$250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

 
Old 09-26-2017, 06:45 AM
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Icon7 $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

Hey there guys! I've had this car for a few months now but have held off on making a build thread until I made some real progress on the car. I finally have the car at a point where I'd actually be comfortable showing it to friends and family, so the build thread starts now!

I purchased this car for $250 from someone on Craigslist who lived in the middle of Detroit. It was definitely the sketchiest Craigslist sale I've ever gone to.

The guy said it ran, but when I showed up, he couldn't get it fired up. He insisted it was just an alternator belt so I said "Sure dude whatever" and bought the car. This is actually my first project car, so I was a bit blind when purchasing it - I didn't care if it ran, I didn't care what shape it was in, I just wanted a fun project car that I could work on over the summer.



What you see above is day one. The car looked ATROCIOUS. Peeling paint on hood, smashed driver's side headlight, scrapes and dings all over the car, the rear bumper was held on with a ratchet strap (I later found out this was because all of the bumper mounts on the back had rotted... *sigh*) and the interior wasn't looking much better.



Here's a shot of the back of my car, complete with a friend of mine helping me make sure everything is nice and secure for the drive home. (When he opened that door, the hinge went "creeeeaaaaakkkk-CRACK" - it turns out the hinge was rusted out or broken or something and can open slightly further than designed now, so add that to the list of stuff to fix.)



I trailered the car home and quickly noticed the issue with the alternator. It needed a new belt, sure, but the car also needed a new alternator. The owner said that the car sat for a number of years (It had originally been his "winter beater") and it looks like he tried firing it up after it sat forever. The alternator was seized and didn't move, and the belt did - poof, melted belt. Since it was the week of the Woodward Dream Cruise we decided to have some fun and go pick up an alternator from the O'Reilly's right on Woodward. ~$100 later and we had a rebuilt alternator and a new belt to slap on the Civic!

I didn't realize the alternators on these things were so hard to change! Coming from someone who has really only worked on Fords before (A Windstar and a Ranger, mainly) I was surprised when I had to jack up the car to wiggle it out the bottom. Definitely a more intense job than on other cars, but it went (mostly) without issue. (Just a bit of rust in my eyes - I need to invest in some safety glasses)



The car sat in a friend of mine's neighborhood for a few days, since I couldn't park it at my own house (My parent's aren't very supportive of my car hobby, especially if I brought home a $250 shitbox) This side of the car looks much nicer than the driver's side! The next thing to go was those smoker window covers - I hate those things. (Note: The parking spot in my friend's neighborhood didn't last long. An old retiree decided to come yell at me about how I should be embarrassed to even own a this shitbox and about how I was devaluing the neighborhood. She kept spouting about how she used to work at GM and how she knew what a real car was But since the car was unregistered and I didn't want to get towed, it was time to move. My girlfriend's parents were nice enough to let me keep it in their shed over the summer, since her dad only needs it over the winter for his classic car - woo, free storage!)



Here, I made the mistake of taking off the ratchet strap holding on the rear bumper. Oh boy, that's rusted. As I stated previously my parent's aren't too keen on my car obsession so I don't have easy access to a welder nor the money to pay someone to weld it for me, so it looks like I'll be running it without a bumper for a while!



In other news, I popped the trunk that the guy said was full of "spare parts". It had the old air intake piping (The new one is HORRENDOUS - the guy slapped on an aftermarket eBay metal intake pipe that hits the battery terminal and instead of fixing or moving it, he just put duct tape on the point where it contacts the battery ) and some eBay strut braces! I tried fitting the eBay braces at first but there were so many parts missing that I decided to just throw them on the free section of Craigslist.




Fast forward a few days and I got a new driver's-side headlight! I asked around in my local Honda group Facebook page and was contacted by someone who races CRX's like twenty minutes away from me. Really nice guys, I actually picked up a set of Neuspeed Race lowering springs from him as well since he offered! Lowering springs + Headlight = $100



New headlight time! Car is now in girlfriend's shed, with LOTS of work to be done. (Oh hey, you can still see the "TOW" written on my windshield from when the car was parked in my friend's neighborhood... I got it out in just the nick of time!)



This was another big issue I noticed, and I actually asked about it here! Automatic Transmission cooler, definitely needs to be replaced if I end up staying auto (though I'm hoping to manual swap before too long!)



Cleaned the dirt out of this area the best I could - the stuff you still see is rust. I also popped out the windshield washer fluid reservoir and disconnected all of the pumps and lines. Since we're going "full track car bro", I shouldn't need those.



Finally in the sunlight! Hood is still off along with the bumpers at front trim, since they need to be painted badly. Rear bumper is still off since it needs paint & just can't go on :'(



Let the stripping begin! **** the spare tire, **** the rear carpet, **** all of the gross moldy stuff that had been back here



Finally done stripping the back, it was like 11pm at this point!



Starting to prep the front bumper for paint! The right black section was what we had sanded already, and the disgusting light gray is what the bumper originally looked like.



Hot diggity damn - we started with Krylon white primer, and it looked like ****! So on recommendation from my girlfriend's dad, we switched to the $0.99-a-can flat white Walmart-brand paint, and it came out way nicer!



This was the hood after like six coats of Krylon. It covered horribly and looked terrible! I would've gone through 30 cans just to get a nice looking finish. This needed to be completely re-done with the Walmart-brand paint.



Hood is on! The bumper was done at this point as well, but I wanted to finish the trim piece in front as well as the fenders before putting any of that back on.



Another picture, featuring the shitty Krylon(TM) hood and the sexy Walmart front bumper



Next came the fenders - since these had been painted black, I expected them being white to really change the overall look of the car!



AND NOW FOR THE BACK BUMPER. I came up with a plan - **** the metal bumper insert, track car lyfe bro! Since I didn't have access to a welder and I still wanted a rear bumper on so the car would look nice, I decided on using quick-release clips to attach the bumper, totally taking out the metal insert (which was 70% rust at this point anyways). The sawzall helped.



Jeeeesuss christ....



The finished bumper! Sawzall nicked it a little near the license plate mount (And the previous owner melted it near the exhaust tip exit, and then apparently cut it...) but overall it came out looking nice. I left the small metal piece at the top so the bumper would still have a little bit of weight and structure, and mainly because the phillips screws holding it in were rusted!



Hood and (bent to ****) front trim piece are now on! I really need to get a new front trim piece (the piece in-between the hood and bumper) since this one is so mangled... Wait, what are those? New wheels?!



Yep! Another Facebook contact comes in clutch and hooked me up with these weird off-brand "ZNX" wheels. He didn't know much about them, but they were 4x100, came with a set of tires, and looked great! Oh, and the price was right too - I only paid $100 for the full set!



Now it's starting to look like a real car! I finished putting the newly-painted fenders on, I put the bumper on, and the shitty hood stayed on too. The entire front end practically looked like a new car! I do have a few issues though - It definitely needs a new trim piece, as that looks terrible being bent up and whatnot. The passenger headlight is fucked, possibly from getting in a crash. (Noticed how its pushed in slightly? I honestly couldn't tell if the hood didn't fit or if the headlight was fucked, since both were dented and had been involved in accidents lmao. When I got the new drivers side headlight it lined up great though, so I'm guessing the passenger side headlight is at fault) Hopefully it's just the headlight/headlight bracket that could be replaced and it isn't full body/frame damage.



Another angle of the new front end. Oh, I forgot to mention earlier - sometime during our sawzall fun I also took it to the front bumper and cut out the smashed grille. Oh, and I ripped the ugly trim off the sides (I plan to bondo the holes sometime in the future). Can't remember when I did it all!



...aaand here's how it sits as of yesterday! I just got the rear bumper on yesterday using Password:JDM Bumper Quick-Releases (Honestly they were probably a Chinese knockoff, the whole set was only $8 on Amazon) and the car is looking great. I'll take more pictures of the new rear bumper setup and the whole car as soon as I can, but I was in a hurry to leave yesterday.

Current plans for the car:

- I have a new KEY'S RACING steering wheel coming, along with some Chinese hub for it. Gonna install those ASAP!
- I want to 3D print a gauge pod to go in the single-DIN radio slot since I removed the head unit (I forgot to mention - the car came with a really nice Kenwood head unit worth like a quarter of the car's value! I flipped it on eBay)
- I want to scrape off all of the shitty peeling rubber around the window trim and whatnot - I've seen people have great success chiseling it off and then going back over it with plasti-dip to give it a new rubberized coating, so I might try that. If any of you have better suggestions, let me know!
- Finish painting the car! This is obviously pretty high on my list.
- Finish stripping the interior, possibly throw bucket seats in (If I can find some cheap ones, though I don't wanna skimp out on price and die if I get in an accident)
- New J's Style rear spoiler for the car. I love how they look!

I honestly have hundreds of other things I could list, but why waste my time typing them? I could be out in the garage (shed) doing them!

In other news, my parents have no idea that I have this car and the current plan is to tell them in the beginning of October. Hopefully they like it! If not, I'm not quite sure what will happen...

Enjoy the build guys, I plan on taking this $250 shitbox as far as possible! haha
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Old 09-26-2017, 02:03 PM
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

There's jeans that cost more than $250. JEANS. With that said, god damn that car requires a ton of work, way more work then I'd ever care to get into, but at least you seem to have your mind set on turning that baby around. If I were you, I would have called off the sale and called it a loss.. saved up about 2 grand to get one in much nicer shape, that would ALSO be a 5 speed instead of an automatic. To each their own though. Welcome!

Here goes my white 90 Hatch.. so far not much work done with it. But it's currently my DD. Once you get your work done, you're
will look similar, but the one I have is an SI, which I think had an entirely different motor? Best of luck to you! Can't wait to see the progress.

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Old 09-26-2017, 05:05 PM
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

Looks awesome!

I am sure this is exactly how my next project is going to start out! I need an EF hatch in my life, and I'm sure my wife won't allow me to spend more than $250 on another project after how much I dropped on the rex

Just keep at it and it'll get there! Hope it all goes well with ur parents.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

nice work so far mate, hope you keep the motivation you've had to fix it up this far. also good luck with your parents haha
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Old 09-27-2017, 06:56 AM
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Making good progress! I think we can all support saving a EF
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Old 09-27-2017, 07:04 PM
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I'm in the same boat as you are! Currently saving/modding an EF that was previously very unloved.
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Old 09-28-2017, 06:32 AM
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

Originally Posted by Pico View Post
Here goes my white 90 Hatch.. so far not much work done with it. But it's currently my DD. Once you get your work done, you're
will look similar, but the one I have is an SI, which I think had an entirely different motor? Best of luck to you! Can't wait to see the progress.
Daaaamn, I love your hatch! Looks sweet, hopefully mine gets to that state haha.

@ Everyone else - thanks for the support! It means a lot when all of my friends are saying I wasted my money on a rust bucket haha.

Update today:



Decided to start painting the body! This picture was after sanding, hence some of the dust on the tail light and whatnot.



This entire car is being done with the $0.99-a-can Walmart-brand paint! I was using Krylon before but it somehow was covering worse than the Walmart paint...



Decided that I wanted to go for the white-on-white look and paint the door handles! When I get some time I'm going to properly pop them out and paint them (along with the mirrors and whatnot), but for now I'm just going to tape off the key hole and paint the handles while they're on the car.



I wanted to pop off the badges for now and decide if I wanted them later on, but my friend volunteered to mask the badges. Have fun!



A few coats of paint later, already improving a ton! (Notice the missing badges? Hmmm.... My friend got sick of taping pulled out his knife, next thing I knew they were off hahaha)



A few coats of paint later, really shaping up! I had to leave for class before I could get as many coats as I would've liked, and they say to either do extra coats within an hour or after 48 hours with this paint. I think I'm going to start on the other side tomorrow and flip-flop sides each day, giving the other side the proper 48 hours to dry.



One more picture of the de-badged hatch. My friend used his knife and picked at it for like 25 minutes to get all of the glue off, and then properly sanded it and everything! Will look great after more paint, I just wanted to do a light coating so the bare metal wouldn't be exposed overnight (Rust is my worst fear!!!)

Currently in the works is rebuilding the rear drum brakes, I priced it out and its only $107 for the entire rebuild! They're currently grinding and scraping and sound horrible It's probably the first thing I'm going to do after this painting is done! Hoping to have both the painting and the brakes done by next Thursday, that's my personal due date for showing the car to my parents!
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Old 09-29-2017, 01:11 AM
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The white looks fantastic! I'm more than a little sad mine was horribly rattle canned black over the original white.
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Old 09-29-2017, 02:38 AM
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

Honestly for a job like this, I'd scratch together a few shekels and get a MAACO paint job. Only because it must be so time consuming and tedious, I'd never have the patience and it would turn out like crap if I did it!

So props to anyone doing their own rattle can jobs and savin that dough!
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Old 10-04-2017, 09:37 PM
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Haven't posted in a while, figured it was time for another update!

Lots of stuff got done to the car:
- Finished painting (for now)
- Rebuilt rear drum brakes (Only the drivers side for now, but I have the parts for the passenger side which I'll need to do soon!)
- Cleaning up the stripped interior



After this, we put a few more coats on the car and called it quits. The deadline for showing the car to my parents is October 5th, so we wanted to give the paint the full 48 hours to dry before showing it off. Needless to say, it came out looking great. I'd do a bit of touch up on the roof and hood if possible, but other than that I'm really happy with the results! (Will post pictures soon with the rear bumper on and no tape/paper)


Aaaand it was on to the rear drum brakes! Now, I've never actually rebuilt any drum brakes before, so this was my first time. Needless to say, I thought it was just "take off old drum cover, take off springs and shoes, throw on new springs and shoes, throw back on new drum cover" without knowing any of the specifics...

Now, I wasn't TOO dumb, and I did a bit of Googling before my adventure. YouTube led me to an old video by ChrisFix (awesome YouTuber for car repair and whatnot) about servicing and replacing drum brakes. One of the first things he suggested was taking pictures of the tops and bottoms of the drum breaks, so you know where all of the springs and whatnot go. I took the pictures, but everything was so rusty and covered in dust you could barely tell what's what!


Now, another rookie mistake. I decided the best way to cope with the insane amounts of dust and filth was to grab the trusty 'ol compressor and blow it all out. Watched two more minutes into the video and got the all-caps "NEVER USE AN AIR COMPRESSOR TO BLOW OUT BRAKE DUST" warning... Needless to say, I'll invest in some Brakleen in the future. I was smart enough to put on a small dust mask, but it wasn't a full respirator, so I'll have to be careful about that in the future. Live and learn!


By this time it was getting later and later at night and I was getting more and more frustrated as the pile of rust at my feet grew, but finally the new brake hardware was on! Nice new shoes, springs, and a new rotor going on top of it all. After struggling with rotor fitment for a few minutes I finally got it on, but in the process forgot to take another picture with it on. Something for tomorrow!


This picture is a little bit blurry. A question for those of you out there with years more experience than me - is it worth replacing the wheel cylinder if it isn't leaking or anything? Not sure how much effort is involved with it. I'd also like to replacing the backing plate that the brake shoes ride on, just because its so rusty, but again - not sure if worth the effort!

Another issue I've been having is an extremely squishy brake pedal. My brake warning light has also been on for a while, making me guess it's just a low brake fluid level, which would (probably) explain the soft pedal. I'll have to check it out in the coming days and see if I can diagnose it and fix it!

Anyways, that's about it for now! I'll post more pictures of the new brakes and car soon. The plan is to wash it tomorrow (Technically today, since its 1:00am on October 5th) and show it off to my parents sometime that night.

Highest priority work:
- Install passenger side drum brake parts
- Fix squishy brake pedal
- Clean up stripped interior (The sound deadening material/tar looks TERRIBLE and really needs to be removed)
- Get new tires (Driver's side rear has a leak that lasts around a week before being totally flat!) - Not sure what I should opt for in tires. Part of me wants to go to a full track compound, but I think that might be a bit too crazy and expensive for me as a beginner. Maybe I'll try to find some sort of performance street/track crossover tire?
- Change spark plugs, coolant, and oil! (Because I haven't been driving the car (it's just been sitting and being painted) nothing has been done on this front. I checked the oil and filled it a bit to be in the proper fill range, but never fully changed it)

After that stuff I have a laundry list of other things to do, but no sense in posting them all in every post!
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:46 PM
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Welcome! Even though most people would just start with a cleaner car I definitely respect your hustle in trying to save the car. Makes for a fun project. Just a suggestion though for the rust on the rear quarters, cut it and flare it lol. Works like a charm.
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Old 10-06-2017, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Evo9GSR View Post
Welcome! Even though most people would just start with a cleaner car I definitely respect your hustle in trying to save the car. Makes for a fun project. Just a suggestion though for the rust on the rear quarters, cut it and flare it lol. Works like a charm.
Thanks a bunch! And yep, that's my exact plan for the rear quarters. Right now I'm not sure what to do though. I could:

1.) Get rear quarter patch panels and rivet them into place, allowing me to roll the patch panels and create a more widebodied look
2.) Get fender flares and put them over the wheel arches

I'm kind of thinking choice 1, since it will cover up the damage as well as give me a bit more material to work with.

Here are the patch panels I'm talking about:



We'll see how it goes!

Oh, and speaking of pictures, here's the car in its full painted glory






Looking a million times better than it was before! I'm excited to see how this thing turns out.

Oh, in other news: I showed the car to my parents, they weren't too receptive... But they also haven't thrown me out yet! So I'm going to keep working on it, now with the aid of my dad's legit tools instead of the Harbor Freight B.S. I bought haha. Planning on rebuilding the passenger brakes as soon as it stops raining, will post updates!
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Old 10-08-2017, 04:00 PM
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Another update! Didn't do a whole lot today since I got home late - cleaned out a bit more of the stripped rear of the car, and removed the passenger side rear seatbelt. Also, apologies on the picture quality today - as it was getting dark out, the pictures kept getting more and more grainy.


First things first, picked up a plate from 1990 at a garage sale a while back and finally popped it on! I like the blue-on-white look, I'm thinking about registering/insuring it as a classic car when I get around to that eventually.


Started out with cleaning some of the back out. There was rust and dirt everywhere - I'm sad I didn't take a "before" picture, this already looks 10x better! I know next to nothing about painting an interior, which I'm going to need to do eventually, so I'll need to put some research into that.


While working back here, I decided it was time to start popping out the seatbelts. There were five bolts in total holding everything in, and they were concerningly loose! I'm glad I tossed the rear seats as soon as I got this car, I wouldn't have wanted anyone to ride in them with seatbelts that were secured that poorly. (I was always under the impression that seatbelt bolts are near impossible to get off, but I did it with a small breaker bar and almost no effort)


...aaand its out! Only took five or ten minutes, but it was starting to get dark so I decided to leave the driver's side belt in for now. I like the look without the belts, it cleans up the back a lot!


Here's the belt assembly, with the plastic bag still over the retracting mechanism and whatnot. I might just toss it, I don't know if there's anyone who would even buy the rear seatbelts in an EF, especially used.

Anyways, that's it for today! Not much happened due to a lack of time, but I wanted to keep a habit of updating everything I'm doing haha. Will update more when I remove the driver's side belt.

Highest priorities:
- Passenger side drum brake
- Add brake fluid (replace with a high-temp racing brake fluid?)
- Use dry ice technique to remove interior sound deadening!
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by cybersec View Post
Thanks a bunch! And yep, that's my exact plan for the rear quarters. Right now I'm not sure what to do though. I could:

1.) Get rear quarter patch panels and rivet them into place, allowing me to roll the patch panels and create a more widebodied look
2.) Get fender flares and put them over the wheel arches

I'm kind of thinking choice 1, since it will cover up the damage as well as give me a bit more material to work with.

Here are the patch panels I'm talking about:



We'll see how it goes!

Oh, and speaking of pictures, here's the car in its full painted glory






Looking a million times better than it was before! I'm excited to see how this thing turns out.

Oh, in other news: I showed the car to my parents, they weren't too receptive... But they also haven't thrown me out yet! So I'm going to keep working on it, now with the aid of my dad's legit tools instead of the Harbor Freight B.S. I bought haha. Planning on rebuilding the passenger brakes as soon as it stops raining, will post updates!
i actually wasnt a fan of the fender flares at first. I also wanted to go for a stock wider look. But I decided to do this until I had the money for steel over fenders. But honestly I ended up liking the look a lot. I’m unsure how bad your rust is and only you can decide what’s best for your car. I’m sure it will come out awesome!
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:30 PM
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Decided to do an oil change today!

I bought the oil back when I first got the car and have been putting it off since I wasn't driving the car. I think I may have a small oil leak somewhere? There's oil all over the oil pan and general entire underside of the engine, which probably isn't a good sign. Not even sure where to start looking - I didn't notice anything immediately start dripping after changing the oil and installing a new filter, but I cleaned everything up a bit and will re-check it in the morning to see if I notice any new drips.

Only took a few pictures today - one of my car up on jack stands, and one of the current state of my engine bay (It will be nice looking back on it once everything is cleaned up, just like I did with the outside of the car!)




Highest priorities:
- Passenger side drum brake
- Add brake fluid (replace with a high-temp racing brake fluid?)
- Use dry ice technique to remove interior sound deadening!
- Battery relocation kit! It clutters up the engine bay and that ghetto "duct tape the intake so it doesn't spark when the battery touches" fix hurts me.
- New intake! **** the eBay metal intake
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:38 AM
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Really glad you saved this car. It's a lot of work but it'll be worth it for a student. I saved a white 90 Si hatch when I was 17 and it was a bare rusty shell. I still have it too Back then I had a bunch of time and no money so it was perfect. Now it's looking like the opposite, so I might take it off the road for a B20Z swap and to get a 2017 hatch. I'm just getting sick of fixing a mission critical 28 year old car and the waifu doesn't want me in a death trap anymore.

You should really consider getting another bumper support for the rear. They do help. I've had my friend hit someone to the point where the bumper was pointing straight up in the air. He 'claimed' he hit the gas and brake at the same time while driving a MANUAL and rear ended someone and didn't get any contact info (sketch). I think he fell asleep and lied to me.. Needless to say I'm not friends with him anymore. All I did was replace the support and it turned out fine, within a 1/4 inch. I also rear ended someone at 10mph with no damage when I slid in the rain. which further reinforces my thought that he hit something really hard. If somebody rear ends you right now they might go right through the car :O

I've done the dry ice technique and it works great. Just get some thick gloves. It also gets rid of that soggy tar smell if your old deadening is breaking down. I still wanted sound deadening so I wasn't driving a coke can, so I added a bunch of QuickRoof strips from Home Depot, and cut out sections of house carpet foam to put under the carpet. Basically a poor man's Dynamat. I did the doors, too. I also added foam in the rear plastic panels with adhesive spray.

I honestly just use the Valvoline Dot3/4 synthetic brake fluid. You don't really need anything else for daily driving, especially with a d15b2. You should consider flushing the fluid a few times. I do mine every other year and it comes out like coffee every time...

For the oil leak, wrap the alternator, fuse box, and distributor with plastic bags and soak the engine in degreaser. If you have access to a pressure washer you can try using that as well, but be smart with it. I found out I had a bad distributor o-ring the hard way after a pressure wash despite covering the distributor. You might have to do it several times or use a wire brush if it's caked on enough.

What specific cans of paint did you use? My white hatch is looking bad these days. I've done rattle can jobs a few times on the bumpers but now the whole car needs paint. The car is just too damn old to justify real paint though. And did you clear coat it? Do you have plans to put the moldings back on and paint the mirrors? I've always loved a hatch with body-color mirrors and door handles.

Do you plan on doing anything different with the corner lenses? I've rocked full amber for the longest time but I'm going to swap to clear for a monochromatic look. They go for like 20 bucks on eBay for the pair. eBay will also have a replacement Civic logo for the rear. It really cleans the car up.

If you have any other questions about the model let me know. I've basically replaced everything on mine lol.
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Old 10-10-2017, 01:37 PM
  #17  
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

The car looks great!

Time for a turbo! :p
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Old 10-10-2017, 05:08 PM
  #18  
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

Originally Posted by sumdewd View Post
Really glad you saved this car. It's a lot of work but it'll be worth it for a student. I saved a white 90 Si hatch when I was 17 and it was a bare rusty shell. I still have it too Back then I had a bunch of time and no money so it was perfect. Now it's looking like the opposite, so I might take it off the road for a B20Z swap and to get a 2017 hatch. I'm just getting sick of fixing a mission critical 28 year old car and the waifu doesn't want me in a death trap anymore.
Holy crap, thanks for the long post! Your advice and comments are much appreciated haha. Here's my long response...

First things first, you should get a 2017! Would be sweet haha. Also that's a good idea on the sound deadening - mine is rotting and I want it out, but maybe adding in something similar to Dynamat would be a good idea.

As for brake fluid, I followed your advice and picked up some DOT 4 from AutoZone. In doing so, I found some bad news! It appears my master cylinder or brake booster is broken. I followed the advice in this thread and my car showed all of the symptoms, so I'm thinking of doing a brake booster delete (Still researching the pros and cons, as this is going to be a track-driven car) and replacing the master cylinder. I'll also need to check all of the vacuum lines in the morning to make sure those aren't causing any issues as well.

And thanks for the advice on the oil leak! I think I'll try the bag-it-and-wash-it approach this weekend, will report how it goes. The white paint I used was the Walmart-brand Flat White - "ColorPlace Interior/Exterior Fast Dry Spray Paint". I'm going to leave the moldings off (they were already thrown away, whoops!) and bondo up the holes eventually so water doesn't get in. As for the mirrors, I definitely plan on painting them white - I want to pull them off first just to make sure I cover everything well and don't get it on the actual reflective mirror. As for the corner lights, I'm not sure yet! I'm tempted to run clear as well, I think it could look cool with the white paint job and as you said, they're pretty cheap!

Originally Posted by 2x0 View Post
The car looks great!

Time for a turbo! :p
I want to! But right now I'm worrying about suspension/body/brakes/interior, AKA the stuff I can keep if this engine grenades and kills itself (It doesn't seem like it was well-taken-care-of for its 225,000-mile life) If the engine survives long enough for me to afford a turbo kit, I think I might go that route instead of the normal B series swap, but I'm honestly not sure yet. Depends on where life has me at that point!

Oh, and on to the pictures/updates for today!


Got some new parts today! The 9006 bulbs were to replace my burnt out driver's side headlight, and I got the two pack so I could throw a new one in the passenger side while I had the hood open anyways. 194 bulbs were also for the drivers side, as both of the corner light bulbs were burned out. This brings me to a great question - does anyone know what turns on the corner light that's behind the amber section of the light? No matter what I did, it was always off... Only the front one (in the clear section of the corner light) was on during running lights/headlights/turn signal/etc. Interesting! The bulb grease was something the guy at AutoZone recommended, so I said sure, for $1.49 throw it on lol. Not sure if it's really required or not, I haven't used it before.

Brake fluid was sumdewd's recommendation, just some basic DOT4 brake fluid. I went with the stuff in a metal container because I've heard that air can seep in through a plastic container, messing with the fluid. Another rumor that I'm not sure is true or not

Ah, on to the fun stuff - the radiator plug is a fake Chinese Mugen Power plug that I got off AliExpress for $6. Came in fake Mugen packaging and everything! I can't believe how much stuff they counterfeit over there. The same goes with the green box, it's a steering wheel hub I also got off AliExpress. I have a Key's Racing steering wheel coming in the mail! You can get the fake Chinese ones on eBay for $70 or on AliExpress for $35+shipping I definitely don't want to use shitty Chinese parts for everything on this car, but these were just a few misc. dress-up items that I wanted to try out. Who knows, maybe the Chinese quality won't be that bad?


The shiny new Chinese oil plug on my dirty-*** engine...


And the two new bulbs in my broken corner light! (I need to get this fixed! I'm talking to someone on Facebook right now about possibly picking up a new corner light for $5 - if that falls through, I might just go the clear route)

That's all for today, folks!

Highest priorities:
- Remove brake booster
- Replace master cylinder
- Passenger side drum brake
- Add brake fluid (Use the liter of DOT4 I bought)
- Use dry ice technique to remove interior sound deadening!
- Battery relocation kit! It clutters up the engine bay and that ghetto "duct tape the intake so it doesn't spark when the battery touches" fix hurts me.
- New intake! **** the eBay metal intake
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:43 AM
  #19  
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

Originally Posted by cybersec View Post
This picture is a little bit blurry. A question for those of you out there with years more experience than me - is it worth replacing the wheel cylinder if it isn't leaking or anything? Not sure how much effort is involved with it. I'd also like to replacing the backing plate that the brake shoes ride on, just because its so rusty, but again - not sure if worth the effort!
I know I'm probably a few days late for when you got the rear brakes back together, but I would recommend replacing the wheel cylinders while you have it apart. They are pretty cheap...so cheap the originals aren't worth rebuilding (in my opinion). I just replaced rear shoes, drums, and hardware on my sedan a few weeks ago and didn't replace the wheel cylinders. Guess what I was doing 1 week later...replacing wheel cylinders because one started leaking. Also, great advice to take pictures before disassembly, it is easy to accidentally swap the springs from left to right, and put them in upside down. Been there, done that.

I'm not sure about replacing the backing plates. I wanted to get new ones for my car too but couldn't find any new aftermarket parts, so I just decided to live with what I've got.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:05 AM
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

A steering wheel hub is a safety part. You're putting other people's lives in danger with a piece of garbage in a spot like that.

If you're this broke you should not have a "project car."
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:33 AM
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

Originally Posted by DaX View Post
I know I'm probably a few days late for when you got the rear brakes back together, but I would recommend replacing the wheel cylinders while you have it apart. They are pretty cheap...so cheap the originals aren't worth rebuilding (in my opinion). I just replaced rear shoes, drums, and hardware on my sedan a few weeks ago and didn't replace the wheel cylinders. Guess what I was doing 1 week later...replacing wheel cylinders because one started leaking. Also, great advice to take pictures before disassembly, it is easy to accidentally swap the springs from left to right, and put them in upside down. Been there, done that.

I'm not sure about replacing the backing plates. I wanted to get new ones for my car too but couldn't find any new aftermarket parts, so I just decided to live with what I've got.
Ah okay, sounds good! I'll swap those out, I'm about to rebuild the passenger side rear brakes later today.

Originally Posted by bluuu View Post
A steering wheel hub is a safety part. You're putting other people's lives in danger with a piece of garbage in a spot like that.

If you're this broke you should not have a "project car."
Do you have any recommendations on companies that make reputable steering hubs? The main reason I bought this one is because it appeared to be the same Chinese crap that everyone sells on eBay and other parts websites (just branded with counterfeit logos and whatnot). I'd be happy to purchase a legit one and compare the differences between the Chinese crap one and the legit one, for everyone's safety and knowledge.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:35 AM
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

Works Bell.

They aren't even expensive.

You're looking at the wrong sites if you're only seeing eBay level garbage.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

Originally Posted by bluuu View Post
Works Bell.

They aren't even expensive.

You're looking at the wrong sites if you're only seeing eBay level garbage.
Yeah, unfortunately I'm pretty un-educated in all of this, being new to the scene and all. This is my first project car so I'm kind of learning everything as I go. Thanks for the recommendation - I'm going to order this hub later this week, I'll report how it goes and the quality differences Do you know if there are any megathreads or anything of great aftermarket companies? I've had tons of trouble finding parts for my '90 Civic, mainly because most of the companies I hear people recommend are out of business now or their websites have totally empty 88-91 Civic/CRX categories. Thanks again for the help!
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:52 AM
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

88-00 Civics all share a number of parts. There are threads on parts compatibility.

My recommendation is looking at build threads of nice cars & taking inspiration from that.

Toda, Mugen, HKS, Koni, Bilstein, Eibach, Worksbell, OMP, Sabelt, Recaro, Enkei, Advan, Rays, Weds, JUN, Spoon, J's Racing, Hytech, etc.

All are good companies that make stuff for your car.
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Old 10-12-2017, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: $250 '90 Hatch Build! (AKA: College Kid Budget Build)

dope
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