and comments

I just picked up a 94 VX from southern N.H. yesterday. When I went to look at it everything was great. It only had 112K and no rust. It was nearly all stock, including original rims, eng and tranny. It had a 5 wire o2. Only 2 problems 1st- it was lowered...2nd- when I drove it, it missed and ran a little bit roughly in lean burn mode. I had never driven a VX before, so I had no reference, but I knew a honda should run smoothly. It idled perfectly. When you stepped on the gas it paused for a sec, shifted into power mode and accelerated powerfully and smoothly. So I figured it was OK, and that I would tinker around later and figure out what was wrong. On the way home I did worry about it a little bit, thinking it could be something major and expensive, and i was kicking myself for not bargaining it down some more. It would lose speed in lean burn mode, and then you had to really step on it to get it into performance mode. I was guessing it was an ignition problem:either the plugs or the wires, cap or rotor. maybe the o2 sensor. Today I checked the plugs and yes it had bosch plugs installed. So tomorrow I will try and find the right plugs for it and then maybe it will run correctly in lean burn mode. I also ordered a DMM to check the status of the lean burn.

The lowered suspension makes the car handle nicely and sharply. However, up here in N. vermont, we have lots of frost heaves, which were painful on the way home. Also i live on a dirt road, so i need to put it back to stock.

Question: Has anyone removed the springs on a civic hatch before? I should be able to figure it out with a service manual, but i have not ordered one yet.

Another question: How can you tell if the car has the original hi temp thermostat?

Another q: What specs should the spark plug wires have? I know the ones on this car were recently replaced...but do they have the proper resistance?

Some observations: the gearing is nice and tall...1st is not too tall, it is easy to get going. 3rd is quite tall and keeps engine speeds really low in town. Fourth and fifth are fairly similar and both quite tall. The car has much more torque than i would have guessed. It makes my 2.0 camry feel like a slouch, even at 2,500 rpm. The handling is quite good...i forgot how much better the older hondas handle than toyotas. the brakes are also really good. I really like not having power steering. It is really roomy inside. I don't think we will miss the extra 700lbs we were carrying around driving the Camry.

If any VX owners have any advice, let me know.

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Old 04-19-2007, 04:08 PM   #2
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Cool. Pic's if you got em please.

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Old 04-19-2007, 04:12 PM   #3
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I will try and put some pictures up in a couple days.
I haven't done a fill up yet, but it looks like I am getting about 38-42 MPG (really rough guess).
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Old 04-19-2007, 04:49 PM   #4
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there are a few things that will help with the springs: spring compressors, some kind of penetrant for the rear lower shock bolts, and air tools. this is in order of importance.
don't waste your time or time will waste you
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Old 04-19-2007, 05:25 PM   #5
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James, I seem to recall several other VX owners describing the same behaviour when entering lean burn (speed falls, you have to push the pedal down significantly to maintain speed).

I'm envious. I think if a nice VX popped up for sale near me, I'd have a hard time resisting.
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Old 04-19-2007, 05:33 PM   #6
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how much was your price range for your vx. ive been tryin so hard to convince my dad to let me sell my accord for a vx. but when he sees the high miles he freaks and dosent trust it.
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Old 04-19-2007, 05:44 PM   #7
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The shocks should be pretty easy with your VX, just make sure to spray some junk on the lower bolts a day before like jared said so you don't brake anything.

I didn't know you lived up this way...
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Old 04-19-2007, 06:35 PM   #8
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VX essentials

1. Inspect the condition of the timing belt if the seller had no record of the belt change. It's relatively easy to change with hand tools and a Helm manual on CD from ebay - assuming you can get the crank pulley bolt to break free. You wouldn't want to break the belt - interference engine. Carefully remove the cylinder head cover bolts - hit them with an impact wrench first - them suckers are easy to snap off in the head and then you have fun getting them out - oh boy!

2. Lean burn instability is a fact of life if you want 50 MPG. So, don't let it alarm you. AND - VTEC has a mind of its own. You never really know when it's active (except RPM must be under 2500 to activate it). And, you really do need a DVM hooked up to the 5-wire LAF sensor to tell. Also, it doesn't climb hills very well while in lean burn mode. Downshifting into 3rd gets out of lean burn so speed can be maintained up a modest grade.

3. Want 4 valves/cylinder oomph from the VTEC-E? You have to keep the revs up - 2500+ RPM. Stay in 3rd gear and punch it to 5000. It's fun! But, say bye bye to your mpg though.

4. Inspect the front control arm bushings for looseness/wear. I put new bushings and lower ball joints in my 92 VX (145K miles at the time) - not too difficult and much better suspension afterward. Have fun taking the axle nut off the hub if you want to do this job - I needed a 32 mm 6 point socket and 700 lb-ft of torque to remove it (4 ft breaker bar and 180 lbs of amateur mechanic hopping on the end of that bar to break that sucker loose!).

5. Repair the quarter panel rust behind the rear wheels before it gets out of control. I was happy with the repair I did and the reinforced Bondo is holding up pretty good these past two years.

6. Watch out for poor braking on ice or snow. The VX really needed anti-lock brakes - weighs only 2060 lbs. I have been really lucky so far not to have been creamed after panic stops. (Slip sliding away, slip sliding away hey, you know the nearer your destination the more you're slip slidin' away - Thank you Paul Simon! - now that's a singer songwriter for you)

7. Enjoy the ride! I hope my VX reaches its 20th birthday in December 2011. Only 45K more to the 200K mile mark.
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Old 04-19-2007, 08:38 PM   #9
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first off, the vx does not have a high temp thermostate, altho you can put one in, if you do however, you will most likely not pass emision tests, if you don't have state emision tests, then the higher temp thermostate will give you a slight boost, stock thermostat for this car is 180F.
if it's indeed rust free, try to keep it that way, a few minutes spent washing all the crud out of the wheel wells, and a few dollars on undercoating in a spray can will help keep it rust free, first place that it will rust is the bolds that hold the front corners of the rear plastic bumper to the steel body.
when I replaced my suspention (lowered), I ended up braking a few bolts, and found worn out bushings (210,000 miles at that time) the real rubber bushings are going to give a bit of dampening, compared to urithane after market bushings, so everything is going to last even longer, and ride smoother, I found that the suspention bolds are an odd size in grade 10 (commen hardend bolts only go up to grade 8) and that again, honda dealer was the best, and also cheapest place to get the parts.
I think I paid around $300 to have someone else replace my timin belt and water pump (with parts), and it gave me good piece of mind, altho they did line up the cam pully with the wrong notch the first time, it's worth getting a shop book, or CD first to make sure you know what you are doing, but it's not hard, I just didn't have time.
I also had a simaler problem with keeping a stedy speed up, it was the o2 sensor, altho doing a compleat tune up first is alwas a good idea.
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Old 04-20-2007, 07:11 AM   #10
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HERE is the thread with almost all of the info you are looking for on your newly found VX.

If you take care of what you have, you will enjoy it for a long time. Mine just rolled past the 330K mile marker and can still maintain almost 50 MPG average with little effort. Although my rings and valve stem seals are showing their age and need replacement within a year or so, I really don't want to let this engine go.

Congrats again on adding another VX to the garage of GasSaver.org!


Honda Civic VX Info/Links
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