Q. Acura vs. Toyota - Parts & Reliabity?

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I need to make a decision quick between a 93 Acura Integra RS and a 96 Toyota Tercel (both about 188,000km on the odometer). I know they are very different cars, and both have their appeal to me. I prefer the
comfort, performance and feeling of security (from accidents) you get driving the Integra, but I like the economy (gas mileage) of the Tercel. (I drove both around the block, and for what its worth, the Tercel seems to have a very quiet engine and responsive steering). The hanging question to help me decide is which car is more reliable, and does one (ie. the Integra) cost far more than the other when it comes to replacement parts?
I've researched reliability ratings on both these cars on MSN Autos (the Tercel has a better record), but I'm not sure that the stats of one site can be the final word on reliability, and there's nothing there about parts prices. Can anyone answer these questions for certain, from either research or experience? Thanks!
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I can tell you that Honda parts are usually much cheaper than Toyotas. And Tercels are pretty much stripped. When I was looking for a new one back then, it didn't even have a radio or rear speakers. A wheel cover was an option :)
Though, depending who owned the Integra, it can be in a very bad shape or in very poor shape. If it was the sedan, you might get better deal, as it might not be heavily modded or raced.

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Since when are Honda parts cheaper than Toyota parts? I thought it was just the opposite. I have had a Civic, two Corollas, and an Odyssey and never found anything cheaper on the Hondas. If anything it was the other way around.
Leonard

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get an acura after 94, thats would be right decision. even 93 is good too.

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snipped-for-privacy@posyrorer.mailshell.com (Rory Calhoun) wrote in

If you drove either car "around the block", you are not gettng the true feel of either one. They are definitely aimed at different people with different desires.
We have both a '91 Integra and a '99 Tercel. I've owned the Integra since new, and it currently has almost 246K miles on it. My wife has had the Tercel for a year and a half. It has about 61K miles.
The Integra is faster and has far better handling. Directional stability and steering are much crisper than the Tercel, even with worn bushings in the Integra. The Integra is a *much* more satisfying and entertaining car to drive on account of these things.
The Integra's engine is somewhat coarse over 3,000rpm. The Tercel's is smooth at first, but can get very buzzy at high revs when the engine is worn, worse than the Integra.
The Tercel is NOT a driver's car, unlike the Integra. It bobs and weaves and wallows at over 50mph, a consequence of its cheap suspension and narrow tires. It requires constant steering correction on the highway. Since its intended market is looking for cheap motoring rather than entertainment, this is acceptable to Tercel buyers.
Parts are about the same cost for both cars. Some are cheaper at Acura dealers, others are cheaper at Toyota dealers. Toyota is perhaps slightly less expensive overall. Either are much more expensive than domestics for parts, but with proper care, they last a long long time between breakages.
The Integras brakes require *far* more maintenance than the Tercel's. If you live in a snowy area, you need to service your brakes at least twice per year, or else the rears especially will seize. The Tercel's can safely be serviced once per year in the same environment, and only the fronts at that, since the rears are drums and much more trouble-free.
The Tercel's exhaust went to semi-stainless at one point (don't know what year), and those last forever. The mild-steel ones rust like any other. The Integra will be more likely to have exhaust trouble from corrosion, since they never had semi-stainless.
Both have timing belts that must be replaced after about 6 years. The Integra's engine will probably suffer valve damage if the belt breaks. The Tercel's engine is a different design, so will not. This means you MUST change the Integra's timing belt when the manufacturer says. The Tercel's you can leave until it breaks, as long as you don't mind needing a tow and not making it to work that day.
Other than that, both cars are about equal in reliability and propensity to rust, all other factors being the same.
Under my driving, our Integra gets about 28mpg and the Tercel about 32mpg.
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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I'm sorry to ashtray from topic; I was just wondering what's the difference between engine designs that allows one car (Toyota) to survive a timing belt damage and is disastrous to another ( Integra)?
What type of engine build up does the 92 civic dx have? If the timing belt breaks, will there be any internal damage to the engine (bent valves, etc)?
Thanks!

narrow
The
to
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It goes to the initial design philosophy of the manufacturer. Honda designs highly efficient engines that crater if the belt breaks, which is a so-called "interference" design. The valves must move up out of the way before the piston gets to the top, or they crash into each other. The non-interference engine Toyota makes is perhaps a tad less efficient, because there is more compromise in the shape of the combustion space or other parameters. The manufacturer asks itself, "Do we give them the maximum performance and efficiency that we know how to give, or do we save the deadbeats from themselves?"
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This is one of the oldest of the FAQs. http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/faq.html#interference
The Integra, like almost all Hondas, is an "interference" design. The Tercel, like almost all Toyotas, is NOT an "interference" design. Honda likes to do things the hard way.

Interference.
The probability of damage is great, but not *certain*. You _can_ get lucky. <dirtyharry> Ya gotta ask yourself, do I feel lucky today? </dirtyharry>
(That's a paraphrase, so no flames from cinemaphiles!)
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Makes sense. I like the topics you discuss in your FAQ.
Good job and thanks!
John

lucky.
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Can you know that the timing belt needs replacement by looking at it for signs of wear, or do you just replace it every so many miles even if it looks in perfect condition? I was told by a mechanic to replace the timing belt immediately after any car purchase, so that I could have a receipt that showed the date and mileage when it was replaced, so I could know when to replace it the next time. But it seems to me a grand waste of money to replace it if it is still in perfect working condition.
TeGGeR wrote:

Integra)?
Honda
lucky.
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Can you know that the timing belt needs replacement by looking at it for signs of wear, or do you just replace it every so many miles even if it looks in perfect condition? I was told by a mechanic to replace the timing belt immediately after any car purchase, so that I could have a receipt that showed the date and mileage when it was replaced, so I could know when to replace it the next time. But it seems to me a grand waste of money to replace it if it is still in perfect working condition.
Sometimes the belt shows signs of wear before it fails, but not often enough to bet your engine on. Following the stated replacement intervals is the only reasonably safe way to go - and even that has a finite risk. The specified interval is probably the best balance of costs.
The big problem is that the belt doesn't usually break, but more often the teeth break off. The layer that fails just isn't visible (even with the belt off) so going by belt appearance is no more reliable than going by appearance of the accelerator pedal.
I changed the belt on my (non-interference) Volvo engine way later than it should have been. There were some tiny cracks in the outside surface, but it looked good otherwise. However, I could pick the teeth off with my thumbnail!
Mike
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I forgot I had another question about this item... could I replace a timing belt myself, or does it require a mechanic to do so? I have very little experience working on car mechanics, but I'm competent when it comes to repairing stuff, so if its a simple job that doesn't require special tools or pulling out an engine block...
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It is a beast. Actually, the one step that makes strong men cry is getting the crank bolt loose. Special tools are only part of the problem - the bolt is so tight that it usually takes a serious impact wrench to get it loose. I bought a 500 ft-lb air impact wrench and still had to buy a special tool to hold the crank pulley when we did the belt on my son's Acura. Of course, a torque wrench with 200 ft-lb capacity is required for reassembly
Important note: you can't use the shadetree trick of bracing a socket handle and bumping the starter to break the crank bolt loose... the engine turns the wrong way.
But if you can get a shop to break the %^$#!! thing loose and retighten it enough to get you home, it isn't awful. Attention to detail - especially getting the belt on the same way it came off, not one tooth off on one sprocket even though the cam wants to turn - is important. If you get it wrong, or don't get the belt tensioned properly, you can do really serious damage (or at least have to start over).
All told, you should give it a lot of thought if you want to DIY. I put it in the category of replacing a clutch - one with a *really* tight bolt holding something!.
Mike
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Michael Pardee wrote:

in addition to the holding tool, i highly recommend a 3/4" breaker bar with [most importantly] the 3/4" extension. like you, i recently tried replacing my timing belt without air tools, and with a normal 1/2" drive, i thought i was for sure going to break something. with the 3/4" tools however, that bolt came loose immediately & without undue effort. [it was disapointing in a way because i'd even gone to the trouble of buying a 5' "torque amplifier" just in case!] anyway, i wondered if i'd perhaps loosened it with my 1/2" drive efforts earlier, but i did my other civic a couple of weeks later & again, the bolt came loose immediately with the 3/4" drive. very worthwhile investment. the 3/4" extension bar is nearly 1" diameter solid tool steel. no torque-robbing wind-up in that puppy!

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snip

Can you clarify? Do you mean you used a 3/4" drive socket, too? Or did you use an adapter to go from the 3/4" drive extension to 1/2" socket?
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Elle wrote:

3/4" > 1/2" adapter. also worth mention is that the 17mm-1/2" socket i have snugly fits the hole in the holding tool - helps keep everything in place.
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E wrote Re loosening the crankshaft pulley bolt on Hooooooondas --

you
Then excellent tip.
Anyone want to buy a 1/2" drive breaker bar and two ten-inch long, 1/2" drive extenders?
Shucks, I likely will only do one more timing belt change on my beloved 1991 Civic anyway. I'll just buy better health insurance for the period that will include when I do the job.
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Elle wrote:

but elle, you'll end up buying another honda, maybe even the new crx when it comes out, so you may as well buy the tool you /know/ you crave... cheaper than the health insurance too!
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1991
will
Ha ha. :-)
I have my eye on the Toyota Echo as my next car. (I don't think I'll buy anything with an engine larger than 1.5 Liter.) But, hey, do the 2005 Honda Civics have the same nasty crankshaft bolt setup?
I've been presuming the last several years that whatever new car I buy is going to be very different from my old 1991 Civic. VTEC, maybe no distributor, etc.
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I think just about all cars have the stubborn crankshaft bolt. Most cars can be done with the "bump the starter" technique, but I did it once on a Toyota and it was pretty scary.
Mike
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