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ErikTheSwede New Reader
11/2/18 7:42 p.m.

I had an 87 SI that I bought for $200 with a bad clutch. I fixed it and drove it for 4 years and put almost 100,000 miles on it with nothing more than oil changes and brakes and tires. It was a non AC car and was as simple as it gets. Sold it to my friend at 229k miles and he overheated it at 330k miles and locked it up. It was the best car ever. If I ever find one for sale in decent shape I’m buying it.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/5/18 9:14 a.m.

So, the CRX made a run to Moab yesterday. Tim Suddard was riding along, and he knows the cars well from when they were new. He's of the opinion that my car is a bit loose, that it's not as sharp as it should be. This is the car that unseated the Lotus Elan as the king of A Stock autox, and he has a freshly restored Elan as a barometer. Not something I've felt, but then again I don't have the history. So I'll put the car in the air, check the steering mounts etc and also check the alignment. I don't feel any slack in the steering so it may just be a toe problem. Did I ever check the toe after installing the camber plates? I dunno.

He also feels it rides more roughly, although with the two of us in there the car was pretty heavily loaded. I'll check the size of the front torsion bar to see if it's been upgraded, and those sagged rear springs will have a lower spring rate than stock. Ground Control does offer a coilover kit which would give me proper control over spring rate and ride height. Looking at it, I may have enough parts on hand to build my own.

There's a squeak in the rear suspension (again) or the rear hatch, so I need to have a look at the shock bushings. It makes the car feel looser than it really is. The fact that the super-cool wheels aren't competely round don't help. And the offset of the super-cool wheels means the rear wheels are rubbing on big hits with two dudes on board, so I need to do some fender rolling. Since most of my driving is at 40 mph, I've been ignoring the wheels but it's time to address these problems.

The good news is the car did not complain about the trip to Moab at all. That's about 40 minutes of 80 mph interstate driving followed by 40 minutes of twisty roads with stunning scenery, then you turn around and do it again. It was stable and cruised well on the interstate, and I thought it was good on the twisty stuff but apparently it could be better wink

So get ready for some DIY wheel straightening, alignment, coilovers and possibly even custom front struts.

And a gratuitous cellphone shot of the Si getting ready for a photo shoot, then the Moab trip.

Harvey GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/6/18 4:14 p.m.

I just recall the Civic hatch of the time having a lot more room inside than I thought it would based on the exterior and the CRX meeting my expectations in terms of interior size.

J1000 New Reader
1/8/19 12:28 p.m.

Wow cool car and amazing wheels! These cars rock. Can't wait to see it with the louvers on. Just make sure you mount them solidly, mine rattled like crazy. The louvers go a long way to blocking the sun and keeping the car cooler in the summer, though. It looks like yours has a rear sway bar on which is not OEM so you may well have some other suspension upgrades.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/8/19 1:31 p.m.

I put that sway bar on (read back a few pages) so I'm  aware of that particular mod ;) The only other suspension upgrades are camber plates (to fit the wheels), KYB front shocks and Koni rear shocks.

I have some sexy photos of the car from a recent photo session, I'll put them up shortly.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/8/19 2:47 p.m.

This was posted to the GRM Instagram feed a little while ago. Taken by Travis Ingram right near my house.


dherr GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/8/19 2:59 p.m.

Brings back great memories, had two over the years (black and red CRX SI). Light, fast (for the day) and so much fun! Thanks for the memories....

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/8/19 3:11 p.m.

There are more photos from the shoot, but they're not mine to share yet.

mr2s2000elise Reader
1/8/19 3:28 p.m.

Miss my 91 si terribly. First gen crx, like first gen mr2, just isn’t my thing - looks dated to my eyes , but glad to see you keeping it alive and loving it Keith ! 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/8/19 3:39 p.m.

I prefer the term "iconic" :)

SkinnyG UltraDork
1/8/19 7:52 p.m.

I straight up love the wheels.

Always loved those 1st Gens.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/11/19 6:27 p.m.

The CRX has been parked for a while. Partly because I've had some other stuff going on, partly because Tim published a pretty aggressive column about how much it sucked. I understand he has a magazine to feed, but there was some exaggeration in there to make his points and I'm pretty sure he had his rose tinted glasses on. He also suggested that his friendly advertisers would happily supply new parts - ha! It's taken me some time to get over the attack, but it's time to move on.

Time to address some of the issues that came up on our trip to Moab. First up was the steering. The car is stable and nimble, but Tim felt that the car needed new rack bushings or something. My first thought was that he was feeling toe. It's amazing how many times I've been chasing steering problems just to find out it was a toe problem. Tim's driven a lot of cars but I do play a chassis engineer at work...

 I did find a bit of toe out so I corrected that. Once this rain goes away tomorrow I'll test drive it to see how much difference it makes. Going through the rest of the system, everything's tight with no slop or slack. The bushings look good. I'm wondering if Tim was comparing my car to race-prepped versions. Also, the Si has a slower rack than the HF did, maybe he remembers a different rack. Anyhow, there's nothing dangerously loose in the front end.

I also addressed the rubbing that happened with two big guys on board. This was easy enough to do. It looks like it was only on one side, but I did the same work to both. I also did a bit of welding on the muffler to keep the tailpipes where they belong.

The rear wheels in particular have some nice flat spots. I really wonder what happened to the poor car that wore these originally. I'll be taking that challenge on later, as it's more annoying than dangerous.

In term of off-the-shelf suspension options, there's really only one option available and that's a custom set of Teins.  I think I'll do some math on the stock rear springs and see how close I can get with some DIY coilovers on my existing mismatched shock set first and see what that does for the car's dynamics. I've got some springs that are right about where the recommended coilover numbers are. This is on the short list. If I can sneak down to the shop this weekend, maybe I can get those in place.

Agent98 Reader
4/11/19 6:39 p.m.

Cars stay the same....WE CHANGE.


Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/11/19 6:41 p.m.

It's also time for some bonding. I've had a set of louvers kicking around for a long time, but no brackets. Someone posted some louvers for sale on the CRX FB group, I asked for pictures of the brackets and a local friend mentioned "hey, I've got a set of louvers I don't need!". So I very quickly had a second set of louvers on hand, only these were different. They were actually Honda parts - you can see the difference in manufacturing quality and design work - and they had all the brackets. 

So this had to happen. Partially for bonding, partially because unmounted louvers take up a lot of space and are easily damaged.

I did have to do some work to mount them, though. Everything had been pried off, so I had to straighten some brackets and apply new double-sided tape. The top section went on well enough although I was a little short on tape and I think it needs more work to flatten it.

The bottom brackets clamp on to the sides of the hatch and have a pin that sticks up. There are latches on the louvers that clip in to these pins - obviously the dimensions of the the pins are pretty important. But the pins are aluminum and they're attached to steel studs. The studs were simply poked through the aluminum bottom plate and held by friction or maybe the tape. Whatever, they were both corroded and had come loose from the bottom plate. So I had to restore them.

Here's what we're working with.

Assembled unit on the right, disassembled on the left. I tried a few ways to get the pin and stud separated but there was simply no way to get a hold of the stud. So I carefully drilled it out. That was very successful on one side but the other ended up with a small piece of the steel stuck in the stud. I was able to tap the hole with the steel in place, so I have a good solid connection. I took a 4x7.0 bolt, cut it down to the right length and ground down the head until it had just a flange. That let me put everything back together. Double-sided tape attaches the base plate to the window and I figured out a good way to do the installation. It's all good! 

Tomorrow we get some pictures outside and see if it rattles like crazy.

matthewmcl New Reader
4/11/19 8:35 p.m.

There is a reasonably clean white 87 auto CRX at the local pick-a-part over here in Ogden.  You like like you have a really clean SI, but if you need me to check for any parts on it, let me know.  All of the seats are gone and someone took the valve cover off, but last I saw it was otherwise fairly complete.  There was not even any real rust on the exhaust, so it must be from a pretty clean area. 



Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/11/19 8:38 p.m.

Thanks for the heads up! What color is the interior? Any idea what model it is - HF, DX, Si?

matthewmcl New Reader
4/11/19 9:01 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

There is no SI badge and it is an auto, but I do not think it is an HF, so I am guessing DX.  I have a few photos that I took as reference for the fellow looking for a gas tank.  Do you want to PM me an email address and I will send you some photos?  The interior carpet is green.



akylekoz Dork
4/12/19 7:27 a.m.

I just love this car.  Many moons ago I traded my 455 powered 81 regal for an 86 CRXsi, for the day.  That CRX was bone stock and so much fun to drive.  They loved the power of big cube motor, keeping it fed not so much.

BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/12/19 9:02 a.m.

Louvers just look great on these cars. The one I owned a few years ago also had them, and I still remember driving to Reno one day and one of those notorious Sierra Nevada downwinds hit it so hard the dzus fastener at the bottom came lose.

Trying to refasten that in 60+ mph winds was entertaining. For other people.

keithedwards New Reader
4/12/19 9:16 a.m.
matthewmcl said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

There is no SI badge and it is an auto, but I do not think it is an HF, so I am guessing DX.  I have a few photos that I took as reference for the fellow looking for a gas tank.  Do you want to PM me an email address and I will send you some photos?  The interior carpet is green.



It must be be a DX, if automatic tranny. I loved the '85 Sis I had, especially the Baltic Blue ones.

84FSP SuperDork
4/12/19 9:19 a.m.

El Rabbitto and I regularly get destroyed by a local Nats Competitor in a 16v crx si.  Really neat cars.  I'd rock this or the late 90's SI in a heartbeat.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/12/19 10:21 a.m.

Tim, that one of yours is responsible for reigniting my lust for these cars.

Drive report: CRX is happy to be back on the road. I had one other 80's Honda owner stop me to chat for a bit and another random guy at the gas station expressed real admiration for it. The steering isn't quite as sharp as the steering of the 1990 Miata I drove to work yesterday, but some of that is going to come down to 195 S.drives vs 225 RS4s and a 60% front weight bias. Still no slop. I am wondering what the rear spring rate is and should be. Still, it put a big smile on my face and that's the whole point.

The louvers look as if they've always been there. That's the best thing you can say about a styling mod. My home is a custom-designed spectacle from 1983 and I only just realized this morning that its styling will complement the CRX very nicely, so I think there's a small photo shoot coming this weekend...

Robbie GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/12/19 11:26 a.m.

Just went back and read the column after reading this. I agree it doesn't sound like two perspectives of the same story but rather two different stories!

Either way - it is a good challenge to make this CRX as good as it can be. 

I don't know the details but different tires (compound and size) as well as wheel offset can really make a big difference to the feel of the steering, especially in a light car. Not like I'm telling you anything you don't know ;) 

Keep it up, it's an awesome car!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/12/19 11:51 a.m.

Tim needed content for the magazine, and told the story he wanted to tell to make a certain point. I feel it could have been done without being so specific about the car itself, and some of the conversation is fictional. Heck, we were supposed to take my Mini to Moab so I'd spent all my spare time getting that car up and running. Turns out Tim doesn't actually like classic Minis so it never even got fired up.

Just be warned that Tim will only accept freshly restored cars and not drivers that have known problems that have not yet been addressed, such as those lumpy wheels. I definitely challenge him on the statement that raising the rear did not "fix" the car, as it did improve things quite a bit. Was it a perfect concours fix? No, it was a functional one that improved the car. I also wonder if he spent much time driving CRXs in the 80s that had 500 lbs of human ballast on board.

I will note that he was shocked that I didn't pack tools for the trip to Moab. Why would I? This is a real car, a daily driver that's mechanically solid.


The squeaky/rattly rear suspension will be checked out once again, but again I suspect it'll again be a bit of movement on the (brand new OEM) upper shock washers that I just can't get rid of. The mismatched shocks - well, that comes down to whether I think the one coilover setup on the market is worth a $1000 gamble. I'll spend more time getting the squeaks out and re-evaluate the perceived ride quality at that time.

About the wheels and tires - the car was originally equipped with 13s, and as you probably know there aren't any decent 13s available anymore. Tim may be remembering what they felt like on A008Rs or something similar, probably the equivalent of today's 200TW class. Those aren't really available anymore in 13. So I pulled the 13s and put on the 15s with a tire that's got a compliant sidewall because that suits my use of this car. The Ronals are a little heavier than is ideal but the steering and ride did improve with the 15s due to the higher quality rubber.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/15/19 10:43 a.m.

After my bragging that the car was reliable, the battery bit the dust on Friday. It's one of the base model NAPA batteries that's about 3 years old. I don't know why I put that in there because I KNOW they're only good for a short period and I know better. So it's coming out and I'm doing it right this time with an Odyssey PC680. I've had really good luck with them over the years.

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