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Discy-guy 04-16-2010 12:36 AM

1992 Honda Civic VX. I love this car!
Hello gassavers,
I bought a Honda Civic VX about two years ago. In a vain attempt to find an Insight, I realized that either a VX or an HX was a much more economic way to go (impossible to find an insight for a "good" price). I found a VX on Craig's Place for $3200--bought it. At first, I was amazed by the long gear ratio; going 60 in 2nd gear is at worst enthralling!
It needed some work: The hood was wrinkled, (something fell on it) the quarter panels were dented, the interior smelled of my cooking, the headliner was ripped, the seats (while oddly comfortable) were ripped beyond repair, the carpet was in need of serious care, tires were bad, in need of a suspension inspection, and more.
Right, so I fixed all that (ect...) and got it painted. I bought, via Craggy, a "new" old interior seat-set (Acura I think--leather or leather/vinyl not sure) and found some faux suede to use as a head liner (had to re-build, so I splurged). The back seat aren't wide enough, so I think I made a mistake.
I found that the ride was fine, but the sound of the wind/road were just ridiculously loud above 50mph, so in went way too much sound deadening paint and dynomat. I couldn't get to the firewall because the dash scares me (I had an experience). That got it quieter, but I still am looking around.
I've driven it pretty conservatively for two years or so now; trying to use as little gas a possible, but I'm not too great at it. Mileage @ 39 mpg. I've gotten as good as 52 mpg and as bad as 29mpg.

Few Questions:
I've got an p07-l00 ecu. Would an a00, a001 make a big difference?

Why doesn't the valve cover say VTEC-E on it?

Where do I get tires the right size?

What is ScanGauge used for? Should I get this?

What should I look out for in terms of maintenance?

many more...

theholycow 04-16-2010 05:03 AM

Welcome. Sounds like you're having a good time and doing good work on the car. :thumbup:

I don't know the answers to most of your questions, hopefully others will chime in, but I can help a little:

ECU question - that one is discussed relatively often here, so a search should produce decent results. If our search doesn't work well for you, you can also use Google with the site:gassavers.org operator.

Tire size: Same as ECU, it's pretty thoroughly discussed so you can find past posts on it faster than anyone can reply to your post.

ScanGauge: It only works with OBDII cars. OBDII is a standard that was required beginning in 1996 and didn't exist in 1992. You won't be able to use the SG. It is a device that can show live data and track averages/maximums of various types of data. It can display 4 pieces of data at a time. Data includes fuel economy (instant, trip average, day average, tank average), throttle position, engine coolant temp, intake air temp, open/closed loop, estimated miles left on your current tank of gas, various other sensor data and calculations.

Discy-guy 04-16-2010 06:17 AM

Thank you very much for the info! There is much I don't know about both my car and this site. I just did an "advanced" search via Google: That may have changed my life! And Darnit on the ScanGauge!

imzjustplayin 04-16-2010 08:51 AM

You pretty much have the best ECU possible for fuel economy, don't even attempt to change it! The differences between the ecus would not explain your less than stellar mileage. What you need is a major service, a tune-up! This usually includes such things as cleaning out the PCV system, spark plugs and wires, maybe coils, adjusting the valve lash, a few other things I forgot, but you could even go as far as removing the injectors and either getting them rebuilt or high pressure cleaned at a professional place. If you're driving like you're suppose to (economy wise), you should be averaging at least 45mpg in that car which means city AND highway mileage. Tell us a little more about your driving habits because by the sounds of things, this car was quite neglected and it could be neglected to the point where your lean-burn doesn't activate at all! Start a gas log like the rest of us as that would definitely help track your progress and give insight into how well your vehicle is performing on the average.

IndyFetch 04-16-2010 01:57 PM

The valve cover did not say VTEC-E on '92 models. I think that started in '94.

It looks like most of your other questions were answered.

Happy motoring.

LarryJ 04-16-2010 03:31 PM


Originally Posted by Discy-guy (Post 150331)
Hello gassavers,
At first, I was amazed by the long gear ratio; going 60 in 2nd gear is at worst enthralling!

WHAT! Why would you even attempt that. I've never tried to wind mine out like that, in fact, mine seems to flatline at 50 in 4th gear.

I hear your pain about the road noise.

If you figure out how to prevent the cab temp from climbing to 150F in the spring sun, please share solution. My ac doesn't work when then interior temp exceeds about 85-90. resets overnight when the temp drops.

Discy-guy 04-16-2010 09:14 PM

Thanks for Chiming in guys, I really appreciate it.
*************: When I bought the car I took it to my Honda mechanic (I owned a '98 lx and he did a great job keeping it up to snuff). He replaced the brakes, checked the clutch (which is on the way out, but I don't notice), did a compression check (good, but I don't know the numbers), replaced the timing belt and water pump, refreshed the fluids, and told me he wanted to buy the car from me. He did say that there was an expensive part the Idle Control Valve, that was not operating well. There was no need to replace it--he told me if at idle the engine revs up and down then it was time to replace it. I have not had the PCV system checked explicitly. Is that something that needs attention, how would I know to do so? The spark plugs have not been replaced to my knowledge nor have the wires. How would I be able to know if the injectors need to be cleaned? The valve lash, I just googled it, seems scary and expensive. What's your criteria for getting that looked at? I am under the impression, about the ECU, that the California models in '92 came with the 5-wire O2 sensor (I counted 5 wires coming off of it) and all the wiring for the federal version, but did not have lean burn. The ECU for the California models had the a07-l00 while the federal (lean burn able) models had the a07-a00/a001 codes. So I don't think my car ever runs with 3 valves per cylinder "lean burn." --is that right?

Thank you, I really wanted to know that!

My mechanic and most people I have spoken with say that the engine should be ran at all possible rpm's (below red-line) every now and again. I could be wrong here, but if I run the car at 1500 rpm's or less all the time (100%) that I could muck something up. I am aware that this is a special car and I want to do all that I can to keep this car on the road. I should name her. Suggestions? The product quietcar is pretty good for lessening the road noise while not weighing too much. I'm not a sales man for this stuff, but it is worth checking into.
I don't know what you are saying about flat lining at 50, huh? My AC is just fine and the cabin temperature has never been up to 150F with me inside of it, Jeeze I'd pass out! I only run the AC on the hwy, but in Oregon I don't run it much if even at all.

Driving habits:
I read on this site and the ecomodder site that the shift light comes on at:
1st to 2nd at 15 mph
to 3rd at 20 mph
to 4th at 25 mph
to 5th at 31 mph.
This is how I've been driving and I actually get a kick outta people that simply have to drive 0-30 mph in .000000001 seconds or their heads will pop off. I do let the engine rev to relatively high rpm's every other tank once or twice, usually up to about 4000 or so for about 5 seconds (more or less). This is not done to ruin the engine or get to the next stoplight and wait longer. I do it on the highway and gradually to extend the life of the engine. I've kept a log since I bought the car. 42 mpg in the summer and 37 in the winter. These are combined hwy/city averages with a proportion of 60% hwy an 40% city. I detest stop and go and tend to glide (engine on) for as long as I can without being a menace to society. Please let me know if there are better ways to explain how I drive, as I'm no author.

Thanks to all for the info, I don't believe I would get this information from anyplace else!

imzjustplayin 04-16-2010 10:37 PM

Problem with cars this old is that a lot of the work could amount to $$ that exceeds the value of the car which makes a lot of people uncomfortable. If you can find it in your heart, I'd try to learn how to do this stuff yourself. As for the injectors, it' guaranteed they'll need to be cleaned at a cost of at least $20 per injector. Most people do not go to the extent of replacing or cleaning the injectors but if you want a car to run like new, you need to fix everything, not just what is convenient. As for the shift light, that isn't necessarily suppose to come on at a certain speed but at a load and speed the ECU determines would suffice for up-shifting.

If you have a 1992 California VX and have not had the ECU replaced, then yes dropping in a Federal ECU is the only way to get lean burn as you do not have lean-burn. However I wouldn't go as far to do that yet because you may fail smog due to your car not running in tippy top shape. One good way to find out if a car is running properly is to look at its scores from the smog check. Are you able to post that information up for all of us to see? Just because you pass, it doesn't mean there isn't something wrong or about to go wrong.

theholycow 04-17-2010 03:15 AM


Originally Posted by Discy-guy (Post 150364)
My mechanic and most people I have spoken with say that the engine should be ran at all possible rpm's (below red-line) every now and again. I could be wrong here, but if I run the car at 1500 rpm's or less all the time (100%) that I could muck something up.

You won't muck anything up but yes, it's good practice to run it up to high RPM once in a while.


I do let the engine rev to relatively high rpm's every other tank once or twice, usually up to about 4000 or so for about 5 seconds (more or less).
Yeah, that's fine.

Just keep it low the rest of the time, to save fuel.

IndyFetch 04-17-2010 09:27 AM


Originally Posted by LarryJ (Post 150358)
WHAT! Why would you even attempt that. I've never tried to wind mine out like that

It's actually quite fun. My VX hits an indicated 69-70 mph in 2nd gear at redline. The VX models top at 111 out in 3rd (according to Car and Driver magazine, circa February 1992). I've had mine up to 110 on the speedometer, but the speedometer. The speedometer probably reads a few % fast from factory at those speeds, but I have larger-diameter tires, so it probably evens out.

I like the VX for its mileage, but I also drive it hard once in a while. I gotta keep it on its toes. I plan on taking it to the drag strip this summer, just to see if I can match the factory quarter-mile time (17.3 @ 78 mph). Heck, my 2005 Si has only run a 16.2 at 86 (which equals the time and trap speed of the car tested by Car and Driver in March 2002).

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