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91 Civic Wagon build

Old 10-07-2016, 09:47 AM
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Icon7 91 Civic Wagon build

I recently traded my old truck for this wagon. It's kind of a POS at the moment, but I have plans. =D
One of the previous owners swapped a 94? d16z6 into it, but managed to break and/or strip multiple exhaust studs and valve cover bolts, so I'll probably end up doing a B swap.
First item on the list is a complete steering/suspension rebuild (the same numbskull that stripped all the bolts thought it would be a good idea to cut the springs and use the stock struts).
I have Function and Form Type 1 coilovers ready to install, but I want to rebuild the front end and get wheels/tires first, so I only have to get it aligned once. My goal is a fun daily that stands out, that I can take to weekend autoX events.

Last edited by Daniel Hause; 10-07-2016 at 09:55 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 10-07-2016, 12:17 PM
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Default Re: 91 Civic Wagon build

Gotta love a wagon!!
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: 91 Civic Wagon build

Update #1 (Sorry it's been so long)

Not much has changed on the wagon itself, aside from miscellaneous repairs, and developing an obnoxious 3rd cylinder misfire. After replacing plugs, wires, cap, and rotor, I think I've narrowed the issue down to the injectors -- the misfire moved from #3 to #4 when I swapped the respective injectors -- we'll know for sure tomorrow.

*note* -- There's a pair of wires going to the ignition coil that are very easy to accidentally knock off when beating off a stuck dizzy rotor. The car will not start without these attached. Don't ask me how Iknow this. Also, don't ask me how long it took to realize I hadn't fried the ignitor.

I've been gradually accumulating parts as budget allows, current list is as follows:

Lower ball joints - OEM replacement
UCAs - OEM replacement (these came with ball joints)
Tie rods - OEM replacement
F&F Type one coilovers

Still need to get front LCAs and control arms, etc. for the rear, but the rear's not as shot as the front, so I'll probably go ahead and install the coilovers and put wheels on it.

I picked up a b18a1 and a GSR transmission from a local. Haven't exactly decided what I'm going to do to it yet, but it's on a stand in the garage waiting for me. Parts accumulated for the swap are as follows:

GSR hydro trans w/ cable conversion
Exedy OEM replacement clutch
Fidanza lightweight flywheel.
DC integra half shaft (this is the one with the male end -- I'll need to make sure to get matching axles.) As far as I can tell, DC axles will work fine with EF hubs, but I'll need to make sure to use a DC transmission seal on the driver's side.

I'm going to try to post updates at least weekly just to keep me motivated and to help maintain momentum. Feel free to weigh in with advice, hints, or sarcastic banter.

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Old 01-05-2017, 10:41 PM
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Default Re: 91 Civic Wagon build

Sounds like you're making progress and plans. I like it so far.
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Old 01-14-2017, 01:22 PM
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Default Re: 91 Civic Wagon build

Update #2 -- Blessing in Diguise

We had our first (and potentially only — it’s in the mid 70s outside as I write this — gotta love the deep south) freeze of the winter last weekend. Normally that wouldn’t be worth writing about, but this particular freeze proved to be too much for my old wagon, and the timing belt snapped when I tried to crank it on Saturday morning.

Since it happened when I tried to crank it, I doubt any serious engine damage occurred. However, I decided to use this as an opportunity to park the car to begin the engine swap process, and used the the money I was going to use to buy wheels to buy a 2001 Civic EX Coupe, automatic (pictured above). The body is in pretty rough shape, but the interior is pretty decent and engine only has 77k miles on it. Pretty good for $700.

EX Civics came from the factory with d17a2 engines, which are SOHC, VTEC engines. However, the previous owner of this car got it with a blown engine, and swapped in a d17a1, which is identical except for the valve train, which is SOHC, non-VTEC. For whatever unknown reason, he did not replace the ECU and engine harness, but instead maintained those from the a2, complete with VTEC attachment. The only effect this has on operation is that it effectively limits the engine to 4k RPM. This isn’t the end of the world for day-to-day use, but it is a bit annoying when you’re trying to punch ahead in traffic.

There are two basic options to remedy this issue, both with their own pros and cons.

a) The first option is to replace the ECU and engine harness with those from an ’01-’05 Civic DX/LX/VP. These trim levels all came from the factory with d17a1 engines. The advantage of this approach is mechanical simplicity. It would be a relatively simple matter to replace the ECU and harness. The only major con is that I would have to have a dealer reflash the key so as not to activate the immobilizer. Anti theft measures are great and all, but they do make my life a little difficult on occasion.

b) The second option is to replace the a1 head with a d17a2 VTEC head. This option is not as mechanically straightforward, but it has the advantage of giving me a little more power, and doesn’t require me to involve the mob a dealer.

I’m still weighing the options regarding a solution to this issue, but in the meantime it works just fine as a daily driver. I may not ever do anything about it, and just sell the car for something else when I get tired of it. The primary project is still the Wagon, and I’m going to spend as little time, money, and energy as possible on the EX.
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