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Buying a second, none daily driver car

Cptn PantsCptn Pants Registered User regular
edited November 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Quick story: I got a 2007 Chevy Cobalt with just over 25,000 miles on it and I'm thinking about buying a Honda CRX to have and work on but not drive for probably over a year or so until after I get rid of my cobalt.

Long story: So my fiancée will be coming back to the states in about a year and will be needing a car. So my basic plan is to buy myself a Honda CRX, work on it while she's gone, and give her my Cobalt when she gets back. I can hear it now, why a CRX? Basically It was my first car and I've been missing it ever since I sold it. Also, I live with my Grandparents and my Grandfather is an ex mechanic who just retired and is missing his job so I figured this would be a good project for us all to work on together. I also got me a new job that gets me a commission check at the end of ever month, out side of my normal pay which amply cover my bills and non-car related expenses, so I'll be using that commission money for the repairs/paint/parts/labor that we can't handle on our own.

What do I need to know? Should I get insurance on it? It won't be driven for quite awhile and it'll be in a garage for most of the time. If anyone is a Honda person what kind of engine should I go with? I'm thinking of going with a B16a because they are fairly cheep and reliable plus a little bit of a horse power bump over the stock engines. I plan on keeping this car for a long long time even if it's not my daily driver. Any other advice/criticism is welcome.

Cptn Pants on

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    Bendery It Like BeckhamBendery It Like Beckham Hopeless Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Cptn Pants wrote: »
    Quick story: I got a 2007 Chevy Cobalt with just over 25,000 miles on it and I'm thinking about buying a Honda CRX to have and work on but not drive for probably over a year or so until after I get rid of my cobalt.

    Long story: So my fiancée will be coming back to the states in about a year and will be needing a car. So my basic plan is to buy myself a Honda CRX, work on it while she's gone, and give her my Cobalt when she gets back. I can hear it now, why a CRX? Basically It was my first car and I've been missing it ever since I sold it. Also, I live with my Grandparents and my Grandfather is an ex mechanic who just retired and is missing his job so I figured this would be a good project for us all to work on together. I also got me a new job that gets me a commission check at the end of ever month, out side of my normal pay which amply cover my bills and non-car related expenses, so I'll be using that commission money for the repairs/paint/parts/labor that we can't handle on our own.

    What do I need to know? Should I get insurance on it? It won't be driven for quite awhile and it'll be in a garage for most of the time. If anyone is a Honda person what kind of engine should I go with? I'm thinking of going with a B16a because they are fairly cheep and reliable plus a little bit of a horse power bump over the stock engines. I plan on keeping this car for a long long time even if it's not my daily driver. Any other advice/criticism is welcome.

    I was actually considering doing this same thing. A neighbor has had a CRX Si sitting in his lawn for the last 6 years, and I want it. b16A is the DOHC (vtec) engine from the 1999/2000 honda civic SI. Which is probably my favorite model of the SI (gotta love the EKs). So yeah, good engine. It is a popular swap for most civics and it would fit in a CRX, you may also consider a b18 (more powa!) make sure you upgrade exhaust and intake if you go that route as well. Also, make sure you go manual transmission.

    The only issue I've heard of with CRX b16 swaps is the clutch wears down a little quicker, as it's a hefty upgrade from the torque from a standard CRX engine. This was from a friend of mine that worked at honda, but I take everything he says with a grain of salt.

    CRXs are light and zippy as they are, throw in a b16 and you'll be zoom zoom. Throw in a turbo and you'll be smashing mustang GTs

    Yes you should insure it, you should know that some people treat their CRX and civics in general like crap (over rev, not double clutching at high RPMs, riding the clutch) so be prepared to change all that out. You're really going to want to rebuild the entire drive train.

    Bendery It Like Beckham on
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    BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Cptn Pants wrote: »
    Quick story: I got a 2007 Chevy Cobalt with just over 25,000 miles on it and I'm thinking about buying a Honda CRX to have and work on but not drive for probably over a year or so until after I get rid of my cobalt.

    Sounds like a fun plan. I also get the love for the CRX it is just that I think you need to also consider one other car since you're in this for fun. A Miata:!:

    It may not be the most butch car in the world but it is great driving fun with pretty bulletproof mechanics and since it is the second car the limited practicality should not be a problem. I actually make due with just a Miata and drive it year round (it is great in snow).

    Check out the forum at miata.net to get a feeling for the community around the Miata. Older ones can be had for little money and there is a huge selection of after-market parts if you want to go crazy.

    BlindZenDriver on
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    Cptn PantsCptn Pants Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Yea, I don't really like the Miata, not really my type of car. I had a CRX and I want another soon :) I'm not really looking for a speed machine just something peppy and fun to drive which is why I'm only going for a B16a and not a H22 or something lol.

    Should I insure it even though it won't even run for like over a year after I get it?
    If I insure an older car am I only covered for what the bluebook is or can i get it covered for the value of the work and parts in it?

    Ps. Anyone know a GOOD CRX forum?

    Thanks!

    Cptn Pants on
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    SkyCaptainSkyCaptain IndianaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Cptn Pants wrote: »
    Yea, I don't really like the Miata, not really my type of car. I had a CRX and I want another soon :) I'm not really looking for a speed machine just something peppy and fun to drive which is why I'm only going for a B16a and not a H22 or something lol.

    Should I insure it even though it won't even run for like over a year after I get it?
    If I insure an older car am I only covered for what the bluebook is or can i get it covered for the value of the work and parts in it?

    Ps. Anyone know a GOOD CRX forum?

    Thanks!
    You'd probably be better off calling a local insurance rep and asking them about that. I'd also ask your homeowner's or renter's insurance provider and see what their plans cover.

    SkyCaptain on
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    matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    If you own it and it's registered, you'll have to insure it. If it's not registered, as in, you buy it, trailer it home, and it sits in the garage with no tags, you don't have to insure it.

    matt has a problem on
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    NailbunnyPDNailbunnyPD Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    You'll want to insure it only because people love stealing old Hondas, or even just the parts from them.

    I loved my CRX, but I don't think I can go back to one from my 99 Civic EX coupe.

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    PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Did someone ask for a Honda guy? :P

    First thing, expect that any CRX you find will have been beat to hell and probably riced at some point in its life. If you're swapping out the drivetrain you'll be able to ignore most of the abuse done to the clutch/tranny thankfully, but make sure it hasn't been sitting on cut springs or slammed to an inch off the ground, unless you want to budget for a suspension replacement.

    Engine swaps. B16 is exactly what I'd suggest here, since a ZC doesn't give you enough of a boost, a B18 is at least double the money, and the H22 is too heavy and will make you understeer like a shopping cart. If you're hard up for more power, you can always do a low-pressure turbo setup and still have change. Wherever you buy from, get a warranty that will give you enough time to install and test the motor. You don't want to drop ~$1500 and get a dud.

    Next up, any motor you get your hands on will be ten years old or more. Maintenance is the order of the day - timing belt, water pump, cracked belts, hoses, replace every rubber gasket or seal. It'll be a little extra money now, but it's better than playing Where's That Fluid Coming from when ten-year-old rubber that's been sitting in a warehouse for five years starts to give way. Replace your engine mounts too while you're there. Then, once it's up, tune it. Plugs, oil and filter, adjust the valves, everything. Since you're aiming for more power I assume you'll be doing this kind of stuff anyways.

    Finally, insure the hell out of it. Old Hondas pretty much have "STEAL ME" signs on them as it is - if it gets well-known that you're running a swapped motor, you're very likely to have some douche want to get himself a discount on parts for his riced out piece of shit. And a couple B16s would pull a premium a week before Race Wars ...

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    illigillig Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    you're thinking that a CRX will be a cheap, fun, mod car, right? that might have been the case 15 years ago, but now any inexpensive CRX you find will be beat to hell, riced out, or swiss cheese... and any nice CRX will be $TEXAS...

    i'd honestly pick a different base... the 240sx is surprisingly becoming available again in decent condition (after many years of 2F2F mania)... and it's a very nice chassis that's RWD to boot (and you have to admit that RWD > FWD any day, right?

    otherwise look at older civic hatches, or sentras... both decent platforms and not stupidly overhyped... but admittedly a bit heavier and less tossable in stock form

    illig on
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    Cptn PantsCptn Pants Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Good advice, I'm rather sure about going with the B16a, I forgot to throw the monkey wrench into the mix: I can't drive stick, not that I don't know how but I can't. My right shoulder is busted up real good and I can't drive stick for more then about 20 minutes before I'm literally screaming in pain from my shoulder. I'm not going to go turbo, at least not any time soon. I understand that most Honda's will have been beaten on and I was going to bring it back to as close as factory as possible with the exception of the B16. So that being said I plan i replacing any lowering springs or after market parts with new/rebuilt parts.

    I was kind of hoping to forgo the insurance but I guess I have no choice, I'll have to call up an adjuster and get a quote so that leaves me with, will the insurance cover the bluebook value or the value of the parts in the car?

    Thanks for all the help!

    Cptn Pants on
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    PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Cptn Pants wrote: »
    Good advice, I'm rather sure about going with the B16a, I forgot to throw the monkey wrench into the mix: I can't drive stick, not that I don't know how but I can't. My right shoulder is busted up real good and I can't drive stick for more then about 20 minutes before I'm literally screaming in pain from my shoulder. I'm not going to go turbo, at least not any time soon. I understand that most Honda's will have been beaten on and I was going to bring it back to as close as factory as possible with the exception of the B16. So that being said I plan i replacing any lowering springs or after market parts with new/rebuilt parts.

    I was kind of hoping to forgo the insurance but I guess I have no choice, I'll have to call up an adjuster and get a quote so that leaves me with, will the insurance cover the bluebook value or the value of the parts in the car?

    Thanks for all the help!

    Bluebook. If you want the parts (swapped motor, tranny, other upgrades) covered, you'll probably have to find a carrier that specializes in modded cars, which will cost more. Also note that some carriers will drop your coverage for modifying your car extensively, and an engine swap would definitely qualify. :P

    Edit - You can't drive stick? That's kind of a buzzkill right there, as you'll sap most of that power you made by feeding it through an automatic. Plus they're not built nearly as tough as the manuals, since they're only expected to handle the stock motors paired with them. And on top of that you might have to do some hackery to make your transmission and engine play nice together. :(

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    ZeonZeon Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Engines swaps are basically out as well if you cant drive stick. Not many auto tranny options for the b series and theyre going to be significantly more money than the manual versions, not to mention a hundred times harder to drop in since im pretty sure no one makes mounts for the auto version into an EF series chassis, so youre going to have to custom fab some shit. Plus youre going to have a hard time finding writeups on how to get the auto version of anything into the EF chassis, even newer dseries blocks/trannies. But if youre dead set on auto, id recommend the SOHC Vtec D15/16, which will mount up to the stock tranny (Im 95% sure on this) and you can use the stock mounts (or get a new tranny if thats what you want). I had one in my CRX, and that thing pulled pretty hard for a SOHC (they put out about 129hp compared to... what, 90 stock i think for the Si?). It was a manual though, so your mileage may vary...

    Also, i dunno if youre gonna have enough to keep you busy for a full year... There isnt a whole lot to those cars, you can drop the engine in a day easy, suspension takes a couple hours, and... thats basically it. Unless you buy one thats beat to shit and needs a full interior and a lot of body work, but even then you can pretty much completely rebuild a crx from ground up in about 10 full 8 hour days if you know what youre doing... You'll actually probably spend more time frustratedly looking for parts, since mint OEM parts are getting hard to come by these days, most shit has been painted or abused by now, and some of the stock stuff is retardedly hard to find (like the climate controls, door panels or the hatch covers, as well as dashes because a lot of people put the dashes into the civics to get a full center console).

    Its a good project though, its exactly what i did. Well, except i let mine sit for 2 years after i finished it because i never found the time to actually drive it. Ended up selling it, which sucked, because the guy took it to some retarded shop that hoisted it up through the middle of the body with the doors open. Car folded in half, that was a sad day.

    Oh and as for a good forum, hondatech is pretty much the best. There are some really, really knowledgable guys on there. Of course, you have the ricer kids who dont know shit, but if you ever have a real problem its fairly easy to get help. Not to mention the hundreds of writeups for basically anything you could ever dream of doing to the car. Theres even a writeup on how to drop the 4wheel drive system from the wagon into the crx, along with a b series using the crv transmission/rear diff set up.

    Oh and the last thing, as to insurance, if its going to be sitting, get storage insurance. It costs like 15-20 dollars a month and covers theft/fire/vandalism. Basically short of you driving into anything with the car, youre covered. And one more thing to consider is emissions testing, depending on where you live. If youre in cali, theres no way you can get an automatic b16 swapped crx to pass emissions, since the b16 never came stateside with an auto tranny mounted, so theres no way you can source a valid ECU. Closest youd be able to get would be a crv ECU, but thats an illegal swap since the B20 is a "truck" engine.

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    Cptn PantsCptn Pants Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I mean honestly, realistically its not that I can't drive stick but if this is to be my daily driver I really, really don't want to because if I have to commute more then 10 miles a day I'm gonna need a half hour recovery period to get my shoulder back in working order whenever I drive it.

    I'm In nj, so I have no idea what the emission laws are like to be honest.

    I'm gonna head on over to the hondatech forums and see what they have to say, if its too much of a problem to do automatic I may have to pick another car as sad as that makes me.

    As for the amount of work, I'm gonna have MAYBE a day a week to work on it if I'm lucky. And I plan on redoing the entire interior including the rugs, dash, trim, lighting, new radio, power locks/windows, ect. I also have a few crazy plans in mind that might take a bit of time if they are even possible... such as retrofit HID projectors, projector fog lights and other such none-sense.

    Cptn Pants on
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