I have always wanted a CRX. My first two cars were del Sol's, one of which I turboed on the stock D16Y8 to make a fun little street car. Later on I sold it and bought a new CRZ which was fun, but was too limited performance-wise and too expensive for me to risk blowing the engine, so I mostly stuck with aesthetic mods on that one. I ended up having to sell the Z due to having kids and other expenses, and I needed a family wagon.
Ever since that time about 3 years ago, I have not had a "fun car" of my own. My wife and I decided it was finally time, the kids are getting old enough that I could have another toy. It had been eating at me for a while, not being able to run through the gears or carve through some corners in a sporty car. My budget was low ($5-6k tops) and I was undecided on what to get. For a while I thought trying RWD or even an American V8 for a change might be fun. I toyed with the idea of a C4 Corvette, Porsche 944, Nissan 240, 300zx, etc. etc. Then one day I happened across this turbo CRX for sale on Craigslist, in the middle of Minnesota of all places. It was nothing close to what I was looking for, but the feelings of driving my boosted 'Sol came rushing back and I knew it had to be mine.
So anyway, before anyone gets too excited about a long and technical build thread from the ground up..... I purchased the car with the B18 and turbo setup already installed. My hope was to get a car that "wouldn't need much work" so I could just drive it and enjoy it. I should have known better, because I can't help but to tinker when it comes to cars. But upon bringing this home I found that it does need some work, and I've already got some plans for upgrades in the future as well. If anything this thread will serve as a reference for myself to keep track of how far I've come with the car.
So without further ado, mod list is below as I purchased the car. It is a 1991 HF chassis that was brought up from Florida, never seen snow and is completely rust free. Mileage on the chassis is unknown, but it's clean and most everything in the suspension and brakes has been replaced. Engine and turbo setup has an estimated 5,000 miles on it. I paid $5,800, hoping I wouldn't need to put a ton of more money into it, but accepting the fact that I might put a little. I am sure this list is missing a few items.
- GSR Block
- Wiseco Pistons
- Eagle Rods
- Stage 5 RPM Ported B16 Head
- GSR Cams
- Cable LS Trans
- Stock Axles
- Comp Stage 5 Sprung Clutch
- Walbro 340, 255LPH Pump
- FIC 1000cc Injectors
- 6AN Fuel Lines
- Hondata S300 V1 Tuned on e85 at 20psi
- AEM Wideband and Gauges
- Precision GT3255E w/Upgraded Compressor
- Manual boost controller
- Blox IM with 90mm TB
- MG Fab Stainless Turbo Manifold
- Tial Wastegate
- 3” Downpipe and Full 3” Exhaust w/2 Magnaflow Mufflers
- Full Race 20" x 11" x 3" FMIC
- HKS BOV
- Fluidyne Radiator
- Dual Vented VC with Catch Can & Breather
- Tein Springs
- KYB Struts
- Skunk 2 Front UCA’s
- Skunk 2 Rear LCA’s and Upper Camber Kit
- Legend Front BBK w/2-Piston Calipers
- Rear Disk Conversion
- Stainless Brake Hoses
- Full Race Traction Bar
- 949 Racing 6UL Wheels, 15X9
- Hankook Tires
- VIS CF Hood
- Battery Relocated to Rear Hatch
Here it is the day I brought it home, after an hour drive on the highway and about 15 degrees outside with no heat. It was not a pleasant drive, and there were some concerning things about the car that arose during that time, but I'll get to those later.... Haven't taken thorough pics yet due to the cold weather.
Here are the issues I am trying to sort out currently-
Front end clacking noise under deceleration:
Upon driving the car home, I noticed it made some strange noises, most concerning being that when decelerating in gear, there was a rhythmic clacking-type noise coming from somewhere at the front of the car. The cause of this is still unknown, I am hoping it is not a major transmission or differential problem. Planning to change the trans fluid, and see if anything telling comes out in the old oil. Best case scenario, could just be noise from the brakes and slightly warped rotors not getting warmed up? Idk.
Misfiring, not starting in cold, running rough, wouldn't rev over 3000rpm:
The seller had told me not to drive it hard because it had old e85 in the tank, so I was apprehensive and did not want to push it any further to investigate at the time. It was also strange because at times it would seem to run okay, then others it was terrible. Seller also had never driven it in cold weather, so I wondered if maybe the tune had not been compensated properly for this. I downloaded the calibrations from the Hondata S300 to see if there were any settings I could play with to get it to run smoother in cold temperatures, or at least fire up quicker when cranking. I found somewhere that it takes 3 times as much e85 to get an engine started in cold weather as it does e10, so it got me thinking.
I downloaded the maps, had some people on here look them over and everything looked fine. It was when I tried uploading it to the ECU with a couple of minor changes that, not only did the upload fail, I noticed a solid red light on the ECU. I didn't know what this meant at first, but basically after a little research and help on the Hondata forum, the battery in the S300 V1 had died, so it had been running in limp mode. Apparently, at least my theory is that as the V1 was dying, it was switching in and out of limp mode, which is what caused it to run so crappy some times, and run okay other times. Try as I might, I could not get it back to a green light on the ECU. This is my first expense towards the car.
Now I have sent my ECU to be upgraded to the S300 V3 with bluetooth, and get the capacitors upgraded on the ECU. Hoping it comes back, plugs in, lets me upload the map and runs like a champ. Fingers crossed.
I noticed the last couple times I started it, if I release the clutch pedal in neutral, there is a lot of noise that comes from the transmission once it starts spinning. It is somewhere between a rattle and gear noise. Also when driving, especially in first and a little in second, there is some pretty major gear noise/whining under acceleration. Sounding almost like straight cut gears. However, the transmission shifts in and out of all gears reasonably well and operates like it should. Again, hoping that the fresh trans fluid will help or at least let me know if there is a major problem.
Oil leak from turbo feed or return line:
Last night I got under the car for the first time, and noticed everything is coated in fresh oil. I traced it up the oil pan on the front, and up the return line to the turbo. Although it appears to be originating from the return line, I suspect it is actually coming from somewhere on the pressure line side. It is very hard to see anything on the top side of the turbo, so this I need to dig into.
Torn shift linkage bushing? on transmission:
While under the car I also found a piece of rubber, looks like a bushing of some sort on the end of the shift linkage hooking to the transmission. The rubber piece was broken and I just pulled it off. Will get pics later on, not sure if this is an issue.
Turbo compressor touching radiator:
I doubt there is anything that can be done about this, just concerns me a little. Previous owner mounted the front of the engine solid to the full race cross member to prevent the turbo from eating into the rad. If it has lasted this long without causing and issue, I guess it will be OK
but I won't be terribly surprised if it ever springs a leak.
Here's what I have in the works so far:
- Upgrading Hondata to S300 V3, updating ECU capacitors
- Trans fluid change with Acura MTF
- Reducing boost to 17psi max until I get a feel for it
- Purchased e85 tester and "e85 only" sticker for the gas door
- Fixing oil leak on turbo feed line
Possible upgrades for the future:
- Upgrade axles
- Boost by gear
- Considering window tint and blacking out the lights and reflectors on the car. Not sure how it would look on a white car tho
might just leave the stock look.
Thanks for reading! Will update as I diagnose or fix issues, will get more pics and add any more upgrades I decide to do.