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Old 09-04-2006, 11:59 AM   #1
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Red face Need advice/info-Metro/HF related

I'm in Phoenix, just got a route related job at about 250 mi per day for a 5 day week. It is sub-contracted, so the more money I save in gas, the more money stays in my pocket.

In looking for a Metro/Swift/Firefly/Civic HF/CRX HF, I am running into problems sifting through the BS.

HONDA

Is there a shorthand for being able to tell if a CRX/Civic is an HF? When looking at AutoTrader and Craigslist for the Hondas, they don't always post that it is an HF or may be saying it is one when not an HF.

Are there key years to look for?

Specific alphanumeric in the VIN?

What about "retro-ing" a hot-rodded unit and selling the "aftermarkets"?

Is a "D 15" the high mpg engine I am seeking? Aka: D15 VTEC ?? What is the engine name, if not?

Currently, I am leaning more towards a Suzuki based unit because the CRXs and Civics are getting ragged out by over-revving teenage drivers/owners. Nevermind the car theft aspect and the insurance being more (I think) due to a higher accident to make/model ratio because of their popularity.

However, having owned a Honda before, I like the quality of the interior and amenities. Here in AZ, A/C is a must. Especially if one is always out of doors driving continuously. Yet, all of the Hondas are either trashed or overdone. So, I guess I'll end up finding a Suzuki based unit (SBU?), because one would have a better chance to find a solid sbu than a Honda.

SUZUKI BASED UNITS

Carsurvey.Org shows that a great many people are very satisfied with these cars. Personally, until now, I've never given them a moments thought.

Is there, via an alphanumeric in the VIN, a way to determine if one is looking at a XFI? Although I have yet to see one for sale, I keep hoping someone will be selling one without knowing fully what it is for a good price.

How's the interior items? I.e: Knobs break easy; A/C is only so-so; etc,.

IS insurance cheaper than a CRX/Civic?

Lastly, I sure would appreciate any and all recommendations you have in where to look for these cars that has the best price. I've checked eBay, Autotrader and Craigslist. Have I missed any? EBay has good prices, but are too far from Phoenix to justify the cost of shipping/flying to.
Thank you for any help and for anything I missed.
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Old 09-04-2006, 02:46 PM   #2
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I can help you a bit. XFI's were only manufactured from 1989 to 1994 and to the best of my knowledge they never came with AC. I believe that an S in the fifth position of the VIN would indicate that is was an XFI. I have seen them advertized with AC but I think it would be aftermarket AC. Main problem is rust at the front suspension attachment points and the floorboards and rocker panels. If I needed cheap transportation and didn't care how it looked only the suspension rust would make me not purchase the car. Window cranks often fail especially on the drivers side especially on cars without AC. EGR valves get clogged so they will fail emmissions tests (which can help you pick one up cheap.) This also causes the exhaust valves to get burnt. Cars of that age the catylitic converters get clogged. Getting hard to find parts in junkyards for these cars around the Washington DC area but not too bad on the internet. My 1994 Geo metro 3 cylinder engine went over 200K before I had to replace the valves and piston rings. If you want one with AC look for a 1994 because the earlier models used the old type of refrigerant that you can't buy anymore. I don't know anything about the 1995+ models except that they stopped making XFIs.
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Old 09-04-2006, 03:31 PM   #3
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There is no civic HF, firstly.

Anything with a sunroof is not an hf, and there are like 50 kinds of d15, only the d15b6 is the HF engine.

Sorry to be abbreviated but someone else will fill in the vin stuff.
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Old 09-04-2006, 05:56 PM   #4
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Lance, brand issues aside, between those 2 cars I would make the choice based on what kind of driving you will be doing:

- If primarily sub/urban, the Metro's smaller engine and lighter weight makes it the one with the higher FE potential.

- If primarily highway/freeway, the Civic VX (using lean burn at cruise) is the car to beat.
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Old 09-04-2006, 06:03 PM   #5
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'92-'95 Civic hatchback VX engine is the D15Z1 (VTEC-E...also known as the D15B in Japan but there are many versions of this, ranging from 92-130 hp)
'88-'91 CRX HF engine is the D15B6, 62 ponies, 8 valves, an overgrown sewing machine. The HF has no sunroof, a clock delete option, has "HF" on the top-right corner of the hatch glass (facing the rear), mine is artic white and I know of a light blue version, etc. I know little to nothing about Mertos., sorry. Mak
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Old 09-05-2006, 03:06 AM   #6
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Wow! Looks like I came to the right place!

GeoMetry:thanks a lot for the large amount of comprehensive info. I will be putting it to good use. Knowing about the rust and window handle is especially good to know, with all the Katrina cars hitting the market. That EGR thing is a very good insight as well. Thx

SVOboy: Good stuff here too. I got wind of the Civic HF from FuelEconomy.Gov via their 1986 list. Maybe it is a Canadian or European version or something. Thx

MetroMPG: Good point. It is right at half and half between city and highway. Gonna look up and try to find a VX too. I see that a 92, via FuelEconomy.Gov, has a 4 MPG diff between two of the same models. I wonder why? Nonetheless, a VX is another excellent option. Maybe one of these will have A/C with cruise and not be ragged out. Thx for the heads up on the VX. Have you seen any with A/C and CC? BTW I bookmarked your website. Some additional good info there regardless of car bought. Thx

Mak: I'll definately be looking for the HF on the glass. That helps. Not sure what you meant by: clock delete option. A clock is optional??? In any case, looking for the HF when an ad has pix will help. Knowing the B6 and the Z1 will help when questioning owners of those years too. Thx

Again, I obviously came to the right place. Judging by no one speaking to finding a good deal outside of the three mentioned says I covered them all. If you have any further thoughts regarding these cars, I certainly will welcome any additional advice.
Thank you all again very much! You'll help me to make a more informed decision/purchase.

P.S. If one found a Civic with a bad motor, what would one have to keep in mind if one wanted to change out with a VX/Z1 motor? Mainly a Torque output and tranny issue...yes?? As long as the Civic was a 92-95...yes?? Are all VXs hatchbacks? Thx agn.
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Old 09-05-2006, 06:30 AM   #7
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Only CRX's were available in HF. The VX with 4MPG lower FE is the California version which does not have lean burn. VX's were only produced from 92-95 ans all were hatchbacks.
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Old 09-05-2006, 07:36 AM   #8
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All VX's are indeed a hatchback. As far as CRX HF's, I would just add the following: If the car was kept stock, you'll notice that the wheels on the HF (the 13" steelies) are unique. They are unlike the DX steelies in that these have small circles inside the pattern...rather than the DX oval cutouts. Also, the Steering wheel on the DX is a "3-spoke" (just like the Si), whereas the HF has a 2-spoke steering wheel. The DX seats are a larger, fuller seat, whereas the HF is an obviously bare bones, lighter seat. The HF will come without a digital clock in the center vent area of the dash...whereas the Si & DX both HAVE the clock. Under the hood you'll notice that the HF & Si share the same type of fuel injection (MPFI ?), but the DX is the only CRX that has the single-point throttle-body injector (like many other civics of '88-91). I have no idea whether or not that's an advantage for FE or not. (anyone?). Finally, the original DX valve cover will say "16-valve", just like the Si model. The HF, however just has it's little 8-valve squirrels under its valve cover. Sorry to drag on with this...but I hope it helps.
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Old 09-05-2006, 08:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
GeoMetry:thanks a lot for the large amount of comprehensive info. I will be putting it to good use. Knowing about the rust and window handle is especially good to know, with all the Katrina cars hitting the market. That EGR thing is a very good insight as well. Thx

SVOboy: Good stuff here too. I got wind of the Civic HF from FuelEconomy.Gov via their 1986 list. Maybe it is a Canadian or European version or something. Thx

MetroMPG: Good point. It is right at half and half between city and highway. Gonna look up and try to find a VX too. I see that a 92, via FuelEconomy.Gov, has a 4 MPG diff between two of the same models. I wonder why? Nonetheless, a VX is another excellent option. Maybe one of these will have A/C with cruise and not be ragged out. Thx for the heads up on the VX. Have you seen any with A/C and CC? BTW I bookmarked your website. Some additional good info there regardless of car bought. Thx

Mak: I'll definately be looking for the HF on the glass. That helps. Not sure what you meant by: clock delete option. A clock is optional??? In any case, looking for the HF when an ad has pix will help. Knowing the B6 and the Z1 will help when questioning owners of those years too. Thx

Again, I obviously came to the right place. Judging by no one speaking to finding a good deal outside of the three mentioned says I covered them all. If you have any further thoughts regarding these cars, I certainly will welcome any additional advice.
Thank you all again very much! You'll help me to make a more informed decision/purchase.

P.S. If one found a Civic with a bad motor, what would one have to keep in mind if one wanted to change out with a VX/Z1 motor? Mainly a Torque output and tranny issue...yes?? As long as the Civic was a 92-95...yes?? Are all VXs hatchbacks? Thx agn.

Just FYI, all of the CRXs showed up as "civics" until 1988. My wife's 1987 CRX actually says "civic" on it. That's some weird honda trivia for ya.

Anyway, an engine swap is doable in any 92-95 civic without much of an issue. The properly geared transmission (from a VX or a CX) would get you an extra 5-10 MPG.

A swap like this is much easier on a 92-95 then it is on a different year civic (like I did).
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Old 09-05-2006, 11:12 AM   #10
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To clarify for the visual learners:

Check for the HF sticker


Check the clock delete (below the dash vents at the top):


There is no telling if these are the stock wheels or not...are these the right ones Brian?:


Bone stock D15B6 (minus air box):


That's all for now.
Mak
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