I just looked at a 1993 Civic 2 door DX coupe (not a hatch). It has a 1.5 VTEC and an auto trans. It started up fine, but the guy said he'd had the head gasket replaced and then admitted that he'd overheated it afterward because the radiator was leaking (he is putting a new rad in today).
I thought it was odd for a 1993 that it had a 1.5 VTEC in it, it was multiport fuel injected and said VTEC on the valve cover.
There are lots of problems- scratched windshield, AC isn't working, some body dings and its painted purple- I offered him $1000 and he is thinking about it.
So what's the FE potential of this car? Fueleconomy.gov said 35 mpg with the automatic and a 1.5 liter. How much more does it weigh than a hatchback?
According to fuel economy.gov- I'd only gain 1mpg highway if I swap in an 5 speed. Does anyone think I could do better?
My friend had a 5 speed non v-tec of this year and I got 52mpg on a 500 tank before I had ever heard the term hypermiling. I think this is the most economical civic after the CRX HF and the VX of the same generation. I don't know about the vtec tho. I'd think the coupe only ways about 150 pounds more. $1000 seems a little high for all that's wrong with it and the fact it over heated. But with a 5 speed you'll be able to hypermile much easier than with the automatic. I'd hold off on that car and try to find a 2 door 1992-1995 civic coupe with an original non-vtec engine and a 5 speed. You'll be very happy with that car. It was great. Such a nice no nonsense car with super fuel economy. I think old EPA on it was 42/46.
The radiator was his original problem. Its probably been overheated a lot more than twice.
A simple test.
Place your hand on the top hose (engine running). At 180 degrees it will hurt fairly quickly, my old calloused hands could handle it for about 5 seconds when I was working every day on cars.
Now place your hand on the bottom hose. It will be much cooler than the top hose, about 60 degrees cooler on average. If there is little difference between the top and bottom temps your radiator is on its last leg.
Generally speaking about 10-12 years is time to replace the radiator anyway.
If buying a car for fuel economy, I can strongly recommend you to get a manual gearbox!. Autos give you much less control, and you can't do engine-off coasting.
I was getting tanks 160% above EPA in my Manual Bluebird, now I am getting 45% above EPA with the most extremem hypermiling I can do in my Auto Bluebird. I have even got a manual gearbox I will be fitting simply to be able to hypermile properly. You can only use a small set of hypermiling techniques in an Auto.
__________________ Team GasMisers5 - #1 for first three rounds of the original GS Fuel Economy Challenge
Miles displaced by e-bike since 1 Jan 2008: 62.6 (0 kWh used)