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1988 DX hatch
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm both new to this site and new to Honda. I came to own my first Honda because they are cheap, quick and small. I recently bought a 1988 civic dx hatch with a d16zc swap done. I have not towed the car to my house yet so I have no picture but I would like a basis to start troubleshooting.

The owner told me that about 2 months ago he was driving and went to shift into 5th and lost power, he tried to down shift to get it back but it didnt work. He admitted to not being mechanically inclined so he got it towed and is selling it.

My question is, Does anyone know what could be the issue?

I also have a few other questions:

  1. Is the engine worth getting running performance wise?
  2. If not, I have access to both a d16z6 and a d15b (not the 3 stage) both vtec, which would be the better and more affordable swap?

I'm not looking to build a race car just a fun, affordable daily driver for the time being.

I have both the 15b and the z6 already, so even if the zc is worth resurrecting which would be the better engine to build up slowly as a performance engine?

I can take all the spoon feeding you can hand out I love to learn and am mechanically inclined just not with Hondas yet.
 

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1993 Honda Civic DX
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41 Posts
Does the swap look like it was done correctly? Did the owner mention any weird noises or fluids leaking after the loss of power. I personally would suggest the D16Z6, but then again I'm not refreshed on the statistics and potentials of the ZC. First thing I would do is check for any horrible wiring, do a compression test, check all grounds, and check for any leaking fluids.
 

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1988 Honda CRX
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6,676 Posts
There are 4 different DOHC ZCs

If its a gen 3 or gen 4 they are the most powerful D ever made at about 130hp, so if it's a good engine and a good instalation, why not stick with it.

There is a list of the various generations in the DOHC section and more info in wikipedia on all D series engines.

Engine running with no drive can be any number of things from a broken clutch to a broken CV joint. It is quite likely a drive shaft popped out if he also swapped gear boxes and did not use the correct intermediate shaft and drive shats
 

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1988 DX hatch
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the advice, the zc came out of a 1994 if that helps at all, and im not a fan of the swap job because:

1. I'm a perfectionist.

2. They left the stock dx transmission in it.

Also, the car will not start.
 

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1988 Honda CRX
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6,676 Posts
If it truly is a 1994 ZC DOHC it should be the ODB1 model. These are a very nice engine. There would be a few wiring details to sort out and an ODB1 ECU would be required.

Other option is to convert to ODB0. An easy conversion and good free software is available for tuning (TurboEdit), but The ODB1 system gives more control over fuel delivery so bigger injectors can be used.
 

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DelSol
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361 Posts
if you don't have money stick with the z6. i perfer the DOHC ZC due to the nice amount of torque it puts out but they cost more to build and find parts for the DOHC ZC is not for a noob
 

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1988 DX hatch
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
i think the obd1 has already been done because the engine was in the car running.

Do all 3 engines use the same mounts? For example if i wanted to swap it how difficult would it be? Also could i use the zc but put the d15 or z6 tranny in? would they be better then the stock dx?
 

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94 Del Sol si
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490 Posts
Si or ex trans would be better gearing. U would have to find a cable one though. Not sure on the mounts.
 

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I assume this car was running base of what you said.

First thing you need to do is get the car started, check the basics.

1. compression
2. fuel
3. sparks
4. grounds
5. timing
6. electrical

I'm sure one of those could be the issue.
 

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My civic
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2,340 Posts
I assume this car was running base of what you said.

First thing you need to do is get the car started, check the basics.

1. compression
2. fuel
3. sparks
4. grounds
5. timing
6. electrical

I'm sure one of those could be the issue.
^^^^^^Beat me to it. THIS!!!!!^^^^^^

But if he just randomly lost power, id start by making sure the T-Belt is still intact.. Had a boy who seized a cam and had same symptoms when his t-belt came off.
 

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91 civic hatch
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167 Posts
^^ i'd check that n go from there, but slap which ever motor is healthier z6 or d15b? There both great.
 

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1988 DX hatch
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
the timing belt is on it could there still be an issue with it even if its still on the car physically?

Car will come home tomorrow so i can take pictures if people are interested
 

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even if its on make sure its not loose, they can jump teeth pretty easy so i hear. new to the honda game but went to school for motorcycles and work on friends random cars quite a bit. like already said though check all the basics first and re post on here, you'll get it running
 

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1988 Honda CRX
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6,676 Posts
I'm pretty sure that the D17 and maybe all ODB2 engines have a different mount on the front of the head.
 

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1988 DX hatch
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Im really apreciating the great feedback i got, its helpful. I dont feel alone doing this swap.

i look forwards to sharing my progress with you all
 

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6,617 Posts
fuel pump failure would cause a sort of "burping" effect as it dies. It would not die outright
 
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