In recent years they have designed the caliper seals to provide some retracting force on the pads so the drag is reduced. Absolutely have the rotors turned to minimize drag. I have seen replacement rotors that were warped 20 thou. We turned them whether they were new or reused.
The pads on your disc brakes are always in contact with your rotor. They don't retract when you take your foot off the brake, they just stop squeezing. The calipers do not have any mechanism for retracting, that is why you have to force the piston back when you put new pads on. Disc brakes always have some amount of friction (beyond the fact that our front brakes are tied to the tranny/engine as TomO pointed out).
So what we gassavers really want are drum brakes all around. Unfortunately there isn't a reasonable swap for this. I don't know of any front wheel drive cars with drums up front, they just don't work as well. Maybe Honda or Toyota will come up with a "no braking/no friction" disc brake set up one of these days.
If you're looking for front drum brakes you can get the old Beetle. It's not FWD but it's Rear engine so you don't have the drivetrain losses like you do with RWD or AWD.
Drum brakes up front is really unsafe. Drum brakes suck, they only persist because they're cheaper to manufacture. But they can fill up with water. They easily overheat. They're overly complicated. Nobody here wants to trade safety for mileage.
Disc brake rotors supposedly "beat back" the pads. But yes it is true that they drag some especially on older calipers. Honda doesn't make the best brakes in the world, but they're also not the worst.
I'm pretty sure the OP could have saved some grief if he had found a "B18C into a VX" swap guide and worked backward. They convert the 5 wire O2 to 4 wire.
There is nothing to fear from "15 year old wiring". The wiring itself should be as good as it was when new. Sure, the tape is dry and cracked in places...
Mango, where do you live? I bought a fed vx ecu a few months back. I haven't done the conversion yet, but am planning on doing it this year. If you live in the bay area (CA), we could get together and work on the conversion. I'm in need of a connector and the o2 sensor.
gary, that is very nice of you to ask. I would definitely like to be part of a swap so I can get more info on doing my own! Unfortunately, I live in San Diego. Thanks again and best of luck! Please post back with how it went after alls said and done.
I wanted to post my extrodinarily easy and positive experience converting a 1992 Civic VX California emissions to a 49 state Federal lean burn version.
As posted elsewhere, many (all?) 1992 CA Civic VX's came with the 5 wire o2 sensor installed and that included mine, so nothing to do there. The only thing I had to do was to unplug the exisiting CA ecu and replaced it with a used 49 state ecu that I purchased.
Done, perfect, immediately have a fed version lean burn mode Civic VX. This will go down as one of the easiest modifications with a big impact that I have ever done.
Just so you guys now that this swap out can be stunningly easy to accomplish given certain senarios.