89 civic

Well the legacy is over, my 98 civic has met its fate on the back end of a 93 ranger. I was the only one in the car, and walked away with no injuries.
10500 in damage, it is beyond repair.
So I need a car, don't want to spend the whole insurance settlement on a car.
Yesterday I picked up an 89 civic 4 door automatic for $375. Body is a little rough, but runs like a charm! 276k kms, 171k miles.
Taking it for a safety tomorrow, hoping to get about 6 months to a year out of er.
Any pointers from anyone on this vintage of civic?
t
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loewent wrote:

Keep the coolant reservoir up to the =MAX= mark, change the oil and drain-n-fill the tranny at least once with Honda Z1 ATF. Who knows what's actually in there / how old it is? Glad you're OK.
'Curly'
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Original owner, 91 Civic, 203k miles here. I get parts from 89 Civics at the junkyard all the time for my 91.
Why's the price so low? Just the rough body?
One thing I am on the lookout for with low priced Civics of this era are failed head gaskets.

Check for oil in the spark plug tubes. For a car this old with this many miles, it's likely the camshaft holder-cyl head O-rings are leaking. OTOH, if you only want it to last six months, maybe you can forego this job.
When was the timing belt replaced?
Suspension could probably stand rebuilding, butagain, for only six months, I think the above is all I'd be really worried about.
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Body is really rough. Good old winnipeg road salt can be blamed for that. There is a small hole in one of the rocker panels, we are repairing it. Rust at the bottom of the doors.
I probably won't spend alot of money on it. I should clarify, I would be happy if it lasted 6 months, though I am sure it will go for much longer.
Not sure on the t-belt, will inspect to see if it looks fresh or not. May just swap it out anyways, can't be much different than doing it on my 98.
Antifreeze was clean, after sitting 2 yrs, I don't think this one has a head gasket issue.
Literally put a different battery in and the thing started like it had been used every day, but in reality had been sitting for over 2 years.
t

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loewent wrote:

if the body's that bad, i'd just make sure the ignition system was good, the brakes good, and leave it at that.
there's lots more you can do if you want, main relay, valve lash, t-belt, rear trailing arm bushings, but they're not worth it for a 6-month gig. unless you want to have a bit of fun. if i were going to thrash it, i'd inspect the t-belt and bushings as a priority.
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Body is not great. Wife hates the car. She says I didn't 'talk to her enough about it'. oh well... lol
Will be replacing brake rotors, they are warped. If the bleeder bolts on the calipers aren't too corroded, will do a brake fluid flush as well. Brakes are mushy, hope its not the master cylinder. if I can't get the bleeders off, will use the turkey baster method.
Will also do the standard fluid changes, oil and tranny specifically. Coolant is new, PS fluid looks good. Picked up 4L of Honda Z1 today.... $40!!! geez....
A good sign on this car is the OEM oil filter I found underneath. Also found an OEM timing belt brand new in the box in the trunk. I will take this as a hint that the timing belt needs to be done soon.
Hopefully once I replace the fluids, and drive it for a week or 2, some of the other tune up items will make themselves more apparent. I am thinking plugs, plug wires and dist cap and rotor.
So far so good, and drives like a champ. Just got the old manitoba safety inspection done today, it needed some bulbs and a hole in the muffler welded over. $80 later I have a 'road worthy' vehicle...
t

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loewent wrote:

oh well!

before you replace, do this: scrape off the hub face, and the inside of the wheel so they're both free of rust. smear a little antiseize on both surfaces, then re-torque the lug nuts in a 2 or more stage process, in the correct sequence, correct torque.
every single time i've ever had a honda go in the shop where they fasten wheels with air tools, the disks "warp". every time i do the above, the "warp" magically disappears. no disk replacements for me.

sounds like you need to do the bleeding all the way through. need to open up those bleed nipples even if you drill and replace.

sometimes you can try bleeding at the banjo bolt, but it's not recommended because it's easy to make things worse, not better.

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As for the brakes, I am thinking rotor replacement with some 'cheapies'.... my father in law decided to do me a favour while we were resurrecting this car, he thought the car may not pass safety inspection with visible rust on the disks... (actually that is pretty likely, most shops will try to use any leverage they can to get extra $ $ for parts outta you) so on the way from his place to the shop (about 20km highway drive) he spent the whole time speeding up and braking hard. He said he did this to the point where the brake fluid was so hot, the brakes wouldn't work anymore... Wish he woulda just left it alone, I would have rather argued with the shop than have to replace the rotors.... :(
Finally did the oil change and transmission fluid rotation yesterday. The 2 year old oil in this car looked great still, I'm glad I ran the car for a couple weeks before changing it... gave it a chance to clean the engine out some.
As for the trannie fluid, dropped 2.5 liters out of the trannie, it looked pretty good, a little particulate in it to make it less than crystal clear. Also, it looked like regular dexron, especially when I compared it to the Honda Z1 I added, the colour is very different... red (dex) vs flourescent pink (z1).
Shifts are much softer now... don't let anyone tell you Honda Z1 is a waste of money.
I will let the trannie run for a couple weeks now and do another fluid 'rotation'... good ole drain and fill....
Also, this being my first time underneath this car for any extended period... I was very impressed to see that there is NO corrosion anywhere on the underside of this vehicle. The outside is rough and rusty, underneath it might as well be a brand new car... exhaust system included! Very odd to find a car in this condition at this age in the Manitoba Rust Belt....
t

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loewent wrote:

that's less likely to be brake fluid, and much more likely to be cheapo after-market pads. for about five extra bucks, you get honda pads, shims and anti-squeal grease. oh, and very good fade resistance.

my experience with aftermarket rotors is ok, so consider those if you're saving bucks on a car like this. don't go for the cheapest chinese disks though - i've seen casting errors and cracking. stock replacement brembos from somewhere like summit are just dandy.

indeed. basically, the only people that tell you otherwise are those with no experience of this!

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jim beam wrote:

one more thing - if you have the original '89 brake calipers, you need to make sure the disks are the right ones. most aftermarket, and indeed honda disks, assume you've changed to a later style caliper that takes a slightly thicker disk. that thicker disk will just fit inside the older caliper, but it will rub when you go around corners. shops will just skim the disks so they fit, which i don't like since so many shops don't cut disks exactly square.
bottom line, check into this and make sure you either have the right disks or the right calipers. i shopped around and found the right disks, but the honda dealer didn't have them. if the car were a keeper, i'd suggest going for the new calipers too, but hey, maybe you can just get new pads and use silicon carbide paper to get the rust off the disk faces if your originals are not too badly grooved or worn.

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Have not pulled off the calipers, but it would surprise me if they were not OEM... Everything on this car I have inspected thus far is a factory or OEM replacement part. Oil Filter, even the replacement timing belt I found in the trunk.
You've never met my father-in-law... trust me he cooked em.... :)
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loewent wrote:

well, my 90 crx had one "wide" and one "narrow" caliper on it [it should have had two "wide"], and that was "all stock", so don't make any assumptions!

that brake fade is still almost certainly pads, not fluid. i've "tested" with fully loaded cars on the hills of san francisco. trust me, some after-market pads will have you pushing the pedal like you're trying to break the seat off its rails once things get warm. honda pads, the fade is barely noticeable.
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Replaced the sparkplug o-rings today.... they were leaking like sieves..... Couldn't figure out why the car smelt like it had an oil leak, but wasn't losing any oil... I guess as the spark plug tubes filled up, they got to the point when they were in contact with the plug boots, and made a burnt oil smell.
Also, rummaging around in the trunk of my newly acquired car, I found a box... had a brand new OEM timing belt in it. SWEET... that belt is worth like $60 up here! This leads me to beleive the former owner was thinking about doing the t-belt sometime soon... Can I use a new belt that has been sitting in the box in the trunk for 2 years?
t

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loewent wrote:

do the "b" seals, but don't bother with the ones below that. unless the cam gets unbolted, they never leak.

sure.
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I personally would not expect a boxed timing belt to degrade after two years. Coincidentally I had a bagged one in the closet for about two years. I installed it last summer. No problems as yet. :-)
Replaced the sparkplug o-rings today.... they were leaking like sieves..... Couldn't figure out why the car smelt like it had an oil leak, but wasn't losing any oil... I guess as the spark plug tubes filled up, they got to the point when they were in contact with the plug boots, and made a burnt oil smell.
Also, rummaging around in the trunk of my newly acquired car, I found a box... had a brand new OEM timing belt in it. SWEET... that belt is worth like $60 up here! This leads me to beleive the former owner was thinking about doing the t-belt sometime soon... Can I use a new belt that has been sitting in the box in the trunk for 2 years?
t
wrote:

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i would do the same, you don't own anything as long as you have to make payments

a complete tune-up: NGK V-power plugs one heat range colder (to deal with E10 gasohol) , NGK magnetic core plug wires (the best), OEM or Standard brand distributor cap & rotor (with brass terminals) modifications: high voltage ignition coil (must have the same primary resistance as stock), short ram intake (or simply run the stock setup without the intake resonator), gutted catalytic converter (Hondas don't need this Detroit's piece of sh*t) fluids: Castrol Syntec 0W-30 or 5W-20 motor oil, PEAK 50/50 lifetime antifreeze , Dexron II ATF with Lubegard ATF Protectant filters: WIX oil filter and fuel filter
Note: DO NOT use Honda Z1 in your 89 civic's transmission. As a matter of fact, all pre-1994 Hondas left the factories with Dexron II in the transmission
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snipped-for-privacy@scn.org wrote:

that's an ok plug, but a bullshit reason.

ok, they're good.

oem only. brass is bad because the zinc it contains vaporizes, then condenses again weakening the spark with a conductive layer inside the cap.

no. oem quality is better.

absolutely not. all you do is suck hot air and make more noise. and you reduce engine life with reduced filter efficiency. google this group for filtration data that's been posted countless times.

idiot.
so where are you going to buy dexron II??? at the honda dealer! it's called "honda z1 transmission fluid".

utter bullshit.

which you can't easily buy any more. castrol don't make it for instance. stick to honda z1. transmission works great.
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