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Old 10-19-2011, 12:02 PM   #1
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Project 1997 Civic HX CVT to MT on a dirty budget

Hi all, been a long time member, but mostly just browse for ideas.

I'm a car guy deep down (own an MKIV supra ) but I started in Hondas back in the day with multiple swapped and turbo'd models.

Background of Project:
2 months ago I bought a 97 Civic HX CVT with 98K miles on the clock from Copart. It had been hit in the rear drivers quarter panel. Paid $875 for it, but don't be fooled by Copart. By the time I was out the door I was $1100+ into it. Salvage title unfortunately, but the repairs are going to be simple.

Here is what I started with, a slightly riced out car. Why someone would modify an HX CVT to be "cool" is beyond me










Goals:
1) Get repairs done to get street legal
2) Do all maintenance work to get running tip top
3) Convert to manual for improved FE
4) Drive for another 100K miles



Goal #1 (COMPLETE):
For Goal #1:
Purchase Price: $875
Auction Fees & getting home: $375
New used rear bumper: $40
New used door: $50
Inspection and emissions: $205 (one time "enhanced" inspection to convert to rebuilt title in PA)
Rear trim from Honda: $26
Sales tax and registration: $103
Replace battery: $110
Replace radiator: $60

Total to get on road, inspected, and registered: $1849

Goal #1 is complete, with the following performed:
-replaced door skin with used one from same color
-pulled dents and replaced rear bumper
-replaced battery
-replaced radiator.

Now the car is drivable and on the road, ready to start saving me money on my commute!!


Goal #2 (In Process):
So far for Goal #2, I've:
-replaced timing belt & tensioner
-replaced water pump
-replaced tail lights with used OEM units
-replaced front grill with new OEM unit
-new OEM battery with tie down and bracket
-new radiator (crack found in old one once tested) with hoses
-new coolant
-fresh synthetic oil change
-new OEM CVT fluid
-new OEM fuel filter
-new OEM air filter
-popped out dents as best I could with tools I have
-cleaned IACV and FITV

Still left for Goal #2:
-adjust valves
-turn rotors and replace pads
-remove pinstriping
-clean interior




Then I'll move on to Goal #3.

Thanks for following along. I'll start reporting MPG as soon as the first tank is used up
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Old 10-20-2011, 04:50 AM   #2
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Re: Project 1997 Civic HX CVT to MT on a dirty budget

I think you got a great deal on that car (assuming that the engine runs good).

So how do these auctions work? Do you have to have a special license to bid/buy? Do they guarantee that the engine still runs/the transmission works or was it just "as is"?
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Old 10-20-2011, 05:28 AM   #3
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Re: Project 1997 Civic HX CVT to MT on a dirty budget

Copart is non-license for a few states. PA, my current residence, happens to be one of those states.

You can go down and inspect the vehicles prior to purchase. I didn't in this case, which was risky, but in the end I knew what car I was getting so I had no issues with it. It did lead to a few surprises, first that the radiator was bad, and second, that the battery was bad.
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Old 10-20-2011, 06:58 AM   #4
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Re: Project 1997 Civic HX CVT to MT on a dirty budget

If you don't already have a 5-spd for your conversion, you can get one with the HX ratios (if that's what you want) out of an HX, or if you don't mind having the small bearings, you can get one out of a 96-97 hatchback (all emissions) or a 98-00 hatchback (Federal emissions).

I thought I had the right trans for my EX/HX conversion, but ended up finding out it was an EX trans - that was before I realized I needed to use the VIN tag rather than the seller's word and just the "B000". Sold the EX trans at a profit, but it was still a headache.

Another option if you end up with the "wrong" trans is to buy just the 3.722 final drive gears - I ended up buying a set from Syncrotech on ebay for $70 shipped, and will replace bearings etc while I'm in there.
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:49 AM   #5
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Re: Project 1997 Civic HX CVT to MT on a dirty budget

I appreciate the advice.

I'm specifically looking for a 92-95 VX trans but I may settle for the HX, CX, DX, LX transmission. It's mostly about price in this case.

I did some quick gas mileage calculations, and if I drive 15,000 miles per year, which I certainly do, and I can get this thing to average 40 mpg using driving techniques, I will save $1350 per year over my 4x4 Toyota Tacoma that this is replacing, and with this engine only having 98k miles on it, and all maintenance including timing belt, etc. up to date, I should easily be able to drive for 5 years.

$1350 x 5 = $6750 saved in gas, which more than pays for the car.


Additionally, the car will have cheaper maintenance, cheaper tires, and cheaper insurance vs. the 4x4 Toyota.

I estimate the total savings over a 5 year period to be closer to $12k with all factors (depreciation and maintenance) included.
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:41 AM   #6
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Talking Re: Project 1997 Civic HX CVT to MT on a dirty budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by bambbrose View Post
I appreciate the advice.

I'm specifically looking for a 92-95 VX trans but I may settle for the HX, CX, DX, LX transmission. It's mostly about price in this case.

I did some quick gas mileage calculations, and if I drive 15,000 miles per year, which I certainly do, and I can get this thing to average 40 mpg using driving techniques, I will save $1350 per year over my 4x4 Toyota Tacoma that this is replacing, and with this engine only having 98k miles on it, and all maintenance including timing belt, etc. up to date, I should easily be able to drive for 5 years.

$1350 x 5 = $6750 saved in gas, which more than pays for the car.


Additionally, the car will have cheaper maintenance, cheaper tires, and cheaper insurance vs. the 4x4 Toyota.

I estimate the total savings over a 5 year period to be closer to $12k with all factors (depreciation and maintenance) included.
The car should run good once your done and have a 5sp in it. I have a 97 HX 5sp just turned 374,099 put every mile on it runs great just like day one,still have orig clutch,starter radiator all ball joints,45-51mpg 65mph,full stainless exhaust, good luck with yours.Mike w
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:47 PM   #7
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Re: Project 1997 Civic HX CVT to MT on a dirty budget

UPDATE:

I didn't mention this, but the CVT was on its last leg once I got the car on to the road. I tried to drive it around for at least one tank, to get a "before" FE reading, but it didn't even make it that far.

Right before Thanksgiving the CVT took a dump. Fortunately only a block from my house.

So began Goal 3, Manual Conversion:

Goal 2 is finished outside of valve lash adjustment and cleaning, but that'll come after this as I want to have the car on the road this winter.


I collected all of the following parts for a manual conversion over the past 3 weeks:
-D16Y5 HX manual transmission
-EG pedal assembly from junkyard (rusty but works)
-EG clutch master cylinder
-EG clutch slave cylinder
-EK clutch lines new from Honda
-Exedy OE replacement clutch
-Flywheel from EG D15B7
-Flywheel and clutch bolts
-EK MT rear trans T-bracket
-EK MT side trans mount (used)
-EG MT lower side trans bracket (used)
-EK MT lower side trans mount (new from Honda)
-EG shift linkage with shifter assembly
-EK shift boot (new from Honda)
-Real Main Seal (new from Honda)

plus some misc other items I'm sure. I'm into in another $600 plus or minus $50.

Running total for this car is now pushing what retail value is, however I have:
-new radiator
-new battery
-new used MT
-new clutch
-new timing belt
-new water pump
-new tension pulley
-all maintenance up to date
-new brakes and rotors up front
-new engine mounts x2
-new rear main seal

and an engine that is as clean inside as about any I've seen. I'm confident that this car will last me another 100k, if not 200k miles, and my total investment is still less than $3000.


I'm half way through the MT conversion, just awaiting my rear main seal from Honda, then I'll put her back together. I have some tricks planned for the auto trans code to prevent the MIL. Pin B13 on the auto ECU feeds the DTC signal to the PGM-FI ECU, so I'm going to play around with simulating a standard signal on B13 and see what I can come up with.

Anyway here are some pics:

Roughed up rear quarter after new bumper and trim. Used OE tail lights installed. I'm planning on getting some quotes for paintless dent repair to see how straight they can get it for me.




New used door installed




As straight as I could get the panel without bringing out body hammers




Shift linkage mounting point ready for MT linkage. I had to drill out and remove the AT linkage. I have a sheetmetal plate going over the remaining hole.




My rusty MT pedals. Weren't nearly as hard to swap out as people said it would be. I have new pedal covers coming from Honda with the rear main seal. Excuse the dirty carpet.




The boat anchor. CVT truly are garage transmissions. Hopefully I can get $10 in scrap.




The new to me D16Y5 transmission after some quick cleanup




The mess! Need to get this wrapped up so I can clean the garage.






Thanks for following!
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:51 AM   #8
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Re: Project 1997 Civic HX CVT to MT on a dirty budget

You might say I'm a fan of 3-pedal conversions. Be sure to post details about fooling the computer.

Before you scrap the CVT, disassemble it and post autopsy photos. I'd love to see what a CVT looks like inside and what the failure looks like.
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:34 AM   #9
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Re: Project 1997 Civic HX CVT to MT on a dirty budget

I don't have time to tear it down, but based on the fluid that drained out, I am very confident that the steel belt exploded.

There were dozens of 5mm x 10 mm 20 gauge metal strips/shards in the fluid.
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